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Seward Peninsula Inupiaq and language contact around Bering Strait

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Abstract

In the Bering Strait region, where Siberia and Alaska are in close proximity, the world’s greatest diversity of Eskimo languages is found, with five separate languages: Inupiaq, Central Siberian Yupik, Naukan Yupik, Central Alaskan Yupik, and Sirenikski (now extinct). The results of language contact among them are evident and must be due to extensive bilingualism, although the introduction of English and Russian has vastly decreased bilingualism involving the indigenous languages. Emphasizing Inupiaq, this paper presents a number of these language-contact phenomena, from lexical borrowing to profound alterations in phonology such as the prosodic-type systems found in Seward Peninsula Inupiaq, and discusses the history of the contact.

References

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