- This article is about the Native American language family. For any of the ships called "HMCS Athabaskan" see the disambiguation page HMCS Athabaskan.
Athabaskan or Athabascan (also Athapascan or Athapaskan) is the name of a large group of distantly related Native American peoples, also known as the Athabasca Indians or Athapaskes, located in two main Southern and Northern groups in western North America, and of their language family. The Athabaskan family is the largest family in North American in terms of number of languages and the number of speakers. In terms of territory, only the Algic language family covers a larger area.
The 24 Northern Athabaskan languages are spoken throughout the interior of Alaska and the interior of northwestern Canada. The 7 Pacific Coastal Athabaskan languages are spoken in southern Oregon and northern California. Isolated from the northern and coastal languages, the 6 Southern Athabaskan languages, including the different Apache peoples and Navajo, are spoken in the US Southwest and the northwestern part of Mexico.
Table of contents
Genetic relations outline
The Athabaskan language family is often considered to have three main branches: Northern, Pacific Coast, and Southern. However, there is some discussion of whether the Pacific Coast languages actually form a valid autonomous grouping. The Northern branch is particularly problemmatic. Due to the failure of the usual criteria of shared innovation and systematic phonetic correspondences to provide well-defined subgroupings, the Northern branch has been called a "cohesive complex" by Michael Krauss (1982). The languages of the Southern branch are much more homogeneous.
Below is a small outline of the Athabaskan family, excluding languages, dialects, and subdialects. This outline follows mostly the classification of Keren Rice as seen in Mithun (1999). The various lower branches are areal, but not necessarily genetic. At this time, the Athabaskan family tree should be regarded as tentative.
- A. Central Alaskan – Yukon
- B. Southern Alaskan
- C. Central British Columbia
- D. Kwalhioqua-Tlatskanai
- E. Northwestern Canada
- F. Sarci
- G. Tsetsaut
II. Pacific Coast
- A. California
- B. Oregon
- A. Plains Apache
- B. Western Apachean
- C. Eastern Apachean
Below is the full expanded outline of the Athabaskan family, including languages, dialects, and subdialects.
- Central Alaska – Yukon subgroup
- 1. Deg Xinag (a.k.a. Deg Hitan, Ingalik, Ingalit)
- Lower Yukon River
- Middle Kuskokwin
- 2. Gwichin (a.k.a. Gwitchin, Kutchin, Loucheux, Loucheaux, Takudh, Tukudh)
- Alaskan Gwichin (a.k.a. Western Gwichin)
- Canadian Gwichin (a.k.a. Eastern Gwichin)
- 3. Han (a.k.a. Hän, Moosehide, or Dawson)
- 4. Holikachuk (a.k.a. Innoko)
- 5. Koyukon (a.k.a. Tena)
- Lower Koyukon
- Central Koyukon
- Upper Koyukon
- 6. Tanacross (previously considered a dialect of Lower Tanana)
- 7. Lower Tanana (a.k.a. Tanana or Minto)
- Minto-Tolovana-Toklat-Nenana-Wood River
- - Minto-Tolovana
- - Toklat
- - Nenana
- - Wood River
- 8. Upper Tanana
- Nabesna Upper Tanana
- Tetlin Upper Tanana
- Northway Upper Tanana
- Scottie Creek
- Canadian Upper Tanana
- 9. Tutchone
- Southern Tutchone
- Northern Tutchone
- 10. Upper Kushokwin (a.k.a. Kolchan or McGrath Ingalik)
- Southern Alaskan subgroup
- 1. Ahtna (a.k.a. Atna, Ahtena, or Copper River)
- Central Copper River Ahtna
- Lower Copper River Ahtna
- Mentasta (a.k.a. Upper Ahtna)
- Western Ahtna
- 2. Denaina (a.k.a. Tanaina)
- Lower Inlet Denaina
- - Outer Inlet
- - Iliamna
- - Inland
- Upper Inlet Denaina
- Central British Columbia subgroup
- 1. Babine (a.k.a. North Carrier, Babine Carrier, Northern Carrier, Babine-Witsuwiten)
- Francois Lake
- 2. Carrier (a.k.a. Dakelh)
- Central Carrier (a.k.a. Upper Carrier)
- Southern Carrier (a.k.a. Lower Carrier)
- 3. Chilcotin (a.k.a. Chilcotin-Nicola, Tinneh, Tsilhqotin)
- Kwalhioqua-Tlatskanai subgroup
- 1. Kwalhioqua-Clatskanie (a.k.a. Kwalhioqua-Tlatskanie)
- Willapa (a.k.a. Willoopah)
- - Suwal
- - Clatskanie (a.k.a. Tlatskanie)
- Northwestern Canada subgroup
- 1. Beaver (a.k.a. Tasttine)
- 2. Chipewyan (a.k.a. Dene, Yellowknife, Montagnais, "Northern Indians")
- 3. Dogrib (a.k.a. Tli Cho, Tłįchǫ or Thlingchadine)
- 4. Sekani
- 5. Slavey (a.k.a. Slave, Slavey-Hare-Bearlake-Mountain, Slave-Hare-Bearlake-Mountain, Dine, or Dene)
- South Slavey (a.k.a. Slavey)
- - Slavey (a.k.a. Slavey proper, South Slavey, Southern Slavey)
- - Mountain
- Bearlake-Hare (a.k.a. North Slavey)
- - Bearlake
- - Hare (a.k.a. Kawchottine)
- 6. Tahltan (a.k.a. Nahanni or Tahltan-Tagish-Kaska)
- Sarsi subgroup
- 1. Sarsi (a.k.a. Sarcee, Tsuu Tina, or Tsuutina)
- Tsetsaut subgroup
- 1. Tsetsaut (a.k.a. Tsetsaut)
Pacific Coast Athabaskan
- California Athabaskan subgroup
- 1. Hupa (a.k.a. Hoopa-Chilula)
- - Chilula
- - Whilkut
- 2. Mattole-Bear River
- Bear River
- 3. Eel River
- - Sinkyone
- - Wailaki
- - Nongatl
- - Lassik
- - Cahto (a.k.a. Kato)
- Bear River
- Oregon Athabaskan subgroup
- 1. Upper Umpqua
- 2. Rogue River (a.k.a. Tututni or Lower Rogue River)
- Upper Coquille
- - Coquille
- - Flores Creek
- - Tututunne
- - Mikwunutunne
- - Joshua (a.k.a. Chemetunne)
- - Sixes
- - Pistol River (a.k.a. Chetleshin)
- - Wishtenatin (a.k.a. Khwaishtunnetunnne)
- Euchre Creek
- Chasta Costa (a.k.a. Illinois River, Chastacosta, Chasta Kosta)
- 3. Galice-Applegate
- Applegate (a.k.a. Nabiltse)
- 4. Tolowa
- Smith River
Southern Athabaskan (a.k.a. Apachean)
- Plains Apache subgroup
- 1. Plains Apache (a.k.a. Kiowa-Apache, Naisha)
- Western Apachean subgroup
- 1. Chiricahua-Mescalero
- 3. Navajo (a.k.a. Navaho, Diné)
- 4. Western Apache (a.k.a. Coyotero Apache)
- Dilzhę́é (a.k.a. Dilzheeh, Dilzhee, Tonto)
- White Mountain
- San Carlos
- Eastern Apachean subgroup
Below is a list of all of the Athabaskan languages and their geographic locations.
- Alaska: Ahtna, Deg Hitan, Denaina, Gwichin, Hän, Holikachuk, Koyukon, Lower Tanana, Tanacross, Tsetsaut, Upper Kushokwin, Upper Tanana
- Yukon Territory: Ahtna, Gwichin, Hän, Slavey (Mountain), Tahltan (Tagish, Kaska), Tutchone, Upper Tanana
- Northwest Territories: Chipewyan, Dogrib, Gwichin, Slavey (Bearlake, Hare, Mountain, Slavey)
- Nunavut: Chipewyan
- British Columbia: Babine, Beaver, Carrier, Chilcotin (Chilcotin, Nicola), Sekani, Slavey (Slavey),Tahltan (Kaska, Tagish, Tahltan), Tsetsaut
- Alberta: Beaver, Chipewyan, Sarsi, Slavey (Slavey)
- Saskatchewan: Chipewyan
- Washington: Chilcotin (Nicola), Kwalhioqua-Clatskanie (Willapa, Suwal)
- Oregon: Galice-Applegate (Galice, Applegate), Kwalhioqua-Clatskanie (Clatskanie), Rogue River (Chasta Costa, Euchre Creek, Tututni, Upper Coquille), Tolowa, Upper Umpqua
- Northern California: Eel River, Hupa, Mattole-Bear River, Tolowa
- Utah: Navajo
- Colorado: Jicarilla, Navajo
- Arizona: Chiricahua-Mescalero (Chiricahua), Navajo, Western Apache
- New Mexico: Chiricahua-Mescalero (Chiricahua, Mescalero), Jicarilla, Lipan, Navajo
- Texas: Chiricahua-Mescalero (Mescalero), Lipan
- Oklahoma: Chiricahua-Mescalero (Chiricahua), Jicarilla, Plains Apache
- Northwestern Mexico: Chiricahua-Mescalero (Chiricahua)
A recent reconstruction of proto-Athabaskan consists of 40 consonants (Cook 1981; Krauss & Golla 1981; Krauss & Leer 1981; Cook & Rice 1989), as detailed below:
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