Slavey, South


A language of Canada

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

530 (2011 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.


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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