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date: 05 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Unangam Tunuu (Aleut) is a highly divergent member of the Eskimo-Aleut language family; it has also experienced substantial language contact during several distinct periods of its history, including the late prehistoric period (ca. 1000–1741 ce), the Russian period (1741–1867), and the American period (1867–present). This chapter discusses each period, and the very different linguistic effects of the different nature of the respective periods of language contact: prehistoric contact was extensive enough to result in deep structural changes; Russian and early American contact were primarily lexical and did not overwhelm the Aleut language; and the late American period is characterized by language shift. The chapter focuses especially on the speculative first period, as it is of critical important in the divergence of Aleut within its language family.

Keywords: Eskimo-Aleut, Aleut, prehistoric language contact, Athabaskan, Eyak, Tlingit, Russian

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