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Are there any specific features of language contact in the circumpolar world?

A series of case studies devoted to specific contact areas in the North is guiding us towards an answer. Besides, we are compiling a geographic database of all circumpolar languages that is visualized by numerous maps, both online and printed. The database provides a background for the case studies and hopefully will contribute to future linguistic research of the circumpolar world.

The case studies include the following traditionally multilingual linguistic areas:

  1. Middle and Upper Taz and middle Yenisey region (Olga Kazakevich, Elena Klyachko): Northern Selkup, Southern Selkup, Ket, Evenki, Russian;
  2. Lower Yenisei (Olesya Khanina, Valentin Gusev, Maria Amelina, Olga Kazakevich, Elena Klyachko): Tundra Nenets, Tundra Enets, Forest Enets, Nganasan, Dolgan, Evenki, Russian-based pidgin Govorka, Russian;
  3. Lower Kolyma (Maria Pupynina): Yukaghir, Even, Chukchee, Yakut, Russian;
  4. Kenai peninusula in Alaska (Andrej Kibrik, Mira Bergelson): Alutiiq, Dena’ina, Russian, English;
  5. Interior Alaska (Andrej Kibrik, Mira Bergelson): Upper Kuskokwim, Dena’ina, Koyukon, Ingalik, Central Yup’ik, Russian, English.

Besides, we have an extra case study on the Lower Amur and Sakhalin region (Valentin Gusev, Natalia Stoynova, Olga Kazakevich, Elena Klyachko) where Tungusic languages Nanaj, Ulchi, Oroch, Negidal, and Evenki are spoken along Nivkh and Russian. We take this linguistic area to check the relative importance of cultural vs. geographical features. The former are common for language communities of this region and the circumpolar communities mentioned above, while the latter are quite different.