Linguistic features of Kolyma Chukchi.

2018. №3, 112-127

Maria Yu. Pupynina
Institute for Linguistic Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, 199053, Russian Federation;


Linguistic variation in Chukchi is traditionally considered to be relatively low compared to Koryak and Alutor. Different scholars (V. Bogoras, P. Skorik, M. Dunn) distinguish different sets of Chukchi dialects; however, principles of such classifications are mostly vague and unclear. There are no special studies on Chukchi varieties except Kolyma Chukchi. According to the research conducted in three administrative regions with Chukchi communities (Chukchi Autonomous Okrug, Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), and Kamchatka Krai) in 2008—2017, Kolyma Chukchi is indeed the most peculiar variety compared to all others. In this paper, I propose that the Chukchi linguistic habitat should be divided into three geographical zones: Western, Southern, and Eastern. All previous descriptions of Chukchi were based on the Eastern zone variants, thus the description of varieties from Western and Southern zones is particularly relevant. Major phonetic, lexical, and morphological characteristics of the Kolyma Chukchi Western variety, which has the biggest number of speakers, are presented in this article. Besides, it is shown that the Ayanka Chukchi variety (Penzhina district of Kamchatsky Krai) has features similar to Kolyma Chukchi.