The Northern Paiute language, also known as Numu and Paviotso, is a Western Numic language of the Uto-Aztecan family. Within Numic, it is most closely related to Mono and more distantly to Panamint, Shoshone (spoken in Nevada, Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming), Comanche (spoken mainly in Oklahoma, Texas, and Arizona), Kawaiisu, and Chemehuevi-Southern Paiute-Ute. The other Uto-Aztecan languages of California are Tubatulabal and the Takic languages (Cahuilla, Cupeño, Gabrielino, Juaneño, Kitanemuk, Luiseño, Serrano, and Tataviam).
The Northern Paiute language is spoken from Mono Lake, north and west through Nevada and up into Oregon and Idaho. There are two communities of Northern Paiute speakers in California, one at Mono Lake and to the immediate north (around Bridgeport and Coleville, California and Sweetwater, Nevada), the other around Susanville, California. In 1994 there were a 500 fluent speakers recorder, though by 2019 this number had dropped to 300.
In 2005, the Northwest Indian Language Institute of the University of Oregon formed a partnership to teach Northern Paiute and Kiksht in the Warm Springs Indian Reservation schools. In 2013, Washoe County, Nevada became the first school district in Nevada to offer Northern Paiute classes, offering an elective course in the language at Spanish Springs High School. Classes have also been taught at Reed High School in Sparks, Nevada. Elder Ralph Burns of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation worked with University of Nevada, Reno linguist Catherine Fowler to help develop a spelling system. The alphabet uses 19 letters. They have also developed “a language-learning book, “Numa Yadooape,” and a series of computer disks of language lessons.