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Aleut in the United States of America and Russia

Language designations:

  • In the language itself: Unangam Tunuu 1).
  • ISO 639-3 Code sets: 639-2 and 639-3.

Language vitality according to:

Linguistic aspects:

  • Classification: Language Family: Eskimo-Aleut → Language Group: Aleut.See arag1246 at Glottolog for more information.
  • Script: Cyrillic/Latin

Language standardisation

The standardised orthography (was initially) the Cyrillic alphabet 2) and is linked to the Russian orthodox church and the Russian colonisation of Alaska. Nowadays the Latin alphabet is also used by the communities.



Language Area

The map 3) shows the Eskimo-Aleut languages with Aleut in red.

Aleut is spoken in the Aleutian Islands, the Pribilof Islands, and the Alaska Peninsula west of Stepovak Bay with an ethnic population of 2.200 people 4). Dialects: Attu (Western), Atka (Eastern), Unalaska (Eastern).

Speaker numbers

The numbers of speakers are estimated between 150-160 worldwide 5).

Education of the language

History of language education:

No results.

Legislation of language education

Aleut is protected by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In the state of Alaska the right on education in indigenous culture and language is granted by the state law (citation needed). In 1972, the Alaska Bilingual Education Law was enacted and enabled bilingual education; today the demand for this form of education is mainly in the languages Central Yu'pik and Inupiaq 6). In Russia however Aleut education faces some resistance (citation needed), for further details, see section Russian legislation concerning minority languages on the Mercator Wiki page.

National legislation on minority language education

The Pribilof Islands Aleut Communities of St. Paul & St. George Islands are included on the list of Indian Tribes and Tribal governments, that are officially recognized by the U.S.A. and are registered at the government website For more information about legislation on minority languages in the United States of America, see United States of America legislation concerning minority languages.

Support structure for education of the language:

The Alaska Native Language Center offers individual or small-group instruction in special topics. Aleut is one of the topics of seminars, workshops and instruction.

Language learning materials:

Modified: 26-02-2020

Education presence

It is unclear whether the language is being taught in schools at all. In Anchorage three schools are members of the Aleutian School District, which offers a standard for the curriculum including education of Alaskan cultural heritage. Aleut language education, however, is not a part of the standard.

Aleutian school district states, among other things that students should have read “a variety of literature within each of the cultural categories” including Alaska Native/American Indian at level three 7) The website offers Unangax Dance photographs taken at The Festival of Native Arts)). Part of the curriculum is Alaskan Studies, in which students learn to identify languages of Alaska and cultural attributes such as dance, music, hunting, world views and beliefs. Native American bodies on legislation, human rights and recognition are also a separate element of the subject Alaskan Studies. Additionally, Alaskan history classes include the Russian period and the work of various missionaries. Awareness on resources and the effects of altering governments are also discussed.

Cultural education is transmitted too through sports, such as baseball, Aleut style, which differs from the American and Russian baseball form and displays Aleut norms and values8).


There are no outside-class language courses available for students or adults.

University level

Aleut is studied and taught as part of the minor “Alaska Native Languages” at Fairbanks university 9). At a scientific level, Aleut is being preserved and even promoted 10).

Online learning resources

Language resources

YouTube videos

Alaska Native Languages. Unangam Tunuu / Aleut. Retrieved from
2) , 4) , 5)
Endangered Language Projects. Aleut. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Gutman, A. and B. Avanzati. Eskimo-Aleut Languages (2013). The Language Gulper. Retrieved from
Alaska Native Languages Center. Courses Offered (2019). Retrieved from
Csoba DeHass, M., Droulias, A. (2010).Aleut baseball: Cultural creation and innovation through a sporting event, Études/Inuit/Studies , vol. 34, n° 2, p. 21-37
University of Alaska Fairbanks. Alaska Native Languages. (n.d.). Retrieved from
University of Alaska Fairbanks. Alaska Native Language Archive. (n.d.). Retrieved from
languages/aleut_in_russia_and_canada.txt · Last modified: 2020/09/07 12:08 by ydwine

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