Haida (X̱aat Kíl)

Haida was once thought to be a Na-Déné language, but is now considered a language isolate. About 30-50 people speak Haida, almost all of whom are elderly. Efforts are currently being made to revive the language.

The majority of Haida people live on Queen Charlotte Island (Haida Gwaii) off the west coast of British Columbia, Canada. There are also Haida on Prince of Wales Island in southeast Alaska, and in others parts of Canada and the USA.

Haida has been written with a number of different spelling systems invented by scholars and linguists. At least two spelling systems are currently in use: one designed by linguist John Enrico, and the other designed 30 years ago by linguists from the Alaska Native Language Center, including Michael Krauss and Jeff Leer.

Haida alphabet and pronunciation

Haida alphabet and pronunciation


Haida has two tones: a high tone [-˦] and a low tone [-˨]. The following types of syllables have a high tone: syllables with long vowels; syllables ending in l, m, n. ng, w or y; syllables marked with an acute accent. All other syllables, including those marked with a grave accent, have a low tone.

Download an alphabet chart for Haida (Excel)

Sample text in Haida

Yáahl uu st'igáalaan, hal st'i'áwyaagaan.
'Wáadluu xíl hal tlaahláayaan.
Gut'iláa ḵ'íit ḵ'uts hal ts'asláangaan.
'Wáadluu sáng ḵwáan hal néilaan gyaan hal 'lagáalaan
Asgáayst hal xitgwáangaan táawk uu hal diyáangaan.
'Wáadluu, chíin ḵwáan gándlaay aa hal táagaan.
Hal sk'ísdlaayaan gyaan xitgáay aa hal jagíyaayaan.
'Wáadluu hingáan an sáanjuudaayaan.
Ahljíihl uu tl' hlgúujuu jahlíis gám 'láa'anggang.


Raven got sick, he was very sick.
Then he made some medicine.
He boiled different kinds of tree roots.
Then he drank it for many days and got well.
Then he flew around looking for food.
Then he ate a lot of fish in a creek.
He got full and couldn't fly.
So, then, he just rested.
That is why it doesn't pay to be too greedy.

Yáahl (Raven), a story by Erma Lawrence

Source: http://www.haidalanguage.org/raven.html

Sample video in Haida

Information about Haida | Numbers in Haida


Information about the Haida language

Information about the Haida people

Language isolates

Adaizan, Ainu, Basque, Burushaski, Candoshi-Shapra, Chitimacha, Eskayan, Hadza, Haida, Karuk, Kawésqar, Keres, Kuot, Kusunda, Kutenai, Natchez, Nihali, Nivkh, Páez, Purepecha, Sandawe, Seri, Sumerian, Tartessian, Ticuna, Tiwi, Tonkawa, Tunica, Urarina, Waorani, Wardaman, Washo, Yaghan, Yuchi/Euchee, Zuni

Languages written with the Latin alphabet

Page last modified: 25.07.22


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