Haida language

Haida language

Infobox Language
nativename=unicode|X̲aat Kíl
familycolor=language isolate
states= Canada (Haida Gwaii / Queen Charlotte Islands), Alaska (Prince of Wales Island)
speakers=First language: 45
Second language: 275
script=Latin alphabet
nation=Council of the Haida Nation
agency="No official regulation"

Pre-European distribution of Haida

The Haida language ("unicode|X̲aat Kíl, X̲aadas Kíl, X̲aayda Kil") is the language of the Haida people. It contains eight vowels and well over 30 consonants. Linguist Edward Sapir classified Haida as one of the Na-Dené languages in 1915, a position later supported by others, notably Pinnow, Greenberg, Enrico, Ruhlen, Manaster Ramer, and Bengtson (cf. list of publications below). Many linguists today continue to regard Haida as a language isolatecite book | last = Schoonmaker| first = Peter K. | coauthors = Bettina Von Hagen, Edward C. Wolf | title = The Rain Forests of Home: Profile Of A North American Bioregion | publisher = Island Press | date = 1997 | pages = 257 | id = ISBN 1559634804] . A recent proposal linking Athabaskan-Eyak-Tlingit to the Yeniseian family of central Siberia [http://www.uaf.edu/anlc/dy2008.html Dene-Yeniseic Symposium] ] did not find evidence for including Haida in this grouping. Whether one regards Haida's genetic affiliation as an open question or follows Sapir in classifying it as Na-Dene, Haida is doubtless one of the more intriguing languages of the Americas from a historical perspective.

While approximately one hundred years ago the entire Haida population was fluent, today the Haida language is extremely endangered, with only about 45 native speakers,cite web | title=Alaska Native Language Population and Speaker Statistics | date=1 January 1999 | url =http://www.uaf.edu/anlc/stats.html | accessdate=2008-03-17] nearly all of whom are older adults.cite web | title=Ethnologue report for language code:hdn| url =http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=hdn | accessdate=2008-03-17] cite web | title=Haida Language Mainpage| url =http://haidalanguage.org/ | accessdate=2008-05-23] Although the number of native speakers has diminished along the years, according to a 2001 Canadian Census there are now about 275 speakers in British Columbia alone,cite web | title=UBC World Language Fair’s HAIDA webpage| url =http://www.lerc.educ.ubc.ca/LERC/courses/489/worldlang/haida/Distribution%20Page.htm | accessdate=2008-05-23] and with revived interest in the language, this figure is expected to grow.

Currently Haida citizens and friends in all three dialect communities are working to revitalizing the language. In Skidegate, fluent speakers gather on a daily basis to work on the southern or Skidegate dialect and have produced a large series of recordings. In Masset, a group of younger learners is working with their fluent elders to reintegrate the northern or Masset dialect into their daily lives. In Alaska, the community conducts regular language classes for teens and adults, and has built a website complete with on-line recordings of the Kaigani dialect.



#Inside words, the plain stops can be voiced.
#Technically IPA| [d̥͡l] is not an affricate; it is released as an approximant rather than a fricative.
#For some speakers, IPA| [t͡ʃ] occurs only at the beginning of syllables, while IPA| [t͡s] does not occur there. They are the same phoneme. A similar situation applies with IPA| [t͡s’] and IPA| [t͡ʃ’] .Fact|date=September 2007
#Instead of an epiglottal fricative, the Masset dialect uses an epiglottal trill.


Haida features phonemic tone, the nature of which differs by dialect. In Kaigani the system is one of pitch accent, with at most one syllable per word featuring high tone; in Masset and Skidegate tone is contrastive in heavy syllables. All the above systems feature two tones: high and low.


Publications describing Haida language structure or classification

# Bengtson, John D. (2008), “Materials for a Comparative Grammar of the Dene-Caucasian (Sino-Caucasian) Languages.” "Aspects of Comparative Linguistics", vol. 3, Moscow: RSUH Publishers, pp. 45–118
# Dürr, Michael & Egon Renner. 1995. The history of the Na-Dene controversy: A sketch. "Language and Culture in North America: Studies in Honor of Heinz-Jürgen Pinnow", ed. by Egon Renner & Michael Dürr, 3-18. (Lincom Studies in Native American Linguistics 2). Munich: Lincom Europa.
# Enrico, John. 1983a. "The Haida language." "The outer shores", edited by G. E. Scudder and Nicholas Gessler. Queen Charlotte City, B.C.: Queen Charlotte Islands Museum Press. Pp. 223-248.
# Enrico, John. 1983b. "Tense in the Haida relative clause." "International journal of American linguistics" 52:91-123.
# Enrico, John. 1986. "Word order, focus and topic in Haida." "International journal of American linguistics" 49:136-166.
# Enrico, John. 1991. "The lexical phonology of Masset Haida." (Alaska Native Language Center research papers, 8.) Fairbanks: Alaska Native Language Center.
# Enrico, John. 1998. "Remarks on pitch in Skidegate Haida." "Gengo Kenkyu" 12:115-120.
# Enrico, John. 2003. "Haida syntax". (2 volumes). Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.
# Enrico, John. 2004. Toward Proto – Na-Dene. "Anthropological Linguistics" 46(3).229 – 302.
# Enrico, John. 2005. "Haida dictionary: Skidegate, Masset, and Alaskan Dialects." (2 volumes). Fairbanks: Alaska Native Language Center; Juneau: Sealaska Heritage Institute.
# Greenberg, J.H. 1987a. "Language in the Americas." Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
# Greenberg, J.H. 1987b. “The Na-Dene Problem.” In Greenberg (1987a), pp. 321-330.
# Lawrence, Erma. 1977. "Haida dictionary." Fairbanks: Alaska Native Language Center.
# Levine, Robert D. 1979. Haida and Na-Dene: A new look at the evidence. "International Journal of American Linguistics" 45(2).157 – 70.
# Manaster Ramer, Alexis. 1996. "Sapir's classifications: Haida and the other Na Dene languages." "Anthropological linguistics" 38:179-215.
# Pinnow, Heinz-Jürgen. 1976. "Geschichte der Na-Dene-Forschung." (Indiana : Beihefte ; 5). Berlin: Mann. ISBN 3-7861-3027-2
# Pinnow. H-J. 1985. "Das Haida als Na-Dene Sprache." (Abhandlungen der völkerkundlichen Arbeitsgemeinschaft, Hefte 43-46.) Nortorf, Germany: Völkerkundliche Arbeitsgemeinschaft.
# Pinnow. H-J. 2006a. "Die Na-Dene-Sprachen im Lichte der Greenberg-Klassifikation. / The Na-Déné Languages in Light of Greenberg's Classification." Zweite erweiterte Auflage / Second revised edition. Bredstedt: Druckerei Lempfert.
# Pinnow. H-J. 2006b. "Sprachhistorische Untersuchung zur Stellung des Haida als Na-Dene-Sprache." (Unveränderte Neuausgabe aus INDIANA 10, Gedenkschrift Gerdt Kutscher. Teil 2. Berlin 1985. Mit einem Anhang = Die Na-Dene-Sprachen im Verhältnis zum Tibeto-Chinesischen.) Bredstedt: Druckerei Lempfert.
# Ruhlen M. 1998. "The Origin of the Na-Dene". "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America." 95, no. 23: 13994-6.
# Sapir, Edward. 1915. The Na-Dene languages: A preliminary report. "American Anthropologist" 17.534 – 558.
# Swanton, John R. 1905. "Haida texts and myths. Skidegate dialect." (Bureau of American Ethnology bulletin 29.) Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution.
# Swanton, John R. 1908. "Haida texts. Masset dialect." (Memoirs of the American Museum of Natural History, vol. 10, part 2.) Leiden: E. J. Brill.

External links

* [http://www.haidalanguage.org/ Haida language]
* [http://www.haidalanguage.org/sounds-of-haida.html Listen to the sounds of Haida]
* [http://www.haidalanguage.org/raven.html Raven, a story in the Haida language]
* [http://www.languagegeek.com/isolate/xaadas.html Haida writing systems]

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