Yugtun • Cugtun
Central Alaskan Yup’ik is spoken in Southwest Alaska from the Bristol Bay to Norton Sound. Yup’ik has the largest body of speakers of any Native language in Alaska, with 10,400 native speakers. It is one of the only Alaska Native languages still being spoken by children (in some communities) as a first language. There are distinct dialects in Hooper Bay-Chevak (Cup’ik) and on Nunivak Island (Cup’ig).
Like Inuit languages, Yup’ik creates meaning by adding suffixes to a base, which can create extremely long words that would take a whole sentence to express in English. For example, the Yup’ik word tuntussuqatarniksaitengqiggtuq translates to “She/he said again that she/he was not hunting caribou.”
Yup’ik has been taught in schools since the 1970s, and in the 1990s, a Yup’ik immersion school named Ayaprun Elitnaurvik opened in Bethel. The University of Alaska Fairbanks also offers a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Yup’ik Language and Culture.
Hi, What's up?, How can I help you?
Remain how you are. (farewell phrase said to one person)
Thank you for coming.
I love you.
How are you?
I am fine.
What are you doing?
I will see you.
This is not the end. (farewell phrase to someone from out of town)