Western Apache language
The Western Apache language is a Southern Athabaskan language
Southern Athabaskan languages
Southern Athabaskan is a subfamily of Athabaskan languages spoken primarily in the North American Southwest with two outliers in Oklahoma and Texas...

 spoken by over 12,000 of the Western Apache
Western Apache
Western Apache refers to the Apache peoples living today primarily in east central Arizona. Most live within reservations. The White Mountain Apache of the Fort Apache, San Carlos, Yavapai-Apache, Tonto Apache, and the Fort McDowell Mohave-Apache Indian reservations are home to the majority of...

 peoples living primarily in east central Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

. Goodwin (1938) claims that Western Apache can be divided into five dialect groupings:
  • Cibecue,
  • Northern Tonto,
  • Southern Tonto,
  • San Carlos
  • White Mountain

Other researchers do not find any linguistic evidence for five groups, but rather three main varieties with several subgroupings:
  • San Carlos
  • White Mountain
  • Tonto
    Tonto Apache
    The Tonto Apache is one of the groups of Western Apache people. The term is also used for their dialect, one of the three dialects of the Western Apache language...

Western Apache is most closely related to other Southern Athabaskan languages like Navajo
Navajo language
Navajo or Navaho is an Athabaskan language spoken in the southwestern United States. It is geographically and linguistically one of the Southern Athabaskan languages .Navajo has more speakers than any other Native American language north of the...

, Chiricahua Apache
Chiricahua language
Mescalero-Chiricahua is a Southern Athabaskan language spoken by the Mescalero and Chiricahua tribes in Oklahoma and New Mexico. It is related to Navajo and Western Apache. Mescalero-Chiricahua has been described in great detail by the anthropological linguist Harry Hoijer , especially in Hoijer &...

, Mescalero Apache
Mescalero is an Apache tribe of Southern Athabaskan Native Americans. The tribe is federally recognized as the Mescalero Apache Tribe of the Mescalero Apache Reservation in southcentral New Mexico...

, Lipan Apache
Lipan language
Lipan is an Eastern Southern Athabaskan language spoken by the Lipan Apache. In 1981 it was claimed there were only a few elderly speakers still alive, and it is possible that it has become extinct since then.-Extinction:...

, Plains Apache
Plains Apache
The Plains Apache are a Southern Athabaskan group that traditionally live on the Southern Plains of North America and today are centered in Southwestern Oklahoma...

, and Jicarilla Apache
Jicarilla Apache
Jicarilla Apache refers to the members of the Jicarilla Apache Nation currently living in New Mexico and speaking a Southern Athabaskan language...


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