Deg Xinag language

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Deg Xinag
Deg Hitʼan
Native toUnited States
RegionAlaska (lower Yukon River, Anvik River, Innoko River)
Ethnicity280 Deg Hitʼan (2007)[1]
Native speakers
2 (2020)[2]
Latin (Northern Athabaskan alphabet)
Official status
Official language in
Language codes
ISO 639-3ing
ELPDeg Xinag

Deg Xinag (Deg Hitʼan) is a Northern Athabaskan language spoken by the Deg Hitʼan peoples of the GASH region. The GASH region consists of the villages of Grayling, Anvik, Shageluk, and Holy Cross along the lower Yukon River in Interior Alaska. The language is severely endangered;[4] out of an ethnic population of approximately 250 people, only 2 people still speak the language.[2]

The language was referred to as Ingalik by Osgood (1936). While this term sometimes still appears in the literature, it is today considered pejorative. The word "Ingalik" is from the Yupʼik Eskimo language: Ingqiliq, meaning "Indian".

Engithidong Xugixudhoy (Their Stories of Long Ago), a collection of traditional folk tales in Deg Xinag by the elder Belle Deacon, was published in 1987 by the Alaska Native Language Center.[5] A literacy manual with accompanying audiotapes was published in 1993.


There are two main dialects: Yukon and Kuskokwim. The Yukon dialect (Yukon Deg Xinag, Yukon Ingalik) is the traditional language of the villages of the Lower Yukon River (Anvik, Shageluk and Holy Cross).[6] As of 2009, there are no longer any speakers living in Anvik and Holy Cross. The other dialect (Kuskokwim Deg Xinag, Kuskokwim Ingalik) is the traditional language of the settlements of Middle Kuskokwim.[7]



Here is the list of consonant sounds in Deg Xinag, including their pronunciation in IPA and their representations in Deg Xinag orthography in brackets:[8]

Consonants in Deg Xinag
Labial Dental Alveolar Post-
Retroflex Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
plain sibilant lateral
plain p ⟨b⟩ ⟨ddh⟩ t ⟨d⟩ ts ⟨dz⟩ ⟨dl⟩ ⟨j⟩ ʈʂ ⟨dr⟩ k ⟨g⟩ q ⟨G⟩ ʔ ⟨ʼ⟩
aspirated ⟨p⟩ tθʰ ⟨tth⟩ ⟨t⟩ tsʰ ⟨ts⟩ tɬʰ ⟨tł⟩ tʃʰ ⟨ch⟩ ʈʂʰ ⟨tr⟩ ⟨k⟩ ⟨q⟩
ejective tθʼ ⟨tthʼ⟩ ⟨tʼ⟩ tsʼ ⟨tsʼ⟩ tɬʼ ⟨tłʼ⟩ tʃʼ ⟨chʼ⟩ ʈʂʼ ⟨trʼ⟩ ⟨kʼ⟩ ⟨qʼ⟩
Fricative voiceless θ ⟨th⟩ s ⟨s⟩ ɬ ⟨ł⟩ ʃ ⟨sh⟩ ʂ ⟨sr⟩ χ ⟨x⟩ h ⟨h⟩
voiced v ⟨v⟩ ð ⟨dh⟩ z ⟨z⟩ ʐ ⟨zr⟩ ʝ ⟨yh⟩ ʁ ⟨gh⟩
Sonorant voiced m ⟨m⟩ n ⟨n⟩ l ⟨l⟩ j ⟨y⟩ ŋ ⟨ng⟩
voiceless ⟨mh⟩ ⟨nh⟩ ŋ̊ ⟨ngh⟩
glottalized ⟨m'⟩ ⟨n'⟩ ⟨y'⟩ ŋˀ ⟨ng'⟩

In final position, consonant sounds /t, tθ, ts, tɬ, ʈʂ, tʃ, k, q/ are voiced as [d, dð, dz, dɮ, ɖʐ, dʒ, ɡ, ɢ].


Vowels in Deg Xinag are [a e ə o ʊ].

Front Central Back
Close ʊ
Close-mid e o
Mid ə
Open a


  • qʼuntʼogh - airplane
  • ggagg - animal
  • ggagg chux - bear (lit. 'big animal')
  • sraqay - children
  • dran - day
  • xikʼugiłʼanh - doctor, nurse
  • łegg - fish
  • łek - dog
  • sileg - my dog
  • vileg - her dog
  • tso tlʼogh iy - mammoth
  • dinaʼ kʼidz - doll (lit. 'little person')
  • xidondiditey - door
  • nganʼ ditʼanh - earthquake
  • sitoʼ - my father
  • vitoʼ - her father
  • yix - house
  • tinh - snow
  • dangan - iron, metal
  • deloy - mountain
  • vanhgiq - Indian ice cream
  • choghlugguy (in Anvik); niq'asrt'ay (in Shageluk) - fox
  • vinixiłyiq - in the morning
  • Ade' ndadz dengit'a - Hello, how are you?
  • giłiq - one
  • teqa - two
  • togg - three
  • denhchʼe - four
  • niłqʼosnal giłiggi viqʼidz iy - eleven[9]


  1. ^ Deg Xinag language at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b The Alaska Native Language Preservation & Advisory Council’s (2020-01-01). "2020 Biennial Report to the Governor and Legislature" (PDF).
  3. ^ Chappell, Bill (21 April 2014). "Alaska OKs Bill Making Native Languages Official". NPR.
  4. ^ "Did you know Deg Xinag is severely endangered?". Endangered Languages. Retrieved 2019-10-18.
  5. ^ Deacon, Belle & James Kari. 1987. Engithidong Xugixudhoy (Their Stories of Long Ago.). Alaska Native Language Archive.[1]
  6. ^ Leonard, Beth R. (2007). Deg Xinag Oral Traditions: Reconnecting Indigenous Language And Education Through Traditional Narratives (Thesis thesis).
  7. ^ Sharon Hargus 2009.Vowel quality and duration in Yukon Deg Xinag, University of Washington
  8. ^ Hargus, Sharon (2009). Vowel quality and duration in Yukon Deg Xinag. University of Washington.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  9. ^ Deg Xinag Ałixi Ni’elyoy / Deg Xinag Learners' Dictionary (2007)

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