Slavey language

From Academic Kids

The Slavey (also Slave) (pronounced: ) is an Athabaskan language used among the Slavey Native American people of Canada.

In older literature, the name of the language was spelt Slave; however, the connotations of this, along with the pronunciation of the homograph slave (the final e should be pronounced) have caused the change to Slavey instead.

Their language is considered to be a part of the Athabaskan language group (part of the larger Na-Dené family) and can be written using Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics or the Roman alphabet.

Slavey was the native language spoken by the fictional band in the Canadian television series, North of 60. Nick Sibbeston, a former Premier of the Northwest Territories, was a Slavey language and cultural consultant for the show.

Contents

info from North Slavey language and South Slavey language

North Slavey language is spoken in the Mackenzie District along the middle Mackenzie River from Fort Norman north, around Great Bear Lake, and in the Mackenzie Mountains of the Canadian territory of Northwest Territories.

Statistics: Speakers: 290 (1998 Statistics Canada)

Alternate names: Slavi, Dené, Mackenzian, Slave

Dialects: Hare, Bearlake, Mountain

SIL code: SCS

ISO 639-2: den

South Slavey language or Dene-thah, is spoken in the region of Great Slave Lake, upper Mackenzie River and drainage in Mackenzie District, northeast Alberta, northwest British Columbia.

Statistics: Speakers: 2,620 (1998 Statistics Canada)

Alternate names: Slavi, Slave, Dené, Mackenzian

SIL code: SLA

ISO 639-2: den

Sounds

Template:IPA notice

Consonants

Bearlake

The 35 consonants of Bearlake:

  Bilabial Alveolar Post-alveolar Velar Glottal
central lateral plain labial
Stop unaspirated      
aspirated        
ejective      
Affricate unaspirated        
aspirated        
ejective        
Nasal            
Fricative voiceless  
voiced      
Approximant            

Hare

The 30 (or 31) consonants of Hare:

  Bilabial Labiodental Alveolar Post-alveolar Velar Glottal
central lateral plain labial
Stop unaspirated        
aspirated            
ejective          
Affricate unaspirated          
ejective          
Nasal              
Flap                
Fricative voiceless    
voiced        
Approximant plain            
preglottalized              

For some speakers of Hare, has developed into a separate phoneme.

Mountain

The 33 consonants of Mountain:

  Bilabial Labiodental Alveolar Post-alveolar Velar Glottal
central lateral
Stop unaspirated        
aspirated        
ejective      
Affricate unaspirated        
aspirated        
ejective        
Nasal            
Fricative voiceless  
voiced    
Approximant              

Slavey (proper)

The 34 (or 35) consonants of Slavey (proper):

  Bilabial Labio-velar Interdental Alveolar Post-alveolar Velar Glottal
central lateral
Stop unaspirated          
aspirated            
ejective          
Affricate unaspirated        
aspirated        
ejective        
Nasal              
Fricative voiceless    
voiced      
Approximant              

Phonological processes

The following phonological and phonetic statements apply to all four dialects of Slavey.

  • Unaspirated obstruents are either voiceless or weakly voiced, e.g.
    • → or
  • Aspirated obstruents are strongly aspirated.
  • Ejectives are strongly ejective.
  • When occurring between vowels, ejectives are often voiced, e.g.
    • → or
  • is usually strongly velarized, i.e. .
  • Velars are palatalized before front vowels, e.g.
  • Velar fricatives may be labialized before round vowels.
    • The voiceless fricative is usually labialized, e.g.
    • The voiced fricative is optionally labialized and may additionally be defricated e.g.
      • → or or
  • Velar stops are also labialized before round vowels. These labialized velars are not as heavily rounded as labial velars (which occur in Bearlake and Hare), e.g.
  • Lateral affricates are sometimes velar, i.e.
    • → or
    • → or
    • → or
  • may be velar or glottal, i.e.
    • → or

Vowels

Tone

Slavey has two tones:

  • high
  • low

In Slavey orthography, high tone is marked with an acute accent, and low tone is unmarked.

Tones are both lexical and grammatical.

Lexical: 'along' vs. 'rabbit'

Grammar

Template:Na-lang-stub

Bibliography

  • Mithun, Marianne. (1999). The languages of Native North America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-23228-7 (hbk); ISBN 0-521-29875-X.
  • Rice, Karen. (1989). A grammar of Slave. Mouton grammar library (No. 5). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. ISBN 3-11-010779-1.
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