Tolowa (Taa-laa-wa Dee-niʼ Wee-yaʼ)

Tolowa is a member of the Na-Dene branch of the Athabaskan language family. It is spoken in northern California and southwestern Oregon in the USA. In California the language is spoken mainly by members of the Tolowa Dee-ni' Nation in Smith River Rancheria near Crescent City. In Oregon a variety of the language is spoken by members of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz on the Siletz Indian Reservation. They call themselves Chetco, Tutuni or Deeni, and their version of the language, Siletz Dee-ni or Chetco-Tolowa.

There are no native speakers of Tolowa, but there are some fluent speakers and learners. Efforts are being made to revive the language, with classes in Crescent City in California, and in Oregon's Siletz Valley Charter School.

Tolowa alphabet and pronunciation

A number of alphabets have been developed for Tolowa since 1969. The first was a version of the Uni-fon alphabet. A new Practical Alphabet appeared in 1993, and a revised version was developed by Loren Bommelyn in 1997.

Tolowa alphabet and pronunciation

Hear how to pronounce Tolowa:

In some Tolowa texts, the nasal vowels are written with an ogonek (ą).

Download an alphabet chart for Tolowa (Excel)

Videos in and about Tolowa

Information about Tolowa | Numbers


Information about Tolowa

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: 27.01.22


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