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Vanishing Karelian in Murmansk Oblast: Toward a comprehensive documentation and description

Researchers: Petar Kehayov
Project duration: 2017–2020

The Karelian varieties spoken in Murmansk Oblast are barely documented, and as a consequence understudied, compared to their cognate varieties spoken in other parts of northwestern Russia. Considering that Karelian belongs to the severely endangered minority languages of Murmansk Oblast, an extensive documentation and description of these varieties is a matter of urgency. The specific aims of this project are

  1. to document and archive as much as possible contemporary natural speech, which is maximally representative in relation to geographical factors, descent of speakers, age, educational background, contacts with speakers of other languages of the area, and other extra-linguistic variables
  2. to describe and analyze the structural variation attested in the collected linguistic data relative to these variables. As descendants of different migration waves, which have been exposed to various social conditions and language contacts, and are scattered across a huge area, the last Karelian-speaking individuals in Murmansk Oblast are a challenging source of insight for contemporary research on linguistic variation and language decay in indigenous communities.

Funding: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG

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