SP17: Language and Toponymy in Alaska and Beyond

Papers in Honor of James Kari

Edited by Gary Holton & Thomas F. Thornton
ISBN 978-0-9973295-4-4
March 1, 2019

It is difficult to imagine place names research in Alaska without the work of James Kari. Through his tireless field work and advocacy, Dr. Kari has collaborated with speakers of all of Alaska’s Dene languages to help build a comprehensive record of Dene geographic knowledge. When Jim came to Alaska in 1972, the documentation of Dene languages was fragmentary at best, and the only records of Native place names were those found inaccurately spelled on maps and gazetteers. Now nearly a half a century later we are surrounded by Native names—from K’esugi Ridge in Susitna Valley to Troth Yeddha’ on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus. The increased visibility of Alaska Native place names today is due in no small part to Jim’s efforts. His work has inspired a generation of scholars, including the contributors to this volume, and continues to set the standard for toponymy research in Alaska and beyond. 

A print version of this volume, in paper with sewn binding, will be published by the Alaska Native Language Center Press in July 2019.

Individual chapters

Introduction: James Kari’s Contributions to Geolinguistics and Dene Language Studies (Gary Holton and Thomas F. Thornton)

Chapter 2: “From this point…the river changes its name again”: Lavrentiy Zagoskin’s Contributions to the Study of Alaska Native Place Names (Kenneth L. Pratt)

Chapter 3: Raven’s Work in Tlingit Ethno-geography (Thomas Thornton)

Chapter 4: T’aakú Téix’i – The Heart of the Taku: A multifaceted place name from the Taku River Tlingit First Nation (Christine Schreyer)

Chapter 5: Directional reference in discourse and narrative: Comparing indigenous and non-indigenous genres in Ahtna (Andrea L. Berez-Kroeker)

Chapter 6: Losing one’s way: Geographical and moral lessons in the Butterfly Story in Upper Tanana Athabascan (Caleb Brucks and Olga Lovick)

Chapter 7: Place naming strategies in Lower Tanana Dene (Athabascan) (Gary Holton and David Jason Harris)

Chapter 8: Tagish and Tlingit Place Naming Traditions of Southwestern Yukon: Evidence of Language Shift (Patrick Moore)

Chapter 9: Direct borrowings and loan-translations of Navajo toponyms into New Mexican Spanish: Examples and explanations (Stephen C. Jett)

Chapter 10: Yeniseian and Athapaskan Hydronyms (Edward Vajda)

Chapter 11: Crossing the Etolin Strait and the Challenges Presented by a Single Place Name (Robert Drozda)