Anna Berge

in Linguistics

ISBN: 9780199772810
Published online October 2011 | | DOI:

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The Eskimo-Aleut language family is spoken from the Chukotka Peninsula in the Russian Far East, across subarctic and Arctic regions of Alaska and Canada, to Greenland in the east. It includes two major branches, Aleut and Eskimo. Aleut is a single language with three historically attested dialects, and it is also the source of a mixed and now obsolescent language, Copper Island Aleut. Eskimo consists of at least two subgroups, Yupik and Inuit; the recently extinct language Sirenikski may have formed a third branch, or it may have been a strongly divergent Yupik language. The Yupik languages include Central Alaskan Yup’ik, Alutiiq, Central Siberian Yupik, and Naukanski. The Inuit branch is considered a single language with multiple dialects and subdialects; major dialect groups include Alaskan Iñupiaq, Western Canadian Inuit, Eastern Canadian Inuit, and Greenlandic. The languages have been documented in varying degrees since the 17th century, and the language family was identified as early as the early 19th century by Rasmus Rask, although analyses of the actual relationships among the languages and between Eskimo-Aleut and other language families continued throughout the 20th century. Both the level and the concentration of documentation, description, and theoretical analyses differ from language to language. For example, the number of speakers, the number of researchers working on the languages, and the extended period of descriptive work have all contributed to the vast body of work on Greenlandic and Eastern Canadian Inuit as opposed to the scarcity of work on Western Canadian Inuit, Iñupiaq, and the Siberian Yupik languages. The citations in this article are organized by language or language group (in the case of Yupik) and thereunder by major dialect. Citations were chosen for their historical importance when these continue to be useful sources for the study of the language as well as for their representation of a particular field of linguistic study (phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, discourse, and so forth). Unless other sources do not exist, pedagogical materials have not been included, since they are well represented in almost all languages. Where enough materials exist to warrant subgrouping the citations, descriptive works, including grammars, dictionaries, and generally atheoretical works, are presented first, followed by a section on the more theoretical aspects of the study of a language.

Article.  10744 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Anthropological Linguistics ; Language Families ; Psycholinguistics ; Sociolinguistics

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