Athapaskan: Slave

Keren Rice

in The Oxford Handbook of Compounding

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780199695720
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

 Athapaskan: Slave

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  • Linguistics
  • Grammar, Syntax and Morphology
  • Language Families


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Compounds in the Athapaskan language Slave ([slevi]), also called Dene ([dene]), a language of northern Canada, have a set of properties that raise interesting analytic challenges. One is perhaps common to many languages, and concerns the definition of a compound. A second challenge to understanding Slave compounds relates to the phonological patterning of fricative-initial stems as a non-initial element of a compound. Stem-initial fricatives alternate between voiceless and voiced in Slave. The conditions that determine the distribution of voicing are interesting and complex, and occupy much of this chapter. Section 30.1 begins with a discussion of the definition of compounds in the Athapaskan literature. Section 30.2 provides an overview of the lexical categories that enter into compounds in Slave. Sections 30.3 through 30.6 examine structural, semantic, and phonological properties of compounds, proposing a division of compounds into three major types that are distinguished in their structures, semantics, and phonologies.

Keywords: Athapaskan language; compounds; compounding; Slave compounds; voicing

Article.  7281 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Grammar, Syntax and Morphology ; Language Families

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