Cocopah language

This article is about the language. For the reservation, see Cocopah Indian Reservation. For the Native American people, see Cocopah.
Native to Mexico, United States
Region Baja California, Arizona, Sonora
Ethnicity Cocopah
Native speakers
300 (2007–2010)[1]
  • Delta–Californian

    • Cocopah
Language codes
ISO 639-3 coc
Glottolog coco1261[2]

Cocopah is a Delta language of the Yuman language family spoken by the Cocopah. In an effort to keep the language alive, which was spoken by fewer than 400 people at the turn of the 21st-century, the Cocopah Museum began offering Cocopah language classes to children in 1998.

The language had no alphabet until the 1970s when a scholar developed one for a university dissertation. It proved to be less than ideal, and a new alphabet was developed by the tribe in the early 2000s. As the revival of the language has progressed, it has been necessary to find words for modern objects that didn't exist in the ancient language. These issues are referred to the elders of the tribe for a decision.[3] Cocopah in Mexico use a different orthography designed by the INALI.



Cocopah has 21 consonants:

Bilabial Alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
plainlateral plainlateral plainlabial
Nasal m n ɲ
Stop p t ʈ k ʔ
Fricative s ʂ ʃɬʲ x
Approximant l j w
Rhotic r


Cocopah has 4 vowels.

  Front Back
High i / iː u / uː
Non-High e / eː a / aː

Cocopah has both short and long vowels.

Syllable & phonotactics

The Cocopah syllable:




  1. 2007 Golla, 2012 INALI
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Cocopa". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. "Cocopah language class seeks to keep ancient tongue from dying out" (July 29, 2007) Yuma Sun

External links

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