"We are reviving and reclaiming our language from a so called
dead extinct Nation Called the Pipiimar-Tongva/Gabrieleño/Fernandeño."-Sutimiv
We give special thanks to L. Frank & Leanne Hinton whose wisdom & courage put us on the right path of this revival.
Mark Acuña's heroic efforts to share his knowledge along this path.
Pam Munro, Professor, Mentor, Linguistics, UCLA- we give our undying gratitude for her patience, hard work, for the actual work of laying down the foundation, for reclaiming our language."Grammar!" Indeed the "Breath of Life" to our language.


Enter content here

Terminology re the Uto-Aztecan language family
The term "Uto-Aztecan" was coined (since the family covers languages spoken from the land of the Utes which inhabited much of the territory in Colorado, and parts of Utah and northern New Mexico to that of the Aztecs in Mexico.) by Daniel Brinton in 1891, but the term was not widely adopted for the whole family until Edward Sapir published his general classification of American Indian languages in 1929.

    The Uto-Aztecan family is now considered to have two main branches, Northern and Southern. Early classifications of this group of languages used the term "Shoshonean" to refer to what is now called Northern Uto-Aztecan. This group has four main branches:

            Current Terminology                                 Older Terminology   
            Takic                                                         Southern California Shoshonean
            Numic                                                       Plateau Shoshonean
            Tübatulabal                                                Kern River Shoshonean
            Hopi                                                          Pueblo Shoshonean

(Northern Uto-Aztecan — or Shoshonean — also includes Giamina, a very poorly documented language of the California Central Valley.)

    The name Shoshonean has not been used by linguists, then, for more than 60 years. It was abandoned in part because it is misleading — "Shoshonean", sometimes shortened to "Shoshone", can easily be confused with "Shoshoni" (sometimes written "Shoshone"), the name of a single language of the Numic branch. Unfortunately, though, many non-specialists (and textbooks, etc.) have not kept up with this change in terminology.



"When we lose languages we're losing knowledge," estimates show that of the more than 100 languages indigenous to what is now California, only half still have living speakers. "We're losing not just a set of words, its grammar, we're losing whole philosophical systems, oral-literature systems, ceremonial systems, and social systems along with the language. So language is one of an array of cultural phenomena that are going away."

The wider impacts of such losses are secondary to the toll on indigenous and the inspiration of the people whose ancestors were once fluent in Pipiimar/Tongva, Kitanemuk, Chumash, and scores of languages and dialects that today have only a few, if any, remaining speakers.

"The important thing about language survival is that people see it as a part of their human rights. And it is. People have the right to retain their language, and have a right to retain their culture if that's what they want to do."
                                                 --Leanne Hinton--





This Timeline is a living document (if you have knowledge to help us fill in the Gaps, we would very much appreciate your help. We wish to acknowledge everyone who has helped us reclaim our language) 

Pipiimar/Tongva/Gabrielino Language Timeline
We have been speaking our ancestral language since time immemorial

1771 –The Decline of our language begins-  Mission San Gabriel founded
at Isankanga and begins the process of  “conversion”. Conflict with local Tongva
forces the church to move to present location at the village of Sibanga (1775-1776).
Pipiimar (Tongva- more likely a village name near S.G) name changed to “Gabrieliño/Gabrieleño”
and missionization process begins. Non converts integrate into social economic life,
but not religious life.

1838-1842- Horatio Hale –Ethnology & Philology by Philologist of the Expedition
United States Exploring Expedition - Under the command of Charles Wilkes, U.S.N.
(Collect a small word list)

1856- Alexander Taylor- The Indianology of California by; Vol. XIII No. 12, May 11th 1860/ No. 9 Indians of the Mission of San Gabriel, etc.
    Vocabulary of the Indians living near the Mission of San Gabriel, in Los Angeles county, taken by the Author, in November, 1856.
    The vocabulary of San Gabriel was taken from an old Christian-Indian about sixty years old, and his appearance and features similar to our other Indians.  He says, San Gabriel was the first built by Padre Miguel Cruzado, and he was born near the mission.
    The Indians of San Fernando spoke nearly the same language as those of San Gabriel. The site of San Fernando was a rancheria called Pasheckna, and was more populous than any other rancheria of the Fernandinos. Other clans were Okowvin-jha, Kowanga, and Saway Yanga. The Ahapchingas were clan or rancheria between Los Angeles and San Juan Capistrano, and enemies of the Gabrielenos, or those of San Gabriel.

1884- H.W. Henshaw (Family: Shoshonean / Language: San Gabriel Mission/Place of Record: Near Banning, Calif./ Date of Record Dec.24, 1884) Vocabulary taken from a very old and decrepit Indian now living in an Indian Rancheria near the town of Banning. He formerly lived at the San Gabriel Mission. His wife and children speak Serrano (“Mountaineer”) language. His granddaughter, a school girl, understands English and she acted as interpreter. (Collect a small word list)

1875- Dr. Oscar Loew – Vocabulary of the Tobikhar Indians of San Gabriel (was recorded by Dr. Loew in June,1875 and published in Gatschet (1879:401-475) Orthography by George Gibbs. (Collected approx. 200 words)
When Dr. O. Loew visited the country around San Gabriel Mission in June, 1875, he was told that only two old men able to speak their paternal language were living, the rest of the Indians having exchanged their vernacular for Spanish. He visited  them both, and from one of them, Fernando Quinto, a nonagenarian chief, who seem to be near  his dissolution, he obtained vocabulary with additions. This old man remembered having seen one of Colonel J.C. Frémont’s expeditions.

1900’s- Who was the Last fluent speaker ???

1903- C. Hart Merriam – Indian Vocabularies by C.Hart Merriam
(Name of the tribe: Tong-va / Home of the tribe: San Gabriel Valley, Calif. Vocabulary Obtained from: Mrs. J.V. Rosemyre at (place): Bakersfield, Calif./ Date: Oct. 1903)

1901- J.W. Hudson – interviewed Mrs. James Rosemyre, a Gabrielino consultant living in Tejón.

1907-1909- Alfred L. Krober – worked with two Gabrielino consultants

1914-1933 – J.P.Harrington- worked with 11 Gabrielino consultants
John Peabody Harrington (1884–1961),hired in 1915 by the Bureau of American Ethnography as a research ethnologist,devoted over 50 years to field work on Native American languages. The men and women he interviewed were often among the last remaining speakers of their languages.

1900’s- Who was the Last fluent speaker ???

(When did Liguistics begin? Historical timeline)

1976-2008- to present –Pam Munro – “Our Mentor”- Professor, Linguistics, UCLA. Working with the Gabrielino Language off and on for over 30years ? Study & interpreting our Language. Creating a real Dictionary and 19 gammar lessons.

1998??-L. Frank & Leanne Hinton
start “Breath of Life” ???

19??- Mark Acuña – tries to start a language study group (last two sessions???)
Who attends ?

19?? Others who worked on the notes ?? include Geraldine Anderson, William Bright, and Kenneth Hill, but none of them had any extended contact with Tongva people to Pam Munro's knowledge. However, she learned from their previous work.

2000???- J. P. Harrington Database Project-Martha J. Macri UC Davis, Principal Investigator
Victor Golla Humboldt State University, Lisa Woodward, Pechanga Cultural Center, Co-Principal Investigators
The J. P. Harrington Database Project,
administered through the Native American
Language Center at the University of
California, Davis, received initial funding
from the National Science Foundation in
August of 2001 (BCS01-11487). The database
will provide a continuous text of the notes in
an easily readable form, and will be used to
generate lists of words and phrases. It can be
searched for specific words, or by
categories, such as plants, animals, personal
names, place names, and cultural items.  

The goal of the J. P. Harrington Project is to increase access to the linguistic and ethnographic notes on American Indian languages collected by J. P. Harrington during the first half of the twentieth century. The men and women he interviewed were often among the last remaining speakers of their languages. His notes are a treasure of indigenous knowledge that otherwise would have been lost. Well over half of an estimated 500,000 pages are on California Indian languages. It is with these materials that we have begun.
   The project is funded by National Science Foundation grants BCS01-11487, BCS04-18584, and BCS06-42463, the Native American Language Center, and the Office of Research at the University of California, Davis.


2004 – Language Committee Created we met at "Breath of Life"- Pam Munro-becomes our Mentor, Sutimiv-Pa'alat/Jacob Gutierrez as host & facilitator, and Virginia Carmelo. We meet L. Frank our motivator. Grammar Lessons Begin. First year Sutimiv begins to record Pam's Dictionary onto DVD's, CD's, copies dictionary and mails out Dictionary to the Nation, begins a Map of Tongva Villages. 


2005 - Language Committee Sutimiv records Pam Munro, the entire dictionary. Pam receives Heritage Award for her contribution-revitalization of our Tongva Language.

2006- JPHarrington Training session in San Pedro at Sutimiv's home. In January, Lisa Woodward and Martha Macri offered a one-day of training. Participants included students in the Tongva (Gabrielino) language group, as well as members of the Chumash, and Acjachemen (Juaneño) communities. Also attending was Pam Munro, a linguist from UCLA, who works with the Tongva class. photo by Robert Dorame




2006 - Language Committee- goes to "Breath of Life"-attending Mentor Pam Munro, Sutimiv, Carol Ramirez. Grammar Lessons (Lessons#??-#??) Sutimiv begins coding the "Gabrieliño" JPHarrington notes in August, starts making flash cards, updates Map.

2007 - Language Committee Updated Dictionary done in December by Pam Munro. Grammar Lessons continue (Lessons#??-#??) Sutimiv finishes coding JPHarrington notes which include all 4 reels (over 6000 pages were recorded, thousands of hours non-stop 7days a week 8 to 24 hours daily- now deemed the "Mad Coder") Begins working on JPHarrington Kitanemuk notes. 
2008 -Language Committee Pam Munro's Grammar Lessons continue(Lessons#??-#??) Phrase Book by Pam Munro, also begins editing "Gabrieliño" Harrington notes , Sutimiv begins on JPHarrington Luiseño notes.
2009-2013 Grammar Lesson We now have #26 lessons in grammar created by Pam Munro.
2014 -15 Tongvapedia  Major project of documentation of all that is Tongva, "A LIVING DOCUMENT", hopefully leading to Federal Recognition. 


To order a phrase book click here

Click here for large print phrase book

Native languages were almost completely lost through the U.S. government's deliberate policy beginning in the late 1800s of taking Indian children away from their families and putting them in boarding schools often hundreds of miles away from home to live, work and be "educated" in English. Among other abuses, the children were beaten if they spoke their Native languages.

It was the elders who continued to speak the Native tongues in the privacy of their homes that saved the languages from total obliteration. 

Tongva Language Classes meets once a month, usually on Thursdays between 10am-12pm. 
We are now opening our classes to the public, but you must register, and a fee will be charged for all non-natives. The fee for non-Native is 1,000 hours of volunteerism. For non-Tongva, but Native we ask 500 hours of volunteerism. If you are a Linguist and want to help, call 310/464-1821. Only people committed to learning will receive printed information. Please no "looky loo's" We ask people to bring a healthy Pot Luck dishes.


Language Meetings are hosted/facilitated by Sutimiv-Pa'alat-
"The one who makes a place for those that want to come."

Please support our Languages by giving generously, we are continually searching for "lost words", we need funding to advertise on a continuous basis in news papers for people to look in there basements, attics and storage units, to look for these "field notes"- research papers that JPHarrington might have left. A wide search is needed because JPH worked on 135 languages all over California and the Southwest, he was also known for leaving massive amounts of his research work behind in very odd places. The Smithsonian can verify that boxes of his information have been found everywhere, even in chicken coops.