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Interviews with Nivkh people on Sakhalin in 1990

In July and August 1990, a Japanese ethnolinguistic expedition was organised and financially supported by the Japanese Ministry of Culture (Monbusho). The leader of this expedition was Prof. Kyoko Murasaki who during many years had studied the Sakhalin Ainu language, spoken by people who came to Japan after the war. In fact this was the first opportunity for Japanese and Western scholars to study the language situation on the island after many years. No more Ainu speakers could be found and the main ethnic group the expedition visited was the Nivkh minority.

The only European participant was Tjeerd de Graaf who interviewed some representatives of the Nivkh population. The following short description list gives some details about these people and provides a link to the sound recordings made of their interviews. They form a small part of the collected material which consists of 80 hours of audio, 30 hours of video recordings, many photographs and written field notes.

Sound recordings (interviews, .wav-files)

1. Stanislaw Tsiklik, Nogliki, 21 July 1990, government employee, tells about the safeguarding of the Nivkh culture, the position of the Nivkh within the population of Sakhalin and the use of the language.

2. Ivan Khugan, Nogliki, 28 July 1990, retired schoolteacher, who in his childhood only spoke Nikh in his village, describes the changes after contact with Russian and has a dialogue Nivkh-Russian with Tsiklik.

3. Alexander Sangi, Poronaisk, 23 July 1990, representative of the young generation, who was educated in Russian, is learning the Nivkh language by self-study , speaks about Nivkh dialects in a dialogue with Galina Otaina.

4. Masako Kim (Kim Yun Sing), Poronaisk, 23 July 1990, born in Karafuto (the former Japanese part of Sakhalin), where she attended the Japanese school in Otasu, she describes the changes after the war, emigration of relatives to Japan and the shift from Japanese to Russian.

5. Lidya Muvchik, Venskoe near Nogliki, 27 July 1990, the wife of a fisherman, who sings three Nivkh songs, with translation into Russian with explanation and wishes for the future of the expedition.

6. Yumin Igrain, Venskoe near Nogliki, 27 July 1990, tells about his childhood, the boarding school in Nogliki, without teaching of Nivkh language, contact with Russian and the disappearance of small Nivkh villages.

7. Zoya Lyutova, Nekrasovka, 4 August 1990, librarian in Okha, tells about her life and family, the use of Nivkh language at home, the boarding school with only Russian, contact with other ethnic groups, the present use of the language and the special Nivkh language group with young people (kruzhok).

8. Chuner Taksami, Okha, 5 August 1990, a famous Nivkh scholar, tells about his education at the university, the defence of his dissertation in Leningrad, Nivkh ethnography, work on Nivkh history and material culture and preparation of a Nivkh dictionary and text book.

9. Digital reconstruction of a short sound recording of the Nivkh language by the famous Russian scholar Lev Shternberg (1861-1927) on a wax cylinder in the collection of the Pushkinsky Dom in St.Petersburg, made around the beginning of the 20th century.