Evenki

(redirected from Evenkis)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.

Evenki

 

(formerly, Tungus), a people of Siberia. The Evenki today inhabit a territory bounded on the west by the left bank of the Enisei, on the north by the tundra between the Enisei and Lena rivers beyond the arctic circle, in the east by the southern coast of the Sea of Okhotsk, and on the south by the Amur River and the northern raions of the Buriat ASSR. According to the 1979 census, the Evenki number 27,500 in the USSR; some live in Northwest China. The Evenki speak Evenki (Tungus).

The Evenki originally inhabited Transbaikalia and the Baikal Region, from which they appear to have migrated early in the second millennium A.D. to the area they now inhabit. By the 17th century, when they were incorporated into the Russian state, they had divided into exogamous patrilineal clans; they were nomadic and engaged in hunting, reindeer herding, and sometimes fishing. Although they became members of the Orthodox Church in the early 17th century, the Evenki retained various forms of pre-Christian worship, such as shamanism.

In 1930, Evenki National Okrug was created in Krasnoiarsk Krai (seeEVENKI AUTONOMOUS OKRUG). Under Soviet power, the culture and economy of the Evenki underwent dramatic changes. A writing system was created, and illiteracy was stamped out. Many nomadic Evenki made the transition to a settled way of life. Land cultivation, livestock raising, and fur farming are being developed on kolkhozes and sovkhozes, along with the traditional occupations.

REFERENCES

Narody Sibiri. Moscow-Leningrad, 1956.
Vasilevich, G. M. Evenki. Leningrad, 1969. (Contains bibliography.)

V. A. TUGOLUKOV


Evenki

 

(also Tungus), the language of the Evenki. According to the 1970 census, Evenki is spoken by 13,000 people in the USSR, mainly in Eastern Siberia—from the left bank of the Enisei to Sakhalin Island. There are approximately 9,000 speakers, including the Solon, in North China (Inner Mongolia and the Sinkiang-Uighur Autonomous Region) and Mongolia.

Evenki, together with Even and Negidal, belongs to the northern group of the Manchu-Tungus languages. It is divided into northern, southern, and eastern dialects and has, in addition, many subdialects, which are classified by phonetic features as the ha-subdialects, se-subdialects, and še-subdialects. The Solon sub-dialect is sometimes regarded as a separate language. Literary Evenki is based on the Nepa subdialect, called the Poligus sub-dialect since 1953, of the southern dialect.

Evenki has a complex, or “graded,” law of qualitative and quantitative vowel harmony. It is an agglutinative language in which grammatical relations are expressed through the addition of suffixes to word stems. Evenki has a highly developed system of cases, verbal aspect and voice, and adverbial participles. The lexicon shows traces of close contacts with the Yakut and Buriat languages, and there are Russian loanwords. A Latin alphabet was created in 1931, and a Cyrillic alphabet was introduced in 1937.

REFERENCES

Konstantinova, O. A. Evenkiiskii iazyk. Moscow-Leningrad, 1964.
Vasilevich, G. M. Evenkiiisko-russkii slovar’ (s grammaticheskim ocherkom). Moscow, 1958.
Castrén, M. A. Grundzüge einer tungusischen Sprachlehre nebst kurzem Wōrterverzechniss. St. Petersburg, 1856.

E. A. KHELIMSKII

References in periodicals archive ?
Evenki is irrelevant as the language requires a copula in the present tense and lacks verbal endings on the predicative.
The function of the Nganasan allative case and parallels in Evenki
Precisely this function of the Nganasan allative case shows significant overlapping with the Evenki allative case in -tki (22) which is, as I suggest here, more than just a coincidence.
Again, although the presented Nganasan and Evenki data are suspiciously similar, a Samoyedic explanation would be in principal possible.
When comparing this situation with Evenki, where the allative case encodes movement and location in time, the functional similarities are too close to assume that this is due to chance.
Therefore, it appears that the use and function of the Nganasan allative case has been influenced by Evenki as the functional parallel is too significant to be just an instance of typological chance:
Table 1 The encoding of directionality and temporality in Taimyrian languages language function Nganasan Evenki Dolgan directionality d'a -tki d'iek/dieri metaphorical d'a -tki d'iek/d
As suggested above, the grammaticalization of d'a into a case marker followed an Evenki pattern for which a dedicated case is known.
The fact that it is no longer used in contemporary Nganasan could be seen as a connection to its foreign, probably Evenki origin; with the end of Nganasan-Evenki bilingualism, a verb with clear Evenki semantics became foreign and fell out of use.
Although this is usually perceived as a conservative trait of Ngansan which is said to have preserved relicts of Proto-Samoyedic vowel harmony (see references in Katzschmann 2008 : 333-336), it should not be forgotten that both contact languages Dolgan and Evenki show vowel harmony too (?
The task of this paper was to pave the way for further research and demonstrate that the cultural contacts of Nganasan with its neighbors Evenki and Dolgan have left linguistic traces not only in the lexicon but also in the grammar.
Revisiting Tungusic classification from the bottom up: a comparison of Evenki and Oroqen.