Dené–Caucasian languages

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).

Historical development

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.