Yoshiyuki Asahi (NINJAL)
Sociolinguistics of Karafuto and Sakhalin Japanese
This paper renders a sociolinguistic description of the Japanese language spoken in Sakhalin Island. Located between Hokkaido, the northernmost main island of Japan, and the Eurasian continent, Sakhalin Island has been settled by a number of ethnicities and languages in course of her history. Japanese, in fact, is one of those languages, and the degree of impact on the (socio-) linguistic situation in Sakhalin varies especially in the Japanese time (1905-1945) when Sakhalin was called Karafuto. Karafuto Japanese language became the first official language of the island. After about two-year period of bilingual co-existence with Russian, Sakhalin Japanese witnessed another change in relation to Russian, Ainu, Uilta, Nivkh, and other languages. What is more, since 1990s, a large number of Sakhalin Japanese have left Sakhalin, to start their life in Japan and Korea.
This paper, therefore, starts with a brief description of the unique history of Sakhalin with a special reference to Japanese language. Based on this, this paper will discuss some sociolinguistic phenomena observed in Japanese, mainly dialect levelling amongst Japanese dialects, and code-switching amongst Japanese, Russian, and Korean. Also, transfer from other languages to Japanese will be discussed in relation to the Japanese spoken by Uilta and Nivkh. Lastly, I will discuss the Japanese and Korean languages spoken by those who have returned to Japan and Korea, and also by those who live in Sakhalin. Based on this, I shall describe the status quo of the Japanese/Korean language education in those areas, and stress the importance of supporting their ethnic language skills.
Anna Bugaeva (NINJAL)
The development of nominalization strategies in Ainu
In this paper, I focus on the clausal nominalization in Ainu, a syntactic process which allows a clause to function as a noun phrase within a broader syntactic context without creating a derived noun as the head. Based on a cross-dialectal comparison, I suggest that zero-nominalization [(NP…) V]NP reflects the oldest stage (I) of the clausal nominalization in Ainu. The strategy of adding a nominalizing word [(NP…) V NZR]NP, which proliferates in Hokkaido Ainu, is regarded as the next stage (II). And finally, in Sakhalin Ainu, non-finite verbal forms containing possessive style agreement [(NP…) V-POSS]NP (III), which can also be used as non-embedded (finite) structures [(NP…) V-POSS]MC (IV) in a broad range of presuppositional contexts, are regarded as the last stage. I argue that Ainu presents a fine example of language where the development occurs in a cycle: through embedding, independent structures gradually develop into dependent structures and then the latter gradually turn into independent structures again.
Ekaterina Gruzdeva (University of Helsinki)
Epistemic modality and related categories in Nivkh
Epistemic modality is typically defined as a semantic category or conceptual domain that deals with the expression of the degree or nature of the speaker’s (or someone else’s) commitment to the truth of what (s)he says (Palmer 1986: 121). Various degrees of commitment form an epistemic scale going from certainty that a state of affairs applies, via a neutral stance towards its occurrence, to certainty that it does not apply (Nuyts 2001: 21-22).
Nivkh employs two grammatical devices for marking epistemic modal meanings, i.e., verbal mood and modal particles, which cover different segments of the epistemic scale. The corresponding mood forms express various levels of certainty, encoding an orientation either towards the speaker, i.e., ‘subjectivity’, or towards the addressee, i.e., ‘intersubjectivity’. Modal particles, in turn, mark different grades of uncertainty. Some of these particles are always attached either to a finite verb or to a noun, whereas others may also be used on their own. A similar distribution is typical of interrogative, optative, evidential, mirative, and focus particles.
The paper explores the semantic, paradigmatic and functional differences between the two aforementioned linguistic tools for expressing epistemic modality and investigates the interaction between this category and other closely related qualificational categories such as (i) evidentiality, which concerns the speaker’s indication of a source of information (cf. Aikhenvald 2004: 3), and (ii) mirativity, which involves the marking of information as new and unexpected (cf. DeLancey 1997: 35-36).
Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y. 2004. Evidentiality. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press.
DeLancey, Scott. 1997. Mirativity: The grammatical marking of unexpected information. Linguistic Typology 1.1: 33-52.
Nuyts, Jan. 2001. Epistemic modality, language and conceptualization: A cognitive-pragmatic perspective. Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Palmer, Frank. R. 1986. Mood and modality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Juha Janhunen (University of Helsinki)
Reconstructio externa linguae Ghiliacorum
In a lecture given in Helsinki under the title “Reconstructio interna linguae Ghiliacorum”, Robert Austerlitz (1972) presented an outline of the possibilities of internal reconstruction as applied to the Ghilyak or Nivkh language. Although essentially an isolate with relatively little internal variation, Ghilyak exhibits a large number of morphophonological alternations and derivational correlations, which allow conclusions to be made about the earlier stages of the language. Austerlitz (1980, 1982, 1984, 1990, 1994) subsequently continued this line of research in a number of papers. As a result it is possible to reconstruct the sound system and several details of root structure and grammar for a prehistorical stage of the language that may be termed Pre-Proto-Ghilyak. Chronologically Pre-Proto-Ghilyak represents a level that once preceded Proto-Ghilyak, which, by definition, may be understood as the relatively shallow protoform of the modern regional varieties of Ghilyak.
The present paper takes up the issue concerning the reconstruction of Pre-Proto-Ghilyak from the point of view of the external relations of the language. Ghilyak shares both lexical elements and structural features with the neighbouring languages, which represent several different language families, including, in particular, Ainuic and Tungusic, but more distantly also Mongolic, Koreanic, Japonic and Kamchukotic. The largest number of lexical parallels link Ghilyak with Tungusic, and these parallels exhibit regular phonetic correspondences that in many respects confirm the conclusions made on the basis of internal reconstruction. The external evidence also allows more definitive conclusions to be drawn about the absolute chronology of some of the developments that took place between Pre-Proto-Ghilyak and Proto-Ghilyak.
Austerlitz, Robert (1972). Reconstructio interna linguae Ghiliacorum. Unpublished lecture handout, 21 April, 1972. Helsinki, Finno-Ugrian Society.
Austerlitz, Robert (1980: 75-87). On the penumbra of questions surrounding the internal reconstruction of Gilyak. In: Bernard Comrie, ed. International Review of Slavic Linguistics, vol. 5. Edmonton.
Austerlitz, Robert (1982: 81-88). Gilyak internal reconstruction, I: Seven etyma. In: H. I. Aronson & B. J. Darden, eds. Papers from the Second Conference on the Non-Slavic Languages of the USSR. Folia Slavica, vol. 5. Columbus, Ohio: Slavica Publishers.
Austerlitz, Robert (1984: 38-48). Gilyak internal reconstruction, II: Iron and questions relatd to metallurgy. In: Howard A. Aronson, ed. Papers from the Third Conference on the Non-Slavic Languages of the USSR. Folia Slavica, vol. 7. Columbus, Ohio: Slavica Publishers.
Austerlitz, Robert (1990: 17-33). Typology in the service of internal reconstruction: Saxalin Nivx. In: Winfred P. Lehmann, ed. Systematic Balance in Language: Papers from the Linguistic Typology Symposium, Berkeley, 1-3 December 1987. Language Typology 1987. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Austerlitz, Robert (1994: 229-233). Gilyak internal reconstruction, III: Ligneous matter. In: Howard A. Aronson, ed. Non-Slavic Languages of the USSR. Papers from the Fourth Conference. Indiana University: Slavica Publishers.
Shinjiro Kazama (Tokyo University of Foreign Studies)
On the similarity between Mongolic, Tungusic and Eskimo-Aleut languages
In English the following sentence (1) is ambiguous and is interpreted in two ways.
- (1) He ate his fish.
(1)’ Hei ate hisi (own) fish.
(1)” Hei ate hisj (=some one else’s) fish.
But in Mongolic, Tungusic and Eskimo-Aleut languages the difference between (1)’ and (1)” above is expressed strictly in different ways as shown by the pseudo-English in (2)’ and (2)”):
- (2)’ He ate own fish.
(2)” He ate his fish.
These languages have head-marking system of possession. For example Nanai (Tungusic) has a paradigm of possessional suffixes as follows:
Therefore the sentences above are expressed in Nanai as follows:
- (3)’ Saasa sogdata-ŋgo-ji sia-xa-ni.
p.n. fish-ALIEN-REFL.SG eat-PERF-3SG
‘Sasha ate his own fish.’
- (3)” Saasa sogdata-ŋgo-a-ni sia-xa-ni.
p.n. fish-ALIEN-OBL-3SG eat-PERF-3SG
‘Sasha ate his (another person than Sasha’s) fish.’
This type of system is observed both in Mongolic and Eskimo-Aleut languages.
- (4)’ Dorž nom-oo unš-san.
p.n. book-REFL read-VN.PST
‘Dorzh read his own book.’
- (4)” Dorž nom-yg n’ unš-san.
p.n. book-ACC 3 read-VN.PST
‘Dorzh read his (another person than Dorzh’s) book.’
[Central Alaskan Yupik (Eskimo-Aleut)] (Miyaoka 2012: 723)
- (5)’ May’a-m pani-ni assik-aa.
p.n.-REL.SG daughter-ABS.3REFLSG.SG like-IND.3SG.3SG
‘Mayaq likes his own daughter.’
- (5)” May’a-m pani-a assik-aa.
p.n.-REL.SG daughter-ABS.3SG.SG like-IND.3SG.3SG
‘Mayaq likes his (another person than Mayaq’s) daughter.’
This type of system is not observed elsewhere at least in Northeast Eurasia, and may be relatively uncommon in the languages of the world.
In my presentation I would like to pick up some more points of similarity among these languages, and also discuss some differences among them.
abs: absolutive case, acc: accusative, alien: alienable, ind: indicative, perf: perfective, obl: oblique marker, pst: past, refl: reflexive, rel: relative case, sg: singular, vn: verbal noun
Miyaoka, Osahito (2012) A Grammar of Central Alaskan Yupik. Mouton Grammar Library 58. Berlin and Boston: de Gruyter Mouton.
Iku Nagasaki (NINJAL)
Nominalization and its related functions in Kolyma Yukaghir
This paper focuses on the functional development of the so-called active attributive forms (Maslova 2003) in Kolyma Yukaghir, one of two languages forming with Tundra Yukaghir a small unaffiliated language family spoken in Northeast Siberia. The active attributive forms are currently used to build relative clauses, while a restricted number of nouns obviously originate from verbs in this form. However, the data collected at the end of 19th century and the very beginning of the 20th century suggest that the active attributive forms were more productively used for argument nominalization. Based on a comparison between the relativization and adnominal nominalization constructions, I suggest that the relativization function of the active attributive forms developed from the function of argument nominalization, which was lost in the not too distant past. The argument nominalization function was gradually replaced by adding the bound form of a light noun to the active attributive forms and other verb forms with a relativization function.
Maslova, Elena. 2003. A Grammar of Kolyma Yukaghir. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
Yukari Nagayama (Hokkaido University)
Nominalization in Alutor
Alutor (Chukchi-Kamchatkan) has a rich set of deverbal nominalizers which are often followed by the absolutive case marker. In this paper, I will introduce these various nominalizers and show that the same nominalizer is used for both transitive and intransitive verbs, while Chukchi, a language related to Alutor, uses different nominalizers (-lʔ and -jo) for transitives and intransitives (Dunn 1999).
Following Comrie and Thompson’s (2007) classification, Alutor deverbal nominalizers can be divided into four groups: (i) Action/state nominalizations: junat- ‘to live ’ > junat-ɣərŋ-ə-n ‘life (live-NMLZ-E-ABS.SG)’; (ii) Instrumental nominalizations: tiv- ‘to row’ > tiv-inaŋ ‘oar (row-NMLZ)’; (iii) Locative nominalizations: anutva- ‘to spend summer’ > anutva-nə ‘summer camp (spend.summer-NMLZ)’; (iv) Agentive/objective nominalizations (= participles): jat- ‘to come (vi)’ > jat-ə-lʔ-ə-n ‘the one who comes (come-E-PTCP-E-ABS.SG)/ agentive’ and java- ‘to use (vt)’ > java-lʔ-ə-n ‘the one which is used (use-PTCP-E-ABS.SG)/ objective’.
Kibrik et al. (2000/2004) point out that the participle in -lʔ functions like a relative modifier, e.g. […] piŋinaŋ para-lq-ə-k it-ə-lʔ-ə-n (PSN.ABS.SG pole-on-E-LOC be-PTCP-E-ABS.SG) ‘(they began to shoot at) Piŋinaŋ standing on the top of the pole’ (Kibrik et al. 2000/2004). Participles retain verbal properties and may select their underlying core arguments with their matrix case marking.
The suffix -lʔ, when attached to an intransitive verb stem, productively forms a participle correlating with a subject of the verb (the one who Vs). In contrast, when attached to a transitive verb stem, the suffix forms a participle correlating with an object of the verb (the one which is/was Ved). When this suffix is attached to a labile verb stem, the participle correlates with the subject (imti- ‘to carry on one’s shoulders (vi/vt)’ > imti–lʔ-ə-n ‘the one carrying smt. on his shoulders (carry-PTCP-E-ABS.SG)’), or rarely both subject and object of the verb (juqa- ‘to dye with alder dyestuff (vi/vt)’ > juqa-lʔ-ə-n ‘the one who dyes, the one which was dyed (dye-PTCP-E-ABS.SG)’).
Comrie, Bernard, and Sandra A. Thompson. 2007. Lexical nominalization. In Timothy Shopen (ed.)Language Typology and Syntactic Description, vol. III: Grammatical Categories and the Lexicon, second edition, 334-381. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Dunn, Michael. 1999. A Grammar of Chukchi. Australian National University.
Hiroshi Nakagawa (Chiba University)
Verbal number in Ainu
Ainu lacks grammatical number in nouns, but it has a verbal number system. This is comparatively rare from a typological perspective. According to Corbett (2000) we can “distinguish two main types of verbal number: event number and participant number.” The Ainu verb system also follows this generalization. While intransitive verbs basically change form according to participant, most transitive verbs change form according to event, less commonly according to participant. In Ainu transitive verbs, verb root+suffix -pa is the basic way to mark plurality. In the Saru and Chitose dialects, however, an auxiliary verb pa has developed. It is historically related to the plural suffix, and has been confused with it by researchers on Ainu. In fact in very limited cases it is difficult to know which pa is used, but in several respects the auxiliary verb differs from the suffix. The auxiliary verb pa is not only used to denote plurality for verbs that otherwise show no number distinction, but also it can be placed after singular and plural verb forms, e. g. a=utari anakne i=akkari paye pa “my company went by me one after another”. In this example, paye, the plural form of the intransitive verb arpa “to go”, denotes the number of the actors, and the auxiliary verb pa denotes the plurality of the event. On the other hand, in a=saha rayke pa p ne kunak ramu “(they) thought that they had killed my sister”, rayke is the singular form of the transitive verb “kill” and its plural form ronnu usually denotes the plurality of the patient. A=saha “my sister”, the patient, is singular; therefore rayke is in the singular form and pa denotes the plurality of the agents. Thus the auxiliary verb pa has the function of compensating for insufficiencies in the verbal number system.
Corbett, G. 2000. Number. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.
Tomomi Sato (Hokkaido University)
A Classification of Ainu Noun Incorporation and its Implications for Morphosyntacti Typology
Ainu noun incorporation (NI) can be classified into four major types: object NI (ku1–turep2-ta3 ‘I1 dig3 up3 wild2 lily2 roots2’) (85.9%), intransitive (natural force/phenomenon) subject NI (sir1-pirka2 ‘(The) weather1 is2 good2.’) (6.8%), intransitive (possessor-requiring) subject NI (tek1-e1-pase2-as3 lit. ‘We3 were2 heavy2–hand1(ed) ’, =were old, -e is a possessive suffix) (5.6%), and transitive (natural force/phenomenon) subject NI (ku1–koy2-yanke3 ‘I1 am3 wave2-raised3’) (1.7%). This distribution can be accounted for in terms of the interaction between a number of principles and restrictions on incorporation, such as the subject incorporation restriction, the referentiality restriction, the semantic discrepancy restriction, the backgrounding principle, and the reflexive interpretation rescue principle (Sato 2012). What is crucial is that while this distribution exhibits a hierarchy of accessibility to NI in Ainu, there is also a conspicuous gap in it: possessor-requiring noun “object” NI proper does not occur in Ainu, e.g. only ku1–tek2-sini3-re4 ‘I1 let4 (my) hands2 rest3’, but not *ku1–tek2-e2-sini3-re4 (‘I1 let4 (somebody’s) hands2 rest3’; e- is a possessive suffix) is possible. This gap is in fact compensated for by a kind of idiomatic phrasal verb construction consisting of a fixed possessor-requiring object and transitive verb (i1–par2 a3-o4-yki5 lit. ‘People3 cook5 at4 my1 mouth2’,=feed me), which can be seen as a subtype of quasi-incorporation (QI) as discussed in Booij (2009). Hence, the case of Ainu NI suggests that NI and QI are not essentially unrelated phenomena, but rather should be unified to form a more general accessibility hierarchy for the combination of a nominal concept into a single (either a word or not) closely-knit verbal complex: QI appears just at the point in the hierarchy where NI is no longer possible. For example, Japanese allows the NI of the OV type only marginally. Instead, it has a productive type of QI consisting of a noun and the verb suru ‘to do’ (e.g. benkyoo1-suru2 ‘to do2 study1’). What is more interesting is that this hierarchy may be useful to describe the typological differences between two genetically close similar languages, e.g. Dutch and Frisian. Frisian has productive NI but does not have QI (Dyk 1990). In contrast, Dutch has QI, but does not have productive NI (Booij 2009). This difference could be explained as follows. Since Dutch is in the lowest position in the hierarchy, there remains only room for QI for expressing a nominal concept and a verbal concept as tightly as possible. On the other hand, since Frisian allows productive NI, it has no need for QI any more, unlike Dutch.
Booij, Geert (2009) A constructional analysis of quasi-incorporation in Dutch. Gengo Kenkyu 135: 5-27.
Dyk, Siebren (1990) Noun incorporation in Frisian. Leeuwarden: Fryske Akademy.
Sato, Tomomi (2012) Ainugo chitose hogen ni okeru meishi hogo [Noun incorporation in the Chitose dialect of Ainu]. Bulletin of the Hokkaido Ainu Culture Research Center 18: 1-31.
Itsuji Tangiku (Hokkaido University)
Loan words among Nivkh, Uilta and Sakhalin Ainu
Nivkh, Uilta and Sakhalin Ainu have some shared vocabulary among fish names, plant names and names for traditional tools and trade goods. The lexicon related to trade must have been loaned from Tungusic languages to these languages under the influence of Qing or earlier dynasties. Some fish and plant names are considered to be rather old loan words from Ainu to the other languages.
Arttu Anttonen, Saana Santalahti, & Turo Ylitalo
The traditional Nivkh kinship terminology and its use amongst modern Nivkh
The study conducted by our group aimed at finding out what kind of original kinship terminology modern Nivkh speakers use, and whether they still know the terminology rooted in the traditional inter-clan group marriage system. This topic was selected as kinship terminology can be said to be located at the core of a language, and even influent speakers are likely to know at least some kinship terms. The study took place on the Sakhalin Island (Russia), and the data was gathered through interviews with fifteen ethnic Nivkh in the localities of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Nogliki, Okha and Nekrasovka. The interviews included the questions concerning some basic background information, as well as elicitation of Nivkh kinship terminology. The elicitation was based on a model of a family tree designed for this study. The procedure took into account special features of Nivkh kinship terminology and also the limited time available for each informant. The latter means that only a limited amount of kinship terms could be elicitated during a session. Most informants could name at least some relatives in Nivkh, but for many of them it was limited only to their parents, grandparents or children, i.e. terminology they had been exposed to as children. Most informants had difficulties naming relatives in their spouse’s family lineage. Six informants knew the terminology poorly or not at all (could name 0-5 terms).
Eeva-Maria Heinonen, Suvi Valsta
Sakhalin Japanese – an overview of the linguistic situation with special focus on Japanese pitch accents
This paper will discuss the current situation of the Japanese language on Sakhalin Island. We will first provide background information on the subject and then proceed to give an overview of the current linguistic situation in Sakhalin. We will also provide results of a replicated survey based on Asahi (2012) that focuses on the pronunciation of Sakhalin Japanese pitch accents. Previous research on Sakhalin Japanese has been conducted e.g. by Hirayama (1957), Asahi (2005, 2009, 2010, 2012). This research has mostly focused on the pitch accent patterns found in Sakhalin Japanese, though Asahi (2012) has also provided ample historical background information on the period of Japanese colonalization. In our research we aim to provide a more detailed picture of the individual speakers’ language usage. Our data consists of interviews of three informants who had at least intermediate competence in Japanese. Through the sociolinguistic interviews, we were able to find that the number of Japanese speakers in Sakhalin is dwindling, and they do not form a coherent social community. Many have acquired their language ability not formally but as a first language from their parents or through living in a Japanese language community. The results of the pitch accent survey show that although the informants seem to have similar patterns, they diverge in some cases and do not demonstrate a clear accent pattern. They also do not fully correspond to the patterns shown in Hirayama (1957) or Asahi (2010).
Andrew Logie (University of Helsinki)
Untold Tales: two lesser known personal and social-linguistic histories of Sakhalin Koreans
Based on two interviews conducted during the 2014 HALS field trip, this paper is a description of the sociolinguistic history of three ethnic Koreans living on Sakhalin island: a second generation mother and her daughter in the south, and a second generation lady living in the far north. The circumstances of the two families share a point of common geographic origin in northeastern Korea but otherwise their historical experiences differ from one another. Significantly, both are also aberrant to the dominant and well documented “victimization narrative” of Sakhalin Koreans — forced migration and labour, abandonment and statelessness, and eventual repatriation — prevalent in the popular imagination and discourse pertaining in South Korea today. The mother in the south came to Karafuto around 1930 as the infant daughter of a laborer and experienced associated hardships, but her formative experiences and schooling within the Japanese system were largely positive and Japanese remains her preferred language. The lady in the north was born on Sakhalin from parents who emigrated as North Korean citizens in 1948 after the Japanese era. In both cases their mother languages are technically Korean but they are more fluent in the languages of their schooling, Japanese and Russian respectively. Both have close relatives with whom they experience language barriers: in the former case it is with her own daughter who grew up in the Soviet era speaking Russian, whilst in the latter it is with an older sister who was left in North Korea and speaks only Korean.
Attrition of Consonant Mutation in Nivkh
Moribund languages often experience phonological attrition. Morpheme-initial alternation between plosives and fricatives (Consonant Mutation, CM) is probably the best-known linguistic feature of the Nivkh language. The purpose of my fieldwork on Sakhalin was to observe variation in CM and to find possible signs of attrition. Nouns with case suffixes, head nouns with an attribute and simple transitive clauses were collected from several different speakers. Consonant Mutation, as presented in literature, was attested the most consistently in case suffixes. CM of transitive verbs was also, in most cases, realized as expected. In attribute-noun pairs, however, hesitation and non-application of CM were observed. The results thus seem to confirm the initial hypothesis that patterns of CM are realized more consistently in grammatical suffixes than at word boundaries. What remains unclear is whether the variation is solely an outcome of attrition or if there are other factors involved, such as idiolectal variation in a language without prestige norm, or unnaturalness of an elicitation session as a speech situation.
Linguistic biographies of the indigenous peoples on Sakhalin
In this paper, I shall discuss linguistic biographies of the Nivkh and Uilta peoples on Sakhalin. The data of this paper consist of interviews in Russian, which were conducted with both Nivhks and Uiltas in August 2014. Questions of the interviews followed a semi-structured pattern. The linguistic situation on Sakhalin is poor with reference to indigenous languages. Although according to the Russian Census in 2010, there are over 4,500 ethnic Nivkhs in the Russian Federation, the number of native speakers is low. The number of ethnic Uiltas and Uilta speakers is even lower. In many cases, the language shift to Russian was induced in the 60’s and 70’s when children were taken from their parents and were forced to live in boarding schools. This led to a breakdown in the language maintenance. In addition, the dissipation of traditional livelihoods (for example, reindeer herding and fishing) together with unemployment problems has led to linguisticide. Many informants acknowledge the importance of the national native language but they do not have means to reverse the progression or the regional legislation does not make possible the use of indigenous languages in education.
Meteorological expressions in Nivkh
One would expect to find an abundant amount of different expressions decribing the weather conditions in the Sakhalin island, as the climat offers much variation. Summers are fairly cool and foggy with little sunshine, and winters are very snowy and cold. It rains a lot through all year with a peak in the autumn. Besides that, it seems to be that there is always a reason to talk and mostly complain about the weather. Meteorological expressions constitute an important feature of the vocabulary of gatherers, hunters, fishermen, reindeer-breeders, and farmers. At the same time, meteorological vocabulary is inclined to change, especially when the language community stops being monolingual, as has been noticed in Uralic languages. Bilingual individuals easily import words and structures from other languages.
However, the aboriginals of Sakhalin have moved already to the next stage, they use only seldom the native tongues of their parents and grandparents. What is mostly left of the vobulary, are some basic words used when eating and drinking, which could be called “kitchen talk”, consisting often of short commands and nouns. In August 2014 in Sakhalin I interviewed many ethnic Nivkhs of various ages, of which only some elderly ladies were able to produce weather expressions. In that material, at least one sentence type (SV) is common, e.g. k’eŋ rad’ ‘the sun is shining’, la t’eǥd’ ‘the wind is blowing’, li̮x ki̮d’ ‘it’s raining’, ŋak,ř ki̮d’ ‘it’s snowing’, li̮j tid’ ‘it’s thundering’.
Observations on the use of Nivkh numeral classifiers
In my presentation, I will discuss the consequences of language attrition to the use of Nivkh (Paleosiberian) numeral classifiers. Classifiers are grammatical noun categorization devices that classify the objects expressed by nouns according to different semantic parameters, such as animacy, physical properties and functional properties (Gil 2013). In Nivkh, the original classifier system which was still in function more than seventy years ago comprised thirty-three numeral classifiers. There were thirteen specific classifiers for culturally specific objects, eight categorical classifiers for animate and inanimate entities, the generic classifier, as well as seven quantitative and four extensional classifiers for measuring quantity and size of objects (Gruzdeva 2004). Due to language attrition, the amount of Nivkh numeral classifiers has become radically reduced, with the generic classifier replacing the more specific classifiers. However, the speakers still remember some of the categorical classifiers, notably those for animate entities. Based on the interviews conducted during the Sakhalin-Hokkaido fieldtrip 2014 (together with Merja Salo), I will explore the current use of Nivkh numeral classifiers, as well as differences between the speakers of different dialects.
Gil, David 2013. Numeral classifiers. In Matthew S Dryer. & Martin Haspelmath (eds.) The World Atlas of Language Structures Online. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. (Available online at http://wals.info/chapter/55, Accessed on 2014-06-11.)
Gruzdeva, Ekaterina 2004. Numeral classifiers in Nivkh. In Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald (ed.) Language typology and universals. Nominal classification. Sprachtypologie und Universalienforschung 57 (2/3): 300-329.
Participial relative clauses in Sakhalin languages
Of the four indigenous languages spoken today on the Sakhalin island, Evenki, Nanai and Uilta belong to the Tungusic language family, thereby it is natural that relative clauses (RCs) in all three of them belong to the so called participial prenominal type described by Lehmann (1984,1986). This type is known to be the dominant one in North Asia, cf. Pakendorf (2012), and not solely among genetically related languages. Nivkh, which is considered a language isolate, also shares this feature, although in a distinct way. Unlike in Tungusic languages, in Nivkh there is no specialized nonfinite verb form that would be characteristic of RCs. Instead, the RC predicate is simply restricted from taking the indicative marker, and it forms a nominal complex with the modified noun. The whole clause thus becomes desententialized and nominalized in the sense of Lehmann (1988). At the same time, this relativization system is quite close to that of Japanese and Ainu, two other languages that had been in contact with Nivkh for several centuries. The lack of the indicative affix on the RC predicate functions as an overt morphosyntactic marker of nonfiniteness, similarly to the politeness markers in Japanese, cf. Bisang (2007). Therefore, although Nivkh RCs belong to a broadly defined North Asian type, they constitute a clear intermediate between the prototypical participial RCs of the Tungusic (Altaic) type and the Japanese type, sharing some remarkable features with both of them.
Bisang, W. 2007. Categories that make finiteness: discreteness from a functional perspective and some of its repercussions. In: I. Nikolaeva (ed.). Finiteness: theoretical and empirical foundations. Oxford: OUP. 115–137.
Lehmann, C. 1984. Der Relativsatz. Tübingen: Gunther Narr.
Lehmann, C. 1986. On the typology of relative clauses. Linguistics, 24. 663–680.
Lehmann, C. 1988. Towards a typology of clause linkage. In: Haiman, J. & S.A. Thompson (eds.). Clause combining in grammar and discourse. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: J. Benjamins (Typological Studies in Language, 18). 181–225.
Pakendorf, B. 2012. Patterns of relativization in North Asia: Towards a refined typology of prenominal participial relative clauses. In: Gast, V. & H. Diessel (eds.). Clause Linkage in CrossLinguistic Perspective. Berlin: de Gruyter. 253‒283.