Slavey, North


A language of Canada

Alternate Names
Dene, Dené, Esclave du Nord, Mackenzian, “Slave” (pej.), “Slavi” (pej.)
Satúotine Yatí

770 (2016 census). Bearlake dialect: 580; Hare dialect: 145; Mountain dialect: 100 (Golla 2007). Ethnic population: 1,950 (Golla 2007). Bearlake dialect: 1,070. Hare dialect: 710. Mountain dialect: 170 (Golla 2007).


Northwest Territories: Mackenzie district, middle Mackenzie River from Fort Norman north, around Great Bear Lake; Colville Lake, Deline, Fort Good Hope, Norman Wells, and Tulita in Mackenzie Mountains; Yellowknife.

Language Maps
Language Status

6b (Threatened). Statutory language of provincial identity in NWT (1988, NWT Official Languages Act, Chapter 56 (Supplemented), Section 4). Language of recognized indigenous peoples: Behdzi Ahda’, Deline, Fort Good Hope, Nahanni Butte, Ross River, Tulita Dene, Yellowknives Dene.


Hare, Bearlake, Mountain Slavey. North and South Slavey [xsl] form a chain of related varieties. A member of macrolanguage Slave [den].

Language Use

Deline still has strong language use including young people. Decreasing use in other communities. Over half actively use it in the home. Some young people, all adults.

Language Development

Dictionary. Grammar.


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

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