John E. McLaughlin
Utah State University
Shoshoni is a member of the Central Numic branch of the Numic language family of the Uto-Aztecan stock. It was formerly spoken in a broad, continuous arc extending from southwestern Nevada up through northwestern Utah and southern Idaho to central Wyoming. There are four generally recognized dialect complexes–Western Shoshoni, Gosiute, Northern Shoshoni, and Eastern Shoshoni. Today, the Shoshoni community lives in colonies and reservations scattered throughout the former range.
Shoshoni is closely related to the Comanche language of Oklahoma. Shoshoni has an underlying obstruent system which consists of voiceless stops /p, t, k, kw/, two voiceless fricatives /s, h/, and a voiceless affricate /ts/, but a surface phonetic system that includes voiced and voiceless stops, fricatives, and affricates in all the places of articulation of the underlying stops and affricates. Nominals in Shoshoni are inflected for three cases and for singular, dual, and plural number. Shoshoni aspect and tense are reflected as suffixes on the verb stem and there is a large set of instrumental prefixes that can be prefixed as well. Adverbial relations are marked by postpositions. Shoshoni word order is relatively free, although there is a marked tendency toward SXV. Subordinate clauses in Shoshoni are marked for same reference of subjects or for switch reference of subjects.
John E. McLaughlin, Associate Professor of English at Utah State University, has published on the historical phonology and morphology of the Numic and Central Numic languages since 1980.
ISBN 9783862883042. Languages of the World/Materials 488. 106pp. 2012.