Northern Yukaghir language

Northern Yukaghir language

name=Northern Yukaghir
region=Yakutia and the Kamchatka Peninsula

The Northern or Tundra Yukaghir language is one of only two Yukaghir languages.


¹The uvular fricative IPA|/ʁ/ is realized as a stop IPA| [ɢ] after IPA|/ŋ/.


Syllable structure is CVC, i.e. up to one consonant can occur at the beginning or end of a word, and up to two in the middle.


Northern Yukaghir is largely head-final and dependent-marking: the default position for the verb is at the end of the clause, nouns are marked for case, adjectives precede nouns and relative clauses precede main clauses.

Case assignment for core participants behaves in a broadly split-intransitive manner, though actual assignment is very complex, involving semantic role, focus, relative animacy of the participants (first or second person versus third), and nature of the noun itself. The assigned cases are primary (used for focused or high animacy nominative arguments), neutral (for low animacy nominative arguments and high animacy accusative ones), and focus case (most focused accusative arguments). Indexation of arguments on the verb is similarly conditioned by focus and animacy, as well as mood.

Oblique cases include dative, instrumental, comitative, locative, ablative, prolative, and transformative, the latter indicating the inteded use or function of an argument.

There is limited incorporation, used in reflexive constructions.

Northern Yukaghir verbs are marked for switch reference. Besides indicating whether the verb of a following clause shares the same subject, the switch-reference markers also describe the temporal relationship between clauses, the connection between the actions involved, and in the case of different subjects, the person (first or second versus third) and number of the subject.

Relationships with other languages

While Northern Yukaghir is currently known to be related only to Southern Yukaghir, there is speculation that the Yukaghir languages may be related to the Uralic languages.


*cite book
last = Maslova
first = Elena
authorlink =
coauthors =
year = 2003
title = Tundra Yukaghir
publisher = LINCOM GmbH
location = Munich
id = ISBN 3-89586-792-6

External links

* [ Elena Maslova's pages on Yukaghir]
* [ Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Tundra Yukaghir]
* [ Online Documentation of Kolyma (Southern) Yukaghir]
* [ The poetry of the Yukaghir] (translated to English)

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