Gwich’in language

Gwich’in language

Infobox Language
states=Canada, United States
region=Northwest Territories, Yukon Territory, Alaska
speakers=770 (1998 Statistics Canada)
iso3= gwi
fam5=Northern Athabaskan
script=Latin (Northern Athabaskan variant)

The Gwich’in language is the Athabaskan language of the Gwich’in indigenous people. In the Northwest Territories and Yukon Territory of Canada, it is used principally in the towns of Inuvik, Aklavik, Fort McPherson, Old Crow, and Tsiigehtchic (formerly Arctic Red River). There are about 430 Gwich’in speakers in Canada out of a total Gwich'in population of 1,900.

In Alaska, Gwich’in is spoken in Beaver, Circle, Fort Yukon, Chalkyitsik, Birch Creek, Arctic Village, Eagle, and Venetie, Alaska. About 300 out of a total Alaska Gwich’in population of 1,100 speak the language.

It is an official language of the Northwest Territories.

The glottal stop in the name "Gwich’in" is usually written with symbol U+2019 RIGHT SINGLE QUOTATION MARK, though the correct character for this use (with expected glyph and typographic properties) is U+02BC MODIFIER LETTER APOSTROPHE.


Gwich'in is a member of the Canadian sub-group of the Athabaskan languages, of the Na-Dene family of languages. It shares the Han-Kutchin subgroup with the Han language.


There are several dialects of Gwich'in, including Fort Yukon Gwich'in, Arctic Village Gwich'in, Western Canada Gwich'in (Takudh, Tukudh, Loucheux), and Arctic Red River.



The consonants of Gwich'in in the standard orthography are listed below (with IPA notation in brackets):


:* "short":** a IPA| [a] :**e IPA| [e] :**i IPA| [i] :**o IPA| [o] :**u IPA| [u] :* "long":**aa IPA| [aː] :**ee IPA| [eː] :**ii IPA| [iː] :**oo IPA| [oː] :**uu IPA| [uː] :* nasal vowels are marked by an ogonek accent, e.g., ą:* low tone is optionally marked with a grave accent, e.g., à:* high tone is never marked

Further reading

* Firth, William G., et al. "Gwìndòo Nành' Kak Geenjit Gwich'in Ginjik = More Gwich'in Words About the Land". Inuvik, N.W.T.: Gwich'in Renewable Resource Board, 2001.
* Gwich'in Renewable Resource Board. "Nành' kak geenjit gwich'in ginjik = Gwich'in words about the land". Inuvik, NT, Canada: Gwich'in Renewable Resource Board, 1997.
* McDonald. "A Grammar of the Tukudh Language". Yellowknife, N.W.T.: Curriculum Division, Dept. of Education, Government of the Northwest Territories, 1972.
* Montgomery, Jane. "Gwich'in Language Lessons Old Crow Dialect". Whitehorse: Yukon Native Language Centre, 1994.
* Northwest Territories. "Gwich'in Legal Terminology". [Yellowknife, N.W.T.] : Dept. of Justice, Govt. of the Northwest Territories, 1993.
* Norwegian-Sawyer, Terry. "Gwich'in Language Lessons Gwichyàh Gwich'in Dialect (Tsiigèhchik--Arctic Red River)". Whitehorse: Yukon Native Language Centre, 1994.
* Peter, Katherine, and Mary L. Pope. "Dinjii Zhuu Gwandak = Gwich'in Stories". [Anchorage] : Alaska State-Operated Schools, Bilingual Programs, 1974.
* Peter, Katherine. "A book of Gwich'in Athabaskan poems". College, Alaska: Alaska Native Language Center, Center for Northern Educational Research, University of Alaska, 1974.
* Yukon Native Language Centre. "Gwich'in listening exercises Teetl'it Gwich'in dialect". Whitehorse: Yukon Native Language Centre, Yukon College, 2003. ISBN 1552421678

External links

* [ Yukon Native Language Centre: Gwich’in]
* [ Alaska Native Language Center: Gwich’in]

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