7

The Eskimo-Aleut and Ainu languages were historically spoken in the same region (near the Kamchatka Peninsula), and they share some features that are common in Paleo-Siberian languages, including incorporation.

I have also noticed that the native name of the Greenlandic Inuit language (Inuktitut) is similar to the name of the Ainu language (Aynu=itak). In both of these languages, these words means "human language," although I do not know whether this is a coincidence.

Have there been any comparative studies of the Eskimo-Aleut and Ainu languages to identify possible cognates between them?

  • 3
    The only well regarded link between old and new world languages are the Dené–Yeniseian languages, which don't include either. But that's in terms of language family links, not borrowings. Borrowings through language contact is much more likely, and we have evidence of that between Polynesian and Quechua. – curiousdannii May 7 '18 at 2:52
  • Also, note that Inuktitut is only one language in the Eskimo–Aleut language family, and other members of that family are closer to Japan. – curiousdannii May 7 '18 at 2:57
  • Another surprising lack of linguistic relation: Inuit and Innu, in a similar area and having a history of contact... As for "human language", many people groups have names for themselves that mean "the people" and that naturally extends to tautological names for their language. – Luke Sawczak May 7 '18 at 2:58
  • @curiousdannii What? Polynesian and Quechua? Kon-tiki for real (or rather the other direction)? Link please! – Mitch May 7 '18 at 13:07
  • 1
    Inuktitut is not Greenlandic – it’s Canadian. There is really no such thing as “the Greenlandic Inuit language” (there are several Inuit languages spoken in Greenland), but the native name of the official and most widely spoken one, West Greenlandic, is Kalaallisut (from kalaallit ‘(West) Greenlander’, probably from Norse Skrælingi so an exonym in origin). – Janus Bahs Jacquet Apr 11 at 1:01

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.