Siberian Yupik

Indigenous Language Map - Siberian Yupik

St. Lawrence Island Yupik (also known as Siberian Yupik) is spoken in the two St. Lawrence Island villages, Gambell and Savoonga. The language of St. Lawrence Island is nearly identical to the language spoken across the Bering Strait on the tip of Siberia's Chukchi Peninsula.

The total Siberian Yupik population in Alaska is about 1,100, and of that number about 1,050 speak the language. Children in Gambell and Savoonga learn Siberian Yupik as the first language of the home. Of a population of about 900 Siberian Yupik people in Siberia, there are about 300 speakers, although no children learn it as their first language.

Although much linguistic and pedagogical work had been published in Cyrillic on the Siberian side, very little was written for St. Lawrence Island until the 1960s, when linguists devised a modern orthography. Researchers at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks revised that orthography in 1971, and since then a variety of curriculum materials, including a preliminary dictionary and a practical grammar, have become available for the schools. The ANLC's Steve Jacobson published a full dictionary in 2008.

Siberian Yupik is a distinct language from Central Alaskan Yup'ik. Notice that Siberian Yupik is spelled without an apostrophe.

Common Expressions

natesiin? How are you?
esghaghlleqamken good-bye (I'll see you)
igamsiqanaghhalek thank you
quyanaghhalek tagilusi welcome (thank you for coming)
Quyanaghhalek Kuusmemi Merry Christmas

Links and Resources