There are a handful of words that are commonly heard in a conversation that is unique to Alaska, and you’re less likely to hear in other states. From the ALCAN highway to subsistence, floatplanes, and mudflats, Alaskan’s have a variety of words that correlate with their one-of-a-kind lifestyle.
If you’re from Alaska or have spent time in the state, check to see if any of these words are familiar to you! Some of the words are used in other places, of course, but they will undoubtedly be understood by Alaskans all over the state.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now: https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/nominate/
What other words would you add to this list? Do you recognize these words that are unique to Alaska? Let us know in the comments below!
What unique words and phrases do people in Alaska say?
Going even more in depth than the list above, there’s quite a few phrases you’ll see being used in Alaska that you won’t hear anywhere else. A “Cheechako,” for instance, if a newcomer to Alaska that hasn’t lived through their first winter just yet. The “Alcan” refers to the Alaska-Canada highway, which is the most popular way to move to Alaska. Traveling this road is truly life changing! “Breakup” is a commonly used phrase to describe what happens to winter in the spring. The ice and snow “break up,” melting everywhere and leaving Alaska a soggy, muddy mess. There’s a wonderful language of Alaska slang in this state, that refers to life out here in the “Great Land,” which is of course our nickname for the greatest state in the United States!
Do Alaskans have any strange habits?
We have many habits born out of necessity that may seem strange to people from the lower 48. We take our shoes off before entering our homes, because glacial silt and grit are extremely hard to get out of your home once it has entered. Also your boots are usually a wet mess when you go inside the house after a tromp around in the snow, and it’s best to leave them to dry in the mud room or arctic entryway of your home. We also celebrate Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, and Summer Solstice, the longest and brightest day of the year. Many people from Outside think that our obsession with daylight and the celebration at the height of seasons is a little much, but when your days are dictated by the weather and the light like they are in Alaska, you learn to appreciate every season in this glorious state.
Casea Peterson grew up archery hunting, fishing, and camping throughout the Pacific Northwest. Motivated by her love for the outdoors she moved to Alaska to attend school and to spend time exploring the last frontier. If she doesn’t have a pen in hand or her nose in a book, she can be found out on a lake or up in the woods around a fire with friends.
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