Chukchi

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Chukchi

 

(Luorawetlan), the language of the Chukchi people. Chukchi is spoken by some 11,000 people (1970 census), most of them living in the Chukchi Autonomous Okrug and in Nizhneko-lymsk Raion of the Yakut ASSR. The language is genetically related to the Chukchi-Kamchatka group and consists of five dialects that differ only slightly: Uelen (the eastern dialect, on which the literary language is based), Chaun (western), Enmylin, Nunligran, and Khotyr’.

The phonetic system is characterized by vowel synharmony and a great variety of consonant assimilations and dissimilations. In its grammatical structure, Chukchi is a prefixal-suffixal agglutinative language. It has well-developed declension and conjugation systems. Nouns are inflected by person, and verbs have two types of conjugations: one subject and the other subject-object. A typical feature of the syntax is the presence of a nominative and an ergative construction, as well as incorporation. The vocabulary contains many borrowings from the Russian. A writing system based on the Latin alphabet was created in 1931. Since 1936 the Russian alphabet has been used.

REFERENCES

Skorik, P. Ia. Grammatika chukotskogo iazyka, part 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1961. Part 2: Leningrad, 1977.
Bogoraz, V. G. Luoravetlansko-russkii (chukotsko-russkii) slovar’. Moscow-Leningrad, 1937.
Bogoras, W. “Chukchee.” In F. Boas, Handbook of American Indian Languages, part 2. Washington, D.C., 1922.

I. A. MURAV’EVA


Chukchi

 

a people that constitutes the indigenous population of the Chukchi Autonomous Okrug (formerly Chukchi National Okrug), Magadan Oblast, RSFSR. Chukchi also live in the northern part of the Koriak Autonomous Okrug (formerly Kor-iak National Okrug) and Nizhnekolymsk Raion, Yakut ASSR.

Chukchi who raise reindeer on the interior tundra call themselves chavchu (“reindeer” Chukchi), as distinct from those who inhabit the coasts, who use the term an’kalyn (coast dweller). The general self-designation— luoravetlan (real person)—has not become established as the designation for the people as a whole. The Chukchi number 14,000 (1979 census). They speak mainly the Chukchi language. Their religion was shamanism and various cults centering on the family, hunting, and fishing.

The Chukchi first came into contact with Russians in 1642 on the Alazeia River, but they remained virtually independent from the tsarist administration until the 19th century. A natural barter economy was maintained between the nomadic reindeer-raising Chukchi and the settled maritime Chukchi, who hunted marine mammals. Under Soviet power, radical changes have taken place in the Chukchi way of life: reindeer raising has been reorganized, and large sovkhozes and kolkhozes have been established; modern technology has been introduced in the hunting of marine mammals. Educational materials and literature are now published in the Chukchi language.

REFERENCES

Narody Sibiri. Moscow-Leningrad, 1956.
Vdovin, I. S. Ocherki istorii i etnografii chukchei. Moscow-Leningrad, 1965.
Gurvich, I. S. Etnicheskaia istoriia severo-vostoka Sibiri. Moscow, 1966.
Ocherki istorii Chukotki s drevneishikh vremen do nashikh dnei. Novosibirsk, 1974.