Eskimo-Aleut Languages

(redirected from Eskimo language)

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.

REFERENCE

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

I. TSVETKOVSKII

References in periodicals archive ?
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.
An oft-cited example is the fact that there are many words in the Eskimo language for the English word "snow.
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.
Although this has been overstated--actually, Eskimo languages don't have all that many root words for different kinds of snow, but form specialized words by building on root words--it is still true that people in northern climates speak of (and thus also see and consider) their ice- and snowbound environments with a keen precision.