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Few people know of the minority Slavey language. Despite the similarity in name, it’s not even remotely related to the Slavic languages of central and eastern Europe—rather, it’s an indigenous language of northern Canada. The Slavey people weren’t necessarily taken as slaves by the European colonists, either—rather, the name is a translation of the Cree word awokanak, as historically, the Cree sometimes raided and enslaved their northern neighbors. But despite the hardships, the Slavey language has persevered to this day.


Today, approximately 2,100 people are native speakers of Slavey, accounting for around 65% of the ethnic population. The language comes in two varieties—North Slavey and South Slavey—and both are recognized as official languages in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Despite this, speakers can run into challenges receiving recognition, and many Slavey speakers are bilingual in English. But the endangered status of Slavey hasn’t stopped us from putting together our own Slavey translation team, which we’re proud to present today.


For a free quote for our Slavey translation services, reach out with a request now!


Slavey: an indigenous language of Canada’s north

Slavey is spoken by the Slavey people, who prefer to call themselves Dene, and the Sahtu people, who inhabit areas of the Northwest Territories and northern Alberta. The Slavey, or Dene, people speak the South Slavey dialect, divided into the Dene Yatıé, Dene Zhatıé, and Dené Dháh subdialects, whereas the Sahtu people speak North Slavey, comprised of the Sahtúgot’įné Yatı̨́, K’ashógot’įne Goxedǝ́, and Shíhgot’įne Yatı̨́ subdialects.


If you’re familiar with Amerindian linguistics, you’ve surely already guessed that Slavey belongs to the Na–Dene family. Specifically, it’s an Athabaskan language, and it’s said that the South Athabaskan language of Navajo in the southwestern US partially traces its roots back to Slavey. Slavey uses a basic word order of subject-object-verb, which is generally inflexible because the language lacks case markings. Slavey’s pronominal system includes a fourth-person pronoun, which is used to distinguish multiple third-person referents in a sentence. The language only features one morphological tense—future—with other tenses expressed through phrases or combinations of words. Slavey also incorporates grammatical gender, but not the masculine and feminine genders of French or Spanish—rather, it features a gender for location in time or space and another to mark wood, leaves, or branches.


Slavey translation services for any project you might have

If your head is spinning from all that Slavey grammar, don’t worry—our team consists of native speakers who understand all the subtle intricacies of this unique language. We’ve hired translators representing both North Slavey and South Slavey, including native speakers of various subdialects, so simply let us know the variety of Slavey you’re working with. Our translators work in both directions, translating into Slavey as well as from Slavey, and they’re excited to aid with your translation projects in their language, regardless of the content or medium.


Would you like translation services geared toward academia, or would you prefer more of a business spin? Or perhaps you’re looking for literary translation or localization services for software. We can handle all these cases and more. For example, we can translate educational materials into Slavey to boost native-language educational opportunities for Slavey (Dene) and Sahtu children, and we can help organizations operating in the Northwest Territories connect with native Slavey speakers through their messaging. Our translation team offers the prime opportunity for Slavey (Dene) and Sahtu people to share their native stories with the rest of the world, and we can also help creators and language activists make more content available in Slavey in the form of books, poems, games, apps, and more. We can handle all kinds of content—if you have special requests, just ask!


Our Slavey translators are ready to help you—so why not place an order for Slavey translation services today?

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