Athabaskan (Dene’) Language

Athabaskan or Athabascan (also Dene, Athapascan, Athapaskan) is the language of a large group of indigenous peoples of North America, located in two main Southern and Northern groups in western North America and in Alaska.
The four spellings: “Athabaskan”, “Athabascan”, “Athapaskan”, and “Athapascan,” are in approximately equal use. Particular communities may prefer one spelling over another. For example, the Alaska Native Language Center prefers the spelling “Athabascan,” following a decision in favor of this spelling in 1997 by the Tanana Chiefs Conference. Michael Krauss had previously endorsed the spelling “Athabaskan” (1987). Ethnologue uses “Athapaskan” in naming the language family and individual languages.The word Athabaskan is an anglicized version of a Cree language name for Lake Athabasca (Cree: Aδapaska˙w “[where] there are reeds one after another”) in Canada. The name was assigned by Albert Gallatin in his 1836 classification of the languages of North America.The Athabaskan language family is the second largest language family in North America in terms of number of languages and the number of speakers, following the Uto-Aztecan family which extends into Mexico.
In terms of territory, only the Algic language family covers a larger area. Most Athabaskans prefer to be identified by their specific language and location; however, the general term persists in linguistics and anthropology despite alternative suggestions such as Dene’. In 2012 the annual Athabaskan Languages Conference changed its name to the Dene’ Languages Conference.
Athabaskan-Eyak Language Group
Eyak and Athabaskan together form a genealogical linguistic grouping called Athabaskan–Eyak (AE) – well demonstrated through consistent sound correspondences, extensive shared vocabulary, and cross-linguistically unique homologies in both verb and noun morphology.
Athabaskan Languages

Apachean Languages
Eastern Apache
Dine (Navajo)
Western Apache
Northern Athabaskan Languages
Central Alaska-Yukon Athabascan Languages
Degexit’an (Ingalik)
Lower Tanana
Upper Tanana
Upper Kuskokwim
Southern Alaskan Athabascan Languages
Ahtna (Ahtena)
Central British Columbia Athapaskan Languages
Dakelh (Carrier, Yinka Dene)
Northwest Canadian Athapaskan Languages
Kaskan Languages (Nahanni)
Dane-zaa (Beaver)
Dene Suline (Chipewyan)
Dene Tha (Slavey)
Tsuu T’ina (Sarcee)
Pacific Coast Athabaskan Languages
Oregon Athabaskan Languages


Upper Umpqua
California Athabaskan Languages
Wailaki (Sinkyone/Lassik)

Eyak is the other language in the Athabaskan-Eyak family.
Tlingit is distantly related to the Athabaskan–Eyak group to form the Na-Dené family – also known as Athabaskan–Eyak–Tlingit (AET). With Jeff Leer’s 2010 advances, the reconstructions of Na-Dene (or Athabascan-Eyak-Tlingit) consonants, this latter grouping is considered by Alaskan linguists to be a well-demonstrated family. Because both Tlingit and Eyak are fairly remote from the Athabaskan languages in terms of their sound systems, comparison is usually done between them and the reconstructed Proto-Athabaskan language. This resembles both Tlingit and Eyak much more than most of the daughter languages in the Athabaskan family.
Possibly Athabaskan:
Although Ethnologue still gives the Athabaskan family as a relative of Haida in their definition of the Na-Dene family, linguists who work actively on Athabaskan languages discount this position. The Alaska Native Language Center, for example, takes the position that recent improved data on Haida have served to conclusively disprove the Haida-inclusion hypothesis. They have determined Haida  to be unrelated to Athabaskan languages.
New Hypothesis:
The major advance in Athabaskan and Na-Dene external classification resulted from a symposium in Alaska in February 2008. Edward Vajda of Western Washington University summarized ten years of research, based on verbal morphology and reconstructions of the proto-languages, indicating that the Yeniseian and Na-Dené families might be related. Vajda’s research was published in June 2010 in The Dene–Yeniseian Connection in the Anthropological Papers of the University of Alaska (ISBN 978-0-615-43296-0).

Tolowa Indians

August 14, 2017

The Tolowa Indians constituted one of the divisions into which the California peoples of the Athapascan linguistic stock are divided, but they were closely connected with the Athapascan tribes of Oregon immediately to the north.

Athabaskan (Dene') Language
August 14, 2017

The Dakubetede were an Athapascan tribe of Oregon which extended slightly beyond the northern border of California. The Dakubetede belonged to the Athapascan linguistic stock, using a dialect identical with that of the Taltushtuntude.

Athabaskan (Dene') Language
November 24, 2014

The Athabaskan people originally lived in what is now Alaska and Northern Canada. In the 1500s they began a slow migration South. The Athabaskan people we now know as Apaches migrated as far as southern Texas and Mexico.

Athabaskan (Dene') Language

Navajo language

March 11, 2014

Navajo (Diné bizaad), pronounced Navaho, is an Athabaskan language of Na-Dené stock spoken in the southwestern United States. It is geographically and linguistically one of the Southern Athabaskan languages although the majority of Athabaskan languages are spoken in northwest Canada and Alaska. Navajo has more speakers than any other Native American language north of the […]

Apachean Languages
April 22, 2002

DULCE – Wilhelmina Phone, 72, stores an ancient treasure in her memory: a language known only to a dwindling handful of Jicarilla Apaches. Once each month, she and two other fluent Jicarilla speakers meet in Dulce with University of New Mexico linguists to develop the first-ever Jicarilla dictionary.

Apachean Languages