The Nisg̱a’a language is spoken in north-western British Columbia, along the Nass river and surrounding lands. It is a member of the Tsimshian language family, most closely related to Gitksan – the two are often considered by linguists to be dialects of a combined Nass-Gitksan language; however the two are politically separate.

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: ncg


The Canadian Census counts 1,090 Nisga’a speakers in 2006, up from from 915 in 2001. According to Howe and Cook, there are 700.


  bilabial alveolar alveolar affricate lateral palatal velar rounded velar uvular glottal
voiced stop b d j     g gw
voiceless stop p t ts     k kw  
ejective stop p’ t’ ts’ tl’   k’ kw’ ḵ’  
voiceless fricative     s hl   x xw h
resonant m n   l y   w    
glottalised resonant        


  front central back
high i - ii   u - uu
mid e - ee   o - oo
low   a - aa  


  1. Long vowels are written double.
If you are having problems viewing the language properly, please download and install one of the languagegeek fonts.
©2002-20011 Chris Harvey/Languagegeek
Last Modified: 21-Aug-2011