also Athabascan, Athapaskan, 1844 as a language name, from the name of the widespread family of North American Indian languages, from Lake Athabaska in northern Alberta, Canada, from Woods Cree (Algonquian) Athapaskaw, literally "(where) there are plants one after another" [Bright], referring to the delta region west of the lake. The languages are spoken across a wide area of Alaska and sub-arctic Canada and include Apachean (including Navajo) in the U.S. southwest.

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