About this documentation

This website documents Kolyma Yukaghir, a highly endangered language spoken by about forty people in North-East Siberia. Its purpose is to present the modern Kolyma Yukaghir language as fully as possible. You will find here original Yukaghir texts, both as audio recordings, and in transcribed, translated and analysed form. There are also dictionaries and pictures. Much use is made of cross-references and links between various kinds of information: textual, grammatical, lexicographic, auditory, and visual.

The general structure of the documentation is as follows: Introduction - Texts - Dictionaries - Pictures and maps. The section "Introduction" includes this explanatory note, basic information about the Yukaghir language and people, a note on the transcription and translations used to render the texts, and a bibliography. The bibliography is divided into several thematic sections and includes the most important papers on Yukaghir language and culture published before 2004. More information on the topics mentioned in the introduction may be found in these papers.

The section "Texts" contains 52 sequentially numbered texts. Most of them were tape-recorded in 1986-1991 from native speakers of Kolyma Yukaghir by Irina Nikolaeva in the Yukaghir settlements of Nelemnoe and Zyrjanka and the surrounding areas, as well as in Yakutsk. As indicated in the comments, a few texts were recorded by Ljudmila Zhukova and Ljubov' Demina. Unfortunately, the recordings were made on old equipment and their quality is not always high. Shorter versions of some of the texts were published in Nikolaeva (1989, 1997, 2000) using a different transcription, while others are published here for the first time.

The texts are divided into three groups: songs, tales and stories. This division largely reflects the traditional Yukaghir classification of the genres. Songs are mainly individual lyrical songs. They may show some phonetic and lexical peculiarities, for example, non-etymological sounds and special interjections. Tales are mostly mythological texts and describe what Yukaghirs refer to as "the olden days". Stories are personal narratives that describe relatively recent events and real people, although they may also include some supernatural elements.

Each text is presented with a translation and a short comment that explains the circumstances of the recording together with any other information necessary to understand it. By clicking on the symbol under the title you will hear the whole text. By clicking on the heading Glosses you will see a sentence-by sentence analysis of the text. This analysis includes the phonological transcription and the translation of the relevant sentence, morpheme-by-morpheme glosses, and in some cases short grammatical and/or cultural comments to the sentence. By clicking on a stem or an affix you will see the relevant dictionary entry. You can hear the sentence by clicking on the sign above the transcription. All sentences are referred to as follows in the dictionaries and comments: the first number in round brackets indicates the text and the second number indicates the sentence in this text.

The section "Dictionaries" includes a Yukaghir-English dictionary of stems, a list of Yukaghir affixes and an English-Yukaghir dictionary. The lists of stems and affixes are not intended to cover all attested Yukaghir morphemes, but only those found in the present corpus. However, they make up a fairly comprehensive picture of the language. Although the provision of glosses has involved grammatical analysis, a description of the grammar as such is not provided in this documentation. For more information about the grammar of Kolyma Yukaghir you should consult the publications in the bibliography.

The lists of stems and affixes are divided into several sections on alphabetical grounds. The Yukaghir-English dictionary presents Yukaghir stems in the left column. Russian words that may occasionally occur in the present texts but are not fully assimilated loan-words, as well as proper nouns, are not included in this dictionary. The right column consists of at least two lines for each entry. The first line contains the conventional gloss used to render the respective stem in the morpheme-by-morpheme analysis, presented here in square brackets. It also normally contains the English translation(s) of the stem, which may sometimes differ from the conventional gloss. The second line (in many cases there are more than one) contains references to the occurrences of the stem in the texts. By clicking on them you will see the relevant sentence in the "Texts" section and therefore the context in which the word is used. For some entries there is an additional line between the gloss/translation line and the list of occurrences. This notes whether we are dealing with a recent loan-word and/or a bound stem that only occurs accompanied by derivational affixes. It may also list the phonological variants of the stem attested in the present corpus. These variants are given as separate entries as well and are linked to their main forms. Translations are not provided in this case.

The list of affixes is basically organised in the same way. The first line of the right column provides a conventional gloss in square brackets, while the last line(s) list(s) occurrences of the affix in the texts which are linked to them. For some affixes there may be an additional line providing some comments and listing the phonological variants of the affix. These variants are also given as separate entries linked to their main forms. The English-Yukaghir dictionary is a reverse word list linked to the corresponding entries of the Yukaghir-English dictionary. Thus, you can easily go from the English meaning to its Yukaghir equivalent and further to the occurrences of the relevant word in the texts.

The section "Pictures and maps" contains maps and a video clip that demonstrate the habitat of the Kolyma Yukaghirs, as well as pictures that show the narrators of the texts and some realia of Yukaghir material culture. Some of the pictures were taken by Irina Nikolaeva in 1986-1991, while others are reproduced from Jochelson (1926), Zhukova (1996) and Ignat'eva & Shejkin (1993), with the kind permission of the latter three authors. There are links to some of the pictures from the comments to the texts and the individual sentences. In particular, by clicking on the name of the narrator in the comments you can see the corresponding page of pictures.