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(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.


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




(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.


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.


References in periodicals archive ?
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.
Artem' jev who has correctly identified the transition from dative to instrumental case as Russian influence ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 1999 : 81-82, 102- 103) tried to link the earlier use of the Dolgan dative as a marker of secondary predication to Evenki influence which also uses the dative case in a similar function (see also Nedjalkov 1997 : 162).
27) Several elderly speakers of Dolgan from Popigaj claimed that they heard Evenki in the 1950s but that the language was spoken only by elderly individuals (Siegl, fieldnotes).
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.
1997, Evenki, London (Routledge Descriptive Grammar).
3) The two Evenki enclaves on the Taimyr Peninsula belong to two different dialects.
They do not form anything close to a genetic unity within Tungusic; Xibe falls in the Southern branch, Kile-Nanai falls in the Central branch, and Solon Evenki and Oroqen are in the Northern branch.
Their migration occurred in tandem with Solon Evenki (NB: this dialect of Solon is no longer spoken) and Dagur speakers.
Revisiting Tungusic classification from the bottom up: a comparison of Evenki and Oroqen.
It is unclear whether it occurs in Khamnigan Evenki or Yakut Evenki.