Upper Kuskokwim language

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Upper Kuskokwim
Native toUnited States
RegionAlaska (middle Yukon River, Koyukuk River)
Ethnicity160 Upper Kuskokwim (2007)[1]
Native speakers
<5 (2020)[2]
Latin (Northern Athabaskan alphabet)
Official status
Official language in
Language codes
ISO 639-3kuu
ELPUpper Kuskokwim
Lang Status 20-CR.png
Upper Kuskokwim is classified as Critically Endangered by the UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger

The Upper Kuskokwim language (also called Kolchan or Goltsan or Dinak'i) is an Athabaskan language of the Na-Dené language family. It is spoken by the Upper Kuskokwim people in the Upper Kuskokwim River villages of Nikolai, Telida, and McGrath, Alaska. About 40 of a total of 160 Upper Kuskokwim people (Dichinanek’ Hwt’ana) still speak the language.

A practical orthography of the language was established by Raymond Collins, who in 1964 began linguistic work at Nikolai.

Since 1990s, the language has also been documented by a Russian linguist Andrej Kibrik.[4][5]


  • Alaska Native Language Center. Retrieved on 2007-03-14.
  • Collins, Raymond and Sally Jo Collins. 2004. Dichinanek' Hwt'ana: A History of the people of the Upper Kuskokwim who live in Nikolai and Telida, Alaska. (Online: Alaska Native Language Archive item UK964C2004)


  1. ^ Upper Kuskokwim language at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/Portals/4/pub/ANLPAC/ANLPAC%202020%20Report%20to%20the%20Governor%20and%20Legislature.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  3. ^ "Alaska OKs Bill Making Native Languages Official : The Two-Way : NPR".
  4. ^ "Kibrik Papers". Archived from the original on 2013-12-10.
  5. ^ "result.xml | Alaska Native Language Archive". Archived from the original on 2015-04-23.