Most of the Dakelh language material on this site is written in the Carrier Linguistic Committee (CLC) writing system. This writing system, developed in the 1960s by the Carrier Linguistic Committee in Fort Saint James, is the most widely used writing system for Dakelh. It is used for all of the dialects of Dakelh in the narrow sense, but not for Babine/Witsuwit'en, for which it is unsuited.
Here is an explanation of the principal phonetic values of the symbols in this writing system. As it is a phonemic writing system, there is some allophonic variation not described here. The last column gives the equivalents using International Phonetic Alphabet symbols.
No dialect of Dakelh has underlying vowel length contrasts, but some dialects do have classical phonemic vowel length distinctions due to the presence of derived long vowels. These have generally not been written, but in some recent materials vowel length is indicated by a colon, e.g. a: for long a.
Dakelh appears to have a pitch-accent system of the Japanese type. As the system is not well understood, there is no standard for the marking of tone, but high tone is marked from time to time by an acute accent, e.g. á for high-toned a.
Yinka Déné Language Institute © 2006