Lesson 7 – Food & Eating

Overview & Goals

This lesson will focus on visiting with others around meals.

After this lesson, you should be able to sit and discuss multiple topics keeping a conversation going by asking questions, or by spurring dialogue through listening cues (aaha’, Å‚yaa lee, etc.) for the length of time it takes to drink one cup of tea.

Lesson Videos


A  classifier  is a  word used to  accompany  nouns  and can be considered to “classify” the noun in some way.

Å‚ classifier

The general pattern for the Å‚ classifer can be seen in common verbs such as “aÅ‚tsii’ (“I am making‘), aÅ‚vir (“I am boiling‘), and aÅ‚ch’yaa (“I am cooking‘).


to make (T) -tsii
ałtsii I make
Ä…htsii you make
ahtsii  yahtsii heÅ‚she makes
tr’ahtsii we make
ohtsii you guys’ make
gahtsii  giyahtsii they make


to boil (T) -vir
ałvir I am boiling
Ä…hvir you are boiling
ahvir  yahvir heÅ‚she is boiling
tr’ahvir we are boiling
ohvir you guys’ are boiling
gahvir  giyahvir they are boiling


to fryÅ‚to cook (T) -ch’yaa
aÅ‚ch’yaa I am cooking
Ä…hch’yaa you are cooking
ahch’yaa  yahch’yaa heÅ‚she is cooking
tr’ahch’yaa we are cooking
ohch’yaa you guys’ are cooking
gahch’yaa  giyahch’yaa they are cooking


The Å‚ classifier pattern:

Active Stative
1st singular -ał-
2nd singular -Ä…h-
3rd singular ah-
1st plural tr’ah-; -rah-
2nd plural -oh-
3rd plural -gah-

d classifier

“Cheeshandak’ has been the only example of the d classifier so far, the classifier pattern between the prefix “chee-“ and the stem “—ndak’. A unique characteristic of the d classifier appears in 3rd person singular: if a prefix occurs before the classifier then the classifer marker is omitted. For instance, “cheendak’ (“he/she is tired‘) has no classifier marker. If there is no prefix before the d classifier marker in a verb, a “dÑ—-“ marks 3rd person singular. This can be seen in the verbs shi’įį’ (“I have ___‘) and shinįį (“I am drinking ___’).

to have (T) Stem -‘įį
shi’įį I have
ni’įį you have
di’įį he/she has
tr’ii’įį we have
khwi’įį you guys’ have
gi’įį they have


to drink* (T) Stem -nįį
shinįį I am drinking
ninįį you are drinking
dinįį he/she is drinking
tr’iinįį we are drinking
khwinįį you guys’ are drinking
giinįį they are drinking
* Cannot be used with alcohol


The d classifier pattern:

Active Stative
1st singular -shÑ—-
2nd singular -nÑ—-
3rd singular Ø; dї-
1st plural tr’ii-; -rii-
2nd plural -khwÑ—-
3rd plural -gii-


lidii-     tea

chuutyah-   cup

shungaii- sugar

ch’eedzit shungaii- honey

spun- Spoon

k’ik – plate

laagahfii – coffee

Å‚uh gąįį faa – cookies

Å‚uh ch’yaa – bread

khwaii luh chyaa – frybread

_____ shin’ii. – I am drinking (water).

_____  nin’ii. – You are drinking (water).

_____ in’aa. – You are eating (fish).

_____ ih’aa. – I am eating (fish).

Å‚uk – salmon

Å‚uk choh – king salmon

ch’izhur, dinjik – moose

nilii tee chu’ – soup

vanh gwa shii – breakfast

drin tÅ‚’an gwa shii – lunch

khąą gwashii – dinner

jyah – snacks

shih gwanlii – food

k’iktan- china, porcelain

_____yihthan –   I want _____

_______yindhan?   Do you want____?



____________Hininjyaa – Will you drink ________

___________ Hishinjyaa – I will drink __________




This week you will go to the website  https://www.uaf.edu/anla/ and search for an Elder’s story which is either spoken or written in Gwich’in and has an English transcript.

Create a new post on this site and describe the story in English. Imagine what you would want to ask of the elder if you were having a conversation or what you would like to say.   Type it out your questions to the elder in English and Gwichin in your post.

Songs and Music

When we think of gathering people together for eating, we also might think of listening to music and telling stories. View the resource page on Songs and Stories if you haven’t yet.