Ipai language

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'Iipay aa
Native to USA
Region San Diego County, California
Ethnicity Kumeyaay
Native speakers
unknown (25 cited 1994)[1]
  • Core Yuman
    • Delta–California
      • Ipai
Language codes
ISO 639-3 dih (as part of Diegueño)
Glottolog ipai1239[2]

Ipai, also known as 'Iipay or Northern Diegueño, is the Native American language spoken by the Kumeyaay people of central San Diego County, California. Hinton (1994:28) suggested a conservative estimate of 25 surviving Ipai speakers.

Ipai belongs to the Yuman language family and to the Delta–California branch of that family. Ipai and its neighbors to the south, Kumeyaay and Tipai, were often considered to be dialects of a single Diegueño language, but the current consensus among linguists seem to be that at least three distinct languages are present within the dialect chain (e.g., Langdon 1990). Confusingly, Kumeyaay is commonly used as a designation both for the central language in this family and for the Ipai-Kumeyaay-Tipai people as a whole.

Published documentation for the Ipai language includes reference and teaching grammars, a dictionary, and several texts (cf. Mithun 1999:578).


  1. Hinton 1994:28
  2. Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Ipai". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  • Couro, Ted and Christina Hutcheson. 1973. Dictionary of Mesa Grande Diegueño;: 'Iipay Aa-English/English-'Iipay Aa, Malki Museum Press, California.
  • Couro, Ted & Langdon, Margaret. 1975. Let's talk 'Iipay Aa: An introduction to the Mesa Grande Diegueño language, Malki Museum Press, California.
  • Hinton, Leanne. 1994. Flutes of Fire: Essays on California Indian Languages. Heyday Books, Berkeley, California.
  • Langdon, Margaret. 1970. A Grammar of Diegueño: The Mesa Grande Dialect. University of California Press, Berkeley, California.
  • Langdon, Margaret. 1990. "Diegueño: how many languages?" In Proceedings of the 1990 Hokan–Penutian Languages Workshop, edited by James E. Redden, pp. 184–190. University of Southern Illinois, Carbondale.
  • Mithun, Marianne. 1999. The Languages of Native North America. Cambridge University Press.

External links