Alutiiq language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Pacific Gulf Yupik
Sugt’stun, Alutiit’stun
Native toUnited States
Regioncoastal Alaska (Alaska Peninsula to Prince William Sound)
Ethnicity3,500 Alutiiq people (2010)
Native speakers
80 (2020)[1]
Early forms
Official status
Official language in
Language codes
ISO 639-3ems
Pacific Gulf Yupik is classified as Critically Endangered by the UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger

The Alutiiq language (also called Sugpiak, Sugpiaq,[3] Sugcestun,[4] Suk,[4] Supik,[3][4] Pacific Gulf Yupik, Gulf Yupik,[4] Koniag-Chugach) is a close relative to the Central Alaskan Yup'ik language spoken in the western and southwestern Alaska, but is considered a distinct language. It has two major dialects:

The ethnonyms of the Sugpiaq-Alutiiq are a predicament.[5] Aleut, Alutiiq, Sugpiaq, Russian, Pacific Eskimo, Unegkuhmiut, and Chugach Eskimo are among the terms that have been used to identify this group of Native people living on the Lower Kenai Peninsula of Alaska.

About 400 of the Alutiiq population of 3,000 still speak the Alutiiq language. Alutiiq communities are currently in the process of revitalizing their language. In 2010 the high school in Kodiak responded to requests from students and agreed to teach the Alutiiq language. The Kodiak dialect of the language was spoken by only about 50 persons, all of them elderly, and the dialect was in danger of being lost entirely.[6] As of 2014, Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage is offering classes using the "Where Are Your Keys?" technique.[7]



Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular
plain lab. plain lab.
Nasal voiceless ŋ̊
voiced m n ŋ
Stop/Affricate p t t͡ʃ k q
Fricative voiceless f s x χ χʷ[a]
voiced ɣ ɣʷ ʁ ʁʷ
lateral ɬ
Approximant l j w[b]
  1. ^ A /χʷ/ sound sometimes occurs, and is either written as ur, or occurs as a sound of a syllable-final rw; /ʁʷ/, and occurs as an allophone of /ʁʷ/ after consonants like /q/.
  2. ^ [w] is an allophone of /ɣʷ/, when at syllable-final and elsewhere.

Consonants may be double and have geminated sounds (e.g. kk; [kː]). More consonants /ɾ~r, lʲ, rʲ/ can only be found in loanwords.


Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid ə
Open a

All vowels except for /ə/, are considered as full vowels, distinguished with vowel length. /ə/ does not lengthen, nor occurs into vowel clusters, but may tend to be devoiced as /ə̥/ next to other consonants.[8]


  • a - [ä]
  • c - [t͡ʃ]
  • e - [ə]
  • f - [f]
  • g - [x]
  • gw - [xʷ]
  • hm - []
  • hn - []
  • hng - [ŋ̊]
  • i - [i]
  • k - [k]
  • kw - [kʷ]
  • l - [l]
  • ll - [ɬ]
  • m - [m]
  • n - [n]
  • ng - [ŋ]
  • p - [p]
  • q - [q]
  • r - [χ]
  • ʀ - [r][9]
  • s - [s]
  • t - [t]
  • u - [u]
  • w - [w]
  • y - [j]

After voiceless consonants, the voiceless nasals are written without h-.

Other letters[edit]

  • aa - [aː]
  • ai - [ai]
  • au - [au]
  • ia - [ia]
  • ii - [iː]
  • iu - [iu]
  • ua - [ua]
  • ui - [ui]
  • uu - [uː][10]

Vocabulary comparison[edit]

The comparison of number terms and month names in the two dialects:

English Koniag Alutiiq[11] Chugach Alutiiq[12]
Nanwalek &
Port Graham
1 allringuq / allriluq allringuq all'inguq
2 mal'uk malruk / mall'uk atel'ek
3 pingayun pinga'an
4 staaman
5 talliman
6 arwilgen arwinlen
7 mallrungin mallruungin maquungwin
8 inglulgen inglulen
9 qulnguyan qulnguan
10 qulen
English Koniag Alutiiq[11] Chugach Alutiiq[12]
January Cuqllirpaaq Iraluq
February Nanicqaaq Iraluq Yaʼalungia'aq
March Kaignasqaq Iraluq Ya'alullraaq
April Uqna'isurt'sqaaq Iraluq Saqulegciq
May Nikllit Iraluat Maniit Ya'allua
June Naut'staat Iraluat Iqallugciq
July . .
August Alaganat Iraluat Uksuam Ya'allua
September Qakiiyat Iraluat Alusastuam Ya'allua
October Kakegllum Iralua .
November Quyawim Iralua Kapkaanam Ya'allua
December Qanim Iralua .
English Koniag Alutiiq[11] Chugach Alutiiq[12]


  1. ^ The Alaska Native Language Preservation & Advisory Council (2020). 2020 Biennial Report to the Governor and Legislature (PDF).
  2. ^ "Alaska OKs Bill Making Native Languages Official".
  3. ^ a b "List of Alutiiq (Sugpiaq) language resources". Archived from the original on 2013-02-17.
  4. ^ a b c d Language in the USA, Cambridge University Press, 1981
  5. ^ Medeia Csoba DeHass, What is in a Name?: The Predicament of Ethnonyms in the Sugpiaq-Alutiiq Region of Alaska Archived 2020-05-18 at the Wayback Machine. Arctic Anthropology. January 2012 49:3-17 (= "Aleut," "Alutiiq," "Sugpiaq," "Russian," "Pacific Eskimo," "Unegkuhmiut," and "Chugach Eskimo" are all different names that have been used to identify the group of Native people living on the Lower Kenai Peninsula of Alaska.)
  6. ^ Kodiak High School Adding Alutiiq Language Class Archived 2021-05-05 at the Wayback Machine, Jacob Resneck KMXT/Alaska Public Radio Network 12-17-2010
  7. ^ Friedman, Sam (2014-02-23). "They're speaking Alutiiq in Anchorage". Washington Times / AP. Retrieved 2014-05-03.
  8. ^ Leer, Jeff (1985). Prosody in Alutiiq. Yupik Eskimo Prosodic Systems: Descriptive and Comparative Studies: Alaska Native Language Center.
  9. ^ Counceller, April G. L.; Leer, Jeff (2012). The Alutiiq orthography: Kodiak dialect (PDF) (second ed.). Kodiak, Alaska: Alutiiq Heritage Foundation. ISBN 978-1-929650-09-5. Archived (PDF) from the original on 11 August 2022.
  10. ^ "Alutiiq language, alphabet, and pronunciation". Omniglot. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  11. ^ a b c "Alutiiq Museum: Alutiiq Word of the Week Archives". Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-07-10.
  12. ^ a b c "John E. Smelcer, Alutiiq Noun Dictionary and Pronunciation Guide, Common Nouns in Prince William Sound and Kenai Peninsula Region Alutiiq (Excluding Kodiak Island)" (PDF).[dead link]

Further reading[edit]

  • Bass, Willard P., Edward A. Tennant, and Carl Anahonak. Test of Oral Language Dominance Sugpiaq Aleut-English. Albuquerque, N.M.: Southwest Research Association, 1973.
  • Counceller, April Gale Laktonen, Jeff Leer, and Nick Alokli. Kodiak Alutiiq Conversational Phrasebook With Audio CD. Kodiak, Alaska: Alutiiq Museum & Archaeological Repository, 2006.ISBN 1-929650-02-7
  • Leer, Jeff, Carl Anahonak, Arthur Moonin, and Derenty Tabios. Nanwalegmiut paluwigmiut-llu nupugnerit = Conversational Alutiiq dictionary : Kenai Peninsula Alutiiq. Fairbanks, AK: Alaska Native Language Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2003.
  • Leer, Jeff, and Nina Zeedar. Classroom Grammar of Koniag Alutiiq, Kodiak Island Dialect. Fairbanks, AK: Alaska Native Language Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 1990.
  • Leer, Jeff, Matrona Christiansen, Doris Lind, Thomas Phillips, Ralph Phillips (1996). A Short Dictionary of Alaska Peninsula Sugtestun & Alaska Peninsula Alutiiq Workbook. Fairbanks, AK: Alaska Native Language Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks. ISBN 1-55500-060-6
  • Pratt Museum (Homer, Alaska). Qulianguat Kiputʹsluki = Bringing the Stories Back : Alutiiq Sugpiaq Remembrances of the Outer Coast of Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. Homer, Alaska: Pratt Museum, 2003.
  • Russell, Priscilla N. English Bay and Port Graham Alutiiq Plantlore. Homer, Alaska: Pratt Museum, Homer Society of Natural History, 1991.
  • Steffian, Amy F., and Florence Pestrikof. Alutiiq Word of the Week. Kodiak, AK: Alutiiq Museum & Archaeological Repository, 1999. ISBN 1-929650-00-0

External links[edit]