Itelmen Language

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Itel’men Language


the language of the Itel’meny, one of the Paleo-Siberian languages of the Chukchi-Kamchatka family. It is spoken by 464 persons (1970 census) in Tigil’ Raion, Koriak National Okrug, Kamchatka Oblast (on the western coast of Kamchatka). Of the three Itel’men dialects—the southern, eastern (Kamchatoretskii), and western—still spoken in the early 19th century, only two subdialects of the western dialect have survived. Itel’men does not have a script.

The phonetic system shows a high degree of consonant saturation, and the morphology is agglutinative. Grammatical for-mants and certain roots reveal a kinship to the Chukchi and Koriak languages, although the sound relationships between these languages have been little studied.


Moll, T. A. “Ocherk fonetiki i morfologii sedankinskogo dialekta itel’-menskogo iazyka.” Uch. zap. Leningradskogo gos. ped. in-ta, 1960, vol. 167.
Volodin, A. P., and A. N. Zhukova. “Itel’menskii iazyk.” In the collection Iazyki narodov SSSR, vol. 5. Leningrad-Moscow, 1968.
Bogoras, W. “Chukchee.” In F. Boas, Handbook of American Indian Languages, part 2. Washington, 1922.