Title: Ahtna Place Names Lists, 2nd edition revised
Publisher: Alaska Native Language Center
Editor: James Kari
Paperback: ISBN: 9781555000998 Pages: 164 Price: U.S. $ 16.00
Ahtna is the Athabascan language of the Copper River drainage in Southcentral Alaska. First published 1983, a revised 2nd edition of Ahtna Place Names Lists is now available in a limited edition of 350 copies. With over 2200 place names in drainage-based sections within and beyond the 35,000 sq. mi. language area, Ahtna has the most comprehensive geographic name data set for any Alaska Native language.
The 33-page introduction entitled "Ahtna Athabascan Place Names as Shared Knowledge" summarizes the documentary sources on Ahtna geographic names and the core elements of Ahtna and Athabascan geographic naming. These elements-name content, name structure, name distribution and name networks-have promoted functional travel, strategic land use, shared boundaries, and multilingualism with other Athabascan groups. For Ahtna we can marvel at the strict purity, orderliness, symmetry, and functionality of the geography. This is a shared, memorized, strongly confirmed geographic system that is congruent across Athabascan language and dialect boundaries. Over 89% of the Ahtna place names are fully analyzable and an astounding 98% are fully-to-partially analyzable. Most of the place names have naturalistic structure and content, with a mix of cultural activities and metaphors, all of which facilitate memorization and efficient foot-travel through and beyond Ahtna territory. Since the Ahtna geographic system is representative of Northern Athabascan languages, the Ahtna place names network can serve as primary data for discussions on the role of geography in the prehistory of Athabascan, Na-Dene and Dene-Yeniseian.