The institute encourages students and teachers to use its online resources.
Language Dictionaries, Workbooks and Databases
Tlingit Dictionary: Sealaska Heritage Institute's Dictionary of Tlingit is the product of years of documentation of the Tlingit language with assistance from fluent Elders. It's a must-have resource for language learners and for people who are interested in learning more about the Tlingit culture. This version is a searchable pdf. (Note: To jump to sections via the table of contents, click "view" "navigation panels" "bookmarks"). Hardcopy books are available for sale through the Sealaska Heritage Store. (Buy)
Online Tlingit Verb Dictionary: A database of over 1,100 conjugated Tlingit verbs.
Beginning Tlingit: First published in 1976, Beginning Tlingit remains the major text in the field, combining a systematic introduction to Tlingit grammar with phrases and conversations for everyday use. Moving from the easiest and advancing to more complex, the book teaches students how to make new sentences of their own. The 2018 edition includes a link to online audio so students can hear how the language sounds, and follow along with the lessons. Contents include prefaces to all editions, Book One: Teacher and Student Guide, and Book Two, which consists of an introduction and nine lessons. Appendices include Tlingit verb charts, song texts, and a checklist in traditional Tlingit education. By Nora Marks Dauenhauer and Richard Dauenhauer. $40. Paperback. (Audio) (Buy)
Beginning Tlingit Workbook: Sealaska Heritage Institute's Beginning Tlingit Workbook teaches Tlingit words and concepts through imagery. The volume was written and compiled by Lance (̱X’unei) A. Twitchell, a member of Sealaska Heritage Institute’s Southeast Regional Language Committee and assistant professor of Alaska Native languages at the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS). It is an extension of the landmark book Beginning Tlingit—which was edited by the late linguist Richard Dauenhauer and his wife, Nora Dauenhauer, a fluent Tlingit speaker and scholar, and published by SHI. The workbook is based entirely on the teaching methods and steps developed by the Dauenhauers, as well as many other contributors over the years, but it also incorporates some of the ways people today are documenting and teaching various parts of Tlingit grammar, especially verbs. Hardcopy books are available for sale through the Sealaska Heritage Store. (Buy)
Sneaky Sounds--A Non Threatening Introduction to Tlingit Sounds and Spelling: This book takes a humorous approach to teaching tricky sounds; the book’s second subtitle is Fun with Phonology, Fonology with Phun. Tlingit is famous for having one of the most difficult and complex sound systems in the world. Tlingit presents about two dozen sounds not shared with English. Four of these sounds are unique to Tlingit – not shared with any other language on Earth (as far as linguists know). This complexity can prove discouraging for beginners and presents a major barrier to learning. The idea behind the book is to introduce students to the sounds of the language in as non-threatening a manner as possible. The book also will help fluent speakers learn to write Tlingit. The language historically was not written and the orthography used today was developed by linguists in the late 20th century. Consequently, many Elders fluent in Tlingit do not know the writing system. By listening to the online audio and following along with the text, fluent speakers will be able to learn which symbols correspond to which sounds. The book was written by Richard and Nora Marks Dauenhauer. The audio, produced by Edwards and Albert McDonnell, was recorded by fluent speakers John Marks and June Pegues. The project was six years in the making and received support from SHI, the Juneau School District and the University of Alaska Southeast. The materials were vetted by numerous language students, auditors and community Elders. $20. Paperback. (Audio) (Buy)
Tsimshian Dictionary: Sealaska Heritage Institute's Dictionary of Shm'algyack is the product of years of documentation of the Tsimshian language with assistance from fluent Elders. It's a must-have resource for language learners and for people who are interested in learning more about the Tsimshian culture. This version is a searchable pdf.
Haida Dictionary: Sealaska Heritage Institute's Dictionary of Alaskan Haida is the product of years of documentation of the Haida language with assistance from fluent Elders. It's a must-have resource for language learners and for people who are interested in learning more about the Haida culture. This version is a searchable pdf. (Note: To jump to sections via the table of contents, click "view" "navigation panels" "bookmarks"). Hardcopy books are available for sale through the Sealaska Heritage Store. (Buy)
Haida Phrasebook: The Alaskan Haida Phrasebook is the first book of its kind and the most comprehensive phrasebook to date for any Alaska Native language. It will be a great aid to new learners. The Alaskan Haida Phrasebook was compiled over a four-year period as part of SHI's ongoing Haida language project. The more than 4,000 sentences in this book cover some of the most common topics of Haida conversation, such as food, family, weather, health, traveling, fishing, working, music, and many others. It was written by Dr. Erma Lawrence, one of the few remaining fluent speakers of Alaskan Haida, and edited by linguist Dr. Jordan Lachler. Published by Sealaska Heritage Institute, 2010.
Tlingit Verb Database (a searchable database of more than 575 Tlingit verbs)
575 Tlingit Verbs: The Paradigms (dissertation on Tlingit verbs by Keri Eggleston)
Tlingit Verb Paradigms (a component of above dissertation)
Tlingit Introduction Format
Haayk Foundation: The Haayk Foundation has a ton of learning materials on their website, including Sm’algya̱x language resources and games and lessons on how to weave with cedar bark.
Apps and Games
Learning Tlingit App This app helps to build skills in the Tlingit language. It contains hundreds of entries in more than 20 different categories, all with accompanying audio for vocabulary and phrases. (App for iPhone) (App for Android) (Language podcast)
- My House (learn the Tlingit phrases for common household items in an interactive environment. (Print word list)
- Ocean Animals (learn the Tlingit words for Southeast Alaska critters in an interactive environment) (Print word list)
- Move the Murrelet (learn Tlingit phrases such as above the boat and behind the boat in an interactive environment. (Print word list)
- Birds (learn the Tlingit words for birds common to Southeast Alaska in an interactive environment) (Print word list)
- Héen Táak (learn the Tlingit words for salmon and other marine life in an interactive environment)
- Spelling (see and hear sounds in Tlingit)
Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian Language Podcast
This podcast covers a wide range of topics, including verbs, tools, colors, numbers, places, carved objects, and cooking phrases. The episodes are offered in audio (.mp3) or video (.mp4) formats. (Language podcast)
Video and Audio Resources
Video: YouTube playlist: Voices of Our Ancestors language learning series. Watch as Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian language teachers say phrases in in Lingít (Tlingit), X̱aad Kíl (Haida) and Sm’algya̱x (Tsimshian). In this video series, Lance X̱’unei Twitchell, Benjamin Young, and Gavin Hudson share terms that are useful to Native language learners.
Language summit: Our first-ever language summit, Voices of Our Ancestors, was held in Juneau in November. The entire three-day event was recorded and can be viewed on YouTube, with or without English translation.
Salmon Boy: Hear and watch the ancient story of Shanyaak'utlaax̱, Salmon Boy, told in Tlingit by storyteller Ishmael Hope of the Kiks.ádi clan with illustrations by Michaela Goade, also of the Kiks.ádi clan.
Let's Learn Language: Tlingit language use in everyday speech shown through the use of puppets. Ten lessons produced in 1969 by the Juneau Indian Studies Program. The speakers were Johnny Marks, a longtime contributor to SHI's programs, and Eva Marks. Digitized through a partnership between Sealaska Heritage Institute and the Alaska State Library.
We have developed a number of curricula for instruction of Southeast Alaskan native languages, and encourage teachers to download them for use in class. Other curricula can be found in our education section.
- Learning our Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian Languages: Cycle A, Beginners
- Primary grades (intended for the primary grades, it can be easily adapted for higher grade levels)
Language Development based on Literature
Posters and Cards
Tlingit Alphabet (print this pdf version for use as playing cards)
Tlingit Alphabet (print this pdf version for use in language classes)
Tlingit Valentine Phrases (this .pef offered here thanks to Roby Littlefield and the work of many students and speakers over a period of six years)
- Haa Shagéinyaa (Thanking Our Ancestors) (Long Version)
- Haa Shagéinyaa (Thanking Our Ancestors) (Short Version)