By Dunn, M.J.

The purpose of this paintings is to provide the 1st fieldwork-based, typologically proficient reference grammar of Chukchi, an indigenous language of the north-eastern nook of the Russian Federation. The theoretical strategy is low-key and eclectic; linguistic phenomena are defined in a way that is, in as far as it really is attainable, theory-neutral, even though the place a department of linguistic idea presents instruments which permit transparent and straightforward description it really is used with no hesitation. Linguistic description is, even if, basic all through.

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The lack of syntactic description in the grammar is typical of grammars of the time, particularly those produced by Boas and his students (Murray 1994). Volodin (1954:111) claims that this is simply because of Bogoras’ focus on ethnographic research he had neither time nor interest to investigate syntax in depth. After the turmoil of the Russian Revolution, Bogoras pursued an scholarly career in Soviet academia. His final major publication on Chukchi (published posthumously) was a dictionary, Luoravetlansko-russkij slovar’ [ChukchiRussian Dictionary] (Bogoras 1937).

There are many problems for Chukchis today to overcome. Their traditional culture still exists in pockets but is very much in a state of crisis. Alcoholism is widespread, and most deaths among Chukchis have alcohol as a contributing factor. Although the Soviet Union is doubtlessly responsible for many terrible things with respect to its indigenous populations, the fall of the Soviet Union has also caused great difficulties. The economic stress suffered by the new Russian Federation is hitting the poorest citizens hardest, and for every ‘new Russian’ businessman or administrator driving down the main street of Anadyr’ in his luxury American four-wheel-drive there are hundreds in poverty.

The element -wji/-wje is a common terminal element in names, particularly among Telqep Chukchis. Bogoras says that the origin of this naming element is unknown (1904-1909:515). Some Chukchis speculate that this is related to the verb wji-k ‘to breathe’, but then cannot explain the meanings of names including this element. Qorawje ‘reindeer breath’ and, Tim×ewje ‘lost breath’ would make a certain sense, but what of other names like Rintuwji ‘thrown breath’? g. ZÁukova 1980:57), although plurality does not seem to be consistent with other Chukchi naming practices.

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A Grammar of Chukchi by Dunn, M.J.


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