Paleosiberian languages

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Paleosiberian languages

(pā'lēōsībēr`ēən), also called Paleoasiatic or Hyperborean languages, family of languages spoken by about 15,000 indigenous inhabitants of Siberia. Of these, most live in extreme NE Siberia, and fewer than 1,000 live farther W near the Yenisei River. Only a few languages survive of this once extensive family, which formerly was spread over a considerable area of N Asia. Among the Paleosiberian languages still in use are Chukchi, Koryak, Kamchadal, Yukaghir, and Gilyak. These tongues have characteristics that recall a number of Native American languagesNative American languages,
languages of the native peoples of the Western Hemisphere and their descendants. A number of the Native American languages that were spoken at the time of the European arrival in the New World in the late 15th cent.
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. For example, they are polysynthetic. In a polysynthetic language, a number of word elements are joined together to form a composite word that functions like a sentence in Indo-European languages. Most Paleosiberian languages did not have their own writing system in the past. Today their scripts are all based on the Cyrillic alphabet.


See R. Jakobson et al., Paleosiberian Peoples and Languages (1957, repr. 1981).

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References in periodicals archive ?
Undoubtedly, it is an extensive areal phenomenon, as a general rule, represented in Uralic languages the stronger the more eastern, closer ones to Paleosiberian languages we have in mind (reference to the person of an object in verbal forms occurs also in Basque, some Caucasian languages and Amerindian languages--see Tauli 1966 : 169).
Permic (with examples Zyryan Komi e-g 'I was not', o-g 'I am not', Udmurt u-g id.); Paleosiberian languages--Chukotka-Kamchatkan -k, e.g., Chukchi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 'I shall go' (see Skorik 1968 : 262), Eskimo-Aleutic -[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]a, -[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] < *ka (-k-i, in which case -i occurs as a plural suffix), e.g., Aleut [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 'I go' (see [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 1968 : 397; [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 1997 : 113).
Many of them are common for Uralic (especially Samoyed), Paleosiberian (Paleoasiatic) and Altaic languages.