Eskimo-Aleut Languages

(redirected from Eskimo language)
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Eskimo-Aleut Languages


a group of languages that includes Eskimo and Aleut.

The Eskimo-Aleut languages are conventionally classified among the Paleo-Asiatic languages; the features they exhibit in common with these languages probably were acquired through an interaction that lasted many centuries. Because of their geographical isolation from one another, the Eskimo-Aleut languages do not share a sizable common lexicon, although they are typologically quite similar.

The phonology of the Eskimo-Aleut languages is characterized by relative uniformity of the vowel and consonant systems, as evidenced in a common set of velars—[k], [ɤ], and [x]—and uvulars—[q], [κ], and [ϰ] Other common phonetic features are voiced and voiceless [1] and [ł] and the dental and velar nasals [n] and [ŋ]. There is considerable similarity in syllable and word structure: clusters of two (more rarely, three) consonants are found only in the middle of a word; the only consonants appearing at the end of a word are [q], [k], and [n] in Eskimo and the corresponding consonants [ϰ], [x], and [n] in Aleut and other languages.

The Eskimo-Aleut languages are agglutinative synthetic languages. New words and word forms are created only through suffixation, and word structure is characterized by distinct morpheme boundaries. Possessive personal forms of the noun and pronoun, adjective and numeral, and subject-object forms of the verb share common meanings and, in part, formations. Syntax is characterized by two main types of simple sentences. In the nominative type the subject is in the absolute case, and the predicate is an intransitive verb or a transitive verb that takes an indirect object. In the possessive (ergative) type the predicate is a transitive verb that takes a direct object.


Menovshchikov, G. A. “Eskimossko-aleutskaia grappa.” In Iazyki narodov SSSR, vol. 5. Leningrad, 1968.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The diary of Hopedale mentions specifically that "a joy of this kind they never had before." (61) In the diary of Okak we read that thanks to "Pastor Barth, the editor of the Calwer Missionsblatt," "a good number of little writings in the Eskimo language that contained next to the depiction of the acts of the dear Saviour the Bible verses where they are described" were distributed on Christmas day to all children who could read or spell or were learning it.
This dictionary covers all dialects of the Central (Alaskan) Yup'ik Eskimo language, though some more than others.
The name means wolf in the Inuit Eskimo language and Stephan Schaller, chief executive of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, feels it's the perfect choice.
Also into the bonfire goes the fairly commonly held belief that the Eskimo language has 100 words for snow.
A common "urban legend" claims that Eskimo language has hundreds of different words for snow.
In the book's final section (Translation and Transcription), Ann Fienup-Riordan discusses the structure of the Central Yup'ik Eskimo language and the problems that Himmelheber encountered in his attempt to provide a literal translation of Eskimo myths by reordering the Eskimo sentence structure, first into English and then into German.
At Harvard University in 1987; the explorer, who was the only member of the American crew who spoke the Eskimo language, was honored posthumously.
For the first three years of her life, she spoke only Inuktitut - the Eskimo language.
In some ways, the problem is analogous to the Eskimo language use of the word "snow." The eskimo lexicon has several dozen words for snow, each variant having a specific and important meaning to a culture whose basic surroundings are made up of snow.
An oft-cited example is the fact that there are many words in the Eskimo language for the English word "snow." When one sought to build an igloo, snow with certain textures and densities was best suited.
The Inupiat Eskimo language is on the left and its English translation on the right with the lines of each numbered so that one can readily see the correspondence.