One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Denoting or belonging to a postulated phylum of North American languages including the Athabaskan family, Tlingit, and (in some classifications) Haida.
- ‘Basque may be the remnant language of the Cro-Magnon (who lived 30,000 to 40,000 years ago), which evolved into Caucasian, Sino-Tibetan and Na-Dene (Apache, Navajo, and Athabaskan) languages.’
- ‘The Athabaskan language family is one of three families within the Na-Dene language phylum.’
The Na-Dene language group.
Early 20th century: from Tlingit naa ‘tribe’ (related to Haida náa ‘dwell’) + North Athabaskan dene ‘tribe’.
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