I recently went on vacation to the Queen Charlotte Islands (xàaydlaa gwaayaay
), the traditional land of the Haida. Here's a tiny bit I learnt about their language, which in Haida is called xaat kíl
- There are two major dialects: Skidegate and Masset
- For the most part, the only dialectal differences are in vocabulary; grammar is the same throughout the archipelago.
- There are three different forms of writing, explained here
- The above site also features some basic phrases
- A double l ('ll') is a vowel, which used to be written as 'ii'.
- When a syllable is to be stressed or legnthened, it is underlined.
- It is part of the Na-Dené language family, which also includes Tlingit, as well as the Athapaskan languages in the south.
That there are multiple Roman-based writing systems makes it rather confusing. My copy of Skidegate and Myths and Histories
uses the period and the number 7 as letters; there is also no capitalisation whatsoever, which makes it confusing for me to read. Here's a page of the book
The Haida also have their own calendar; if you're interested, check out haida_date
. There is also one in Tlingit, tlingit_date
; for information on Tlingit, see:http://www.tlingitlanguage.org/http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tlingit_languagehttp://www.alaskool.org/language/indexing/tlingindex.htm
The same organisation in charge of Haidalangauge.org and Tlingitlanguage.org also has one on Tsimshian:http://www.tsimshianlanguage.org/
If you're not sure where these languages are from, here's a map:
(Let me know to lj-cut if necessary)
A more BC-focused map is available here