While studying an ancient language now spoken by only a few hundred people in a remote corner of Siberia, linguist Edward Vajda has found the first-ever linguistic link between the Old World and any First Nation in Canada, the Ottawa Citizen reports. “This is a big breakthrough to be able to link these", anthropologist Jack Ives said on Wednesday.
Vajda found that the speakers of the Ket language in Russia’s Yenisei River region, and the Athapaskan-speaking native people in Canada and the U.S. (including the Dene, Gwich’in, Navaho and Apache) use almost identical words for canoe and such component parts as prow and cross-piece.
Mr. Vajda’s claim of a Dene-Yeniseic-connection was endorsed last month at an conference in Alaska attended by linguists and anthropologists. Vajdas discovery is being compared with the 18th-century “Indo-European” revolution that ultimately classified English, French and other modern languages with ancient Sanskrit.
For more information see a posts on this issue over at anthropology.net: More on Vajda’s Siberian-Na-Dene Language Link where also points of controversy are discussed.