Dene - Caucasian refers to a hypothetical macro- family of languages of Eurasia and North America. Key members are the Sino Tibetan, North Caucasian languages and Basque. Later, the North American Na - Dene languages were included.
The composition of the Dene - Caucasian subject depending on the author some fluctuations. The table below shows the current majority opinion of the " Dene Kaukasisten " again. The components are arranged from west to east.
- Dene - Caucasian Basque
- Nordkaukasisch Abkhazian - Adygisch ( Nordwestkaukasisch )
- Nachisch - Dagestanian ( Northeast Caucasian )
- Hurrian - Urartian †
A number of representatives of this structure also includes the extinct languages Hattish and Sumerian, as well as in central India of about 5,000 people spoken Nahali be added. Nordkaukasisch provides for most Dene Kaukasisten a genetic unit (cf., however, the majority opinion in the article Caucasian languages).
The ent - Caucasian macro family is based on the Sino -Caucasian macro family, Sergei Starostin founded in 1984. He went from a genetic relationship of the - from the North Caucasus with the Siberian Jenisseischen and the Sino Tibetan, based on his reconstructions of the respective proto- languages - -conceived as a unit. Later this macro family in 1988 extended by some ancient oriental components ( Hurrian - Urartian, Hattish, Sumerian, etc.), Basque (1985 ) and finally by S. Nikolajev to the North American Na - Dene languages to ent -Caucasian macro family. In the 1920s, the Americanist Edward Sapir already had the relationship of the Na - Dene with the Sino Tibetan described, but not published.
As already probably has the Sino Tibetan protolanguage an age of 10,000 years, would have an ent - Caucasian proto-language at least 20,000 years of age, with their ultra-wide geographical distribution probably even older. By the majority of linguists doubts that can be detected substantial similarities of phonetics, grammar and vocabulary after such a long time yet. The results of the Dene - Kaukasisten are therefore not accepted by the majority of historical linguistics.