Central Siberian Yupik language

Siberian Yupik
Native to United States, Russian Federation
Region Bering Strait region
Ethnicity Siberian Yupiks
Native speakers
1,010 (2006-2010)[1]
  • Eskimo

Latin, Cyrillic
Language codes
ISO 639-3 ess
Glottolog cent2128[2]

Siberian Yupik (also known as Central Siberian Yupik, Bering Strait Yupik, Yuit, Yoit, "St. Lawrence Island Yupik", and in Russia "Chaplinski Yupik" or Yuk) is one of the Yupik languages of the Eskimo–Aleut language family. It the largest Yupik idiom spoken in Siberia, and it is spoken also on St. Lawrence Island. Its speakers, the Siberian Yupik people, are an indigenous people who reside along the coast of the Chukchi Peninsula in the Russian Far East and on St. Lawrence Island in the Alaska villages of Savoonga and Gambell.

In Alaska, about 1,050 people from a total Siberian Yupik population of 1,100 speak the language. In Russia, about 300 of an ethnic population of 1,200 to 1,500 speak the language, making a total of about 1,350 speakers worldwide.

Dialects and subgroups

Siberian Yupik has two dialects: Chaplinski Yupik is spoken on the shores of the Chukchi Peninsula in the Russian Far North, and St. Lawrence Island Yupik (Sivuqaghmiistun) is spoken on St. Lawrence Island, Alaska. The majority of Chaplinski Yupik speakers live in the villages of Novoye Chaplino and Sireniki, on the coasts of the Chukchi Peninsula. St. Lawrence Island Yupik is believed to be an offspring of Chaplinski and apart from some few phonetic, phonological, morphological, syntactical and lexical peculiarities is practically identical with it.[3]

Asian/Siberian Yupik settlements (red dots)

Chaplino, or Ungazighmiistun, is the largest Yupik language of Siberia (the second one is Naukan), and is named after the settlement of Ungaziq (Novoye Chaplino). The word Ungazighmii / Уңазиӷмӣ[4][5] [uŋaʑiʁmiː] (plural Ungazighmiit / Уңазиӷмӣт [uŋaʑiʁmiːt][6][7]) means "Ungaziq inhabitant(s)". People speaking this language live in several settlements in the southeastern Chukchi Peninsula[8] (including Novoye Chaplino, Provideniya, and Sireniki), Uelkal, Wrangel Island,[7] and Anadyr.[9] In another terminology, these people speak Chaplino, and Ungazighmiit people speak one of its dialects, along with other dialects spoken by Avatmit, Imtugmit, Kigwagmit, which can be divided further into even smaller dialects.[8]

Other Eskimo languages spoken in Siberia

Other Yupik languages

Naukan, or Nuvuqaghmiistun, the second largest Yupik language spoken in Siberia, is spoken in settlements including Uelen, Lorino, Lavrentiya, and Provideniya.[9]

Debated classifications

Additionally, the Sireniki Eskimo language, locally called Uqeghllistun, was an Eskimo language once spoken in Siberia. It had many peculiarities. Sometimes it is classified as not belonging to the Yupik branch at all, thus forming (by itself) a stand-alone third branch of the Eskimo languages (alongside Inuit and Yupik).[8][10] Its peculiarities may be the result of a supposed long isolation from other Eskimo groups in the past.[11]

Sireniki became extinct in early January 1997.[8][10][12]


  1. http://www.census.gov/hhes/socdemo/language/data/acs/SupplementaryTable1_ACSBR10-10.xls
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Central Siberian Yupik". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. Daria Morgounova (2004). Language contact on both sides of the Bering Strait: a comparative study of Central Siberian Yupik-Russian and Central Alaskan Yupik-English language contact. Københavns Universitet, Det Humanistiske Fakultet, Engelsk Institut.
  4. Menovshchikov 1962:89
  5. same suffix for another root (Rubcova 1954: 465)
  6. Rubcova 1954:220,238,370 (tale examples)
  7. 1 2 Menovshchikov 1962:1
  8. 1 2 3 4 Endangered Languages in Northeast Siberia: Siberian Yupik and other Languages of Chukotka by Nikolai Vakhtin
  9. 1 2 Asian Eskimo Language by Endangered languages of Indigenous Peoples of Siberia
  10. 1 2 Linguist List's description about Nikolai Vakhtin's book: The Old Sirinek Language: Texts, Lexicon, Grammatical Notes. The author's untransliterated (original) name is “Н.Б. Вахтин”.
  11. Menovshchikov 1962:11
  12. Support for Siberian Indigenous Peoples Rights (Поддержка прав коренных народов Сибири) — see the section on Eskimos





  • Menovshchikov, G.A.: Language of Sireniki Eskimos. Phonetics, morphology, texts and vocabulary. Academy of Sciences of the USSR, Moscow • Leningrad, 1964. Original data: Г.А. Меновщиков: Язык сиреникских эскимосов. Фонетика, очерк морфологии, тексты и словарь. Академия Наук СССР. Институт языкознания. Москва • Ленинград, 1964
  • Menovshchikov, G.A.: Grammar of the language of Asian Eskimos. Vol. I. Academy of Sciences of the USSR, Moscow • Leningrad, 1962. Original data: Г.А. Меновщиков: Грамматиκа языка азиатских эскимосов. Часть первая. Академия Наук СССР. Москва • Ленинград, 1962.
  • Rubcova, E. S. (1954). Materials on the Language and Folklore of the Eskimos (Vol. I, Chaplino Dialect). Moscow • Leningrad: Academy of Sciences of the USSR. Original data: Рубцова, Е. С. (1954). Материалы по языку и фольклору эскимосов (чаплинский диалект). Москва • Ленинград: Академия Наук СССР.
  • Yupik: Bibliographical guide

Further reading

  • Badten, Linda Womkon, Vera Oovi Kaneshiro, Marie Oovi, and Steven A. Jacobson. A Dictionary of the St. Lawrence Island/Siberian Yupik Eskimo Language. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Language Center, College of Liberal Arts, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, 1987. ISBN 1-55500-029-0
  • Bass, Willard P., Edward A. Tennant, and Sharon Pungowiyi Satre. Test of Oral Language Dominance Siberian Yupik-English. Albuquerque, N.M.: Southwest Research Associates, 1973.
  • Jacobson, Steven A. (1990). A Practical Grammar of the St. Lawrence Island/Siberian Yupik Eskimo Language (PDF). Fairbanks: Alaska Native Language Center, College of Liberal Arts, University of Alaska. ISBN 1-55500-034-7. 
  • Jacobson, Steven A. Reading and Writing the Cyrillic System for Siberian Yupik = Atightuneqlu Iganeqlu Yupigestun Ruuseghmiit Latangitgun. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Language Center, College of Liberal Arts, University of Alaska, 1990.
  • Koonooka, Christopher (2003). Ungipaghaghlanga: Let Me Tell A Story. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Language Center (University of Alaska Fairbanks).  Collection of stories, originally recorded by Меновщиков among Siberian Yupik, then transliterated so that it can be read by Yupik of St. Lawrence Island.
  • Nagai, Kayo; Waghiyi, Della (2001). Mrs. Della Waghiyi's St Lawrence Island Yupik Texts with Grammatical Analysis by Kayo Nagai. Osaka (Japan): Endangered Languages of the Pacific Rim. 
  • Reuse, Willem Joseph de. Siberian Yupik Eskimo The Language and Its Contacts with Chukchi. Studies in indigenous languages of the Americas. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1994. ISBN 0-87480-397-7
  • Reuse, Willem Joseph de. Studies in Siberian Yupik Eskimo Morphology and Syntax. 1988.

External links

Central Siberian Yupik language test of Wikipedia at Wikimedia Incubator
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