Gros Ventre language

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Gros Ventre
Native to United States
Region Montana
Ethnicity Gros Ventre
Extinct 1981[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 ats
Glottolog gros1243[2]

Atsina, or Gros Ventre (also known as Ananin, Ahahnelin, Ahe and A’ani),[3] is the extinct ancestral language of the Gros Ventre people of Montana. The last fluent speaker died in 1981.[1]


Atsina is the name applied by specialists in Algonquian linguistics. Arapaho and Atsina are dialects of a common language usually designated by scholars as "Arapaho-Atsina". Historically, this language had five dialects, and on occasion specialists add a third dialect name to the label, resulting in the designation, "Arapaho-Atsina-Nawathinehena".[1] Compared with Arapaho proper, Gros Ventre had three additional phonemes /tʲ/, /ts/, //, and /bʲ/, and lacked the velar fricative /x/.

Theresa Lamebull taught the language at Fort Belknap College, and helped develop a dictionary using the Phraselator when she was 109.[4]

As of 2012, the White Clay Immersion School at Fort Belknap College was teaching the language to 26 students, up from 11 students in 2006.[3][5]



Bilabial Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosive plain b~p t k ʔ
palatalized bʲ~pʲ
Fricative θ s h
Affricate ts
Nasal n
Approximant w j


Short Long
Close ɪ
Mid ɛ ɛː~æː
Back-mid ɔ~ə ɔː
Back-close ʊ

There are three diphthongs in Gros Ventre; /ei/, /oe/, and /ou/. They are pronounced as: /ej/, /aj/, and /ow/.


  1. ^ a b c Mithun 336
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Gros Ventre". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ a b "Immersion School is Saving a Native American Language". Indian Country Today Media Network. 2012-02-12. Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  4. ^ "The Phraselator II". The American Magazine. Retrieved 2013-05-12. 
  5. ^ Boswell, Evelyn (2008-12-04). "MSU grads preserve a native language, keep tribal philosophies alive". MSU News Service. Retrieved 2012-07-19. 


  • Mithun, Marianne (1999) The Languages of Native North America. Cambridge Language Surveys. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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