​"Qaneryarput una power-arpakarput".
"Our language is a great power to us" - Yup'ik Environmental Knowledge Project

Yugtun • Cugtun

Yup'ik/Cup'ik/Cup'ig language

About 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), as well as Norton Sound (Unaliq) and Egegik.


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.






Quyana tailuci.









Hi, What's up?, How can I help you?

Remain how you are. (farewell phrase said to one person)

Thank you.

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)

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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.