Upper Tanana (also known as Tabesna) is an endangered Athabaskan language spoken in eastern Interior Alaska, mainly in the villages of Northway, Tetlin, and Tok, and adjacent areas of Canada'sYukon Territory. In 2000 there were fewer than 100 speakers, and the language was no longer being actively acquired by children.
Upper Tanana shows near mutual-intelligibility with neighboring Tanacross but differs in several phonological features. In particular, Upper Tanana has low tone as a reflex of Proto-Athabaskan constriction, where Tanacross has high tone. Upper Tanana also has an extra vowel phoneme and has developed diphthongs through loss of final consonants.
Traditionally, four main dialects have been recognized.
The main Upper Tanana speaking communities today are located in the Alaskan communities of Northway and Tetlin and in the Canadian community of Beaver Creek.
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