February 07, 2013
By Ofer Tirosh
Yes, you read that right. Dr Alex King recently traveled from Aberdeen to Siberia to study the language of the area’s reindeer herders. His assignment will be a 10 month mission in the remote town of Palana to study and record the endangered language.
His research will be focused on two different dialects of the language; one spoken by the Chukchi people and the other by the dwellers on Penzhina Bay. His study will be the first since 1901, when the language was first discovered by linguists.
Dr King spoke of his challenges getting to Palana when he said, "Flights to Palana from the city of Petropavlovsk are a real problem in winter. In November and December, weather prevented the regular flights, and there was a backlog of people wanting to fly and we couldn't even get tickets.”
"Once in Palana, things got easier. My colleague, Valentina Dedyk, and her husband, Igor, had arranged for us to rent a flat before we arrived, and the freezer was stuffed full of salmon, reindeer, berries, and mushrooms they had fished and gathered themselves last summer.”
Life in Siberia is difficult as the sub-zero temperatures are low enough to freeze anything during the winter, and some parts have limited electricity.
For the full story on Dr Alex King’s mission to record the reindeer herder’s language, check out the following story. (http://local.stv.tv/aberdeen/news/magazine/212174-dr-alex-king-has-finally-started-his-mission-to-record-reindeer-language/)
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