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(self-designation, odul, detkil), a small nationality in Eastern Siberia. The Yukaghir number approximately 800 persons (1979, census). Their language is Yukaghir. One group of Yukaghir lives in the tundra in Nizhnekolymsk Raion, Yakut ASSR; another group lives in the taiga in Verkhnekolymsk Raion, Yakut ASSR, and Srednekanskii Raion, Magadan Oblast.
At the beginning of Russian colonization, in the 17th century, Yukaghir clan tribal groups, including the Chuvans, Khodyns, and Anauls, occupied the territory from the Lena River to the mouth of the Anadyr’ River. The number of Yukaghir decreased between the 17th and 19th centuries owing to epidemics, internal feuding, and the tsarist colonial policies. Some Yukaghir were assimilated by the Yakuts, Evens, and Russians. Social relations among the Yukaghir preserved features of the period of transition from a matrilineal clan system to a patriarchy. There were vestiges of matrilocal residence. Despite the Christianization of the Yukaghir in the 19th century, clan shamans continued to have great influence.
Since the establishment of Soviet power, the Yukaghir economy and culture have undergone radical changes. The Yukaghir are now members of sovkhozes that specialize in hunting and reindeer herding.
REFERENCESNarody Sibiri. Moscow-Leningrad, 1956.
lukagiry. Novosibirsk, 1975.
Jochelson, W. The Jukaghir and the Jukaghirized Tungus. Leiden-New York, 1926.
the language of the Yukaghir. Yukaghir is spoken in the Yakut ASSR. The total number of speakers is 288 (1970, census).
Yukaghir belongs to the Paleosiberian (Paleo-Asiatic) languages. Some scholars have suggested similarities between Yukaghir and the Uralic and Altaic languages. Yukaghir has two dialects, Tundra and Kolyma, which differ from each other considerably. The phoneme w is absent in the Kolyma dialect, and the fricatives š and ž are absent in the Tundra dialect.
Nouns, pronouns, cardinal numbers ending in -I2e, action nouns, and adverbs of place are declined. Nouns have seven cases. Verbs, including the lexicosemantic groups of qualitative, quantitative, and pronominal verbs, are conjugated. There are no adjectives; adjectival meanings are expressed by means of qualitative verbs. Special grammatical forms exist for expressing logical stress. In addition to native Yukaghir words, the vocabulary contains cognates of Nenets words, as well as borrowings from Even, Yakut, and Russian. Yukaghir is an unwritten language.
REFERENCESKreinovich, E. A. “Iukagirskii iazyk.” In lazyki narodov SSSR, vol. 5. Leningrad, 1968. (Contains bibliography.)
I. K. SAZONOVA