Sign languages (was: Re: additions to ISO 639 and the IANA
language subtag registry)
mrc at CAC.Washington.EDU
Wed Feb 22 20:43:09 CET 2006
On Wed, 22 Feb 2006, Michael Everson wrote:
>> Is "Eskimo" really a language?
>> AFAIK, there are two major "Eskimo" languages: Yup'ik and Inupiaq (also
>> called Inuktiut and Kalaalisuit); there are also many dialects.
> This isn't correct. Eskimo is a term which can be used to describe the family
> of languages which runs from Siberia along to Greenland. There are certainly
> more than two of these. The Ethnologue can give you more information on this.
My statement was vague ("major languages") and used the layman's
distinction of "language vs. dialect" for a reason.
AFAIK (from talks with native speakers), Greenlandic and Alaskan Inupiaq
are mutually intelligible (thus like a "dialect") albeit with some
different words and pronunciations, whereas Siberian Yup'ik was quite a
bit different. Every village has its own local language/dialect, but
they're mutually intelligible.
I've never heard native speakers refer to their language as "Eskimo",
although sometimes they call themselves that.
I don't pretend to be expert; just someone who's been to that area on
-- Mark --
Democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what to eat for lunch.
Liberty is a well-armed sheep contesting the vote.
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