Athabaskan Languages

Sharon Hargus

in Linguistics

ISBN: 9780199772810
Published online October 2011 | | DOI:
Athabaskan Languages

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  • Linguistics
  • Anthropological Linguistics
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The Athabaskan family of languages is or was spoken in primarily three regions: (1) in the interior of Alaska and much of western Canada, (2) in northwestern California and southwestern Oregon, and (3) in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico. Alternate spellings of Athabaskan are Athapaskan (used now mainly by Canadian linguists), Athabascan (the official spelling in Alaska since the early 1990s but not widely used), and Athapascan (in some older publications). The family has been recognized as such since 1826 (Krauss 1981, cited in Histories), and the Cree etymology of the family name is discussed in Krauss 1973 (cited in Bibliographies and State-of-the-Art Reports). The languages are most famous (or infamous) for their position-class verbal morphology, recent tonogenesis, and the “yi-/bi- alternation.” One challenge in understanding the literature on any language family is keeping track of language names. For most of the languages, the recent trend has been to refer to a language by a name or spelling that speakers prefer or one that reflects speakers’ pronunciation rather than Anglicization. Examples of this for languages discussed in this bibliography are Babine-Witsuwit’en (older name Babine), Dakelh (older name Carrier), Dene Sųɬiné or Dëne Sųɬiné (older name Chipewyan), Deg Xinag (older name Ingalik), Gwich’in (older names Kutchin, Loucheux), Tsuut’ina (older name Sarcee), Tsek’ene (older name Sekani), Dena’ina (older name Tanaina), and Navajo (older name Navaho). In the annotations I refer to the languages by the names used by the authors.

Article.  11569 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Anthropological Linguistics ; Language Families ; Psycholinguistics ; Sociolinguistics

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