Lesson 5 – Conversation Focus

Overview & Goals

This lesson will focus on engaging in informal chats and keeping fluent speakers talking to increase language learners exposure to language. Lessons this week focus on a list of helpful words, phrases, and questions to help you interact with others. Remember, if you can’t remember how to say something, just ask – Nats’ahts  Å‚s’à  ____ gwinyaa?

At the end of this lesson, you will feel more confident in your ability to converse with others in a natural style and succeed with keeping conversation moving.

Challenge: When you meet a Gwich’in speaker, say  Shah Giniikhii  – “speak with me” in Gwich’in!

Lesson Videos


There is no single word meaning “hello’ in Gwich’in, instead when greeting a person one says “Neenjit doonch’yàa?’ (How are you?).

Jill: Neenjit doonch’yàa?
Rick: Sheenjit gwinzįi. Nan aii yù’?   (I am good. And you?)
Jill: Shii chan. (me too)

In General

The “gwÑ—-‘ and “g-‘ that appear in words like gwihch’ii’, gwinzįį, gwiizųų, and gwànlįį, serves to mark something that is being spoken of in general or that a large area is being covered. For instance, “Sheenjit gwinzįį’ means “I am fine (in general)’.  


Study the following conversational sentences and words. Start using them in your interactions.


Neenjit doonch’yàa? – How are you?

Sheenjit gwinzįi. Nan aii yù’?    – I am fine, and you?

Shii chan. – me too

Shii – me

Nan – you

Adan/yaghà‘ – he/she

Sheenjit gwiizųų – I am angry

Shoo ihłįį – I am happy

Shizhit gwiÅ‚ts’ik – I am hungry

Nihthaa – I am warm

Ihdluu – I am cold

Naljat – I am scared

Cheeshandak – I am tired

Vàatr’ashôoÅ‚chì’ – I am sleepy

_______ sheen tÅ‚’in’aii. – Give me the ________.

Dzaa’ – Here.

Chee jiÅ‚ haÅ‚’aa – I will go fishing.

DehtÅ‚’yee akin alii – I am reading a book.

K’eech’aÅ‚ kaii. – I am sewing.

Traa ihÅ‚il. – I am hauling wood.

Han sheets’eehin jyaa shroo? – Can you help me?

Gwaa shriineeqwih’aii – I am cleaning up.

K’ik k’eetraÅ‚tryaa – (?)

Deegwaahee’yaa? – What are we going to do?

Deeni’yaa? – What are you going to do?

Jidii tr’eehee’aa? – (?)

Jidii oin’aa indhan? – What do you want to eat?

_____ oi’aa nihdhan. – I want to eat (chips).

Jidii indhan? – What do you want?

_____ nihdhan. I want (an apple).

Nihjyaa ts’a’ t’eeshi’yaa? – How am I supposed to do this?

Jyaats’a’ reh. – Like this.

Nijingwats’a’? – to where?

Neeyii ghan nąįį juu t’inch’yaa? – Who are your parents?

Shiyiighan nąįį t’ee _______ ts’a’________. – My parents are _______ and _________.

Nigin gwalii? –  Do you have any children?

Aaha’. – yes.

Akwaa. – no.

Neejin gweedhaa? – What time is it?

________ neeqwindhat. – The time is (1 o’clock).

Deiinyaa? – What did you say?

Duulee – maybe

Veet’ihdhan. – I like it.

Veetr’ii’ee. – I don’t like it.

Łyaa veet’ihdhan. – I love it.

Nijin? – Where?

Nijindhaa’aii? – Where is it?

Nijin gwaats’a’ hinkhaii? – Where are you going?

Nijin gwats’an inlii? – Where are you from?

______ gwats’an ihÅ‚ii. – I am from (Beaver, Alaska).

Mahsi’ – Thank you.

aaha’ – (Yes) You are welcome.

Nahjyahts’a’ _______ gwinyaa? –  How do you say ______?

_______ jyaa gwinyaa. – We say ________.

Kha ginkhii. – Speak slowly.

Geegwal’ee. – I am learning.


(100 points)

  1. Record a video of yourself having a conversation with someone. Speak in Gwich’in as much as possible using the new vocabulary from this week. If you cannot find anyone to speak Gwich’in with, you may have to rollplay both parts of the conversation! Your video should include at least 10 question/answers.
  2. Upload the video to YouTube with the ’unlisted’ or ’public’ permission.
  3. Create a new post on this website with the category ’conversations’. In this post, paste the URL (web address) to your video. In English, reflect a bit about your experience in trying Gwich’in conversation and making the video.  (Did you have any challenges with this lesson? Did you have any specific successes? etc.

Need help? See: How to make a blog post.