Gros Ventre language

Atsina, or Gros Ventre (also known as Ananin, Ahahnelin, Ahe and A’ani),[3] was the ancestral language of the Gros Ventre people of Montana. The last fluent speaker died in 2007,[1] though revitalization efforts are underway.

Gros Ventre
Native toUnited States
EthnicityGros Ventre
Extinct2007, with the death of Theresa Lamebull[1]
Revival45 self-identified speakers as of 2009-2013[2]
Official status
Official language in
 United States
(Flag of the Fort Belknap Indian Community.PNG Fort Belknap Indian Community, MT)
Language codes
ISO 639-3ats
ELPGros Ventre
Gros Ventre map.svg
Historical extent of the language


Atsina is the name applied by specialists in Algonquian linguistics. Arapaho and Atsina are dialects of a common language usually designated by scholars as "Arapaho-Atsina". Historically, this language had five dialects, and on occasion specialists add a third dialect name to the label, resulting in the designation, "Arapaho-Atsina-Nawathinehena".[1] Compared with Arapaho proper, Gros Ventre had three additional phonemes /tʲ/, /ts/, /kʲ/, and /bʲ/, and lacked the velar fricative /x/.

Theresa Lamebull taught the language at Fort Belknap College (now Aaniiih Nakoda College), and helped develop a dictionary using the Phraselator when she was 109.[4]

As of 2012, the White Clay Immersion School at Aaniiih Nakoda College was teaching the language to 26 students, up from 11 students in 2006.[3][5]



Bilabial Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosive plain b ⟨b⟩ t ⟨t⟩ k ⟨k⟩ ʔ ⟨’⟩
palatalized ⟨bʸ⟩ ⟨tʸ⟩ ⟨kʸ⟩
Fricative θ ⟨3⟩ s ⟨s⟩ h ⟨h⟩
Affricate ts ⟨c⟩ ⟨č⟩
Nasal n ⟨n⟩
Approximant w ⟨w⟩ j ⟨y⟩


Short Long
Close ɪ ⟨i⟩ ⟨ii⟩
Mid ɛ ⟨e⟩ ⟨ee⟩
Back ɔ ⟨o⟩ ⟨oo⟩
ʊ ⟨u⟩ ⟨uu⟩



  1. ^ a b c Mithun 336
  2. ^ "Detailed Languages Spoken at Home and Ability to Speak English". US Census Bureau. Retrieved 2017-11-17.
  3. ^ a b "Immersion School is Saving a Native American Language". Indian Country Today Media Network. 2012-02-12. Retrieved 2012-10-22.
  4. ^ "The Phraselator II". The American Magazine. Archived from the original on 2013-08-07. Retrieved 2013-05-12.
  5. ^ Boswell, Evelyn (2008-12-04). "MSU grads preserve a native language, keep tribal philosophies alive". MSU News Service. Archived from the original on 2013-03-03. Retrieved 2012-07-19.
  6. ^ Salzmann, Zdeněk (1969). Salvage Phonology of Gros Ventre (Atsina).


  • Mithun, Marianne (1999) The Languages of Native North America. Cambridge Language Surveys. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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