Copyright © 1998-2008 Institute of Linguistics (Russian Academy of Sciences) & Kazuto Matsumura (Univ. of Tokyo)

Indigenous Minority Languages of Russia

Yukaghir: Bibliographical guide

About the Yukaghir language

Traditionally, Yukaghir is considered genetically isolated. Some researchers have argued for the possibility of its genetic relationship with Altaic (Sauvageot, Nikolaeva) and, more convincingly, Uralic (Collinder, Bouda, Tailleur, Fortescue, Nikolaeva). The matter is still being discussed. It is, however, clear that if Yukaghir and Uralic are genetically related, the Uralo-Yukaghir relationship is considerably more distant than the relationship between the two branches of Uralic (Finno-Ugric and Samoyedic). The hypothetical Uralo-Yukaghir proto-language can hardly be less than 8000 years old.

Where the speakers live

Yukaghirs inhabit the extreme North-East of Siberia. The so-called Southern Yukaghirs (also known as the Kolyma Yukaghirs) mostly live in the Verxnekolymsk district of Yakut (Saxa) Republic of Russian Federation. The main settlements are Nelemnoe (on the river Jassachnaya) and Zyryanka (on the river Kolyma). A few Southern Yukaghirs live in Srednekolymsk in the Srednekolymsk district of the Yakut (Saxa) Republic, as well as in the settlements Seimchan and Balygychan in the Serednekansk district of the Magadan Region. The Northern Yukaghirs (also known as the Tundra Yukaghirs) live in the Nizhnekolymsk district of the Yakut (Saxa) Republic. The main centers of population are the settlements Andryushkino (on the river Alazeya) and Kolymskoe (on the river Kolyma); smaller group of Northern Yukaghirs can also be found in the settlement Cherski.





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