Dena'ina Qenaga

Dena'ina language

​"Shq'ayna gun Dena'ina dudghełdin.".
"I taught my children Dena'ina." - Dena'ina Qenaga Du'idnaghelnik
​About Dena'ina Qenaga


Dena’ina is the traditional language of the Cook Inlet and the Kenai Peninsula and up to Lake Iliamna. The name Dena’ina comes from two parts: dena meaning person and ina, the human plural marker in Dena’ina. About 50 people speak Dena'ina as a first language. Dena’ina language classes are held at Kenai Peninsula College and at the University of Alaska Anchorage.


Dena’ina, like many other Alaska languages, is polysynthetic, meaning a whole sentence can be expressed with just one word. For example, the single word nuntnghel'ił means ‘I will see you again.’


Naghe Nduninyu.




Yaghali du?

Aa', yaghali eshlan, ninki du?

Aa', yaghali eshlan, chin'an.



You came to us (traditional way to greet a visitor), welcome.

Thank you.



Are you fine?

Yes, I'm fine, and you?

Yes, I'm fine, thank you.

Hurry up.

Sit down.

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Updated March 2021. 

All images and maps are courtesy of the Alaska Native Language Archive and the Alaska Native Language Center

Original funding for this site provided by Alaska Humanities Forum with in-kind support from the Alaska Native Language Preservation & Advisory Council. Quyana to the volunteers who assist in keeping this website running. 

This website acknowledges the traditional territories of the many Indigenous Alaskan Nations that have lived in and taken care of the lands of Alax̂sxax̂ (Alaska) since time immemorial.