Gros Ventre language

Atsina, or Gros Ventre (also known as Ananin, Ahahnelin, Ahe, A’ani, and ʔɔʔɔɔɔniiih),[3] was the ancestral language of the Gros Ventre people of what is today Montana, United States of America. 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
Lang Status 20-CR.svg
Gros Ventre is classified as Critically Endangered by the UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger


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 1999, p. 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. Archived from the original on 2012-11-09. 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).


Further readingEdit

External linksEdit