Alaska Native Language Center

March 31, 2008 at 10:23 pm | Posted in Alaska, Language, Research | 1 Comment
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As I told you in another post, I’m a linguist, a philologist to be accurate. So one of the main guidelines of my trip will be the study languages, probably. I suppose it is impossible not to be a bit influenced by that, and it is usually an interesting approach when traveling, as it offers a way of approaching people on the way. So, when on my last post I found out about language research concerning Arctic languages I decided to follow the thread. And it leads to Alaska Native Language Center:

Alaska Native Language Center

Mission and Goal

The Alaska Native Language Center was established by state legislation in 1972 as a center for research and documentation of the twenty Native languages of Alaska. It is internationally known and recognized as the major center in the United States for the study of Eskimo and Northern Athabascan languages. ANLC publishes its research in story collections, dictionaries, grammars, and research papers. The center houses an archival collection of more than 10,000 items, virtually everything written in or about Alaska Native languages, including copies of most of the earliest linguistic documentation, along with significant collections about related languages outside Alaska. Staff members provide materials for bilingual teachers and other language workers throughout the state, assist social scientists and others who work with Native languages, and provide consulting and training services to teachers, school districts, and state agencies involved in bilingual education. The ANLC staff also participates in teaching through the Alaska Native Language Program which offers major and minor degrees in Central Yup’ik and Inupiaq Eskimo at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. An AAS degree or a Certificate in Native Language Education is also available. The center continues to strive to raise public awareness of the gravity of language loss worldwide but particularly in the North. Of the state’s twenty Native languages, only two (Siberian Yupik in two villages on St. Lawrence Island, and Central Yup’ik in seventeen villages in southwestern Alaska) are spoken by children as the first language of the home. Like every language in the world, each of those twenty is of inestimable human value and is worthy of preservation. ANLC, therefore, continues to document, cultivate, and promote those languages as much as possible and thus contribute to their future and to the heritage of all Alaskans.

Alaska Native Languages


Aleut | Alutiiq | Iñupiaq | Central Yup’ik | Siberian Yupik | Tsimshian | Haida | lingit | Eyak | Ahtna | Dena’ina | Deg Hit’an | Holikachuk | Upper Kuskokwim | Koyukon | Tanana | Tanacross | Upper Tanana | Gwich’in | Hän

Classes and Degree Programs

There are 20 different Alaska Native languages: Aleut, Alutiiq (also called Aleut or Sugpiaq), Central Yup’ik Eskimo, St. Lawrence Island Eskimo, Inupiaq Eskimo, Tsimshian, Haida, Tlingit and Eyak and 11 Athabascan languages. These languages are becoming recognized as the priceless heritage they truly are.

Since the passage of the Alaska Bilingual Education Law in 1972 there has been a demand for teachers who can speak and teach these languages in the schools throughout the state where there are Native children. Professional opportunities for those skilled in these languages exist in teaching, research and cultural, educational and political development.

Central Yup’ik Eskimo is spoken by the largest number of people, and Inupiaq by the next largest. In these two languages major and minor curricula are now offered. Courses are also regularly offered in Kutchin (Gwich’in) Athabascan. For work in all other languages, individual or small-group instruction is offered under special topics. Thus there have frequently been instruction, seminars, and workshops also in Tlingit, Haida, St. Lawrence Island Eskimo, Aleut and Koyukon, comparative Eskimo and comparative Athabascan.

UAF is unique in offering this curriculum, which benefits also from the research staff and library of the Alaska Native Language Center.

Degree Programs Offered: Minor in Alaska Native Languages, B.A. or Minor in Iñupiaq or Yup’ik Eskimo, A.A.S. or Certificate in Native Language Education, M.A. in Applied Linguistics.

You can also check out their staff and publications. They also have an interesting “Resources” page, I will deal with it later.

Connection between Siberian and Alaskan languages: new research

March 30, 2008 at 1:28 am | Posted in Alaska, Language | Leave a comment
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I am so happy, take a look at what I have just found! I was reading, and they had an article about the Siberan and native Alaskan languages from National Geographic. Check it out here, or read it below:

Siberian, Native American Languages Linked. A First.

John Roach
for National Geographic News
March 26, 2008

A fast-dying language in remote central Siberia shares a mother tongue with dozens of Native American languages spoken thousands of miles away, new research confirms. The finding may allow linguists to weigh in on how the Americas were first settled, according to Edward Vajda, director of the Center for East Asian Studies at Western Washington University in Bellingham.

Since at least 1923 researchers have suggested a connection exists between Asian and North American languages—but this is the first time a link has been demonstrated with established standards, said Vajda, who has studied the relationship for more than 15 years. Previous researchers had provided lists of similar-sounding and look-alike words, but their methods were unscientific. Such similarities, Vajda noted, are likely to be dismissed as coincidence even if they represent genuine evidence. So Vajda developed another method. “I’m providing a whole system of [similar] vocabulary and also of grammatical parallels—the way that verb prefixes are structured,” he said.

Dying Tongue

His research links the Old World language family of Yeniseic in central Siberia with the Na-Dene family of languages in North America. The Yeniseic family includes the extinct languages Yugh, Kott, Assan, Arin, and Pumpokol. Ket is the only Yeniseic language spoken today. Less than 200 speakers remain and most are over 50, according to Vajda. “Within a couple of generations, Ket will probably become extinct,” he said. (Related news: “Languages Racing to Extinction in 5 Global ‘Hotspots’” [September 18, 2007].) The Na-Dene family includes languages spoken by the broad group of Athabaskan tribes in the U.S. and Canada as well as the Tlingit and Eyak people. The last Eyak speaker died in January.

Vajda presented the findings in February at a meeting of linguists at the Alaska Native Language Center in Fairbanks.

Making the Connection

Vajda established the Yeniseic-Na-Dene link by looking for languages with a verb-prefix system similar to those in Yeniseic languages. Such prefixes are unlike any other language in North Asia. Only Na-Dene languages have a system of verb prefixes that very closely resemble the Yeniseic,” he said. From there, Vajda found several dozen cognates—or words in different languages that sound alike and have the same meaning. The results dovetail with earlier work by Merritt Ruhlen, an anthropologist at Stanford University in California who Vajda said discovered the first genuine Na-Dene-Yeniseic cognates. Vajda also showed how these cognates have sound correspondences. “I systematically connect these structures in Yeniseic with the structures in modern Na-Dene,” Vajda said. “My comparisons aren’t just lists of some look-alike words … I show there is a system behind it.”

Johanna Nichols is a linguist at the University of California in Berkeley who attended the Alaska meeting where Vajda presented his research. With the exception of the Eskimo-Aleut family that straddles the Bering Strait and Aleutian Islands, this is “the first successful demonstration of any connection between a New World language and an Old World language,” Nichols said.

Mother Tongue

Vajda said his research puts linguistics on the same stage as archaeology, anthropology, and genetics when it comes to studying the history of humans in North Asia and North America. However, the research has not revealed which language came first. Neither modern Ket nor Na-Dene languages in North America represent the mother tongue. For example, some words in the Na-Dene family likely represent sounds of the mother tongue more closely than their Yeniseic cognates. Other words in Yeniseic, however, are probably more archaic.

Based on archaeological evidence of human migrations across the Bering land bridge, the language link may extend back at least 10,000 years. If true, according to Vajda, this would be the oldest known demonstrated language link. But more research is needed to determine when the languages originated and how they became a part of various cultures before such a claim will be accepted, according to UC Berkeley linguist Nichols. “I don’t think there is any reason to assume the connection is [10,000 years] old … this must surely be one late episode in a much longer and more complicated history of settlement,” she said.

Being a linguist myself, I am thrilled with that discover. This is very good news, congratulations for the researchers! Let’s see if this helps conserving and increasing the use of all those forgotten languages.

Survival International: Siberian tribes

March 28, 2008 at 12:11 am | Posted in Naming | 4 Comments
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I started a series of posts linking the information offered by Survival International. This week, I am continuing with Siberia tribes. When I was a child, I heard of Siberia because it was an inhospitable place where people was deported. Even that, its name attracted me. Last year I found an illustrated journal about it, and it surprised me. I think that despite its harshness it is a place worthy of discovering.

Siberian Tribes

Siberia’s 30 different tribal peoples range in number from under 200 (the Oroks) to 34,000 (the Nenet). They live in an area that covers 58% of Russia.

How do they live? Some of these peoples are nomadic reindeer herders, living in the tundra (arctic plain); others, who live in the forest tundra or taiga (coniferous forest), rely on a mixture of reindeer herding and hunting and gathering, and often live in settlements. Today 10% of Siberia’s tribal peoples live a nomadic or semi nomadic life, compared to 70% just 30 years ago. The languages the different tribes speak are from a range of linguistic families: some bear no similarity to any other language, and none bear any relation to Russian. Some larger indigenous peoples, the Sakha (formerly called Yakuts) and Komi, have their own republics within the Russian state.

What problems do they face?
Under the Soviet administration, the tribal peoples lost their land to state-run industries. With industrialisation, their region was taken over by outsiders, and the authorities made strong efforts to suppress indigenous languages, culture and ways of life. Today their biggest problems are the environmental degradation caused by the oil, gas and logging industries in the area, and the lack of clarity about land rights.

How does Survival help?
Survival supports Russian indigenous organisations such as the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON), backing their demands that indigenous peoples are consulted about industrial projects and given the right of veto, and given compensation where their land has already been destroyed. We also support the call for Russia to ratify International Labour Organisation Convention 169 on the rights of indigenous and tribal peoples, and specifically for tribal land ownership rights to be recognised.

It is been quite surprising for me to find out how minority tribal rights and environment is binded. How in Siberia, Scandinavia or Labrador they are thrown out of its own lands because they are considered mere power sources.

To stop or not to stop…

March 24, 2008 at 10:54 pm | Posted in History, Japan, Naming | Leave a comment
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In Japan! A month ago I read in a Lonely Planet Magazine that in Japan there was an indigenous group called Ainu, who came from Siberia. It was a cool surprises, as I liked the idea of stopping in Japan. But now I’m a bit confused, as the Wikipedia says the origin of this group is not clear at all. And it seems it is not going to be clear in the immediate future years, actually:

The origins of the Ainu have not been fully determined. They have often been considered Jomon-jin, natives to Japan from the Jomon period. “The Ainu lived in this place a hundred thousand years before the Children of the Sun came” is told in one of their Yukar Upopo (Ainu legends). Ainu culture dates from around 1200 CE and recent research suggests that it originated in a merger of the Okhotsk and Satsumon cultures.Their economy was based on farming as well as hunting, fishing and gathering.

Ainu men generally have dense hair development. Many early investigators proposed a Caucasian ancestry, although recent DNA tests have found no traces of Caucasian ancestry. Genetic testing of the Ainu people has shown them to belong mainly to Y-haplogroup D. The only places outside of Japan in which Y-haplogroup D is common are Tibet and the Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean.In a study by Tajima et al. (2004), two out of a sample of sixteen (or 12.5%) Ainu men were found to belong to Haplogroup C3, which is the most common Y-chromosome haplogroup among the indigenous populations of the Russian Far East and Mongolia; Hammer et al. (2005) tested another sample of four Ainu men and found that one of them (1/4 or 25%) belonged to haplogroup C3. Some researchers have speculated that this minority of Haplogroup C3 carriers among the Ainu may reflect a certain degree of unidirectional genetic influence from the Nivkhs, with whom the Ainu have long-standing cultural interactions.According to Tanaka et al. (2004), their mtDNA lineages mainly consist of haplogroup Y (21.6%) and haplogroup M7a (15.7%). A recent reevaluation of cranial traits suggests that the Ainu resemble the Okhotsk more than they do the Jomon.This agrees with the reference to the Ainu culture being a merger of Okhotsk and Satsumon cultures referenced above.

Some have speculated that the Ainu may be descendants of a prehistoric race that also produced indigenous Australian peoples. In Steve Olson’s book Mapping Human History, page 133, he describes the discovery of fossils dating back 10,000 years, representing the remains of the Jōmon, a group whose facial features more closely resemble those of the indigenous peoples of New Guinea and Australia. After a new wave of immigration, probably from the Korean Peninsula, some 2,300 years ago, of the Yayoi people, the pure-blooded Jōmon were pushed into northern Japan. Genetic data suggest that modern Japanese are descended from both the Yayoi and the Jōmon.

In the late 20th century, much speculation arose that people of the group related to the Jomon may have been one of the first to settle North America. This hypothesis is based largely on skeletal and cultural evidence among tribes living in the western part of North America and certain parts of Latin America. It is possible that North America had several peoples among its early settlers – these relatives of the Jomon being one of them. Kennewick Man is also cited at times as supporting this hypothesis.

Groundbreaking genetic mapping studies by Cavalli-Sforza have shown a sharp gradient in gene frequencies centered in the area around the Sea of Japan, and particularly in the Japanese Archipelago, that distinguishes these populations from others in the rest of eastern Asia and most of the American continent. This gradient appears as the third most important genetic movement (in other words, the third principal component of genetic variation) in Eurasia (after the “Great expansion” from the African continent, which has a cline centered in Arabia and adjacent parts of the Middle East, and a second cline that distinguishes the northern regions of Eurasia and particularly Siberia from regions to the south), which would make it consistent with the early Jōmon period, or possibly even the pre-Jōmon period.

Jomon and Yayoi are Japanese periods. A lot of new information here, I have looked for the words in bold too:

The Nivkhs (also Nivkh, Nivkhi, or Gilyak; ethnonym: Nivxi; language, нивхгу – Nivxgu) are an indigenous ethnic group inhabiting the northern half of Sakhalin Island and the region of the Amur River estuary administered by Russia. Nivkh were mainly fishermen, hunters, and dog breeders. The Nivkh were semi-nomadic living near the coasts in the summer and wintering inland along streams and rivers to catch salmon. The land the Nivkh inhabit is characterized as Taiga with cold snow-laden winters and mild summers with sparse tree cover. The Nivkh are believed to be the original inhabitants of the region deriving from a proposed Neolithic people migrating from the Transbaikal region during the Late Pleistocene.

The Nivkh suffered heavily from foreign influences, the first of which was the migration of the Tungusic peoples; latter Manchu and Chinese dynasties forced tribute upon its people. In the late 19th century, Russian Cossacks annexed and colonized Nivkh lands, where they are a small, often neglected, minority today. Today, the Nivkh live in Russian-style housing and with the over-fishing and pollution of the streams and seas, they have adopted many foods from Russian cuisine. The Nivkh practice shamanism, which is important for the winter Bear Festival, though some have converted to Russian Orthodoxy.

They number 5,287 (2002 Russian Federation census). Most speak Russian today, though about 10 percent speak their indigenous Nivkh language, which is considered an isolate language, though for convenience grouped with the Paleosiberian languages. The Nivkh language is divided into four dialects,though they are sometimes grouped with the nearby Chukotko-Kamchatkan and Altaic languages.

I haven’t found anything for Okhotsk and Satsumon. Everything is pretty confusing right now. Maybe I will have to take more things into account, such as way of living, religious believes, or material culture. Lets see what came then.

Locating Newfoundland and Labrador

March 21, 2008 at 9:39 pm | Posted in Language, Maps | Leave a comment
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I will continue with the people in Canada. Today, talking with some workmates, this topic has come out, and they have been telling me some things. The situation it is still not clear, but now I have more clues to keep searching. They told me that it had hit the headlines that ten years ago Canada gave some authonomy to one of its provinces, traditionally indigenous. Since I have no idea about it, I started looking for it at the Wiki:

Concerning Innu’s land, in 1869, Newfoundland decided in an election to remain a British territory, over concerns that central Canada would dominate taxation and economic policy. In 1907, Newfoundland and Labrador acquired dominion status. However, in 1933, the government of Newfoundland fell and during World War II, Canada took charge of Newfoundland’s defence. Following World War II, Newfoundland’s status was in question. In a narrow majority, the citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador voted for confederation in a 1948 referendum. On March 31, 1949, Newfoundland and Labrador became Canada’s tenth and final province.

Geographically, the province consists of the island of Newfoundland and the mainland Labrador, on Canada’s Atlantic coast. While the name “Newfoundland” is derived from English as “New Found Land” (a translation from the Latin Terra Nova), Labrador comes from the Portuguese lavrador, a title meaning “landholder” held by Portuguese explorer of the region, João Fernandes Lavrador.

As of October, 2007, the province’s population is estimated to be 507,475. Newfoundland has its own dialects of the English, French, and Irish languages. The English dialect in Labrador shares much with that of Newfoundland. Furthermore, Labrador has its own dialects of Innu-aimun and Inuktitut.

The 2006 census returns showed a population of 505,469. Of the 499,830 singular responses to the census question concerning ‘mother tongue’ the languages most commonly reported were:

1. English 488,405 97.7%
2. French 1,885 0.4%
3. Montagnais-Naskapi 1,585 0.3%
4. Chinese 1,080 0.2%
5. Spanish 670 0.1%
6. German 655 0.1%
7. Inuktitut 595 0.1%
8. Urdu 550 0.1%
9. Arabian 540 0.1%
10. Dutch 300 0.1%
11. Russian 225 ~
12. Italian 195 ~

The website of the Newfoundland and Labrador Government offers some information, as well as an interesting section that focuses on Labrador’s aboriginals. But you will have to wait for the next chapters for that 🙂

Innu villages at Labrador peninsula

March 20, 2008 at 8:21 pm | Posted in Language, Maps | Leave a comment
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I seems that my research keeps going on, as usually thanks to the Internet. Looking here and there, I have found a website where Innu people speak about their language, which they call Innu-aimun. In that site they teach it, they have some traditional tales, some links, and also some interesting maps with the placement of their villages.

I am a bit confused, because this map doesn’t match with that other one from the same site, where they show all the dialects of Innu-aimun:


I don’t know if they are different communities, or what. I will have to look for more information. For example, this article where they have a map created with Google Earth which a layer that shows all their villages in Canada.

Stamps about the first steps over the North Pole

March 17, 2008 at 2:59 pm | Posted in Links | Leave a comment
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Sometimes, when you are jumping from a website to another one, you finally land to an interesting place. One of those places is Dan’s Topical Stamps, a website that shows a wonderful stamps collection. Of course, the first thing I did was checking if there were some Nordic stamps. And look, look what a nice ones:

This made me remember that, somewhere, I read that a good way – and a cheap one – to make more beautiful the travel journals was to buy stamps from the place you are visiting and stick them on the pages. I will take a note of that.

Continue Reading Stamps about the first steps over the North Pole…

Survival International: the Innu

March 16, 2008 at 11:50 pm | Posted in Canada | Leave a comment
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After deciding to take charge of this personal project, I soon realized that it would be unfair to do it without taking into account the whole situation of indigenous Arctic people. As I has sensed, I soon confirmed that they have to face heavy adversities to maintain this way of life, and I would consider it a lack of responsibility not to write about it.

As I learned from my last entry, there is a NGO, Survival International, who works supporting tribal people worldwide. They have an excellent website, packed with tones of information. I will tell you what they say about the Arctic people, and then it is up to you to continue learning from them.


The Innu are the indigenous people of most of the Labrador-Quebec peninsula, in eastern Canada. They were formerly referred to as the Montagnais-Naskapi Indians, and are unrelated to the Inuit (or ‘Eskimo’) who live further north.

How do they live? Their homeland, where they have lived for millennia, is a vast area of sub-arctic spruce and fir forest, lakes, rivers and rocky ‘barrens’. They call this land Nitassinan. Up until the second half of the 20th century, the Innu lived as nomadic hunters. For most of the year, the waterways of Nitassinan are frozen, and they would travel in small groups of two or three families on snowshoes, pulling toboggans. When the ice melted, they would travel by canoe to the coast or a large inland lake to fish, trade, and meet friends and relatives. They hunt animals including bear, beaver and porcupine, and also fish and gather berries – but most of all they rely on the herds of caribou which migrate through their land every spring and autumn. Until recently, the Innu got all that they needed – food, clothing, shelter, tools and weapons – from the caribou, which have a huge cultural significance. Today the Innu have been settled into villages; although many hunt, fish and gather, some have paid jobs as well, or depend on social security.

What problems do they face? During the 1950s and 1960s, the nomadic Innu were pressured into settling in fixed communities by the Canadian government and Catholic church. The transition was difficult and traumatic. Life in the communities is marked by extremely high levels of alcoholism, petrol-sniffing amongst children, violence, and record levels of suicides. Many of the Innu are still fighting to retain much of their traditional lifestyle, increasingly difficult as the government hands out their land in mining concessions, floods the heart of their territory for hydro power schemes, and builds roads which cut up the remainder. In April 1999, the UN Human Rights Committee described the situation of tribal peoples as ‘the most pressing issue facing Canadians’, and condemned Canada for ‘extinguishing’ aboriginal peoples’ rights.

How does Survival help? Survival is calling on the Canadian government to rethink its approach to negotiations with the Innu and other similar groups – currently they will only recognise Innu land rights if the Innu agree to surrender most of their land. Canada must recognise the Innu’s right to own their land, and live on it as they choose.

I know this is little help, but it is just the beginning. You will read more soon 🙂

Arctic photographers

March 14, 2008 at 1:25 am | Posted in Links, Photography | Leave a comment
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I am not the only one who has the head on the north and the body in the south. This couple, Bryan and Cherry Alexander, are specialists in arctic and antarctic photography, and they made a living of that. You may take a look at their website here. They have also a very interesting FAQ section:

What film do you use?

Bryan prefers to use Fuji Astia for his shoots as it gives the flesh tones and snow colours he likes, he is still testing other films now that Astia is being withdrawn.

Cherry uses a combination of Fuji Provia and Velvia depending on the colour saturation required, she will use the Provia 400F which is good in low light.

What camera does Bryan use?

Because Bryan frequently works for weeks on end in temperatures of -40 and lower, he chooses to use his old manual Canon F1’s. They use zinc and air batteries, have fast, light lenses and he doesn’t have to carry a ton of batteries with him. In more temperate climates he uses a Leica M5.

What camera does Cherry use?

Cherry works with the Canon EOS system using EOS1N bodies and 17-35mm/2.8 28-70mm/2.8 80-200mm/2.8 and the 300/4 IS lenses. This is possible because she usually has access to battery charging facilities and doesn’t work below -40. The Blue iceberg picture was taken on a Canon T90 with the manual 80-200mm zoom.

What accessories do you use?

Working in the extreme cold makes it tough to work with fiddly accessories, filters often lock onto the lens at temperatures below zero, so Bryan tends to rely on nature for special lighting effects. Cherry however, when time allows, uses polarisers, ND graduated filters, starbursts and fill flash, all carried in a backpack.

Can I carry your cameras?

You wouldn’t want to! They carry heavy backpacks, work long unsociable hours and get really mean when they don’t get the shots they want!

How did you start specialising in cold areas?

Bryan and Cherry met while they were both studying photography at the London College of Printing in 1967. Bryan did his thesis on ‘Photography in Cold Climates’. He also won a Royal Society of Arts bursary which allowed him to spend three months in the North of Greenland living with the Inuit people there. Bryan & Cherry travelled together with a Sami family on their spring migration in 1972. In 1980 Bryan photographed a book on North West Greenland for Time Life Books and they gave up their other jobs and concentrated on photography. Every year finds them visiting new, exciting places.

How do you keep warm?

Layers! Good thermal underwear close to the skin and a suitable selection of thin layers under a windproof outer garment. For serious extremes a hooded down jacket and padded trousers are welcome.

Summer in the arctic or Antarctica doesn’t require nearly as many clothes, but you will need a windproof outer layer and good insect repellent for the sub Arctic.

How do you keep your cameras working in the cold?

Bryan’s manual cameras usually stay outside any tents at the ambient temperature. minus whatever. Care needs to be taken about condensation, taking a freezing camera into a warm environment will result in a layer of condensation. Never take off a lens or change a film in these conditions or you will get moisture in side your camera. When changing temperatures either leave your camera bag closed for many hours until it is the same temperature as the room, or put the equipment you need into sealed plastic bags, the smaller amounts of equipment warm up much quicker.

Cherry recently had her Canon 5D and 20D at the South Pole with her and they worked well at -25C. All her L lenses continued working and autofocusing at that temperature but the 28-135mm wasn’t at all happy and refused to autofocus.

The Canon 511a batteries soon got cold and stopped working and to avoid the inconvenience of constantly swapping batteries from warm pockets into the camera, Cherry had purchased external power packs from Digital Camera Batteries The 40 Watt NiMH never ran out on her even when she was using it to run both the 5D and the 550 Flash gun for several hours and many exposures. The power pack is slim and fits snugly under a warm jacket, they are so unobtrusive that Cherry often didn’t bother to take them off while indoors for meals, she just unplugged the camera and left it outside in the camera bag. This is an excellent piece of equipment that overcomes many of the problems of working with battery powered cameras and flash at low temperatures.

Handwarmers are very good for keeping the ambient temperature of a camera bag above zero and Cherry put several in her camera bag both for overnight and before starting shooting in the morning but the LCD displays weren’t as unhappy in the cold as she had expected.

What is your favourite Charity?

Survival International, the charity that supports indigenous people.

Do either of you do talks?

Not without the offer of huge amounts of money or unusual locations!

I have to find more information about that charity, for a next post!

First step: Alaska and Canada

March 12, 2008 at 1:17 am | Posted in Language, Maps, Naming | 3 Comments
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I’m working with Ethnologue trying to stablish the linguistic braches related with the North culture and lifestyle. I’ve made some interesting finds. Some language families spoken in Alaska and Canada are spoken also in Siberia, the North of Russia. That is exciting, as makes me wonder how it happened, so expect some future research into that direction.

Anyway, that is what I have found:

In the United States of America there are 293,027,571 people. Population includes 1,900,000 American Indians, Inuits, and Aleut, not all speaking indigenous languages (1990 census). The National or official languages are Hawaiian (in Hawaii) and Spanish (in New Mexico). The number of languages listed for USA is 238. Of those, 162 are living languages, 3 are second language without mother-tongue speakers, and 73 are extinct. All the Inuit and Aleut languages are still alive.

[ale] 300 in the USA (1995 M. Krauss). Population total all countries: 490. Ethnic population: 2,000 (1995 M. Krauss). Western Aleut on Atka Island (Aleutian Chain); Eastern Aleut on eastern Aleutian Islands, Pribilofs, and Alaskan Peninsula. Also spoken in Russia (Asia). Dialects: Western Aleut (Atkan, Atka, Attuan, Unangany, Unangan), Eastern Aleut (Unalaskan, Pribilof Aleut). Classification: Eskimo-Aleut, Aleut

Inupiatun, North Alaskan
[esi] Ethnic population: 8,000. Norton Sound and Point Hope, Alaska. Also spoken in Canada. Alternate names: North Alaskan Inupiat, Inupiat, “Eskimo”. Dialects: North Slope Inupiatun (Point Barrow Inupiatun), West Arctic Inupiatun, Point Hope Inupiatun, Anaktuvik Pass Inupiatun. Classification: Eskimo-Aleut, Eskimo, Inuit

Inupiatun, Northwest Alaska
[esk] 4,000 (1978 SIL). Speakers of all Inuit languages: 75,000 out of 91,000 in the ethnic group (1995 M. Krauss). Ethnic population: 8,000 (1978 SIL). Alaska, Kobuk River, Noatak River, Seward Peninsula, and Bering Strait. Alternate names: Northwest Alaska Inupiat, Inupiatun, “Eskimo”. Dialects: Northern Malimiut Inupiatun, Southern Malimiut Inupiatun, Kobuk River Inupiatun, Coastal Inupiatun, Kotzebue Sound Inupiatun, Seward Peninsula Inupiatun, King Island Inupiatun (Bering Strait Inupiatun). Classification: Eskimo-Aleut, Eskimo, Inuit

Yupik, Central
[esu] 10,000 (1995 M. Krauss). Ethnic population: 21,000 (1995 M. Krauss). Nunivak Island, Alaska coast from Bristol Bay to Unalakleet on Norton Sound and inland along Nushagak, Kuskokwim, and Yukon rivers. Alternate names: Central Alaskan Yupik. Dialects: Kuskokwim Yupik (Bethel Yupik). There are 3 dialects, which are quite different. Classification: Eskimo-Aleut, Eskimo, Yupik, Alaskan

Yupik, Central Siberian
[ess] 1,050 in the USA (1995 Krauss). Population total all countries: 1,350. Ethnic population: 1,050 in USA (1995 Krauss). St. Lawrence Island, Alaska; Gambell and Savonga villages, Alaska. Also spoken in Russia (Asia). Alternate names: St. Lawrence Island “Eskimo”, Bering Strait Yupik. Dialects: Chaplino. Classification: Eskimo-Aleut, Eskimo, Yupik, Siberian

Yupik, Pacific Gulf
[ems] 400 (1995 M. Krauss). Ethnic population: 3,000 (1995 M. Krauss). Alaska Peninsula, Kodiak Island (Koniag dialect), Alaskan coast from Cook Inlet to Prince William Sound (Chugach dialect). 20 villages. Alternate names: Alutiiq, Sugpiak “Eskimo”, Sugpiaq “Eskimo”, Chugach “Eskimo”, Koniag-Chugach, Suk, Sugcestun, Aleut, Pacific Yupik, South Alaska “Eskimo”. Dialects: Chugach, Koniag. Classification: Eskimo-Aleut, Eskimo, Yupik, Alaskan


In Canada there are 32,507,874 people, including 32,000 Inuit ethnic total (1993): 146,285 first-language speakers (1981 census). The National or official languages are English and French. Literacy rate: 96% to 99%. The number of languages listed for Canada is 89. Of those, 85 are living languages and 4 are extinct.

Inuktitut, Eastern Canadian
[ike] 14,000 (1991 L. Kaplan). Ethnic population: 17,500 (1991 L. Kaplan). West of Hudson Bay and east through Baffin Island, Quebec, and Labrador. Alternate names: Eastern Canadian “Eskimo”, “Eastern Arctic Eskimo”, Inuit. Dialects: “Baffinland Eskimo”, “Labrador Eskimo”, “Quebec Eskimo”. Classification: Eskimo-Aleut, Eskimo, Inuit

Inuktitut, Western Canadian
[ikt] 4,000 (1981). All Inuit first-language speakers in Canada 18,840 (1981 census). Ethnic population: 7,500 (1981 census). Central Canadian Arctic, and west to the Mackenzie Delta and coastal area, including Tuktoyaktuk on the Arctic coast north of Inuvik (but not Inuvik and Aklavik, and coastal area). Alternate names: Inuvialuktun. Dialects: Copper Inuktitut (“Copper Eskimo”, Copper Inuit), “Caribou Eskimo” (Keewatin), Netsilik, Siglit. Caribou dialect may need separate literature. Classification: Eskimo-Aleut, Eskimo, Inuit.Inupiatun, North Alaskan.

Inupiatun, North Alaskan
[esi] Mackenzie delta region including Aklavik and Inuvik, into Alaska, USA. Alternate names: North Alaskan Inupiat, Inupiat, Inupiaq, “Eskimo”. Dialects: West Arctic Inupiatun (Mackenzie Inupiatun, Mackenzie Delta Inupiatun), North Slope Inupiatun. Classification: Eskimo-Aleut, Eskimo, Inuit

Here you have the wonderful Ethnologue maps as well:

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