The Chukchi language (formerly known as Luoravetlan; Chukchi ԓыгъоравэтԓьэн йиԓыйиԓ, lyg "oravetl'an jiljil) is a Kamchatka language spoken in Russia by Chukchis living on the Chukchi Peninsula and its environs.
Prevalence and number of speakers
The Chukchis live in the Chukotka Autonomous District, the Nizhny-Kolymsky District in Yakutia, and the Olyorkka District in the northern part of Kamchatka. In 1989, there were an estimated 15,100 Chukchi and 11,450 Chukchi speakers in Russia. 70.4% of Chukchi nationalities reported Chukchi as their mother tongue and 28.3% Russian. In the 2002 census, 15,800 Chukchi were registered, but only 7,700 Chukchi speakers. Regionally, they were distributed as follows:
Chukotka 12,600 Chukchi (of which 5,600 speak Chukchi),
Korjakia 1,400 (900). Today, 97.2% of Chukchi speak Russian as their mother tongue or second language. In Chukotka, some Inuit and Evene people speak Chukchi. According to the 2010 census, Russia has 5,100 Chukchi speakers.
History and dialects
Chukchi belongs to the Chukchi group of Kamchatka languages. Its closest generic languages are the rectangle, the carousel and the alutori. Chukchi speakers are believed to have moved to Chukotka around 3000 BC. to the west from the area of present-day Yakutia, where, according to archaeological excavations, they came from the upper reaches of the Yenisei. This is also evidenced by the structural similarities between the Chukchi and Yenise languages. The language is divided into Eastern and Western dialects as well as the Southern dialect group. The differences between them are quite small. In the dialects of the southern group, there are similarities with the language of the Korruk as well as the wheels of the Chukchi. In the Chukchi, the pronunciation of men and women has differed, e.g. Today, differences are disappearing due to the change in traditional norms of behavior and the influence of literary language. On radio and television, female announcers and journalists follow men’s pronunciation.
At the turn of the 1920s and 1930s, the Chukchi tried to create their own ideological writing system. The best known is an inscription invented by Tynevil, who lived along the Anadyr River. In 1932, a literary language based on the Latin alphabet and the Eastern dialect was created, alongside which the Cyrillic alphabet was also used. The Cyrillic alphabet was officially introduced in 1936–1937, but Latin writing was still used in places in the 1940s. In the 1950s, the alphabet was supplemented by the additional characters ӄ and ӈ, which in local publications were usually replaced by an apostrophe. In the 1980s, the additional sign ԓ.Tchukchi's alphabet was introduced
Mother tongue textbooks, children’s literature, and original poetry and prose appear in Chukchi. The best known of the Chukchi writers is Yuri Rytheu, who used Russian in addition to his mother tongue. In the past, a large amount of translated social policy and educational literature was also published. In school, language is taught as a subject. Teachers are trained at Anadyr Teachers' College, Magadan Pedagogical University and Herzen Pedagogical University in St. Petersburg. In Anadyr, the newspapers Sovetken Chukotka and Murgin nutenut are published. The language is also used in radio and television.
Today, Chukchi can be considered an endangered language. A significant number of Chukchis have moved to cities and towns where Russian is the spoken language of their families. In small villages and among nomadic groups, 30-year-olds still speak the language well, but children usually only know it passively. The written use of language has also declined recently.
Elsewhere on the topic
Chukchee homepage (in English)
Endangered Languages of Indigenous Peoples of Siberia: The Chukchi