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The word stock of the Selkup language as the main source of cultural and historical information about a mortally endangered native ethnicum of Western Siberia

Objective

Section F Project Summary
Three Selkup dictionaries (based on different data sources) which the project participants from Germany, Finland and Russia published, independently from one another, in 2001-2005, along with their own former Selkup lexicographic publications and with further Selkup sources, create prerequisites for a systematisation and a uniform presentation of the lexical material in form of an electronic data base and an ethnoculturally oriented electronic thesaurus, and for a further ethnolinguistically and ethnohistorically oriented study of the lexical stock of Selkup.

The Selkups are a minority ethnic group (or, according to another interpretation, a complex of ethnic groups speaking closely related, but partly not mutually understandable, dialects) living in the northern part of Western Siberia and belonging to the Samoyedic branch of the Uralic language family. Nowadays rapidly developing processes of cultural and linguistic assimilation (Russianization) are characteristic for the Selkups. They already resulted in the irreversible loss of the majority of Southern Selkup dialects within the last 30-40 years. Most elements of the traditional culture get lost together with the language.

The project assumes that, especially in case of relatively isolated minority languages, it is the native culture that determines the plan of content in a given language. Accordingly, the main parameters and principles of a native culture are extractable from the lexical stock of this language. The project will make the entire information about the material and spiritual culture of the Selkups, as it is reflected in the Selkup lexical stock (and often remains hidden for non-linguists), available to the specialists in the fields of history, ethnography, cultural sciences, thus serving to promote a higher level of corresponding investigations.

The uniform presentation of lexical data from different dialects and sources can be achieved in form of a multifaceted Selkup lexical data base (an electronic dictionary), in which individual entries will be supplied with most complete and commented information on:
- their dialectal attestation and dialectal forms (attested spellings and translations, phonemic shapes, morphonological properties of stems),
- references to sources where the corresponding words are attested and treated,
- their etymological background, as well as with the most interesting examples of usage in texts and sample phrases, etc.

Supplied additionally with extensive comments on the cultural context and historical background of individual entries, this database becomes an electronic Selkup thesaurus. Possible later printed versions of this Selkup lexical database and thesaurus can be arranged either as an alphabetical dialectological dictionary, or as a thematic/ethnolinguistic dictionary, or as a stratified etymological dictionary, or as historical dictionaries of various types.

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Coordinator

UNIVERSITÄT HAMBURG

Address

Bogenallee, 11
Hamburg

Germany

Administrative Contact

Eugene HELIMSKI

Participants (2)

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HELSINGIN YLIOPISTO

Finland

TOMSK STATE UNIVERSITY OF ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING

Russia

Project information

Grant agreement ID: INTAS 2005-1000006-8411

  • Start date

    1 October 2006

  • End date

    30 September 2008

Funded under:

IC-INTAS

  • Overall budget:

    € 150 000

  • EU contribution

    € 82 900

Coordinated by:

UNIVERSITÄT HAMBURG

Germany