Rumsen (Rumšen)

Rumsen is a member of the Costanoan or Ohloean branch of the Yok-Utian language family. It was spoken in northern California in the USA, specifically near Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea on Moneterey Bay, along the Pajaro, Salinas and Carmel rivers, and at the Mission San Carlos de Borroméo in Carmel. The last native speaker of Rumsen, Isabel Meadows, died in 1939. However, the language was extensively documented by John Peabody Harrington, a linguist with the Bureau of American Ethnology.

Rumsen is also known as Rumsien, Rumsen Ohlone, San Carlos Costanoan or Carmeleno. It is classified as a dialect of Southern Ohlone in some sources. Efforts are currently being made by the Costanoan Rumsen Carmel Tribe to revive the language. These include class in the language, and the producation of a Rumsen dictionary.

Rumsen alphabet and pronunciation

Rumsen alphabet and pronunciation


Download an alphabet chart for Rumsen (Excel)

Information about the Rumsen alphabet supplied by Wolfram Siegel

Sample text

Neeyink ku wattin kawtak Maččan.

Neeyink ku waş kayy wa xawwan: “Kuu ku me koypon.” Neeyinkmur Makkewekş ku waş koypomp. Neeyink ku waş Maččan koypomp. Neeyinkmur kuwaş Makkewekş koypomp maysantopin. Neeyinkmur ’innay ša lačyankw Maččan xawwan. Neeyinkmur lakkuy wa koyponin. Maččanink waş kayy: “tomminşme ’etten, xakkaw, ’immeyme ’ettenakay ’išku kuu koypon”; kuumur waş monşemiki Makkewekş waamur ’etten. Tanmurlakkuy, neeyku waş liiw Maččan, neeyku waşwattiş’ewwey, xuyyamur kuu tonn waşşakkes’aţţap Makkewekşša lačyankw. Neeyink ku ’ummap Maččan, neeyinkmur naterimp xuya şottow,xuya şaanay xuya şottow ’išku mussen neeyikku mussey. Neeyink ku xaal Maččan wa ’oxšenin,neeyink ku čunnuy, neeyink ku čitt. Neeyink ku pussep(iki) wa xawwan neeyink ku kappes ’aţţapxallu. Rotteymur wa čunn Maččan, tanmur čitt.


Coyote, His Wife, and Makkeweks

Then Coyote went to the beach. Then Coyote said to his wife: "Don't be afraid." Then Makkeweks scared her. Makkeweks scared her when he rose up from the water. Then the Coyote's wife fell down and she died from fright. Coyote had told her: "The sea lion and the mussel are all your uncles, so don't be afraid." But he did not tell her that Makkeweks was her uncle. When she died, then Coyote put her on his back and carried her farther away, over there where the woman wouldn't see Makkeweks again. Then Coyote lit a fire, and next he laid her down there by the fire, there close to the fire so she would get warm; and then she got warm. Then Coyote jumped while performing a shamanic ritual, then he sang, then he danced. His wife came back to life, then Coyote jumped three times, and he had his song when he was dancing.

Source: Some Observations of Rumsen Ohlone Grammar, David V. Kaufman

Videos in and about Rumsen


Information about Rumsen
Some Observations of Rumsen Ohlone Grammar, David V. Kaufman

Yok-Utian languages

Chukchansi, Mutsun, Rumsen, Wukchumni

Languages written with the Latin alphabet

Page last modified: 23.04.21


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