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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 Eastern Apache. 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 SOV word order. In total there are about 15,000 speakers of Apachean languages in the Southwestern region today. Although there are many fluent speakers in Apache communities, the languages are still considered endangered because most Apache children are not learning the language at home. Some Apache tribes are working to solve this problem by using immersion classes or elder partnerships to teach the children their ancestral language again.

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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 Querechos, the Teyas, and the Vaqueros. 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); and the Mimbreño or Warm Springs Apache (now known as Fort Sill Apache).

Apache Language
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.

Apache Legends
Introduction to Apache mythology.

Apache Language Resources

Our Apache Language Materials

Apache Vocabulary:
    List of vocabulary words in the Jicarilla and Western Apache languages, compared 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.
Apache Colors:
    Photo worksheet showing color words in the Apache Indian language.
Apache Numbers:
    How to count in the Apache language.

Apache Dictionaries and Language Books for Sale
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Jicarilla Apache Course:
    Jicarilla Apache language learning lessons.
Western Apache-English Dictionary:
    Western Apache dictionary for sale online.
Dictionary of Jicarilla Apache:
    Very thorough dictionary of Eastern Apache for sale.
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 Dictionaries:
    Apache and other American Indian dictionaries and language materials for sale.

Apache Language Lessons and Linguistic Descriptions

Apache Territories and Reservations * Map of Apache Lands:
    Maps showing the locations where the different Apache languages/dialects have been spoken.
The Lipan Apache Language
    Lipan language learning resources maintained by a tribal linguist.
Apache Alphabet and Pronunciation:
    Phonological inventory of Apache, with a pronunciation video.
Jicarilla Language Lesson: * Western Apache Animals:
    More Apache language learning videos.
Western Apache Orthography and Phonology * Apache Alphabet * Western Apache Alphabet
    Western Apache Grammar: * Apache Pronunciation: * White Mountain Apache:
    Digitized Apache Indian language materials from the Rosetta Project.
Hello Oklahoma: Plains Apache Tribe: * Hello Oklahoma: Chiricahua:
    Learn Oklahoma Apache language greetings, alphabet, and text.
Southern Athabaskan Languages:
    Comparative phonology of the Navajo and Apache Indian languages, including tones.
How similar are Dene languages?:
    Research paper analyzing the relationships among the languages of the Athabaskan family.
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 Language Structures:
    Apache linguistic profiles and academic bibliographies.

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.
Three Songs of the Lipan Apaches:
    Traditional Apache blessing chants in the Lipan Apache language of South Texas, with English translation.
Leader of the Birds:
    Glossed story from the San Carlos Apache tribe.
Language Museum: Apache: * Coyote Apache Prayers: * San Carlos Apache Hymns: * Apache New Testament:
    Bible passages and Christian prayers translated into the Apache Indian language.
Jicarilla Apache Words of Life: * White Mountain Apache: * Mescalero Apache: * Tonto Apache:
    Audio recordings of evangelical messages in Apache languages.

Apache Language Preservation and Usage

White Mountain Apache Language: Issues in Language Shift:
    Linguistics paper on Apache language loss over time and community efforts to reverse it.
Ndé Bizaa':
    Mescalero Apache language immersion school for children and community classes for adults.
Saving the Jicarilla Language * Preserving the Apache Language * Mescalero Apaches work to save language:
    News articles about Apache efforts to keep their language alive.
Western Apache * Chiricahua Apache * Mescalero Apache * Jicarilla Apache:
    Information about Apache language usage from the House of Languages.

Apache Proper Names

Life Among the Apaches: Language:
    Passage from an 1862 book including many historical Apache Indian names.
Apache 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.
Pet Name Translator:
    Fundraiser offering names for dogs and horses in Apache and other Native American languages.

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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:
  Bibliography for three Indian languages of Oklahoma.
  Apache Language Resources:
  Bibliography of Apache language learning materials.
  Apache Language * Apache * NaDene: Apache * Apaches * Apache Resources:
  Apache links.

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