Western Apache (Ndee biyáti’)

Apache is an Athabaskan (Na-Dené) language spoken in central Arizona in the USA. In 2007 there were about 14,000 speakers of Western Apache, about half of whom belong to the White Mountain Apache tribe and can be found on the Fort Apache Reservation.

There are also speakers of Western Apache in the San Carlos Apache Tribe on the San Carlos Reservation, in the Tonto Apache Tribe of Arizona, and in the Yavapai-Apache Nation on the Camp Verde Indian Reservation.

The language is spoken mainly by adults, although some children on the San Carols and Fort Apache reservations do speak it as a native language.

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". The language is also known as Coyotero.

Western Apache is most closely related to other varities of Apache: Jicarilla, Kiowa, Lipan and Mescalero-Chiricahua, which are spoken in New Mexico and Oklahoma in the USA, and in Coahuila in Mexico.

Western Apache alphabet and pronunciation

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

Sample videos in Western Apache

Information about Western Apache | Numbers


Information about the Apache language

Apache Dictionaries

Online Apache Texts

Na-Dené languages

Ahtna, Apache (Western), Babine-Witsuwit'en, Chilcotin, Chipewyan, Deg Xinag, Dena’ina, Dane-zaa (Beaver), Eyak, Gwich'in, Hän, Hupa, Jicarilla, Kaska, Koyukon, Lipan Apache, Lower Tanana, Mescalero-Chiricahua, Navajo, North Slavey, Sekani, South Slavey, Tahltan, Tanacross, Tłı̨chǫ (Dogrib), Tolowa, Tsuut'ina (Sarcee), Tutchone, Upper Kuskokwim, Upper Tanana

Languages written with the Latin alphabet

Page last modified: 20.04.23


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