Language Snapshots

Paipai (Baja California, Mexico) – Language Snapshot

  • Ivette S. González


Paipai is a Yuman language spoken in Baja California, Mexico, primarily in and around the indigenous community of Santa Catarina, a rural area two hours east of the city of Ensenada.1 Out of approximately 100 inhabitants in Santa Catarina, only 25% speak the language, and most of the speakers are over 50 years old. The Paipai have been historically affected by cultural assimilation resulting from the colonization of their original territories. The existing documentation of this language includes some descriptive work, done through theses, wordlists, and translated traditional narratives. In recent years, additional research has included more comprehensive studies on their language and culture, a pedagogical book, and some audio-visual materials. The domains of use of Paipai are limited to conversations between elders of the community, and language transmission at home has almost completely stopped. However, many members of the community support language maintenance through school education. Current research, by this author as well as others, is focused on expanding the documentation of the language to support language ...

1 The location coordinates given above are for Santa Catarina since this community holds the highest number of speakers and because it is where most of my fieldwork has taken place.


Keywords: Paipai, Yuman language, Baja California, Mexico, Santa Catarina

How to Cite:

González, I., (2020) “Paipai (Baja California, Mexico) – Language Snapshot”, Language Documentation and Description 17, 150-157. doi:

Download PDF



Published on
31 Jul 2020
Peer Reviewed