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Ahtna Language (Atna, Copper River Athabascan)

Language: Ahtna is an Athabaskan language of Alaska. Like most Athabaskan languages, Ahtna has highly inflected verbs and an SOV word order; unusually among Athabaskan languages, however, it is not a tone language and does not have nasalized vowels. Only a few dozen Copper River Indian people still speak the Ahtna language fluently today, but some younger people are working to preserve their native language for future generations.

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Names: The official spelling of the tribal name is Ahtna, but other variants are sometimes used as well, such as Atna, Atena, Ahtena, Atnah, Ahtnah, Ah-tena, Ahtnakotana, Ahtna-Khotana, and Ahtna-Kohtaene. All of these names come from Atna', which is the indigenous name for the Copper River (which flows through the tribe's territory.) The Ahtnas are also known by a few external names with similar meanings: the Tlingit name Ikhka Khwan (which means "Copper People,") the Russian name Mednovskiy or Mednovski (which means "copper,") and the English name Copper River Athabaskan. There are four dialects of the Ahtna language, usually known as Lower Copper River, Central Copper River, Western Ahtna, and Upper Ahtna (Mentasta or Chistochina.)

Ahtna Language
Ahtna language samples and resource pages.

Ahtna Culture and History
Information and links about the Ahtna tribe past and present.

Ahtna Indians Fact Sheet
Our answers to common questions about the lifestyle of Ahtna Indian people.

Ahtna Legends
Introduction to Ahtna mythology.

Ahtna Language Resources

Our Online Ahtna Materials

Ahtna Vocabulary:
    List of vocabulary words in the Ahtna language, with comparison to words in other Athabaskan languages.
Ahtna Pronunciation Guide:
    How to pronounce Ahtna words.
Ahtna Animal Words:
    Illustrated glossary of animal words in the Ahtna language.
Ahtna Body Parts:
    Online and printable worksheets showing parts of the body in the Ahtna language.
Ahtna Colors:
    Worksheet showing color words in the Ahtna language.
Ahtna Numbers:
    Worksheet showing how to count in the Ahtna language.
Ahtna Food:
    Worksheet with pictures of food words in the Ahtna language.

Ahtna Dictionaries, Audio Tapes and Language Resources
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Ahtna Athabaskan Dictionary * Ahtna Dictionary:
    English-Ahtna dictionaries for sale.
Beautiful Words: The Complete Ahtna Poems:
    Collection of poetry in the Ahtna language, with translation into English.
Ahtna Place Names Lists:
    Compilation of Alaskan place names from the Ahtna language.
Native American Language Dictionaries:
    Ahtna and other American Indian dictionaries and language materials for sale.

Ahtna Language Lessons and Linguistic Descriptions

Ahtna Language Lessons:
    Audio phrasebook and two children's stories by Chistochina Ahtna elder Lena Charley.
Let's Speak Ahtna:
    Youtube video series by Native Alaskan linguist John Smelcer teaching Ahtna vocabulary.
Athapaskan Languages of Alaska:
    Place names in Ahtna, Tanana, Koyukon, Gwich'in, and Tanaina.
Alaska Native Language Center: Ahtna:
    Brief profile of the Ahtna Indians and their language.
Ahtena Prayers:
    Ahtna translations of the Lord's Prayer, Hail Mary, and several other Christian prayers. With a pronunciation guide.
House of Languages: Atna
     Information about Atna language usage.
Ethnologue: Ahtna:
    Demographic information about the Ahtna language.
Ahtna Language Tree:
    Theories about Ahtna's language relationships compiled by Linguist List.
Ahtna Language Structures:
    Ahtna linguistic profile and academic bibliography.
Native American Words:
    Translation services in Ahtna and other Indian languages.

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Links, References, and Additional Information

  Endangered Languages Project: Ahtna:
  Bibliography of Ahtna language resources.
  Wikipedia: Ahtna:
  Encyclopedia entries on the Ahtna language.
  Lengua Atna:
  Information on the Ahtna language in Spanish. With photographs and a tribal map.
  Information about the Ahtnas and their language in Russian.
  Ahtna Tribe:
  Ahtna Indian books.

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