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Iñupiaq is the westernmost dialect of the Iñupiaq-Inuvialuktun-Inuktitut-Inuttut-Kalaallisut dialect chain, located along the north coast of Alaska. It is more closely related to the language of Greenland than to the Yup’ik language of southern Alaska.

The dialects of Iñupiaq

There are four main dialect divisions:

  1. Bering Strait consisting of 3 subdialects: Diomede, Wales, King Island
  2. Qawiaraq consisting of 2 subdialects: Teller, Fish River
  3. Malimiutun consisting of 2 subdialects: Kobuk, Kotzebue
  4. North Slope consisting of 4 subdialects: Common North Slope, Point Barrow, Anaktuvuk Pass (Nunamiut), Uummarmiutun

These groups can be organised into two larger dialect collections: Seward Peninsula Inupaq (Bering Strait and Qawiaraq) and Northern Alaskan Iñupiaq (Malimiutun and North Slope).

The Uummarmiutun sub-dialect is spoken in the Mackenzie Delta (Aklavik and Inuvik) in the Northwest Territories, Canada. Details of Uummarmiutun are on the Inuvialuktun page.

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.

This page uses no characters outside the Unicode standard.

There are about 3000–5000 speakers in Alaska and about 150 in Canada (Dorais 1990). According to the 2001 census, there are 32,775 speakers of all dialects (Inuktitut, Inuvialuktun, Inupiaq) in Canada.

Community Names:

not available yet

Northern Alaskan Consonants (US Orthography)

  bilabial alveolar palatal retroflex velar uvular glottal
voiceless stop p t ch   k q  
voiceless lateral   ł ł̣        
voiced lateral   l        
voiceless fricative     s sr kh qh h
voiced fricative v     r g ġ  
approximant     y        
nasal m n ñ   ŋ    

Northern Alaskan Vowels

  front central back
high i   u
low   a  


  1. The Anaktuvuk subdialect has h where other dialects have /s/; h is much less common in the other North Slope dialects.
  2. Long sounds are written doubled: aa ii uu pp tt...

Seward Peninsula Consonants

  bilabial alveolar palatal retroflex velar uvular glottal
voiceless stop p t  ch1   k q ’2
voiced stop b            
voiceless lateral   ł          
voiced lateral   l          
voiceless fricative   s   sr     h
voiced fricative v z3   zr g ġ  
approximant w3   y r      
nasal m n     ŋ    

Seward Peninsula Vowels

  front central back
high i   u
mid e4
low   a  


  1. The ch sound occurs in Fish River (Qawiaraq) where other dialects have /s/.
  2. The glottal stop in Kobuk (Malimiutun) sometimes replaces an intervocalic /k/.
  3. In the Bering Strait dialect, the z sound replaces /s/, and w replaces /v/ after an unstressed syllable.
  4. The Diomede subdialect (Bering Strait) has the extra vowel e, which is generally replaced by /i/ in the other dialects. This vowel is always short.
  5. Long sounds are written double: aa ii uu pp tt...
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Last Update: Tuesday, October 10, 2006