E. Golovko: Attuan Aleut, Alaska Russian
Transcriptions of Attuan Aleut Chants recorded on Wax cylinders
Vlademar Jokhel'son (1855-1937) was a Russian ethnographer known for his studies of the Aleut, Koryak, Yukaghir, and Yakut peoples. Born and educated in Russia, as a student he was also a revolutionary, later arrested in 1884. He was sentenced to serve his time in Siberia where he spent his time writing down his observations of the indigenous culture of the area. The authorities were so impressed with his work that they sent him on many expeditions throughout Siberia and the Aleutian Islands. This work led to published works describing the lives of those others of the northland. After his release, Jokhel'son decided to stay in Siberia to continue his work.
While on an expedition of the Aleutian Islands in 1909, Jokhel'son recorded 12 wax cylinders of Attuan Aleut, ca. 30 minutes of traditional texts from two Attuans, Demitri Prokopyev and Artomanov.
In 1990, Atkan language expert, Moses Dirks transcribed many Atkan and Eastern Aleut cylinders with Norwegian linguist Knut Bergsland. Moses Dirks of Atka is one of the youngest speakers of Aleut and has worked with the Aleut language and literature for the past 30 years. The Attuan Aleut were partial, tentative transcriptions never to be thoroughly, completely transcribed by Bergsland and Dirks.
Russian linguist, Evgeny Golovko has worked extensively with Attuan Russian Creole as well as Atkan on the Commander Islands, Russia. During the summer of 2009, Golovko and Dirks set off on their mission to Atka to work on the 12 wax cylinder recordings with the last speaker of Attuan Aleut, John Golodoff, age 80. Unfortunately, they never made it, due to the adverse weather conditions so common to that part of the Aleutians. At the very same time, Golodoff fell seriously ill and in two weeks time, died. The work on transcribing was then left to Golovko and Dirks. While waiting to get back home from their fated field trip, these two recommenced the work.
Excerpt from Attuan Aleut Fieldnotes, Summer 2010
Final fieldtrip is scheduled for September 2012. Golovko is to fly into Fairbanks, meet with Krauss then travel to Anchorage and work intensively with Dirks, refining the transcription and develop final apparatus.
Alaska was a Russian colony until 1867. The colony was ruled not by a government but by the Russian-American Company (RAC). When service was completed, there were Russian colonists that decided not to go back to their motherland. These people settled in one of the two retirement villages - Ninilchik on the Kenai Peninsula and Afognak, located on the Kodiak Archipelago. This linguistic work documents the language descended from those Afognak villagers.
During the summers of 2008 and 2009, Evgeny Golovko worked on documenting and describing what was left of the language of Russian America. His fieldwork sent him to Kodiak Island,and the Kenai peninsula in Alaska and Seattle, Washington.Fieldwork was completed in summer 2009.
As s result of the use of 'continuous recording' method of data collection, Golovko was able to capture a considerable amount of recorded material. All recorded information, including paper copies of all notebooks is stored in the Alaska Native Language Archive. Golovko has a preliminary draft of the final product completed.
According to Golovko, there are unique vestiges of the Russian language still in existence. It was found that Kodiak like Ninilchik is not creole (much affected by Alaska Native languages), but an interesting dalect of Russian. Golovko questions," if it(the language) is still alive," this is an"open ended subject."
PI Krauss comments that "other people, other linguists, e.g., Andri Kibrik, and other members of the Ninilchik community itself, e.g., Wayne Leman are involved in local projects and those local projects need to be combined with Golovko's." At present, plans for future research collaboration are being discussed.
Work in progress available online on the Michael E. Krauss Alaska Native Language Archive website.
Emel'ianova Fileslip Transliteration
Golovko has also been involved in researching older Siberian Yupik materials collected by the late Nina Emel'ianova. The extensive lexicon, some 30,000 file slips, is stored at the Institute for Linguistic Studies in St. Petersburg, Russia.
The 30,000 fileslips contain lexical material in four Eskimo languages, e.g. Chaplinski, Naukanski, Sirenski and Imaklikski. The fileslips were in need of sorting, digitization, in preparation for future documentation and research. Golovko headed this project from November 2008 - July 2009 and February - August 2011.
2008 - 2009
The first stage of this project was conducted in November 2008 - July 2009. During that period all the Emelyanova materials were sorted into two groups of (1) and (2) less importance. The priority group boxes consisted of Chaplino Yupik verbs describing emotional state and unknown Naukan words. This approach was suggested by PI Krauss.A large number of fileslips was discovered containing parallel entries in Chaplino Yupik, Naukan and Sirenik, many of which did not seem to be found in the dictionaries.