A Look at the Karok Language

Method and Conclusion. See here.

Results. A ratings system was designed in terms of how difficult it would be for an English-language speaker to learn the language. In the case of English, English was judged according to how hard it would be for a non-English speaker to learn the language. Speaking, reading and writing were all considered.

Ratings: Languages are rated 1-6, easiest to hardest. 1 = easiest, 2 = moderately easy to average, 3 = average to moderately difficult, 4 = very difficult, 5 = extremely difficult, 6 = most difficult of all. Ratings are impressionistic.

Time needed. Time needed for an English language speaker to learn the language “reasonably well”: Level 1 languages = 3 months-1 year. Level 2 languages = 6 months-1 year. Level 3 languages = 1-2 years. Level 4 languages = 2 years. Level 5 languages = 3-4 years, but some may take longer. Level 6 languages = more than 4 years.

This post will look at the Karok language in terms of how difficult it would be for an English speaker to learn it.

Karok

Karok is formally a language isolate, but some theories put into Hokan, although Hokan itself is not even a recognized grouping.

Karok spoken by a few dozen people in northern California. The last native speaker recently died, however, there are ~80 people who have varying levels of L2 fluency.

In Karok, you can use a suffix for different types of containment – fire, water or a solid.

pa:θ-kirih
throw into a fire”

pa:θ-kurih
“throw into water

pa:θ-ruprih
throw through a solid

The suffixes are unrelated to the words for “fire”, “water” and “solid”.

Karok gets a 6 rating, hardest of all.

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Filed under Applied, California, Isolates, Language Families, Language Learning, Linguistics, North America, Regional, USA, West

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