Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A North American Indian language family that includes the Athabaskan languages, Tlingit, and possibly Haida.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • proper noun A major language family consisting of Tlingit, Eyak and the Athabascan languages, spoken in large parts of North America.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Haida náa-, house, to live, and Tlingit naa, tribe + Proto-Athabaskan *dənæ, person.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Coined by Edward Sapir in 1915, from Tlingit naa and Athabaskan dene, both meaning people or tribe.

Examples

  • The research by University of Western Washington linguist Edward Vajda, who spent 10 years deciphering the Ket language, drew upon parallel work by three Alaskans -- Jeff Leer, Michael Krauss and James Kari, professors of linguistics at the University of Alaska Fairbanks -- who independently detailed patterns in Na-Dene languages.

    Archive 2008-04-01

  • And as early as 1923, other linguists speculated specifically about a genetic link between the Yeniseic family of languages spoken along the Yenisei River of which Ket is now the only surviving member and the Na-Dene family, spoken in North America.

    Archive 2008-04-01

  • For example, some words in the Na-Dene family likely represent sounds of the mother tongue more closely than their Yeniseic cognates.

    Archive 2008-03-01

  • "Only Na-Dene languages have a system of verb prefixes that very closely resemble the Yeniseic," he said.

    Archive 2008-03-01

  • His research links the Old World language family of Yeniseic in central Siberia with the Na-Dene family of languages in North America.

    Archive 2008-03-01

  • The Na-Dene family includes languages spoken by the broad group of Athabaskan tribes in the U.S. and Canada as well as the Tlingit and Eyak people.

    Archive 2008-03-01

  • Apparently the term "Athabaskan-Eyak-Tlingit" is used to avoid the controversial term "Na-Dene" which according to that hypothesis also links Haida to the family and this is controversial.

    Last speaker of Eyak recently passed away

  • Apparently the term "Athabaskan-Eyak-Tlingit" is used to avoid the controversial term "Na-Dene" which according to that hypothesis also links Haida to the family and this is controversial.

    Archive 2008-01-01

  • "I systematically connect these structures in Yeniseic with the structures in modern Na-Dene," Vajda said.

    Archive 2008-03-01

  • Neither modern Ket nor Na-Dene languages in North America represent the mother tongue.

    Archive 2008-03-01

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