Language: Babine-Wet'suwet'en is an Athabascan language spoken by
around 500 people in British Columbia. Babine is related to Carrier
and is commonly referred to as a dialect of Carrier, but monolingual speakers of the two languages cannot understand each other well,
and most linguists regard them as distinct languages. Like most Athabaskan languages, Babine-Wet'suwet'en is an
agglutinative language with
SOV word order.
Babine is also a tone language, but tonality is
not as important a part of the Babine language as it is in some Athabaskan languages.
Thanks for your interest in indigenous American languages!
Names:Babine was the French name for the tribe; it means "lip," referring to the labrets (lip piercings)
traditionally worn by Babine women.
The Babine people are also known as Ned'u'ten, their name in the language of the neighboring Carrier tribe.
The Wet'suwet'en are close relatives of the Babine and speakers of the same language, but the two tribes
have usually been politically independent of one another. Today the Babine-Wet'suwet'en communities are known as the
Lake Babine First Nation,
the Takla Lake First Nation, and the Wet'suwet'en First Nation. Their shared language has also been called North Carrier,
Northern Carrier, or Babine Carrier, because of its linguistic similarity to the Carrier language. Alternate spellings of
these names have included Babeen, Ned'uten, Neduten, Nadot'en, Nadoten, Nat'ooten, Natooten, Wetsuweten, Wetsuwet'en, Wets'uwet'en,
Witsuwit'en, Witsuwiten, Wits'uwit'en, and Wit'suwit'en.