Slavey, South


A language of Canada

Alternate Names
Acha’otinne, Dene, Dene Tha’, Denetha, Dené, Esclave du Sud, Mackenzian, “Slave” (pej.), “Slavi” (pej.)
Deh Gáh Ghotie Zhatie

950 (2016 census). Ethnic population: 3,600 (1995 M. Krauss).


Alberta province: Hay River area and Steen River-May Creek watershed; British Columbia province: Fort Nelson-Snake river area; Northwest Territories: Mackenzie district, Great Slave Lake, upper Mackenzie River.

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. Language of recognized indigenous peoples: Acho Dene Koe, Deh Gáh Got’ie Dene, Dene Tha’, Fort Nelson, Jean Marie River, K’atlodeeche, Ka’a’gee Tu, Liidlii Kue, Pehdzeh Ki, Ross River, Sambaa K’e, West Point, Yellowknives Dene.


In North [scs] and South Slavey dialect continuum which includes Hare, Bear Lake, Mountain, South Slavey, northern Alberta Slavey and Fort Nelson Slavey. A member of macrolanguage Slave [den].

Language Use

Older people still use South Slavey in smaller, isolated communities; serious attrition among children and young people. Also use English [eng].

Language Development

Literacy rate in L2: 25%–50%. Dictionary. Grammar. NT: 1891.


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

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