Official Languages of the Northwest Territories

The Northwest Territories (NWT) is the only political region in Canada which recognizes 11 official languages.

Of these, nine are Aboriginal and belong to three different language families: Dene, Inuit, and Cree. Aboriginal languages are most frequently spoken in smaller communities throughout the Northwest Territories.

The Inuit languages recognized in the NWT are Inuvialuktun, Inuinnaqtun and Inuktitut. In the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, 20% of the Inuvialuit population speak either Inuvialuktun or Inuinnaqtun. The majority of people that speak Inuktitut in the NWT live in Yellowknife.

A small number of people, living mostly in the Fort Smith and Hay River area, speak Cree. Their language belongs to a different linguistic group, the Algonquian family.

Approximately 3% of the population states that French is their first language. The use of French and English is more common in Yellowknife and the regional centres.

Official LanguageTraditional NameCommunities Where SpokenOne land, many voicesWelcomeThank YouActive Offer Message
ChipewyanDëne Sųłıné YatıéFort Resolution, Fort Smith, Ndilo, Detah, Łutselk’eɁį̀aghe ní dëne yatı łą.Márcı ją nuwe ghą núhdëlMársıɁerıhtł’ís Dëne Sųłıné yatı t’a huts’elkër xa beyáyatı theɂą ɂat’e, nuwe ts’ën yółtı.
CreeNēhiyawēwinFort Smith, Fort Resolution, Hay RiverMamawi kitaskenaw, mihcet pīhtākosowkina.TawawKinanāskomitinKīspin ki nitawihtīn ē nīhīyawihk ōma ācimōwin, tipwāsinān.
EnglishEnglishAll CommunitiesOne land, many voices.WelcomeThank youIf you would like this information in another official language, call us.
FrenchFrançaisYellowknife, Hay River, Fort Smith, InuvikUn territoire aux voix multiples.BienvenueMerciSi vous voulez ces informations en français, contactez-nous.
Gwich’inDinjii Zhu’ GinjikFort McPherson, Tsiigehtchic, Inuvik, AklavikNan ıhłak, dııdeezhuu leıı.Shòh hàh aanàiiHąį’Jii gwandak izhii ginjìk vat’atr’ijąhch’uu zhit yinohthan jì’, diits’àt ginohkhìi.
InuinnaqtunInuinnaqtunUlukhaktokAtauhiq nuna, uqauhiriaktuq.Quana qaigaffiQuanaHapkua titiqqat pijumagupkit Inuinnaqtun, uvaptinnut hivajarlutit.
InuktitutᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦYellowknifeᐊᑕᐅᓯᖅ ᓄᓇ, ᐅᓄᖅᑐᑦ ᓂᐲᑦ.ᑐᖓᓱᒋᑦᖁᔭᓐᓇᒦᒃ (Qujannamiik)ᑕᒃᑯᐊ ᑎᑎᖅᑲᐃᑦ ᐱᔪᒪᒍᕕᒋᑦ ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᓕᖅᓯᒪᓗᑎᒃ, ᐅᕙᑦᑎᓐᓄᑦ ᐃᕐᑳᓚᔪᓐᓇᖅᑐᑎᑦ.
InuvialuktunInuvialuktunSachs Harbour, Tuktoyaktuk, Inuvik, PaulatukAtausiq nuna, inugiaktut uqallausiit.Quvianaqtusi qaigapsiQuyanainniUvanittuaq ilitchurisukupku Inuvialuktun, ququaqluta.
North SlaveySahtúot’ı̨nę Yatı̨́Colville Lake, Délı̨ne, Tulita, Fort Good Hope Ne łée, kede łǫ.Máhsı hejǫ raxets’é ráwǝdǝMáhsiK’áhshó got’ı̨ne xǝdǝ k’é hederı ɂedı̨htl’é yerınıwę nı́dé dúle.
South SlaveyDene ZhatıéWrigley, Fort Simpson, Jean Marie River, Trout Lake, Nahanni Butte, Fort Liard, Fort Providence, Kakisa, Hay RiverNdeh łíé, zhahtıé łǫ.Máhsı ejǫh nahxe tah anet’ı̨MáhsıEdı gondı dehgáh got’ı̨e zhatı˛e k’ę́ę́ edatł’éh enahddhę nıde naxets’ę́ edahłí.
Tłı̨chǫTłı̨chǫ YatıìBehchokǫ̀, Whatı̀, Gametı̀, Wekweètı̀, Detah, Ndilo.Gonè ı̨hłè, go yatı nełǫ.Sı̨nà, jǫ naxıghaèhdaMahsı̀Tłı̨chǫ yatı k’ę̀ę̀. Dı wegodı newǫ dè, gots’o gonede.