Tiipai language

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Native to USA, Mexico
Region California, Baja California
Ethnicity Kumeyaay
Native speakers
unknown (undated figure of 100)[1]
  • Core Yuman
    • Delta–California
      • Tiipai
Language codes
ISO 639-3 dih (as part of Diegueño)
Glottolog tipa1240[2]

Tiipai (Tipay) is a Native American language spoken by a number of Kumeyaay (Kumiai) tribes in northern Baja California and southern San Diego County, California. It is also known as Southern Diegueño. Hinton (1994:28) provided a "conservative estimate" of 200 Tipai speakers in the early 1990s; the number of speakers has declined steadily since that time.

Tipai belongs to the Yuman language family and to the Delta–California branch of that family. In the past, Tipai and its neighbors to the north, Kumeyaay and Ipai, have been considered dialects of a single Diegueño language, but linguists now recognize that they represent at least three distinct languages (for discussion, see Langdon 1990). Tipai itself is not a uniform speech variety, and some suggest that it might be possible to recognize multiple languages within Tipai (Laylander 1985:33; Mithun 1999:577).

Published documentation of the Tipai language includes a descriptive grammar (Miller 2001), a comparative dictionary (Miller and Langdon 2008), a word list (Meza and Meyer 2008), and texts (Hinton 1976, Hinton 1978, see also Miller 2001:331-348).


  1. Tiipai at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Tipai". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Hinton, Leanne. 1976. The Tar Baby Story. In Yuman Texts, edited by Langdon, Margaret. International Journal of American Linguistics Native American Texts Series 1.3:101-106.
  • Hinton, Leanne. 1978. Coyote Baptizes the Chickens. In Coyote Stories, edited by Bright, William. International Journal of American Linguistics Native American Texts Series monograph 1:117-120.
  • Hinton, Leanne. 1994. Flutes of Fire: Essays on California Indian Languages. Berkeley, CA: Heyday Books.
  • Langdon, Margaret. 1990. "Diegueño: How Many Languages?" In Proceedings of the 1990 Hokan-Penutian Languages Workshop, edited by Redden, James E. pp. 184–190. University of Southern Illinois, Carbondale, IL.
  • Laylander, Don. 1985. "Some Linguistic Approaches to Southern California's Prehistory" [1]. San Diego State University Cultural Resource Management Casual Papers 2(1):14-58.
  • Meza Cuero, Jon and Meyer, Paula. 2008. Tipai Language-English-Spanish Word List. San Diego, CA: San Diego Unified School District.
  • Miller, Amy. 2001. A Grammar of Jamul Tiipay. Mouton Grammar Library 23. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Miller, Amy and Langdon, Margaret. 2008. Barona Inter-Tribal Dictionary: 'Iipay Aa Tiipay Aa Uumall. Lakeside, CA: Barona Museum Press.
  • Mithun, Marianne. 1999. The Languages of Native North America. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.

External links