The Umatilla and Walla Walla dialects of the
Sahaptin language were very different from
the Cayuse language isolate. Now that the Cayuse
language is extinct, save about 350 documented
words, most Cayuse descendants who speak a
native language speak lower or upper Nez Perce.
The few persons who speak Walla Walla as a
first language are all elders. Those who speak
Umatilla as a first language are a handful
of adults, and the rest elders.
Like the landscape and all the species that inhabit
the Blue Mountains and the Columbia River Plateau,
the languages have undergone many dramatic
changes in the past 200 years.