|370 (2011 census)|
Danezaa (ᑕᓀᖚ Dane-zaa, Dunneza) or Dane-zaa Záágéʔ ("people-regular language"), also known as Tsattine or traditionally as Beaver, is an Athabascan language of western Canada. About half of the Danezaa people speak the language.
Dane-zaa Záágéʔ is closely related to the languages spoken by our neighboring Athabaskan groups, such as Dene Dháh (Alberta Slavey), Sekani, Tsuut'ina (Sarcee), Dene Sųłiné (Chipewyan), and Dene Zā́gé' (Kaska).
The dialects of Dane-z̲aa language are two main group. Dialects that developed high tone from stem-final glottalic consonants are called high-marked and dialects that developed low tone low-marked. From north to south are as follows:
- the High-marked Dane-z̲aa dialects:
- Boyer River (Alberta) dialect is spoken by members of the Beaver First Nation
- Child Lake (Alberta) dialect is spoken by members of the Beaver First Nation
- Prophet River (British Columbia) dialect is spoken by members of the Prophet River First Nation
- Blueberry River (British Columbia) dialect is spoken by members of the Blueberry River First Nation
- Doig River (British Columbia) dialect is spoken by members of the Doig River First Nation
- the Low-marked Dane-z̲aa dialects:
Use and number of speakers
A 1991 estimate gave 300 total speakers out of a population of 600 Danezaa people. As of 2007, Dane-zaa Záágéʔ was spoken "in eastern British Columbia (in the communities of Doig River (Hanás̱ Saahgéʔ), Blueberry, Halfway River, Hudson Hope, and Prophet River) and in northwestern Alberta (in the communities of Horse Lakes, Clear Hills, Boyer River (Rocky Lane), Rock Lane, and Child Lake (Eleske) Reserves)." A 2011 CD by Gary Oker features traditional Beaver language chanting with world beat and country music.
English is now the first language of most Dane-zaa children, and of many adults in the Dane-zaa communities. Dane-zaa Záágéʔ was the primary language until the grandparents and parents started to send their children to school in the 1950s. English only became dominant in the 1980s. Because the language is orally based, Dane-zaa Záágéʔ becomes increasingly endangered as the fluent speakers pass away.
Dunneza has 35 consonants:
Dunneza has 10 phonemic vowels.
Two vowels contrast oral and nasal qualities.
- Danezaa at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
- Julia Colleen Miller 2013. The phonetics of tone in two dialects of Dane-z̲aa (Athabaskan).
- "Ethnologue report for language code: bea". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2012-10-18.
- "Beaver". MultiTree. Retrieved 2012-10-18.
- "Local Aboriginal Artist Performing at CD Release Celebration (Gary Oker)". Aboriginal Business Centre. 2011-03-15. Retrieved 2012-10-18.
- Randoja, Tiina (1990) The Phonology and Morphology of Halfway River Beaver. Unpublished Ph. D. dissertation, University of Ottawa.
- Story, Gillian. (1989). Problems of Phonemic Representation in Beaver. In E.-D. Cook & K. Rice (Eds.), Athapaskan Linguistics: Current Perspectives on a Language Family (pp. 63–98). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
- Bibliography of Materials on the Beaver Language