Southern Paiute (Nüwü / Numu)

Southern Paiute is a member of the Southern Numic branch of the Uto-Aztecan language family. It is spoken in parts of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and California in the USA by about 1,640 (in 2010). The majority of speakers are over 50 years old, although some children are still acquiring Southern Paiute from their partents.

Southern Paiute is also known as Colorado River Numic, Ute, Ute-Southern Paiute or Ute-Chemehuevi. There are three dialects: Chemehuevi, Southern Paiute and (Southern) Ute, which are considered separate languages by some. Each of the dialects has a number of subdialects.

The (Southern) Ute dialect (núu-'apaghapi / núuchi) is spoken on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation in northeastern Utah, and on the Uintah-Ouray (or Northern Ute) and Ute Mountain reservations in southern Colorado.

The Southern Paiute dialect is spoken in southwest Utah, northern Arizona, southern Nevada and northwest New Mexico.

The Chemehuevi dialect is spoken along the lower Colorado river in California. It was first documented in the early 20th century. In 2008 there were just three speakers of Chemehuevi. The Chemehuevi call themselves Nüwüwü (The People) or Tantáwats (Southern Men). The name Chemehuevi comes from a Mojave word meaning ' those that play with fish'.

There are language programs in Ute, and a revitalization program for Chemehuevi. Dictionaries for Ute and Chemehuevi were published in 2016.

Ute alphabet and pronunciation

Ute alphabet and pronunciation

Chemehuevi alphabet and pronunciation

Chemehuevi alphabet and pronunciation

Download alphabet charts for Southern Paiute (Excel)

Sample text in Ute

'icha̠-'ara Núu-'apagha̠-pi 'áa-pɵ'ɵ-kwa-tʉ̠ 'ura-'ay. Pa'a-kách-'ura-'uru pɵ'ɵ-ta-na-aqh púupa Núu-chi-'uru tʉvʉchi 'apagha-na-y. 'áavʉ̠-'ura Núu-'apagha-pi̠ nasu'a-rʉga-kwa-y, tawi-gya-aph tua-chi-u-vaa-chugwa-av-'uru ká-wáygya-wa-tʉ-mʉ̠. Togho-sapa̠-pi ma'ay-ta-vaa-chi-sapa̠, míya̠-tukhwa̠ miya-'ni-vee-chi-sapa̠.


This is our new Ute Languge book. The way our language is to be properly spoken has never before been put in writing. Our language is fading away, we don't speak it to our children any more. For this reason it may be soon lost, it may go away.

Source: Ute Dictionary

Sample videos in and about Southern Paiute


Information about the Southern Paiute language
Ute Dictionary

Uto-Aztecan languages

Comanche, Cora, Hopi, Huarijio, Huichol, Ivilyuat / Cahuilla, Kawaiisu, Luiseño, Mayo, Mono, O'odham, Nahuatl, Northern Paiute, Pipil, Serrano, Shoshone, Southern Paiute, Tarahumara, Tepehuán (Northern), Tepehuán (Southeastern), Tepehuán (Southwestern), Timbisha, Tongva, Yaqui

Languages written with the Latin alphabet

Page last modified: 23.04.21


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