NWT Literacy Council L a n g u a g e s    o f    t h e    L a n d header graphic
black line graphic


North Slavey
North Slavey is the language of the Sahtu region, which includes the traditional communities of Dene text image 1 Data on the North Slavey dialect has only recently been gathered through the Canada Census. The most recent Census listed 255 mother tongue speakers in the NWT. The results of the Census data from 1991 and 1996 are inconclusive with respect to language shift.

The most useful data was gathered as a part of the Language Report (1992), based on interviews with 160 people in Dene text image 2, and Inuvik. According to this report:

  • 63% of the respondents learned North Slavey as a first language, and
  • 54% indicated that North Slavey was their most fluent language and 45% use it most frequently at home.

This report documents an obvious and steady decline in language use over three generations – grandparents to grandchildren.

  • Almost 100% of the 45 year and over age group were fluent in the language.
  • Approximately 50% of the 25 to 44 year old age group were fluent.
  • Only 10% of the respondents under the age of 25 were fluent.

A comprehensive language plan for North Slavey will be developed in the near future.

chart - North Slavey Fluency


black line graphic
Previous Table of Contents Next
black line graphic