Dogrib language

Dogrib language
Tłı̨chǫ Yatıì
Spoken in  Canada
Region  Northwest Territories
Ethnicity Dogrib people
Native speakers 2,640  (2006)[1]
Language family
Official status
Regulated by No official regulation
Language codes
ISO 639-2 dgr
ISO 639-3 dgr

Dogrib, the English translation of the indigenous name Tłı̨chǫ Yatıì (IPA: [tɬʰĩtʃʰõ jatʰîː]), is a Northern Athabaskan language spoken by the First Nations Tłı̨chǫ people of the Canadian territory Northwest Territories. According to Statistics Canada in 2006, there were approximately 2,640 people who spoke Dogrib.[1]

The Dogrib region covers the northern shore of Great Slave Lake, reaching almost up to Great Bear Lake. Rae-Edzo, now known by its Dogrib name, Behchokǫ̀, is the largest community in the Dogrib Region.




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

  Bilabial Alveolar Post-
Palatal Velar Glottal
central lateral plain labialized
Nasal plain   m  /m/   n  /n/            
prenasalized   mb  /ᵐb/   nd  /ⁿd/            
Plosive voiced   b  /b/   d  /d/         g  /ɡ/   gw  /ɡʷ/  
voiceless     t  /t/         k  /k/   kw  /kʷ/    /ʔ/
ejective     t’  /tʼ/         k’  /kʼ/   kw’  /kʷʼ/  
Affricate voiced     dz  /dz/   dl  /dɮ/   j  /dʒ/        
voiceless     ts  /ts/   tl  /tɬ/   ch  /tʃ/        
ejective     ts’  /tsʼ/   tl’  /tɬʼ/   ch’  /tʃʼ/        
Fricative voiced     z  /z/     zh  /ʒ/     gh  /ɣ/    
voiceless     s  /s/   ł  /ɬ/   sh  /ʃ/     x  /x/     h  /h/
Approximant voiced     r  /ɹ/   l  /l/     y  /j/     w  /w/  
voiceless               wh  /ʍ/  


  • short
    • a /a/
    • e /e/
    • ı /i/
    • o /o/
    • ą /ã/
    • ę /ẽ/
    • ı̨ /ĩ/
    • ǫ /õ/
  • long
    • aa /aː/
    • ee /eː/
    • ıı /iː/
    • oo /oː/
    • ąą /ãː/
    • ęę /ẽː/
    • ı̨ı̨ /ĩː/
    • ǫǫ /õː/
  • nasal vowels are marked by an ogonek (called wighǫą - 'its little nose' in Dogrib) e.g., ą
  • low tone is marked with a grave accent (called wets'aà - 'its hat' in Dogrib), e.g., à
  • high tone is never marked


Typologically, Dogrib is an agglutinating, polysynthetic head-marking language, but many of its affixes combine into contractions more like fusional languages. The canonical word order of Dogrib is SOV. Dogrib words are modified primarily by prefixes, which is unusual for an SOV language (suffixes are expected).

In addition to verbs and nouns, there are pronouns, clitics of various functions, demonstratives, numerals, postpositions, adverbs, and conjunctions in Dogrib. The class of adjectives is very small, probably around two dozen words: most descriptive words are verbs rather than adjectives.



  • Tłı̨chǫ got'ı̨ı̨̀ Tłı̨chǫ people
  • tłı̨ dog
  • tłı̨cho horse (literally: 'big dog')
  • łıwe / łıe fish
  • detʼǫ duck
  • eyè egg
  • ejietʼò milk
  • dìga wolf
  • tʼooh poplar
  • deh river
  • elà canoe
  • island
  • kwe rock
  • sìh / shìh mount
  • lake
  • zhah snow
  • chǫ / tsǫ rain
  • ło smoke
  • kǫ̀ house
  • degoo white
  • dezǫ black
  • dekʼo red


[3] In a discussion of the words "Nohtsi Naowo" (pronounced, roughly, note-see na-whoa; meaning “God’s rule” or “God’s authority”), "Nohtsi Wek’e" (note-see wek-ay; meaning “God’s way”) and "Nohtsi K’aowo" (note-see ka-whoa), Shawn Maclellan comments: "George [Tatsiechele] explains it this way, “When someone is arguing with you on a matter that you know is true, and won’t listen to what you have to say, the only thing you can say is Nohtsi K’aowo, God is the boss!”"


See also

Further reading

  • Coleman, Phyllis Young. Dogrib Phonology. Ann Arbor, Michigan, [etc.]: University Microfilms International, 1979.
  • Saxon, Leslie and Mary Siemens. Tłı̨chǫ Yatıì Enįhtł'è = Dogrib Dictionary. Rae-Edzo, N.W.T.: Dogrib Divisional Board of Education, 1996.
  • Saxon, Leslie and Mary Siemens. Tłı̨chǫ Yatıì Multimedia Dictionary [1].

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Dogrib — n. Native American people that live in the region between the Great Bear and Great Slave lakes in the Northwest Territories of Canada; member of this people; Athabaskan language spoken by the Dogrib people n. Athabaskan language spoken by the… …   English contemporary dictionary

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  • Dogrib — noun a) A people native to the Northwest Territories of Canada. b) The Athabaskan language of this people …   Wiktionary

  • Dogrib — ISO 639 3 Code : dgr ISO 639 2/B Code : dgr ISO 639 2/T Code : dgr ISO 639 1 Code : Scope : Individual Language Type : Living …   Names of Languages ISO 639-3

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  • Athabaskan language family — Athabaskan also spelled  Athabascan , or (in Canada)  Athapaskan , or  Athapascan        one of the largest North American Indian language (North American Indian languages) families, consisting of about 38 languages. Speakers of Athabaskan… …   Universalium

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