Dene

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A language of Canada

Alternate Names
“Chipewyan” (pej.), Dëne Súline
Population

11,900 (2011 census).

Location

Northern Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, southeastern Northwest Territories (Snowdrift and Fort Resolution), Fort Smith, Fort Chipewyan, Wolliston Post, Buffalo Narrows, Brochet, and some communities in Reindeer Lake.

Language Status

6b (Threatened). Recognized language (1988, NWT Official Languages Act, Chapter 56 (Supplemented), Section 4), restricted official use.

Dialects

Yellowknife.

Language Use

Very few readers of Dëne. In La Loche some children still learn Dëne. Proportion of speakers much higher in some remote areas where some children are more fluent in Dëne than English [eng]. Also use English [eng].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: 1%–5%. Literacy rate in L2: 25%–50%. Dictionary. Grammar. NT: 1881.
Writing

Latin script [Latn]. Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics script [Cans], no longer in use.

Other Comments

Ethnonym: Chipewyan was an enemy’s term for them; Dëne, the people, in several Athapaskan languages.