Anicinapemiȣin/Anishinàbemiwin is a language very closely related to Ojibway, Odawa, and Oji-Cree; it could also be considered as the easternmost part of an Ojibway dialect chain stretching from the Rockies to western Quebec. The English term for this language is ‘Algonquin’, not to be confused with ‘Algonquian’ which is the linguistics label for the language family.

There are three major dialects of the language as described by Valentine (1994): Northern (Anicinapemiȣin), Western, and Nipissing Algonquian (Anishinàbemiwin), see the following maps for details: Ontario, Québec.

There are several community based orthographies which are outlined below.

Note: There are several Roman Orthography conventions on this site that may require further explanation. On the charts below, there is lots of phonetic terminology that may not be familiar to everyone.

ISO 639-3 language code: alq


The 2011 Canadian Census (2006/2001 figures in parentheses) indicates 1,755 (2,680/2,425) Algonquin mother-tongue speakers. This figure does not include those who have learned the language later in life. The 2006 and 2001 count includes all speakers (not just as a mother-tongue)

Anishinàbemiwin Orthography


  bilabial alveolar palato-alveolar palatal velar glottal
voiceless stop p t ch   k  
voiced stop b d dj   g  
voiceless fricative   s sh     h
voiceled fricative   z j      
nasal m n     ng  
resonant w     y    


  front central back
high tense/long ì    
high lax/short i    
mid tense/long e   ò
mid lax/short     o
low tense/long   à  
low lax/short   a  


  • The voiceless and voiced consonants in the table above could also be labelled phonologically as fortis (strong) and lenis (weak) respectively. In many dialects, the voiceless consonants are more heavily aspirated (with a strong [h] sound afterwards) than in English. At the end of a word, the voiceless and voiced sounds coalesce to varying degrees.
  • The vowel e is always tense/long – there is no lax/short /e/. The orthography does not require it to be accented; the other long vowels take the grave accent: à.
  • Hyphens may be used to separate some prefixes/preverbs from verbs.

Anicinapemiȣin Orthography


  bilabial alveolar palato-alveolar palatal velar glottal
stop p t tc   k  
fricative   s c     h
nasal m n     ng  
resonant ȣ     y    


  front central back
high i    
mid e   o
low   a  


  • The orthography distinguishes neither voiceless~voiced consonants, nor long~short vowels.
  • The bilabial resonant is typically written with the numeral 8. This site uses the letter character ȣ to separate it from the number eight (8) which is processed differently by computers. An additional benifit of using the letter ȣ is that there is a capital form Ȣ. Note that this usage is not standard; in practice the numberal 8 is nearly ubiquitous. The origin of ȣ is a stacked ligature of the Greek vowels ο and υ used by French missionaries for the [u] or [w] sounds – ou being their French spelling.
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Last Modified: 31-Dec-2012