Upper Kuskokwim (Dinakʼi)

Upper Kuskokwim is a Northern Athabaskan language spoken along the upper Kuskokwim River in central Alaska in the USA, in the villages of Telida, Nikolai, Takotna and McGrath. In 2007 there were about 40 native speakers of Upper Kuskokwim, which is also known as Kolchan, Goltsan, McGrath or Mcgrath Ingalik.

Upper Kuskokwim was first documented in the mid 19th century. More extensive documentation was made in the 1960s and 1970s. A practical orthography for Upper Kuskokwim was devised by the linguist Raymond Collins in the 1960s. The language has been official recognized in Alaska since 2014.

The Dinakʼi Language Preservation and Revitalization Project aims to preserve and revitalize the language. Learning materials and a dictionary have been produced, and adults and children are learning the language.

Upper Kuskokwim alphabet and pronunciation

Upper Kuskokwim alphabet and pronunciation

Download an alphabet chart for Upper Kuskokwim (Excel)

Sample text

Yuh di’onh ti łonh kayih hulanh hw dotron’ k’onat’oh łingoldraye eko. Yodigw kayih hulanh di łonh doyonh zido. Ditsi’a di’ił lido łonh hine’edosh ts’ihik’at kwl henh. Yugh’od hits’inh łonh chela ena ey ne’edał edinh hi’ił ne’eyosh ts’ih k’at kwl.


Long ago a raven was flying around where there were houses, he was looking for light. Up on the hill there was a house where the chief stayed. He had his granddaughter who stayed with him, she didn’t want to get married. From all over boys came, but she did not want to marry them.


Sample videos in and about Upper Kuskokwim


Information about the Upper Kuskokwim language and culture

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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