Pan-Dene Comparative Lexicon

compiled by Sally Rice, Conor Snoek, and Michaela Stang

The Pan-Dene Comparative Lexicon (formerly known as PACL, the Pan-Athapaskan Comparative Lexicon) is a searchable database whose entries have been compiled from published sources of Dene (or Athapaskan) languages.

The original motivation behind the compilation of these materials was to gather likely cognate terms of basic vocabulary items, such as terms for body parts, kin relations, flora, fauna, topological features, tools, artifacts, and the like. These collected terms can be used for the purpose of investigating intra-family relationships among the daughter languages, lexicalization patterns within the family, as well as advancing hypotheses about language change calibrated with events in Dene history and pre-history. Eventually, items from the database might contribute to reconstructions of proto-forms for individual stems.

The database is slowly being expanded to include verb stems and more grammatical material such as postpositions, demonstratives, negative markers, and a variety of discourse particles. Eventually, lexical material from related languages (Tlingit, Eyak, and possibly Yeniseian languages) will be included, as they become available.

Dene Peoples comprise one of the largest and most geographically distributed language families on earth based on pedestrian migration alone. Yet, the timing and direction of the Dene diaspora across North America remains unclear. One of the central purposes of the Pan-Dene Comparative Lexicon is to augment narrative, ethnographic, genetic, and archaeological data with patterns of phonetic, semantic, and morphological change within individual languages and groups of languages so that a more complete story of Dene migration across the continent can be understood and more widely communicated.

To browse the Pan-Dene Comparative Lexicon, you can select "Browse" from the menu above. From there, you can search, filter and sort the lexicon by any or all columns.

You can download results in a CSV (comma-separated value) file in tabular format that can be read by Excel or other database application.

The Pan-Dene Comparative Lexicon currently contains 32234 entries.