The Blackfoot language is a term which covers the three dialects: Piikani (Peigan), Kainaa (Blood), and Siksika (Blackfoot proper). All three dialects are spoken in the southern part of the province of Alberta, while the Piikani dialect is also found in northern Montana.

While written in syllabics in the past, today, the Blackfoot language has a standard Roman orthography.

Note: On the charts below, there is lots of phonetic terminology that may not be familiar to everyone.

ISO 639-3 language code: bla

Syllabics Information


The Canadian Census counts 4,920 Blackfoot speakers in 2006, up from 4,495 in 2001. Howe and Cook have 3,000 speakers in Canada, and another 500 in the USA, for a total of 3,500. The U.S. Census reports 740 speakers.


  bilabial alveolar palatal velar glottal
voiceless stop p t   k
voiceless fricative   s   x h
nasal m n      
approximate w   y    


  front central back
high i – ii    
mid     o – oo
low   a – aa  


  • Stress/high pitch is sometimes written with an acúte accent.
  • There are several vowel sounds written as diphthongs, but not necessarily always pronounced as such:
    • ‹ai› is [ɛ] before a double consonant; either [e] or [ai] before a glottal stop; and either [æ] or [e] elsewhere.
    • ‹ao› is [au] before a glottal stop, and [ɔ] elsewhere
    • ‹oi› is [y] before a double consonant, and [ɔi] elsewhere.
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Last Modified: 29-Aug-2011