The Dena'ina alphabet consists of a subset of letters and letter combinations ("blends") from the English alphabet, together with one special character, known as the "barred-l". This is an "L" with a slash through it. Where the barred-l symbol is not available, the backslash \ is sometimes used instead.
Some blended consonants do not occur in the English alphabet. In particular, the apostrophe is often used in combination with another letter (and may occur by itself as a letter). Two "hatted" symbols ŷ and ĥ are used; these may be subsituted with y and hh, repectively. There is no vowel o. The letters f and r are used only in borrowed Russian words. This gives a total of 41 Dena'ina letters or letter combinations.
Although some of the letters and letter combinations in the Dena'ina alphabet are identical to those in the English alphabet, they are not necessarily pronounced in the same way. For example, the Dena'ina letter ch is pronounced very similarly to that in English 'cheese', but the Dena'ina letter h is a very different sound than the English one.
Below are some words that illustrate the sounds in the Dena'ina Alphabet. They are spoken by Helen Dick of Lime Village. Click on the letter to hear an example word.
This page uses Flash media player. You will not be able to listen to the audio unless Flash is installed and enabled in your web browser.
|' (glottal stop)||sh'in||I don't know|
|q||qil||it is no good|
|x||chix||red ochre, ochre paint|
|ŷ||nch'u eshch'eŷ||he is not breathing|
These recordings were made in Feb 2005 for the Inland Dena'ina Key Words, edited by James Kari. The original publication, including an audio CD, is available from Dena'inaq' Titaztunt. Recordings were converted into Flash audio format for use on this page by Sadie Williams.
Materials on this site are copyrighted by the original authors, the speakers whose voices are recorded, and the Alaska Native Language Archive. Materials may be used freely for non-commercial, educational purposes as specified in the license agreement. Alaska Native Language Archive materials made available through the Dena'ina Qenaga Digital Archive may be subject to more restrictive conditions of use as specified by the original depositors.
Dena'ina Qenaga website copyright © 2004-2017. Suggestions for future development are welcome. If you have questions or comments about this site, please contact the DATA Project: denaina [dot] qenaga [at] gmail [dot] com