By Dunn, M.J.

The purpose of this paintings is to supply the 1st fieldwork-based, typologically trained reference grammar of Chukchi, an indigenous language of the north-eastern nook of the Russian Federation. The theoretical technique is low-key and eclectic; linguistic phenomena are defined in a way that's, in as far as it's attainable, theory-neutral, even though the place a department of linguistic idea presents instruments which permit transparent and easy description it really is used with out hesitation. Linguistic description is, even if, fundamental all through.

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Extra resources for A Grammar of Chukchi

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Prior to the policy of institutionalisation of Chukchi children there was a more enlightened practice which left children with their parents and sent roving schools out to the encampments to meet them. It is unclear how general this was; none of the Telqep Chukchi remember hearing about it happening in their region, but perhaps it only occurred in the north. Many Chukchi did finish their schooling and were encouraged to study further, mostly in a special faculty in Leningrad, The Faculty of the Peoples of the North (FPN).

Although Itelmen has many surface similarities to Chukotian languages, the identity of this family is controversial; Comrie presents evidence to support the hypothesis of genetic relationship between Chukotian and Itelmen at a distant stage of linguistic prehistory, but indicates that detailed reconstruction of proto-ChukotkoKamchatkan is almost certainly impossible (Comrie 1980b:120). ×ewil devised an ideographic writing system for the Chukchi language. He taught some of his system to his children, but it never spread any further than that.

Shamanism and traditional religious beliefs were suppressed in the Soviet Union, but a certain number of them survived. Traditional funerals are still held in the outlying settlements, and there are probably active shamans still living in the hinterland. I met no shamans myself during my expeditions, although I did meet a retired shaman and a number of children of deceased shamans. Of particular linguistic interest are the ‘professional’ shamans, who adopt to a greater or lesser extent the clothing, speech, and other characteristics of the opposite sex (reputedly including complete physical changes, although this is unverifiable; traditional shamanism is discussed in detail by Bogoras 1922:413-468).

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