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Research at the Archive

A black and white photograph of the entire from of Old Mission Santa Barbara from 1870 with several people standing on the stairs.

California Native American Languages


The languages known from the central California Missions (Carmel, San Juan Bautista, Soledad, San Antonio de Padua, San Miguel, and San Luis Obispo) include:

Rumsen (Costanoan/Ohlonean, Carmel)

Esselen (Carmel and Soledad, and the territory inbetween) 

Mutsun(Costanoan/Ohlonean, San Juan Bautista) 

Chalon (Costanoan/Ohlonean, Soledad)

Salinan (San Antonio, San Miguel) 

ObispeÔo Chumash (Chumashan family).


Esselen and Salinan are language isolates, which means they are each a language family of one. Three of the languages (Rumsen, Mutsun, Chalon) belong the the Costanoan (or Ohlonean) subfamily of the Utian language family (the other subfamily includes the Miwok langauges). ObispeÔo is the most divergent member of the Chumashan family.


Future additions will include the following projects:

· “Mutsun Texts:’

· “Mutsun Glossary”;

· “Salinan Grammar”;

· “Salinan Texts”;

· “Salinan Glossary”


It is hoped that the Santa Barbara Mission Archive and Libary’s mission will be fulfilled in a new dimension by having this essential information about the central missions available free of charge to interested parties as searchable downloads.


Indigenous Languages of California (links coming soon!)

Esselen Texts and Glossary 
The Huelel 
Esselen Noun Thematic Suffixes 


Chalon Texts 


California Linguistic Prehistory
Rumsen Grammatical 
Esselen Utain Onomastics 
Esselen Linguistic Prehistory 


SBMAL is open to researchers by appointment only.
NEW HOURS for 2024! Research hours are now available on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, 10:00am to 4:00pm.

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