Field notes from a phonetician on Tundra Yukaghir orthography

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The present article sketches problems with respect to the orthography of thehighly endangered isolated Paleo-Siberian language Tundra Yukaghir, spoken inthe far northeast of the Republic of Sacha, Russian Federation. Though an officialorthography exists, no consensus on the orthography exists among nativespeakers of the language. As a result, confusion occurs in the spelling, especiallyof vowel phoneme /ö/ and phonemic long vs. short vowels. These vowels are notwell described and not always pronounced and perceived correctly. Two experimentsare discussed describing the nature of vowel /ö/ and vowel length. Finally,reasons for the confusing orthography, also in language teaching, are presented.


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