In 1997, Irene Solomon Arnold published language lessons for Dihthâad Xt’een Iin Aanděeg’ (Tanacross). Today, those lessons are available to an even larger audience through Doyon Languages Online.
Irene’s lessons are the latest offerings of Doyon Languages Online, a project to increase the number of people who can speak the endangered Native languages of the Doyon region. Lessons are available for free to all interested learners, who can sign up at doyonfoundation.com/dlo.
About the course
The online Tanacross language lessons by Irene Arnold are the result of a partnership between Doyon Foundation, Transparent Language and the nonprofit 7000 Languages.
The lessons are based on Irene’s work, originally published in 1997 by the Alaska Native Language Center and the Yukon Native Language Centre.
These lessons are arranged in a seasonal activity format, September through June, but learners are encouraged to access the material they are most interested in, rather than follow a strict order.
Irene and her family hope that these lessons will be enjoyed by all those interested in learning to speak and understand Dihthâad Xt’een Iin Aanděeg’, the ancestral language of the Tanacross people.
“Thank you for your interest in learning Dihthâad Xt’een Iin Aanděeg’ language. To learn language is to preserve language.”– Irene Solomon Arnold
About the language
The name “Tanacross Athabascan,” Dihthâad Xt’een Iin Aanděeg’ refers to Native language spoken by people living in the upper Tanana valley in the area of present-day Tanacross village.
Tanacross is the ancestral language of the communities of Mansfield, Joseph Village and Ketchumstuck (therefore, there are several dialects between the villages). However, Tanacross can be readily distinguished as a distinct language based on unique properties of pronunciation. While other Athabascan languages may contain words with similar pronunciation, Tanacross is the only one in which words such as “father” (Tanacross shtá’) are pronounced with a high pitch (or tone). That is, Tanacross words have high tones where other languages have low tones or no tones whatsoever.
About the author
Irene was born and raised in Tanacross, Alaska. Her mother’s side of the family is from Diihthaad. Her name was Stella Luke Solomon. Her father’s side of the family was from Saages Cheeg” (Ketchumstock). His name was Silas Solomon. Irene’s maternal grandparents were Harry and Jennie Luke. Her paternal grandparents were Peter and Annie Solomon.
In 1992, Irene began teaching the Tanacross language in Tok, Alaska, for the Alaska Gateway School District. She completed an Associate of Applied Science in Native Language Education with the Yukon Native Language Centre at Yukon College in Whitehorse, in conjunction with the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
She has been a lifelong advocate for language and cultural education for younger generations.
tsíná’ęę, thank you
Doyon Foundation would like to say tsíná’ęę to John Ritter, the Yukon Native Language Centre, the Alaska Native Language Center, Transparent Language, 7000 Languages and Doyon, Limited.
We also extend gratitude to Irene and all of our Elders, past and present, for teaching us our language and culture.
This online course was funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Alaska Native Educational Program, award # S356A220042.
About 7000 Languages
7000 Languages empowers communities around the world to teach, learn and sustain their endangered languages. They are a 501(c)(3) public charity whose vision is one where all communities have the resources and opportunities to reclaim, strengthen and revitalize their languages.
About Doyon Languages Online
Doyon Foundation continues to expand the number of courses available through Doyon Languages Online. Current course offerings include:
• Benhti Kokhut’ana Kenaga’ (Lower Tanana)
• Deg Xinag
• Denaakk’e (Koyukon)
• Dihthaad Xt’een Iin Aanděeg’ (Tanacross) (Doyon Languages Online course, plus online course based on the work of Irene Solomon Arnold)
• Dinak’i (Upper Kuskokwim)
• Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (Gwich’in)
• Doogh Qinag (Holikachuk)
• Hän (Doyon Languages Online course, plus special memorial course based on the work of the late Isaac Juneby)
• Nee’aanèegn’ (Upper Tanana) (Doyon Languages Online course, plus online course based on the work of Avis Sam)
Doyon Languages Online courses are available for free to all interested learners. Students can sign up and access the courses from a desktop or laptop computer, or via the Transparent Language app available for both Apple and Android mobile devices and tablets.
For more information on the Doyon Languages Online, please visit doyonfoundation.com/dlo or contact 907.459.2048 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For assistance signing up for or using Doyon Languages Online, view the instructional video series on YouTube.