Reading, Writing and Speaking the Tlingit Language

Listen to a two-disc study set of audio recordings containing Tlingit language lessons
and Tlingit Lullabies

created at the Dog Point Fish Camp by
Robbie Littlefied, Native American Indian Values Enrichment, Inc.
(NATIVE, Inc.), Sitka, Alaska.

Tsu Héidei Shugaxtootaan words:
Tsu héidei shugaxtootaan, yá yaa koosge daakeit,
haa jeex' anak has kawdik'eet'.

"We will again open this container of wisdom that has been left in our care."


This recording will help children and their parents bridge the communication gap between them and our remaining fluent Elders. All families, communities and regions have distinctive ways of talking (accents), but all still speak the same language: Lingít. There are a variety of accents from different families and villages, but just as in English, no matter how different a speech style is, it is still considered to be the same language. Fluent speakers from Yakutat to Saxman to Teslin in Canada can easily understand each other.There are more than 50 letters or symbols used to write the Lingít language. Some letters look and sound the same as in English, but nearly half of the sounds in Lingít are not used in English. English-looking letters are used to write the non-English sounds so learning to read and write Lingít can be very confusing for a non-speaker and very easy for a fluent speaker. The alphabet rules are simple: Every sound in Lingít has its own symbol and every symbol has only one sound. It's a phonetic alphabet. No matter what village you are from, you can write the way your Elders speak with this alphabet, and sound like a fluent speaker when you read.

Download the Real Player if you don't have it, then click on the desired link below.
Duration of audio clips are listed after titles.
Volume 1: Lingít Yoox'atángi
(Tlingit Language Lessons)

This orthography (or alphabet) was first developed by Constance Naish and Gillian Story, linguists from Wycliffe College. It was adapted in 1974 by Lingit language students at Sheldon Jackson College. Almost half of the sounds in the Lingít language are not used in english. Even so, we use the english alphabet to write these sounds. This is why many of the letters are not pronounced the same as they are in english. Just remember: It is a phonetic writing system. Every letter symbol has one sound and every sound has its own letter.
1. Introduction (5:58)

2. Lesson One - Alphabet, English & Tlingit Examples (28:20)

3. Lesson Two
- Commands (6:12) (*Click here to view written Tlingit and english translations from CD booklet)

4. Lesson Three
- Numbers (6:05)

5. Lesson Four
- Vocabulary Words in Sentences (12:41)

6. Lesson Five
- Colors (3:17)
Volume 2: Lingít Dléigoox'
(Tlingit Lullabies)
Most songs in the Tlingit culture are restricted from general public use because of clan ownership. The songs included in this recording are what western culture might call "public domain", either released by a clan for general use or simply not owned, like children's songs, lullabyes, or folk songs.

1. Introduction (0:26)

2. Tsu Héidei Shugaxtutaan

3. Aantayéili

4. The Hook Song
(2:14) (Click here to view written Tlingit and english translations)

5. Shaax' Saani

6. Haagu S'e

7. Aadoo Seek' Sawe?

8. Aayatx'i

9. Keex'k'i Kaadei

10. Haandei Ax Chooneitk'i

11. Ch' al Uxaa Shaatk'i

12. K' isaani yax

13. Ax Yee Gaa

14. Tsu Yei kasneex'i

15. Haat Yee Aadei

16. Asaasgi S'ei

17. Twinkle (0:29)

18. Are You Sleeping?

19. 1,2,3

20. 10 Little Indians

21. The Pledge of Allegiance

22. Acknowledgements

Produced at Dog Point Fish Camp
with a grant from the
Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative with
Elders at Culture Camp
Copyright 1998
Click here to listen to George Bennett in Tlingit Ways (18:11)
on KNBA's Stories of Our People on Alaskool!

The Tlingit Language and Tlingit Lullabies CD set are posted courtesy of Robbie Littlefied, NATIVE, Inc. organization for educational purposes only.

*Web site Edition:
Please note the CD set contains a supplemental booklet which provides Tlingit and English translations for lessons in both volumes. A sample of what is contained in the booklet is provided, but the entire booklet is not included in the web site edition. To obtain the complete booklet, purchase the CD set from the address below.

To purchase CD set, please write or contact:
Roby Littlefield
North American Traditional Indian Values Enrichment, Inc.
P.O. Box 2212
Sitka, Alaska 99835

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