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Nunivak Cup'ig language

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Title: Nunivak Cup'ig language  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Central Alaskan Yup'ik language, Chevak Cup’ik language, Central Alaskan Yup'ik people, Greenlandic language, Qargi
Collection: Endangered Eskimo–aleut Languages, Languages of the United States, Yupik Languages
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Nunivak Cup'ig language

Nunivak Cup'ig
Native to United States
Region Central Alaska, Nunivak Island
Native speakers
(no estimate available)
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Linguist list

Nunivak Cup'ig or just Cup'ig (own name Cugtun) is a language or separate[1] dialect of Central Alaskan Yup'ik spoken in Central Alaska at the Nunivak Island by Nunivak Cup'ig people (own name Cup'it or Nuniwarmiut). The letter "c" on the Yup’ik alphabet is equivalent on the English alphabet "ch".

The Central Alaskan Yupik who live on Nunivak Island (Nuniwar in Nunivak Cup'ig, Nunivaaq in Central Yup'ik) call themselves Cup'ig (plural Cup'it). Those who live in the village of Chevak call themselves Cup'ik (plural Cup'it). The name Cup'ig (with g) used for Nunivak Island Yup'ik dialect. But, the name Cup'ik (with k) used for Hooper Bay-Chevak Yup'ik dialect.

The Cup'ig dialect is threatened. This fact was documented by Dr. Michael E. Krauss of the Alaska Native Language Center at the University of Alaska and is illustrated on the map. At that time (1975) Krauss indicated, "Some of the children speak the language".[2] Krauss documented continued decline and downgraded the status to "Very few or none of the children speak the language"[3] in 1982.

Today Cup'ig is spoken by elders in the village of Mekoryuk.[4]


  • Classification 1
  • Grammatical numbers 2
  • Education 3
  • Example phrases 4
  • Russian loanwords 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Central Alaskan Yup'ik-speaking areas
The comparison of number names in the three dialects
Hooper Bay-Chevak
atauciq atauciq ataucir 1
malruk malruk malzrug 2
pingayun pingayun pingayun 3
cetaman citaman cetaman 4
talliman talliman talliman 5
arvinglegen / arvinelgen arvinelgen arwinleg 6
malrunlegen / malrunelgen malrunelgen malzrunleg 7
pingayunlegen / pingayunelgen pingayunelgen pingayunleg 8
qulngunritaraan qulngunritaraq qulngunrita’ar 9
qula / qulen qula qula 10
qula atauciq qula atauciq qula-ataucir 11
qula malruk qula malruk qula-malzrug 12
qula pingayun qula pingayun qula-pingayun 13
akimiarunrita’ar akimiarunritaraq akimiarunrita’ar 14
akimiaq akimiaq akimiar 15
akimiaq atauciq akimiaq atauciq akimiar ataucir 16
akimiaq malruk akimiaq malruk akimiar malzrug 17
akimiaq pingayun akimiaq pingayun akimiar pingayun 18
yuinaunrita’ar cuinaunritaraq cuinaunrita’ar 19
yuinaq cuinaq cuinar 20
yuinaq qula / yuinaq qulen cuinaq qula cuinar-qula 30
yuinaak malruk / malruk ipiaq (Yukon) malruk ipiaq malzrug-ipiar 40
yuinaak malruk qula malruk ipiaq qula . 50
yuinaat pingayun / pingayun ipiaq pingayun ipiaq pingayun ipiar 60
yuinaat pingayun qula pingayun ipiaq qula . 70
yuinaat cetaman citaman ipiaq cetaman-ipiar 80
yuinaat cetaman qula citaman ipiaq qula talliman ipiar qula 90
yuinaat talliman talliman ipiaq talliman ipiar 100
tiissitsaaq tiititsaaq / tiissitsaaq tiisiss'ar 1.000
qulen tiissitsaat . . 10.000
yuinaat talliman tiissitsaaq . . 100.000
miilicaaq ciicitsaaq . 1.000.000
tiissitsaaq miilicaaq . .

Grammatical numbers

The grammatical numbers:

singular dual plural meaning
qusngir qusngig qusngit domestic reindeer
iqalluyagar iqalluyagag iqalluyagat Dolly Varden
qay'ar qay'ag qay'at / qass'it kayak
tuutangayag tuutangayiigeg tuutangayit Canada goose
alpa alpag alpat murre
qimugta qimugteg qimugtet dog


The Cup'ig people's school only Lower Kuskokwim School District, Nuniwarmiut School PK-12 in the village of Mekoryuk. English and Cup’ig bilingual education with 32 students [10] is done at this school. The school built in 1984.[11]

Nuniwarmiut Piciryarata Tamaryalkuti, Inc. (literally "Nunivak Cultural Programs") is non-profit cultural heritage office of the Cup'ig Eskimo village of Mekoryuk and its mission is to preserve Nunivak Island Cup'ig culture, tradition and language. NPT was established in 1999.[12]

Example phrases

A Nunivak Cup'ig man with raven maskette. The raven (Cup'ig tulukarug) is Ellam Cua or Creator god in the Cup’ig mythology
  • Cangacit? - How are you?
  • Canritua - I am fine
  • Unuakukegci - Good morning
  • Agayunerpakegcikici - Have a very Merry Christmas
  • Allrakularakegciluci-llu - And have a Happy New Year
  • Taqukat, maklit neqkanka - Seals, bearded seals is my food
  • Quyana - Thanks
  • Quyana niicugnillua - Thank you for listening to me.
  • Quyana naqluki allnganka - Thank you for reading what I wrote.

Russian loanwords

The Russian loanwords used in Nunivak Cup’ig date from the period of the Russian America (1733–1867).

  • caarralar (< Rus. сахар) 'sugar'
  • caayu (< Rus. чай) 'tea'
  • caanig (< Rus. чайник) 'tea kettle'
  • cap’akir ( < Rus. сапоги) 'shoe'
  • cass’ar (< Rus. часы) 'clock'
  • culunar (?< Rus. солонина 'salted meat') 'salted fish'
  • kelipar (< Rus. хлеб) 'bread'
  • maslar (< Rus. масло) 'butter; margarine'
  • miss’ug (< Rus. мешок) 'burlap bag'
  • mulut’ug (< Rus. молоток) 'hammer'
  • paltug (< Rus. пальто) 'coat; jacket'
  • pelatekar (< Rus. палатка) 'tent'
  • putuskar (< Rus. подушка) 'pillow'
  • tiisiss’ar (< Rus. тысяча) 'thousand; one thousand dollars'
  • yaassig : (< Rus. ящик) 'box; cardboard box'

See also


  1. ^ The participial oblique, a verb mood found only in Nunivak Central Alaskan Yup'ik and in Siberian YupikSteven A. Jacobson (2006), , ÉTUDES/INUIT/STUDIES, 2006, 30(1): 135-156 (= Nunivak Island has the most divergent dialect of Central Alaskan Yup'ik Eskimo, the language of southwestern Alaska)
  2. ^ Krauss, Michael E. (1975). Native peoples and languages of Alaska. [Map]. Fairbanks, AK: Alaska Native Language Center, University of Alaska.
  3. ^ Krauss, Michael E. (1982). Native peoples and languages of Alaska. [Map]. Fairbanks, AK: Alaska Native Language Center, University of Alaska.
  4. ^ Lower Kuskokwim School District
  5. ^ Jerry Lipka, Culturally Negotiated Schooling: Toward a Yup’ik Mathematics
  6. ^ How to count in Yup’ik
  7. ^ Yup’ik Eskimo Grammar, Irene Reed and all.(1977)
  8. ^ On the Facebook: Cup'ik Word Of The Day - Chevak by Rebecca Nayamin (Cup’ik Language Orthographist)
  9. ^ Nuniwarmiut Piciryarata Tamaryalkuti, Nunivak Island Cup'ig Language Preliminary Dictionary
  10. ^ Mekoryuk Schools
  11. ^ Nuniwarmiut Schools
  12. ^ Nuniwarmiut Piciryarata Tamaryalicuti

External links

  • On the Facebook: Nunivak Cup'ig Language page.
  • : Nunivak Island Cup'ig Language Preliminary DictionaryNuniwarmiut Piciryarata Tamaryalkuti
  • Griffin, Dennis, A history of human settlement on Nunivak Island, Alaska: Insights from recent investigations at Nash Harbor village.
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