Talk:Athabaskan languages

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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Athabaskan languages:

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    1. Brief mention of the proposals for genetic relationships, especially the widely accepted link to Eyak and Tlingit, but also the controversial inclusion of Haida in the Na-Dene family. Just a brief info, nothing more ;-)
    2. Some shared (typological, regarding morphology, syntax, and so on) characteristics
    3. Regular correspondences, if possible.
    • Feel free to add other points as well. --Pet'usek [petrdothrubisatgmaildotcom] 09:30, 5 February 2008 (UTC)


    Is there any particular reason that this page was created separately from the original Athabaskan page? It seems to me that it should just redirect to the other page, with any additional information incorporated into that page. They are, as far as I can tell, only variant spellings of each other, and so do not warrant separate pages. If you don't want me to change this back to a redirect, let me know soon.

    Lambda 18:14, 20 Feb 2004 (UTC)


    Are there Navajo and Apache in Texas? -- Zoe

    there may be. some Apache groups are native to Texas, namely Mescalero and Lipan, and maybe Jicarilla. of course, as is well known, they had been forced elsewhere. Navajos are a little further west, but perhaps some Navajos have left their homelands to settle in Texas territory. — ishwar  (SPEAK) 06:32, 2005 May 20 (UTC)

    moved from Na-Dené languages[edit]

    probably should incorporate this info into this article

    list too long?[edit]

    hi. this list with all dialects/sublangs too long? there is the common problem (here as well as in other families) where dialects have historically been called distinct languages & where distinct languages have been called by the same name. this was my original reason for the inclusion of many dialects. however, it is rather lengthy.

    what does someone else think? peace – ishwar  (speak) 19:54, 2005 Jun 23 (UTC)

    I'm relatively new to Wikipedia, so this question might look stupid: is it possible to create tree-lists? I mean those with the wrappable branches and subbranches (clicking on the little [+] would unwrap the branch and show the subbranches). If it's not possible here, perhaps we should suggest this feature to the Wiki-developers. What's your opinion? --Pet'usek 12:44, 18 March 2006 (UTC) (Czech Republic)
    I dont believe that this is possible yet. Yes, a good suggestion. – ishwar  (speak) 15:21, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

    simpler list[edit]

    at any rate below is the pruned list

      1. Central Alaska – Yukon
        1. Deg Xinag
        2. Gwich’in
        3. Hän
        4. Holikachuk
        5. Koyukon
        6. Tanacross
        7. Lower Tanana
        8. Upper Tanana
        9. Tutchone
        10. Upper Kushokwin
      2. Southern Alaskan
        1. Ahtna
        2. Dena’ina
      3. Central British Columbia
        1. Babine
        2. Dakelh
        3. Chilcotin
      4. Kwalhioqua-Tlatskanai
        1. Kwalhioqua-Clatskanie
      5. Northwestern Canada
        1. Beaver
        2. Chipewyan
        3. Dogrib
        4. Sekani
        5. Slave (Bearlake, Hare, Mountain, Slavey)
        6. Tahltan (Tahltan, Kaska, Tagish)
      6. Sarsi
        1. Sarsi
      7. Tsetsaut
        1. Tsetsaut
      1. California
        1. Hupa (Chilula, Hupa)
        2. Mattole-Bear River
        3. Eel River (Cahto, Lassik, Nongatl, Sinkyone, Wailaki)
      2. Oregon
        1. Upper Umpqua
        2. Rogue River
        3. Galice-Applegate
        4. Tolowa
      1. Plains
        1. Plains Apache
      2. Western
        1. Chiricahua-Mescalero
        2. Navajo
        3. Western Apache
      3. Eastern
        1. Jicarilla
        2. Lipan

    Need better picture[edit]

    The Athabascan languages were traditionally spoken over a huge area in Canada and Alaska. We need to illustrate this. The current picture, which only shows the southern N. America areas, is woefully inadequate. Can anyone come up with something? — Nowhither 22:51, 23 August 2005 (UTC)

    Sure, just need more time. Here is the distribution of Athabaskan-Eyak-Tlingit including northern, Pacific, and southern Athabaskan.

    Na-Dene langs.png

    I ultimately envision a big picture map of the distribution over the entire continent and 3 more detailed maps showing every individual language in the 3 geographic regions. peace – ishwar  (speak) 05:47, 2005 August 24 (UTC)
    That sounds like a great idea. In the mean time, I've replaced the pic on the article page with your more comprehensive pic. — Nowhither 19:06, 24 August 2005 (UTC)


    Is Proto-Athabaskan really reconstructed as having two vowels? Campbell 1997 says that Krauss and Golla 1981, Krauss 1979, and Cook and Rice 1989 reconstruct i, u, e ([æ]), a ([ɔ]), and "reduced vowels" α, ə, and ʊ. --Whimemsz 02:02, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

    hi. no, there are 7 vowels as you say. i just havent finished writing it. if you know it, please add. peace – ishwar  (speak) 16:28, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
    the vowels are important in the development of tone. it is a bit complicated. a nice book on Athabaskan prosody was published just this year that is useful. i was going to write something one day, but i am sidetracked now. i'll just take out the vowels until then. – ishwar  (speak) 02:09, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
    Well...I look forward to reading about it when you do! Take care, --Whimemsz 02:17, 19 January 2006 (UTC)


    Having no dictionary of Athabascan languages (nor any other Na-Dene tongues), I cannot do this myself. But could someone possibly make a list of basic vocabulary items (Dolgopolski's 15-, Yakhontov's 35-, Swadesh's 100- or 200-word list) or, at least, give me some information on where I could find an on-line dictionary of any Athabascan language? Thank you very much in advance.

    --Pet'usek 12:40, 18 March 2006 (UTC) (Czech Republic)

    I dont believe that there is an online dictionary. (I wish there were.) Look up the work of Michael Krauss & Jeff Leer to see reconstructed forms of Proto-Athabascan, Pre-Proto-Athabascan, and Proto-Athabascan-Eyak. (Pre-Proto-Athabascan is an internally reconstructed language intermediate between Proto-Athabascan and Proto-Athabascan-Eyak.) I dont know how developed Proto-Athabascan-Eyak-Tlingit is — you would have to ask Jeff Leer about that. He does has a large database of forms in manuscript form, but I dont know if it is electronic. – ishwar  (speak) 15:26, 29 May 2006 (UTC) (maybe you can ask User:Billposer what he knows).
    also look at John Enrico's recent article in Anthro. Ling. & Heinz-Jürgen Pinnow's work. – ishwar  (speak) 20:56, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

    Genealogical relationships[edit]

    There should be a brief mention of the (Athabaskan+Eyak), ((Athabaskan+Eyak)+Tlingit), as well as of the controversial ((Athabaskan+Eyak)+Tlingit)(+Haida) link, I think. Let me add a To-Do list to the talk page - anyone can expand the list or remove individual items. --Pet'usek [petrdothrubisatgmaildotcom] 09:25, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

    Split peoples with languages?[edit]

    The intro gives the impression that Athabaskan can also refer to a group of indigenous peoples of America. Perhaps the peoples should be split from this page on linguistics? Saimdusan Talk|Contribs 08:00, 24 February 2009 (UTC)

    Family Tree outline is a mess[edit]

    The numbering/hierarchy in a family tree outline needs to be consistent. The numbering as it is is confusing and thus makes the relationships and hierarchy not very clear. Azalea pomp (talk) 19:04, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

    concept of recent migration[edit]

    When was the idea first proposed that Athabaskan/Na-Dene was a more recent migration to America than other families? Was it Greenberg, or did he adopt a preexisting view? kwami (talk) 21:35, 14 January 2010 (UTC)

    Edward Sapir said it in something like 1921, and many others said it before Greenberg did. See: (that's a large pdf file) Nosliw1 (talk) 17:35, 14 September 2010 (UTC)

    There are citations for Kari 2009 & 1989 but no references[edit]

    I suspect that Kari 1989 refers to: Kari, James. 1989. Affix Positions and Zones in the Athabaskan Verb Complex: Ahtna and Navajo. International Journal of American Linguistics 55:424-455

    I have no idea what "Kari 2009" refers to though. Does anyone know? Nosliw1 (talk) 17:44, 14 September 2010 (UTC)

    Kwalhioqua–Tlatskanai language[edit]

    The page of Kwalhioqua–Tlatskanai language (or Kwalhioqua–Clatskanie) created on the North Frisian wikipedia: frr:Kwalhioqua–Tlatskanai spriak. The page has only on the frr Wikipedia --Kmoksy (talk) 02:58, 29 August 2011 (UTC)

    Number of Athabaskan speakers[edit]

    "The Athabaskan family is the second largest family in North America in terms of number of languages and the number of speakers..." I read this to mean that there are more Athabaskan speakers than English speakers in North America. Surely that is not correct. (talk) 09:14, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

    The Indo-European family is the largest family in North America in terms of number of speakers (includes English). The Athabaskan family is the second largest. Second largest. —Stephen (talk) 12:18, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

    Siletz (Oregon) Mention?[edit]

    Should the Siletz be mentioned? c.f. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:36, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

    It's Tillamook. — kwami (talk) 05:58, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

    Where is the page Athabascan peoples ?[edit]

    question has been answered; Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 13:40, 28 October 2012 (UTC)
    The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

    The new page for Alaskan Athabascans (a part of Athabascan peoples) in the Turkish Wikipedia (tr:Alaska Atabaskları) created. --Kmoksy (talk) 21:03, 27 October 2012 (UTC)

    there is no such group. this is a language-group, not a cultural/ethnic community. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 00:23, 28 October 2012 (UTC)
    The pages ATHABASCANS (or ATHABASCAN PEOPLES or ATHABASCAN-SPEAKING PEOPLES) and ALASKAN ATHABASKANS are encyclopaedic! The Cultures of Alaska: 1) Athabascan; 2) Unangax and Alutiiq (Sugpiaq); 3) Yup’ik and Cup’ik; 4) Inupiaq and St. Lawrence Island Yupik; 5) Eyak, Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian. The Alaskan Athabascans is one of the five cultures of Alaska Natives and encyclopaedic by The page Athabascan peoples is encyclopaedic, just as Algonquian peoples. The page "Athabascans" in the German (de:Athabasken) and Romanian (ro:Athabasca (popor)) Wikipedias. --Kmoksy (talk) 09:27, 28 October 2012 (UTC)

    The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

    Athabaskan ≈ Basque Kinship?[edit]

    Disappointed there is no mention of possible Athabaskan ~ Basque kinship. A web search of the question 'Basque language ≈ Athabascan?' yields many references. When I first heard about the theory, I got a Basque-English dictionary. The word 'dene' ~ 'people' was listed and 'atha' ~ 'away.' So, this seems to suggest that Athabascan = Away-Basques, which would make a lot of sense. Of course, their genome would have picked up new elements from Yenisei tribes and others. hgwb (talk) 07:30, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

    It is not a notable theory and therefore should not be included. There are theories of relationships between basques and pretty much every other language group in the world. The word "Athabascan" is not itself the athabascan name for the athabascan speakers, and Basque people don't call them salves "basque". So your proposed etymology double fails.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 11:11, 31 July 2013 (UTC
    Sorry for my nonsensical etymology, see Lake Athabasca which is Cree. But see Dené–Caucasian languages for what some experts have thought, albeit controversially.hgwb (talk) 11:09, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

    Internal classification[edit]

    If the Northern group varies about as much as the entire family, how valid is the subgrouping as presented? --JorisvS (talk) 20:53, 22 March 2014 (UTC)

    Washington Chilcotin?[edit]

    The article lists Chilcotin and Nicola as Athapaskan languages of Washington. As far as I know Chilcotin is restricted to BC, and Nicola is a Salishan group (and not a language - though an Athapaskan migrant group did reside with them at one point, long since vanished or assimilated). Is there something here I am missing? (talk) 07:32, 9 October 2014 (UTC)

    Turkic origin?[edit]

    A question: "Ata baskan" means "father president" in Turkish, furthermore "ATHABASKAN BRAINSTEM DYSGENESIS SYNDROME" exists in Atabaskans and Turkish people. [1] Did anybody think this? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Bilgin adem (talkcontribs) 21:05, 23 September 2015 (UTC)

    Athabaskan vs Na-Dene distributions[edit]

    This article is confusing because it uses the Na-Dene languages distribution <> for a map. What's the Athabaskan distribution, though? --Makkachin (talk) 13:16, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

    Since Tlingit is spoken in a very small area and Eyak is not spoken anymore (and was also spoken in a very small area) the distribution is almost identical. You would just have to remove one of the small dots in Washington State - I am not sure which one.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 17:26, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
    Coastal Alaskan panhandle and a little bit of northwestern BC is Tlingit territory, so the map is not far off. Megalophias (talk) 20:10, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
    Thanks for the answer! :-) --Makkachin (talk) 20:40, 23 January 2016 (UTC)

    Assessment comment[edit]

    The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Athabaskan languages/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

    Last edited at 23:46, 26 April 2009 (UTC). Substituted at 08:30, 29 April 2016 (UTC)

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