Girish Mahajan

Central Siberian Yupik language

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Region  Bering Strait region
Native speakers  1,010 (2006-2010)
Ethnicity  Siberian Yupiks
Writing system  Latin, Cyrillic
Central Siberian Yupik language
Native to  United States, Russian Federation
Language family  Eskimo–Aleut Eskimo Yupik Siberian Yupik

Siberian Yupik (also known as Central Siberian Yupik, Bering Strait Yupik, Yuit, Yoit, "St. Lawrence Island Yupik", and in Russia "Chaplinski Yupik" or Yuk) is one of the Yupik languages of the Eskimo–Aleut language family. It the largest Yupik idiom spoken in Siberia, and it is spoken also on St. Lawrence Island. Its speakers, the Siberian Yupik people, are an indigenous people who reside along the coast of the Chukchi Peninsula in the Russian Far East and on St. Lawrence Island in the Alaska villages of Savoonga and Gambell.

Contents

In Alaska, about 1,050 people from a total Siberian Yupik population of 1,100 speak the language. In Russia, about 300 of an ethnic population of 1,200 to 1,500 speak the language, making a total of about 1,350 speakers worldwide.

Dialects and subgroups

Siberian Yupik has two dialects: Chaplinski Yupik is spoken on the shores of the Chukchi Peninsula in the Russian Far North, and St. Lawrence Island Yupik (Sivuqaghmiistun) is spoken on St. Lawrence Island, Alaska. The majority of Chaplinski Yupik speakers live in the villages of Novoye Chaplino and Sireniki, on the coasts of the Chukchi Peninsula. St. Lawrence Island Yupik is believed to be an offspring of Chaplinski and apart from some few phonetic, phonological, morphological, syntactical and lexical peculiarities is practically identical with it.

Chaplino, or Ungazighmiistun, is the largest Yupik language of Siberia (the second one is Naukan), and is named after the settlement of Ungaziq (Novoye Chaplino). The word Ungazighmii / Уңазиӷмӣ [uŋaʑiʁmiː] (plural Ungazighmiit / Уңазиӷмӣт [uŋaʑiʁmiːt]) means "Ungaziq inhabitant(s)". People speaking this language live in several settlements in the southeastern Chukchi Peninsula (including Novoye Chaplino, Provideniya, and Sireniki), Uelkal, Wrangel Island, and Anadyr. In another terminology, these people speak Chaplino, and Ungazighmiit people speak one of its dialects, along with other dialects spoken by Avatmit, Imtugmit, Kigwagmit, which can be divided further into even smaller dialects.

Other Yupik languages

Naukan, or Nuvuqaghmiistun, the second largest Yupik language spoken in Siberia, is spoken in settlements including Uelen, Lorino, Lavrentiya, and Provideniya.

Debated classifications

Additionally, the Sireniki Eskimo language, locally called Uqeghllistun, was an Eskimo language once spoken in Siberia. It had many peculiarities. Sometimes it is classified as not belonging to the Yupik branch at all, thus forming (by itself) a stand-alone third branch of the Eskimo languages (alongside Inuit and Yupik). Its peculiarities may be the result of a supposed long isolation from other Eskimo groups in the past.

Sireniki became extinct in early January 1997.

References

Central Siberian Yupik language Wikipedia


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