American Indian languages
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Apache Indian Language (Ndee, Nde, Tinde, Dine'e)
Language: Apache is an Athabaskan (Na-Dene) language of the American Southwest, particularly
Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. Actually, there are at least two distinct Apache languages:
Western Apache and
The two are closely related, like French and Spanish, but speakers of one language cannot understand the other well--in fact,
Western Apache is closer to Navajo than to Eastern Apache.
Chiricahua-Mescalero is considered by some people to be a dialect of Western Apache, by others a separate language; the three
forms of Eastern Apache (Jicarilla, Lipan, and Plains Apache) are considered by some to be distinct languages and by others to be dialects of a
single Eastern Apache language. All the Apache varieties are
tone languages with complex
polysynthetic verbs and
word order. In total there are about 15,000 speakers of Apachean languages in the American Southwest today.
Thanks for your interest in indigenous American languages!
Names: The name Apache comes from a Zuni word meaning "our enemies"; their own names for
themselves are Ndee, Inday, and Dine'é, which mean "the people" in
their languages. Today most Apache people also use the name "Apache," which is frequently spelled Abachi or Abaachi
in their own orthographies.
Spelling variants on these names include Apachi, Nde, Dine', Dine'e, Tineh,
Tinde, Chinde, Inde, Indé, Indee, and Nnee.
People: There are many different Apache bands and subgroups. Although they all consider themselves kinfolk,
each group is politically distinct, they do not all speak the same language, and customs and beliefs can be different from
band to band. Important Apache groups include
the Western Apache (also known as Aravaipa or Coyotero Apache),
the Chiricahua Apache (also known as Chishi, Aiaho, or Chiricagua),
the Mescalero Apache (also known as the Faraones,)
the Lipan Apache (also known as Pelones, Lapana, Lipanes, Ipande, or Lipiani),
the Jicarilla Apache (also known as Ollero, Hoyero, or Hikariya),
and the Plains Apache (also known as Na'isha, Llanero, or Semat).
There were also some historic
Apache groups which do not exist as distinct entities today, such as the
Teyas, and the
The names of some specific Apache bands include the White Mountain Apache,
the San Carlos Apache, the Tonto Apache,
the Cibecue Apache, and the Pinal Coyoteros (all Western Apache bands);
the Janero or Ndendai Apache,
the Bidanku, Bedonkohe, or Bronco Apache, and
the Cochise Apache (all Chiricahua bands);
the Natage and Norteño or Aguas Nuevas Apache (Mescalero bands);
Mimbreño or Warm Springs Apache (today known as Fort Sill Apache).
Apache language samples and resources.
Apache Nation Culture and History
Information and links about the Apache tribe past and present.
Apache Indians Facts Sheet
Our answers to common questions about the Apaches.
Introduction to Apache mythology.
Our Apache Language Materials
List of vocabulary words in the Jicarilla and Western Apache languages, with comparison to words in other Athabaskan languages.
Apache Pronunciation Guide:
How to pronounce Apache words.
Apache Picture Dictionary:
Illustrated glossary of animal words in Western Apache.
Apache Body Parts:
Online and printable worksheets of parts of the body in the Apache language.
Photo worksheet showing color words in the Apache Indian language.
How to count in the Apache language.
Apache Dictionaries, Audio Tapes and Language Resources
Western Apache-English Dictionary:
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Western Apache dictionary for sale online.
Dictionary of Jicarilla Apache:
Very thorough dictionary of Eastern Apache for sale.
Jicarilla Apache Course:
Jicarilla Apache language learning lessons.
Wisdom Sits In Places Western Apache Language and Culture:
Interesting books about the language, culture, and worldview of the Apache Native Americans.
Putting a Song on Top of It: Expression and Identity on the San Carlos Apache Reservation:
Good book about language and music use among the San Carlos Apaches.
A Practical Grammar of the San Carlos Apache Language:
Western Apache grammar text.
Native American Language Dictionaries:
Apache and other American Indian dictionaries and language materials for sale.
Apache Language Lessons and Linguistic Descriptions
Orthography, pronunciation guide, and texts.
Apache Alphabet and Pronunciation:
Phonological inventory of Apache, with a sample text.
Southern Athabaskan Languages:
Comparative phonology of the Navajo and Apache Indian languages, including tones.
Western Apache Orthography and Phonology Western Apache Grammar:
Scanned-in Apache Indian language materials from the Rosetta Project.
Hello Oklahoma: Apache Tribe:
Learn a Plains Apache language greeting, alphabet, and text.
Three Songs of the Lipan Apaches:
Traditional Apache blessing chants in Lipan Apache with English translation.
Apache Glossaries and Sound Files
English to Apache Speaking Dictionary:
Online Western Apache dictionary with audio clips recorded by White Mountain Apache students.
Native America Calling: Jicarilla Apache Tribe:
Listen to audio files of spoken Jicarilla Apache words and phrases.
Curtis Library: Language of the Apache Indians:
Vocabulary lists from Western and Eastern Apache.
Literature and Texts in the Apache Language
Chiricahua and Mescalero Apache Texts:
Collection of Apache Indian stories, songs and prayers, with translation and linguistic analysis.
Leader of the Birds:
Glossed story from the San Carlos Apache tribe.
Language Museum: Apache:
Bible passage in the Apache Indian language.
Coyote Apache Prayers:
Coyotero Apache translation of the Lord's Prayer and Hail Mary.
Apache Language Preservation and Usage
Language Issues Facing the White Mountain Apaches:
Language preservation in the White Mountain Apache tribe.
Western Apache Chiricahua Apache Mescalero Apache Jicarilla Apache:
Information about Apache language usage from the House of Languages.
Western Apache Jicarilla Apache Lipan Apache Kiowa Apache Mescalero-Chiricahua:
Apache demographic information from the Ethnologue of Languages.
Western Apache Language Tree Jicarilla Language Tree Lipan Language Tree Kiowa Apache Language Tree:
Mescalero-Chiricahau Language Tree:
Theories about Apache's language relationships compiled by Linguist List.
Chiricahua Apache Language Structures Western Apache Language Structures Jicarilla Apache Language Structures:
Apache linguistic profiles and academic bibliographies.
Apache Proper Names
Life Among the Apaches: Language:
Passage from an 1862 book including many historical Apache Indian names.
List of names used by 19th-century Apache men and women.
Western Apache Place Names Projects Fort Apache Journal: What's In A Name?:
Discussion of Apache Indian placenames on the White Mountain Apache reservation.
Native American Names for Pets:
Fundraiser offering names for dogs and horses in Apache and other Native American languages.
Links, References, and Additional Information
Britannica: Apachean Languages Wikipedia: Mescalero-Chiricahua Language Jicarilla Language:
Western Apache Language:
Encyclopedia articles on Apache Indian languages.
Lenguas Apaches Idioma Apache Apache Coyotero Idioma Jicarilla:
Information about the Apache language in Spanish.
Comanche, Kiowa, and Apache:
Bibliographies for three Indian languages of Oklahoma.
Apache Language Apache Apaches The Apache Indians:
Apache Indian books.
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