Eyak was once spoken in south eastern Alsaka on the Cooper River. It is
a member of the Athabascan-Eyak branch of the Athabascan-Eyak-Tlingit language
family. The last traditional speaker, Chief Marie Smith Jones, died
on 21st January 2008. The language was a victim of the spread of English,
and also of Tlingit.
Dr Michael Krauss, a linguist and professor emeritus at the University
of Alaska Fairbanks, and founder of the Alasaka Native Language Center,
has studied and documented Eyak, and all the other native languages
of Alaska. He speaks Eyak fluently, having learnt it from the last
native speakers, and has produced a dictionary of the languages,
and also a collection of stories and folklore.
The Eyak Language Project is a grassroots community effort
to revive Eyak as a living, spoken language. Since 2002 the
materials collected by Michael Krauss have been made easily
accessible and DVDs to help people learn Eyak have been
made. The are available free-of-charge to anyone who wants to
learn the language, and one person who used them is Guilluame
Leduey from France, who learnt Eyak, then visited Alaska. His
example demonstrated to the Eyak people that it is possible
to revitalise their language, and he is also able to teach
the language, and is working with Michael Kraus.
Eyak alphabet and pronunciation
Sample text - Raven and King Salmon
1. č’i·lehkuc’gšiyah q’ew lu· ˀi·yahł. 2. c’idwex̣ ci·dəˀạ·ˀč ˀa·k’. 3. ˀu·dəx̣ či·šx̣da·q’d ˀidəcəłəyəq’šgł. 4. dəwa· q’əw teˀyaˀle· qiˀ ˀədcəłəduxłˀạ·ˀ k’uˀdišłiyəq’šgł. 5. ˀəwlah yəx̣· ˀədi·lihłaˀya·x̣ịh, "k’e·duw quˀxšeh[;] ˀəw teˀyaˀ,"
1. Little Old Raven was beachcombing. 2. He kept coming upon mussels. 3. Then he was opening mussels on a pebble-beach. 4. Then as he opened one he came upon where King Salmon was floating. 5. He thought about it, "How shall I kill it, that fish?"
http://www.uaf.edu/anla/collections/search/resultDetail.xml?id=EY961K1970a (EyakTexts Vol I)
Information about the Eyak language and people
Recordings of Eyak
Other languages written with the Latin alphabet