A language of Canada

Alternate Names
Giklsan, Gitksan, Gitsenimx, Gityskyan, Nass-Gitksan

350 (FPCC 2014). 490 semi-speakers (FPCC 2014). Ethnic population: 7,600 (FPCC 2014). L2 users: No fluent L2 speakers but many are familiar with the writing system and a few have achieved considerable literacy.


West central British Columbia, Gitxsan, middle Skeena river.

Language Maps
Language Status

7 (Shifting).


Gitsken (Western Gitsken), Gitxsan (Eastern Gitxsan). High comprehension of Nisga’a [ncg].


VSO; prepositions; genitives after noun heads; articles, adjectives, numerals before noun heads; relatives without noun heads; question word initial in sentence; 3 or 4 prefixes, 1 inflectional suffix; word order distinguishes subjects, objects, indirect objects, given and new information, topic and comment; verb affixes mark person and number of subject and object unless obscured by phonological rule; pronominal system is fully ergative; morphological passives, but not by construction; direct causatives indicated by suffixes, indirect (jussive) by prefix; CVC; nontonal.

Language Use

Small number of families in which children and young people are fluent speakers. Taught in public schools in some communities and at the University of Northern British Columbia (Golla 2007). Positive attitudes. 1,500 also use Nisga’a [ncg].

Language Development
Dictionary. Grammar. Bible portions: 1906.

Latin script [Latn].

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