|Region||Skeena region, British Columbia|
|1,020 (2016 census)|
Gitksan is classified as Severely Endangered by the UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger
The Gitxsan language /ˈɡɪtsæn/, or Gitxsanimaax (also rendered Gitksan, Giatikshan, Gityskyan, Giklsan and Sim Algyax), is an endangered Tsimshianic language of northwestern British Columbia, closely related to the neighboring Nisga’a language. The two groups are, however, politically separate and prefer to refer to Gitxsan and Nisga'a as distinct languages. According to the Report on the status of B.C First Nations Languages there are 523 fluent speakers, 639 that understand or somewhat speak and 344 learning speakers.
Gitxsan means "People of the Skeena River" (Ksan being the name of the Skeena in Gitxsan).
Gitxsan language is primarily separated into Geenix or Eastern and Gyeets or Western Gitxsan, although each village has its own dialect. The Geenix or Eastern villages include Kispiox (Ansbayaxw), Glen Vowell (Sigit'ox), and Hazelton (Git-an'maaxs). The Gyeets or Western villages include Kitwanga (Gjtwjngax), Gitanyow (Git-antaaw) and Kitseguecla (Gijigyukwhla). The main differences between dialects include a lexical shift in vowels and stop lenition use present only in the Eastern dialects. The largest differences in language and culture exist between Eastern and Western Gitxsan, rather than between each village.
The University of Northern British Columbia and Siiwiixo'osxwim Wilnataahl Gitksan Society (Gitksan Language Society) set up a Developmental Standard Term Certificate program offered through Northwest Community College, with all courses offered in Hazelton, BC. The program is designed to help revitalize Gitxsan language by allowing those who complete it to teach language and culture courses at the elementary and secondary school level in the community.
In the spring of 2018, an online dictionary app was released in collaboration with members of Gitksan Nation and researchers at the University of British Columbia. The app includes various dialects of Gitxsan, and includes audio from different villages. Flashcards, stories, and histories are also included in addition to functioning as a dictionary. This app is based on a print dictionary produced in 1973 by Lonnie Hindle and Bruce Rigsby. With its launch, the app briefly held a top spot in Google Play's education category and accumulated around 500 downloads in its first week.
The Gitxsan inventory is as follows:
|/i/ /iː/||/u/ /uː/|
The mid and high vowels are nearly in complementary distribution, suggesting that Gitxsan once had a three-vowel system. Short mid vowels are emerging. Schwa only occurs in unstressed syllables. /e:/ and /o:/ have short allophones [e] and [o] in certain positions.
|Stop||plain||p||t||kʲ ⟨k⟩||kʷ ⟨kw⟩||q ⟨ḵ⟩||ʔ ⟨'⟩|
|ejective||p’||t’||kʲʼ ⟨k'⟩||kʷʼ ⟨kw'⟩||q’ ⟨ḵ'⟩|
|ejective||t͡sʼ ⟨ts'⟩||t͡ɬʼ ⟨tl'⟩|
|Fricative||s||ɬ ⟨hl⟩||xʲ ⟨x⟩||xʷ ⟨xw⟩||χ ⟨x̱⟩||h|
|glottalized||mˀ ⟨'m⟩||nˀ ⟨'n⟩||lˀ ⟨'l⟩||jˀ ⟨'y⟩||wˀ ⟨'w⟩|
Voiceless stop sounds can also have voiced allophones of [b d d͡z ɡʲ ɡʷ ɢ]. The pre-velar obstruents become velar before /s/ and /l/.
((cite book)): CS1 maint: others (link)