Speakers

In the mid and late 20th century, speakers of the Itelmen language came almost exclusively from the territory bounded by the villages of Sopochnoe in the south and Napana in the north. This 250 km stretch of the west coast of Kamchatka included the settlements at Moroshechnoe, Belogolovoe, Khairiuzovo, Kovran, Utkholok, and Sedanka. The speakers listed here were born in the period spanning 1919 to 1952, a period during which the Soviet government introduced schooling and imposed the final dramatic language shift from Itelmen to Russian. A few decades after schools were established, the Soviet government closed all of the Itelmen villages except Kovran and Khairiuzovo. These speakers were, thus, remarkably resilient culture bearers who, despite the pressure to switch to speaking Russian and the loss of mnemonic support that comes with living in or returning to one’s homeland (rodina) maintained the language into the 21st century..

Data given here have not been verified for each speaker. We welcome corrections and additional information.

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