Native toCanada
RegionBritish Columbia
Ethnicity1,410 Sekani people (2014, FPCC)[1]
Native speakers
200, 14% of ethnic population (2016 census)[2]
Latin script
Canadian Aboriginal syllabics
Language codes
ISO 639-3sek
ELPTse'khene (Sekani)
Lang Status 20-CR.svg
Sekani is classified as Critically Endangered by the UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger
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The Sekani language or Tse’khene is a Northern Athabaskan language spoken by the Sekani people of north-central British Columbia, Canada.



Sekani has 33 consonants:

Bilabial Alveolar Post-
Velar Glottal
plain sibilant lateral plain labial
Stop voiceless p t ts k
aspirated () tsʰ tɬʰ tʃʰ kʷʰ
ejective tsʼ tɬʼ tʃʼ kʼʷ ʔ
Nasal m n
voiceless s ɬ ç x h
voiced z l j ɣ w
  1. ^ Sekani, like other Athabaskan languages, does not contrast fricatives with approximants.


Front Central Back
High i u
Mid e ə o
Low a


Sekani has two tones: low and high. High tone is the more common tone. Syllables phonologically marked for tone are low.


Nasalization of vowels is phonemic and so changes the meaning.

Sample words

[3] In the practical writing system used here for the Kwadacha Tsek'ene dialect, u represents the mid-central vowel, and oo represents the high back rounded vowel. An apostrophe represents a glottal stop, and an ogonek under a vowel represents nasalization.


  1. ^ Sekani language at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Canada, Government of Canada, Statistics. "Language Highlight Tables, 2016 Census - Aboriginal mother tongue, Aboriginal language spoken most often at home and Other Aboriginal language(s) spoken regularly at home for the population excluding institutional residents of Canada, provinces and territories, 2016 Census – 100% Data". Retrieved 2017-11-17.
  3. ^ FirstVoices: Kwadacha Tsek'ene Community Portal