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Last Native Speaker Of Rare Dialect Dies In Russia

Vera Timoshenko was the last native speaker of the Bering dialect.
Vera Timoshenko was the last native speaker of the Bering dialect.

The last native speaker of the so-called Bering dialect of the Aleut language, Vera Timoshenko, has died at the age of 93 in Russia's Far Eastern Kamchatka region.

Yevgeny Golovko, the director of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute for Linguistic Studies, said on March 7 that Timoshenko died in her native village of Nikolskoye on Bering Island.

"A very close variant of the Aleut language is preserved on the (U.S.) Aleutian Islands. There are several speakers living on the island of Atka, but in Russia, as far as we know, there is nobody now who can speak this language. And the dialect on the American side very much differs" from the Bering dialect, Golovko said.

Timoshenko was an expert of the Aleut language, culture, and history who until recently advised Russian and foreign researchers.

Aleut, the sole language in the Aleut branch of the Eskimo-Aleut linguistic stem, used to be widely spoken by the indigenous people of the Aleutian Islands, Pribilof Islands, Commander Islands, and the Alaska Peninsula.

According to experts, there are fewer than 100 to 150 remaining active Aleut speakers.

With reporting by Kam24

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