Unique Russian dialect continues to exist in Alaska | Russia Beyond The Headlines

As Americans who understand their own history know, Alaska was once called Russian America and was purchased from Russia by the USA in 1867 in a rather straight forward real estate transaction. The whole of Alaska went to the USA for only $7.2 million. The article inside the link explains how a small group of native Alaskans in Ninilchik, Alaska still speak Russian in their own unique dialect which is now quickly dying out as the older generation passes on. There are fewer than 20 people left who remember Russian, and they are all over 75. It seems that when the Russians sailed away in 1867, no ship at all put into the Cook Inlet for 20-years, and the isolated village continued to speak Russian as its native language for the next 80-years. Schooling in Russian ceased in 1918 when the Russian Orthodox church school closed, and the English language school opened sometime in the 1930’s. Cut off from the mother tongue, the people developed their unique Russian-Alaskan creole dialect. The Russian linguists who connected with these villagers are trying to record it for posterity before this living link to the past disappears. I have reposted this article here in order to show that history casts a long shadow, but the last of those 20 Russian-Alaskans will likely be gone within the next few years which will sever their tangible 150 year old connection to Russia forever.

Update: See also http://www.ninilchikrussian.com/index.html

Source: rbth.ru

Unique Russian dialect continues to exist in Alaska | Russia Beyond The Headlines.


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