Cahto language

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Region California (Eel River)
Ethnicity Cahto people
Extinct 1960s[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 ktw
Glottolog kato1244[2]

Cahto (also spelled Kato) is an extinct Athabaskan language that was formerly spoken by the Kato people of the Laytonville and Branscomb area at the head of the South Fork of the Eel River. It is one of the four languages belonging to the California Athabaskan cluster of the Pacific Coast Athabaskan languages. Most Kato speakers were bilingual in Northern Pomo and some also spoke Yuki.



Labial Dental Alveolar Post-alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Nasal [m] m [n] n [ŋ] ñ
Stop [b] b [] t [] t' [d] d [ts] ts [tsʼ] ts' Before front vowel Before back vowel [k]~[q] q [ʔ]
[] k [] k' [ɟ] g [] k [] k' [g] g
Affricate [] L [t͡ʃʰ] tc [t͡ʃʼ] tc' [d͡ʒ] dj [] kw [] kw'
Fricative [s] s [z] z [ɬ] ʟ [ʃ] c [ʒ] j [ɣ] ɢ [h] h
Approximant [l] l [j] y ([ʍ] w) [w] w

Cahto has 26 consonant phonemes and 30 phones.


Front Central Back Diphthong
High [i(ː)] ī [ɪ] i ~ [ʊ] û [u(ː)] ū
High-Mid [e(ː)] ē [e] ɛ ~ [ə] ę [o(ː)] ō
Low-Mid [e] ɛ ~ [ə] ę [ʌ] ą ~ [a] a
Low [a(ː)] ā, [ʌ] ą ~ [a] a [ai] ai

Cahto has 9 vowel phonemes (including the diphthong) and 12 phones.


  1. ^ Kato at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Kato". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  • Goddard, Pliny Earle; Bill Ray (1909). Kato texts. The University Press. Retrieved 24 August 2012.  University of California Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnography 5(3):65-238.
  • Goddard, Pliny Earle (1912). Elements of the Kato Language. University of California Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnography 11(1):1-176.
  • Goddard, Pliny Earle (1916). Elements of the Kato language. University of California Press. Retrieved 24 August 2012. 
  • Golla, Victor (2011). California Indian Languages. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 978-052-026667-4.

External links

  • Kato language overview at the Survey of California and Other Indian Languages
  • Kato Language (Cahto),
  • The Cahto ("Kato") Language
  • Experimental Cahto lexical database
  • OLAC resources in and about the Kato language
  • Kato Bibliography
  • Kato basic lexicon at the Global Lexicostatistical Database

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