Contact in the prehistory of the Sakha (Yakuts): Linguistic by Brigitte Pakendorf

By Brigitte Pakendorf

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Approximately in the middle of the second millennium BC the Yukaghir ancestors spread from the Taimyr Peninsula to the east under pressure of immigrating groups (rather speculatively identified by Alekseev as Yenisseic-speakers) and reached Chukotka about 1,000 years later. In the first half of the second millennium AD the expansion of Evenki groups to the northwest cut off the Yukaghirs from Samoyedic-speaking groups in the west and forced them even further to the east, where they ended up surrounded by Chukchi, Koryaks, 'vens and the ancestors of the Sakha.

The Buryat standard language is based on the eastern Buryat dialect Xori (Weiers 1986: 51). At the periphery of Mongolic settlement several quite divergent languages are spoken that do not fit into the major classification of West vs. East Mongolic. One is Moghol, spoken in Afghanistan, which has undergone considerable Arabic, Turkic and Iranian influence (Weiers 1986: 53). Several peripheral languages are spoken in China in the Gansu-Qinghai area; these are Monguor, Santa, Yellow Uyghur (the Mongolic language of formerly Turkic-speaking Yellow Uyghurs), and Bonan.

3: The approximate current-day distribution of the languages of Siberia. Map adapted from Wurm et al. (1996: map 109). © MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology. 1 Tungusic languages Evenki and 'ven belong to the Northern Tungusic branch of the Tungusic language family. Although the relationship of the languages belonging to this family is widely accepted, the internal classification of the Tungusic language family as a whole has not yet been unanimously resolved. One reason for the difficulties besetting the classification of the Tungusic languages is their shallow time depth and, similar to the Turkic languages, the nomadic lifestyle of some of the groups.

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