Tlingit

In the Yukon, the Tlingit language is spoken primarily in the communities of Carcross and Teslin. Tlingit is spoken as well by the native people living in the Atlin, B.C. area, and by large numbers of Alaskan natives who live in coastal settlements stretching along the Alaskan panhandle from Yakutat to Ketchikan. In spite of the geographic range of the language there is relatively little dialect diversity and all speakers can understand each other.

Fluent Yukon Tlingit speakers are generally aged 65 and older, although many Tlingit who are in the 50-65 age range do understand a certain amount of the language. No Yukon children are learning Tlingit as a first language.

Tlingit is distantly related to Eyak, an extinct language from the Alaskan coast, and to the Athapaskan family. Tlingit began spreading into the interior perhaps two to three centuries ago. The coastal Tlingit people controlled trade between Europeans and Athapaskans. Trade relationships were reinforced by marriage and the coastal language and culture spread into the interior. The clan system is strongest in those areas closest to the Tlingit. Many southwestern Yukon Athapaskan people are related to Tlingit people. Some Southern Tutchone Elders also speak Tlingit.

School Programs

Elementary school programs in the Tlingit language are available in Carcross and Teslin. The Teslin program has run for more than twenty-five years. See current Tlingit Language teachers.

Materials

Around twenty publications in and on Tlingit are currently available from the Yukon Native Language Centre. These include Language Lesson Booklets and Tapes (versions by Emma Sam, Teslin, by Lucy Wren, Carcross, and by Margaret Bob, Teslin), multimedia Computer Books and corresponding Print Story Books for both Teslin and Carcross school programs, and several reports on literacy workshops. There are three publications by Angela Sidney, one on place names, one on stories, and one on genealogy. The Alaskan linguist Dr. Jeff Leer has played an important role in the development of YNLC Tlingit publications. He has instructed many literacy sessions in the Yukon. The results of an extensive project with Elizabeth Nyman of Atlin produced Gágiwduł.àt: Brought Forth to Reconfirm: The Legacy of a Taku River Tlingit Clan, an impressive work on the history and geography of the Taku River Tlingit. In the summer of 2001, the Interior Tlingit Noun Dictionary, a joint project between Dr. Leer and Centre staff Doug Hitch and John Ritter, was released. This website now contains significant Tlingit audio material in the form of story books and language lessons.

Learning Resources

About These Resources

This page provides links to digital copies of language lessons, literacy session booklets, and story books that have been prepared over the past thirty years by the Yukon Native Language Centre and Tlingit Elders and community members, including from Carcross‐Tagish First Nation and Teslin Tlingit Council in the Yukon. The work of all contributors to these materials is gratefully acknowledged here.

Recognizing the importance for Yukon First Nations governments, Elders, advocates, learners, and teachers of Tlingit to have access to language resources, the Council of Yukon First Nations' Yukon Native Language Centre and Yukon Education's First Nations Programs and Partnerships Unit have worked together to provide the language materials below with assistance from Christopher Cox. While these digital resources are still in early draft form, and are being made available here for non-commercial, information purposes only, it is hoped that they will provide additional support for all those interested in studying, learning, and teaching the Tlingit language. To order printed copies of any of these resources from YNLC, please consult the current catalogue of publications.

For detailed instructions on how to search, view, download, and print these materials, please see the language learning resources guide.

Search all print resources

Tlingit Language Lessons

  1. Bob, Margaret and Yukon Native Language Centre. 1997. Tlingit Language Lessons: Teslin Dialect. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  2. Sam, Emma and Yukon Native Language Centre. 1994. Tlingit Language Lessons: Teslin Dialect. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  3. Wren, Lucy and Yukon Native Language Centre. 1994. Tlingit Language Lessons: Carcross Dialect. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.

Tlingit Literacy Sessions and In‐Services

  1. Yukon Native Languages Project. 1984. Tlingit Literacy Workshop. January 23–25, 1984. Yukon Native Languages Project. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Languages Project.
  2. Yukon Native Language Centre. 1985. Tlingit Literacy Workshop. May 6‐8, 1985. Yukon Native Language Centre. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  3. Yukon Native Language Centre. 1986. Tlingit Literacy Session. Whitehorse, Yukon, November 26, 27, 28, 1986. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  4. Yukon Native Language Centre. 1993. Tlingit Literacy Session. Yukon Native Language Centre, Whitehorse, Yukon, October 13–15, 1993. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  5. Yukon Native Language Centre. 1996. Tlingit Literacy Session. Whitehorse, Yukon, February 6–8, 1996. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  6. Yukon Native Language Centre. 1996. Tlingit Literacy Session. Whitehorse, Yukon, October 30–November 1, 1996. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  7. Yukon Native Language Centre. 2000. Tlingit Literacy Session. Whitehorse, Yukon, November 8–10, 1999, February 14 and 18, 2000. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  8. Yukon Native Language Centre. 2001. Tlingit Literacy Session. Whitehorse, Yukon, November 15–17, 2000, February 14–16, 2001. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  9. Yukon Native Language Centre. 2002. Tlingit Literacy Session. Whitehorse, Yukon, February 25–27, 2002. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  10. Yukon Native Language Centre. 2003. Tlingit Literacy Session. Yukon Native Language Centre, Whitehorse, Yukon, March 5–7, 2003. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  11. Yukon Native Language Centre. 2004. Tlingit Literacy Session. Yukon Native Language Centre, Whitehorse, Yukon, October 13–15, 2004. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  12. Yukon Native Language Centre. 2005. Tlingit Literacy Session. Yukon Native Language Centre, Whitehorse, Yukon, November 16–18, 2005. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  13. Yukon Native Language Centre. 2007. Topics in Tlingit Verb System and Orthographies. Yukon Native Language Centre, Whitehorse, Yukon, and Dr. Jeff Leer, Alaska Native Language Center. Based on the Tlingit Literacy Session, September 11–13, 2006, YNLC. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  14. Yukon Native Language Centre. 2008. Tlingit Literacy Session. Yukon Native Language Centre, Whitehorse, Yukon, February 19–21, 2008. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  15. Yukon Native Language Centre. 2009. Tlingit Literacy Session. Yukon Native Language Centre, Whitehorse, Yukon, February 16–18, 2009. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  16. Yukon Native Language Centre. 2009. Tlingit Literacy Session. Yukon Native Language Centre, Whitehorse, Yukon, September 9–11, 2009. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  17. Yukon Native Language Centre. 2010. Tlingit Literacy Session. Yukon Native Language Centre, Whitehorse, Yukon, March 1–3, 2010. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  18. Yukon Native Language Centre. 2010. Tlingit Literacy In-Service. Yukon Native Language Centre, Whitehorse, Yukon, November 16–17, 2010. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  19. Yukon Native Language Centre. 2011. Tlingit Literacy Session. Yukon Native Language Centre, Whitehorse, Yukon, February 15–16, 2011. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  20. Yukon Native Language Centre. 2011. Tlingit Literacy Session. Yukon Native Language Centre, Whitehorse, Yukon, November 15–16, 2011. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  21. Yukon Native Language Centre. 2012. Tlingit Literacy Session. Yukon Native Language Centre, Whitehorse, Yukon, September 27–28, 2012. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  22. Yukon Native Language Centre. 2013. Tlingit Literacy Session. Yukon Native Language Centre, Whitehorse, Yukon, November 13–15, 2013. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  23. Yukon Native Language Centre. 2014. Tlingit Literacy Session. Yukon Native Language Centre, Whitehorse, Yukon, October 6–8, 2014. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  24. Yukon Native Language Centre. 2015. Tlingit Literacy Session. Yukon Native Language Centre, Whitehorse, Yukon, October 6–7, 2015. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.

Tlingit Story Books

  1. Sam, Emma and Yukon Native Language Centre. n.d. Dzískʼw Ałʼûn (The Moose Hunt). Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  2. Smith, Liz, Margaret Bob, and Yukon Native Language Centre. 1996. Khâ Dzískʼw Ałʼûn. The Man is Hunting Moose. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  3. Wren, Lucy and Yukon Native Language Centre. 1996. Dzískʼu-káxh Esxʼìdé Yùgùt. The Moose Hunt. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  4. Wren, Lucy and Yukon Native Language Centre. 1997. Xhât  Dusxùgi Yé. Where They Dry Fish. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  5. Smith, Liz, Margaret Bob, and Yukon Native Language Centre. 2001. Nèł Yì. At Home. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  6. Smith, Liz, Margaret Bob, Emma Sam, Bessie Cooley, and Yukon Native Language Centre. 2008. Gughaxhìyí. Camping. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  7. Smith, Liz, Margaret Bob, and Yukon Native Language Centre. 2008. Xhât  Dusxùgí Yé. Where They Dry Fish. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  8. Wren, Lucy and Yukon Native Language Centre. 2008. Gughaxhî. Camping. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  9. Wren, Lucy and Yukon Native Language Centre. 2008. Nèł Yì. At Home. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.

Other Tlingit Resources

  1. Leer, Jeff and Yukon Native Language Centre. 1997. Tlingit Listening Exercises and Drills. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.

Related Language Links

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