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Alaska Native Animal Words

Here are the original names of six animals native to Alaska. We have given their names in five different Alaska Native languages: Gwich'in,, Inupiaq, Koyukon, Tanana, and Tsimshian.

Three of these Native Alaska languages are related to the Athabaskan language family, and the other two are not. Can you guess which languages are relatives by looking at the Alaska animal names on this page? (Hint: Not every word will sound similar even in closely related languages, so you will need to look at several different animals to figure it out!) You can find the answer on this page: Athabaskan languages.

Alaska Native Animal Names


Gwich'in: zhòh (pronounced zhoh)
Inupiaq: amaguq (pronounced ah-mah-ghook)
Koyukon: tookkone (pronounced toke-koh-nih)
Tanana: tukoni (pronounced too-koh-nee)
Tsimshian: gyibaaw (pronounced gyih-bow)

Gwich'in: vadzaih (pronounced vah-dzye)
Inupiaq: tuttu (pronounced toot-too)
Koyukon: bedzeyh (pronounced buh-dzye)
Tanana: bedzeyh (pronounced buh-dzye)
Tsimshian: wüdzii (pronounced wudd-zee)

Gwich'in: shoh (pronounced shoh)
Inupiaq: iggagriq (pronounced eeg-gah-ghrick)
Koyukon: ses (pronounced suss)
Tanana: sresr (pronounced shrush)
Tsimshian: ol (pronounced ole)

Gwich'in: geh (pronounced geh)
Inupiaq: ukalliq (pronounced oo-kall-lick)
Koyukon: gguh (pronounced guh)
Tanana: gwx (pronounced gukh)
Tsimshian: stukwliin (pronounced stook-leen)

Gwich'in: tadhaa (pronounced tah-dhah)
Inupiaq: tiŋmiaqpak (pronounced ting-mee-yock-pock)
Koyukon: tokk'aade (pronounced toke-ah-duh)
Tanana: tok'adi (pronounced toke-ah-dee)
Tsimshian: xsgyiik (pronounced kh-skyeek)

Gwich'in: deetrù' (pronounced day-troo)
Inupiaq: tulugaq (pronounced too-loo-gock)
Koyukon: dotson' (pronounced doh-tsone)
Tanana: dotron' (pronounced doh-trone)
Tsimshian: qukin (pronounced koo-keen)

Return to our Alaska Native American homepage.