Ahtna (Atnakenaege’)

Ahtna is a Northern Athabaskan language spoken in the Copper River area of Alaska in the USA. In 2011 there were about 30 speakers of Ahtna, almost all of whom were over 60 years old. The language is also known as Atna, Ahtena, Atnah, Ahtnah, Ah-tena, Ahtnakotana, Ahtna-Khotana, or Ahtna-Kohtaene. Ahtna is the native name of the Copper River.

Efforts are being made to revitalise the language. It is taught in some schools, and there is a project to create a digital archive of the language. In Fairbanks, Alaska there is an Ahtna Language Learners and Speakers (ALLS) Program, which aims to teach the language to people of all ages.

There are four groups of Ahtna dialects: Lower Ahtna (Atnahwt’aene), Central Ahtna or Middle Ahtna (Dan’ehwt’aene), Western Ahtna (Tsaay Hwt’aene), and Upper Ahtna (Tatl’ahwt’aene).

The Ahtna alphabet was developed in the 1970s by Katie John of Mentasta, who also created a pronunciation guide to the Mentasta dialect of Ahtna. The language was also documented by James Kari during the 1970s, and he published a dictionary in 1990.

Ahtna alphabet and pronunciation

Ahtna alphabet and pronunciation

Download an alphabet chart for Ahtna (Excel)

Sample videos in and about Ahtna

Information about Ahtna | Numbers


Information about Ahtna

Na-Dené languages

Ahtna, Apache (Western), Babine-Witsuwit'en, Chilcotin, Chipewyan, Deg Xinag, Dena’ina, Dane-zaa (Beaver), Eyak, Gwich'in, Hän, Hupa, Jicarilla, Kaska, Koyukon, Lipan Apache, Lower Tanana, Mescalero-Chiricahua, Navajo, North Slavey, Sekani, South Slavey, Tahltan, Tanacross, Tłı̨chǫ (Dogrib), Tolowa, Tsuut'ina (Sarcee), Tutchone, Upper Kuskokwim, Upper Tanana

Languages written with the Latin alphabet

Page last modified: 23.04.21


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