Aleut language

Spoken in




Aleut (local: Unangam Tunuu ) is a language of the Eskimo - Aleut, spoken on the Aleutian Islands, Pribilof Islands and the Commander Islands of the Unangan. 1995 were counted 305 speakers of Aleut. Therefore, it is considered highly endangered language.

Aleut has two dialect groups, the eastern Aleutian and Atka. Within the eastern Aleutian a distinction between the dialects of Unalaska, Belkovski, Akutan, the Pribilof Islands, Kaschega and Nikolski. Within the Atka Dialektguppe there are dialects of Attu ( extinct since the 1940s ), Bering Island and Copper Island.

The Aleutian was first described by the expedition of Vitus Bering in 1741, a first recording lexicographic found the language in 1778 in a word list that was compiled by James King on Cook's voyage in 1778. At this time the Imperial Academy of Sciences of St. Petersburg became aware of the language after they had heard of the Russian trade expeditions. In the endeavor of Catherine the Great through to publish a dictionary of all the languages ​​of the Russian Empire, Peter Simon Pallas was set, which should conduct the necessary field work to collect linguistic information about Aleut. Created between 1791 and 1792 Carl Heinrich Merck and Michael Rohbeck word lists and conducted a census of the male population and their Aleut pre- Christian names. Yuri Fyodorovich Lisjanski created as Nikolai Petrovich Resanov more word lists. Johann Christoph and Johann Severin Adelung father mentioned the language for the first time in 1806 in its " general linguistics ".

In 1819, studied the first professional linguist, the Dane Rasmus Rask, Aleut. He collected words and diffraction patterns of two speakers of the eastern Aleutian dialect, who lived in St. Petersburg. 1824 Innokenty Weniaminow Aleut began to study in Unalaska and revolutionized it as a literary language: he created an orthography by using the Cyrillic alphabet ( the Roman alphabet would come later ), the Gospel of Matthew and some other religious texts translated into Aleut and published 1846 Eastern Aleutian grammar. The religious writings were with the help of two friends Weniaminows, the Aleut native speakers Ivan Pankow ( leader of Tigalda ) and Yakov Nezwetow (priest of Atka ), translated. Nezwetow also wrote a atka - aleutisches dictionary. After Weniaminows work had been published, some pious persons interested for studying and recording of Aleut, which supported the missionary activity of Russian Orthodox clerics.

The first Frenchman who described the Aleut language, Alphonse Pinart 1871 was, shortly after the United States had purchased Alaska. A few years later, 1878, the Americans Lucien M. Turner began to collect Aleut words for a word list. The Pole Benedict Dibowski began in 1881, the Russian Nikolai Vasilyevich Doctor 1892 to create word lists from the dialects of the Commander Islands in 1881.

From 1909 to 1910 the ethnologist Waldemar Jochelson traveled to the Aleut communities Unalaska, Atka, Attu and Nikolski and drove for nine ten months fieldwork. Alexei Jatschmenew and Leonti Siwstow, both of unalaska - Aleut language powerful, Jochelson stood by in his ethnographic work. Jochelson amassed Aleut stories, folklore and myths pieces and many of them had not only recorded, but also recorded on tape. He discovered numerous expressions and grammatical peculiarities, when he was there, and contributed much to the scientific knowledge of the Aleut language in.

In the 1930s, wrote two native Aleuts works that are considered breakthroughs in the use of the Aleutian as a literary language. Afinogen K. Ermeloff wrote a description of a shipwreck in his native language and Ardelion G. Ermeloff kept a diary on Aleut. At the same time, the linguist Melville Jacobs caught up with some new lyrics by Sergey Golley, a spokesman for the Atka Aleut, who was at that time in the hospital.

John P. Harrington promoted the research on the Pribilof Island dialect on the St. Paul Island in 1941 and collected by the way new vocabulary. 1944 published by the Ministry of the Interior of the United States of America "The Aleut Language" as part of the war effort and thus allowed their soldiers to understand the language of the Aleutian Islands. This English - Aleut language project based on the work Wenjaminows. Knut Bergland published in 1994 a complete dictionary of the Aleut.


Aleut is mostly written in a Latin alphabet, on Pribilof also with Cyrillic letters.