Upper Tanana (Neeʼaandeegnʼ)

Upper Tanana is a Northern Athabaskan language spoken in parts of eastern Alaska and neighbouring parts of Yukon in Canada. It is spoken mainly in the Northway (Kʼehtthiign), Tetlin (Teełąy), and Tok in Alaska. In 2007 there were about 100 speakers of Upper Tanana, all of whom of over 60 years old. The language is also known as Tabesna or Nabesna, and is closely related to Tanacross.

A way of writing Upper Tanana with the Latin alphabet was developed by Paul G. Milanowski and Alfred John in the 1960s. They also produced a number booklets and dictionaries for use in schools.

In 2014 the State of Alaska recognized Upper Tanana as one of the official languages of the state, along with 19 other native Alaskan languages.

Upper Tanana alphabet and pronunciation

Upper Tanana alphabet and pronunciation


Tones can be indicated as follows: low tone is unmarked, high tone: é, falling tone: ê, rising tone: ě, extra-high tone: ő

Download an alphabet chart for Upper Tanana (Excel)

Sample videos in and about Upper Tanana


Information about the Upper Tanana 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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