Alaskan Languages:

There are twenty Alaska native languages. Eskimo-Aleut is one language family, with Aleutian Aleut as one branch, and Eskimo as the other. There are four Eskimo languages in Alaska, three of them Yupik (Alutiiq [Sugpiaq], Central Yupik, and Siberian Yupik), and the other Inupiaq. Athabaskan-Eyak-Tlingit is another language family, with the nearly extinct Eyak as one branch and all the Athabaskan languages as another. Tlingit is in some ways distantly related to both. There are eleven Athabaskan languages in Alaska, differing from each other to varying degrees. Haida is a completely different language, spoken also in Canada. Tsimshian is also a completely different language, spoken mostly in Canada. The inset map of North America shows the great spread of Inupiaq Eskimo across Canada and Greenland, and of Athabaskan though Canada, in Oregon and California, and in the Southwest (Navajo and Apache).
Alaska Languages:
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Each Alaska native language has its own intricate beauty, a highly complex and regular grammar and enormous vocabulary. This has been developed by the people over the thousands of years they have lived in this area. Recently the history of these languages has been tragic. From about 1900 until the 1960s, native languages were severely suppressed. Children were punished for speaking their native language in school. They were forced to abandon their language, in order to speak English only. In 1972, the Alaska State Legislature passed the Bilingual Education bill, giving children the right to use and cultivate their native language in school, and also established the Alaska Native Language Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The following table gives selected statistics from the 2000 census for language spoken at home by persons five years old and over.

Population 5 years and over 579,740 100.0
Speak only English 496,982 85.7
Speak a language other than English 82,758 14.3
Speak a language other than English 82,758 14.3
Other Native North American languages 30,121 5.2
Spanish or Spanish Creole 16,674 2.9
Tagalog 8,934 1.5
Korean 4,369 0.8
German 3,574 0.6
Russian 2,952 0.5
Other Pacific Island languages 2,591 0.4
French (incl. Patois, Cajun) 2,197 0.4
Japanese 1,392 0.2
Chinese 1,295 0.2

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