Slavey, South


A language of Canada

Alternate Names
Dene, Dené, Denetha, Mackenzian, “Slave” (pej.), “Slavi” (pej.)

530 (2011 census). 1,260 in Northwest Territories, 500 in northern British Columbia, 1,500 in Alberta (Golla 2007). Ethnic population: 3,600 (1995 M. Krauss).


Northwest Alberta, Great Slave Lake, upper Mackenzie River and drainage in Mackenzie District; northeast British Columbia in Fort Liard, Fort Providence, Fort Simpson, Fort Smith, Hay River, Hay River Dene (reserve), Jean Marie River, Nahanni Butte, Trout Lake, Wrigley and Yellowknife.

Language Maps
Language Status

7 (Shifting). Statutory language of provincial identity in NWT (1988, NWT Official Languages Act, Chapter 56(Supplemented), Section 4), restricted official use.


In North [scs] and South Slavey dialect continuum which includes Hare, Bear Lake, Mountain, South Slavey, northern Alberta Slavey and Fort Nelson Slavey.

Language Use

Older people still use South Slavey in smaller, isolated communities; serious attrition among children and young people.

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: Below 1%. Literacy rate in L2: 25%–50%. Dictionary. Grammar. NT: 1891.
Latin script. Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics script, no longer in use.