Sunday, August 2, 2009

Unangam tunuu

Unangam tunuu is the Aleut name for the Aleut language. According to the Alaskan native institute in Fairbanks there are something like 2000 Aleuts and 300 speakers of the language. That's not a lot of people. Nevertheless, Knut Bergsland of the University of Oslo has written both a dictionary and a grammar of the Aleut language.
While at the APIA culture camp this summer, I had the opportunity to hear Unangam tunuu spoken and have found out how to pronounce some of the specifically Aleut consonants like the x with the hat over it x^. This particular sound is something like the ch sound in German. The APIA has also put out a CD with names of various animals pronounced.
For those interested in the names of Aleut kayak parts, see Knut Bergsland's article in _Contributions to Kayak Studies_.

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