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Apache (Ndéé)

Apache is an Athabaskan (Na-Dené) language spoken by about 15,000 in Arizona and New Mexico. There are in fact two Apache languages: Western Apache and Eastern Apache, each of which has a number of dialects, including Jicarilla, Lipan, Kiowa-Apache, Chiricahua, and Mescalero. The Apache and Navajo languages are closely related.

The name Apache probably comes from the Yuma word for "fighting-men" and/or from apachu, which means "enemy" in Zuni. This was what the Zuni called the Navajo, who in turn were called Apaches de Nabaju by the early Spanish explorers in New Mexico. They call themselves N'de, Inde or Tinde, which all mean "the people".

Western Apache alphabet and pronunciation

Western Apache (Ndee biyáti' / Nnee biyáti') is spoken in east central Arizona by about 14,000 people (2007) on the San Carlos and Ft. Apache reservations.

Apache alphabet and pronunciation

An accent acute (á) marks a high tone. The low tone is not marked.

Hear the Western Apache alphabet

Download an alphabet chart for Apache (Excel)

Sample text in Apache

'Iłk'idáͅ, koͅoͅ yá'édiͅná'a.
'Ákoo Tł'ízhe hooghéí dá'áíná bikoͅ' 'ólíná'a.
'Ákoo Tł'ízheí gotál yiis'áͅná'a.
'Ákoo Mai'áee híłghoná'a.
Gotál jiis'áͅí 'áee, Mai tsíbaͅaͅee naaná'azhishná'a.
'Ákoo bitseeí tsínáiłgoná'a.


Long ago, there was no fire.
Then only those who are called Flies had fire.
Then the Flies held a ceremony.
And Coyote came there.
At that place where they held the ceremony,
Coyote danced around and around at the edge of the fire.
And he continually poked his tail in the fire.

From: Coyote Obtains Fire, by Lawrence Mithlo


Information about the Apache language

English to Apache Speaking Dictionary

Online Apache Texts

White Mountain Apache Tride

Jicarilla Apache Nation

Yavapai-Apache Nation

Na-Dené languages

Apache, Babine-Witsuwit'en, Chilcotin, Chipewyan, Deg Xinag, Dane-zaa (Beaver), Eyak, Gwich'in, Hän, Hupa, Jicarilla, Koyukon, Mescalero-Chiricahua, Navajo, Sarcee, Sekani, Tłı̨chǫ (Dogrib), Tutchone

Other languages written with the Latin alphabet

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