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Alutiiq in Correspondence

by April Laktonen Counceller

I almost always use Alutiiq greetings in my emails and letters.  It shows people the pride I have for my heritage and my desire to preserve our language.  There are also many circumstances, where Native language phrases can be an asset in a social, business, or educational context.  Alutiiq language use in correspondence help you make a good impression when applying for a scholarship, comunicating with a potential employer, or working with an Elder.  To incorporate Alutiiq greetings into your correspondence, try adding a few of the commonly used terms below.

When you use these terms, think carefully about their context.  Some words may require translation, depending on your recipient.  Many people wont know the meaning of Asirtuten-qaa? (How Are You?), but words like Cama’i (Hello) may need no explanation.  This is especially true if your message supports the word's meaning.  For instance, most people could figure out the meaning of “Quyanaa for helping me with my term paper!”  So the next time you are writing a letter, try adding an Alutiiq greeting.  Just remember to show respect for our language by spelling words correctly.  Niu’uqurciqamken camiku (I’ll talk to you soon)!

Alutiiq Phrases for Correspondence

Alutiiq Word Translation Comments
Cama’i Hello

Yup’ik and Inupiaq speakers also use this word, and is well-known

throughout Alaska.

Quyanaa Thank You

Yup’ik and Inupiaq speakers also use this word, but it can have

different spellings.

Quyanaasinaq Thank You Very Much Don’t overuse this one, just as you shouldn’t in English!
Asirtuten-qaa? How Are You? This literally means “You are good-Yes/No?”
Tang’rciqamken I’ll see you later

Use this word in place of “Sincerely.” It is the closest Alutiiq term to

“Goodbye”.

Carlia’arluten. Take care of yourself. Used to express caring for another person.