The Yupik languages belong to the Yupik branch of the Eskimo language family.
They are spoken by about 11,800 people in Alaska and Siberia. Yupik is written
with the Latin alphabet in Alaska and with the Cyrillic alphabet in Siberia.
At the beginning of the 19th century missionaries and their Yupik-speaking
assistants devised a method of writing Yupik with the Latin alphabet. This
alphabet was named after the Reverend John Hinz, one of the missionaries, and
was used to publish translations of the Bible and other religious texts in Yupik.
In Siberia a method of writing Yupik with the Cyrillic languages was developed
by scholars, but those Yupik who can write tend to write in Russian.
In the 1960s a group of scholars and native Yupik speakers came together at
the University of Alaska to develop a new orthography for Yupik. One of their
goals was to devise an orthography that could be input on an English keyboard,
without accent marks or extra letters. They also wanted to represent the individual
sounds of the language with separate letters.
Central Alaskan Yup’ik
Central Siberian Yupik
The blue letter is only used to write Russian loanwords.
Sample text in Central Alaskan Yup’ik
Tawa-lu tauna qulireq irniama atiita, ikani Ingrissaaraam nuniin’ ingrim’,
uksuigaqamta, inartaqamt’-irniani mikteɫratni quliratui mat’umeng.
Can’iraam-taum quliratui mikteɫratni.
‘Well now, this story was told by my children’s father across there near
Ingrissaareq; when we made winter camp at the mountain there,
when we went to bed, he would tell this story to his small children.
Can’irraq told this to them when they were small.’
(Cev’armiut Qanemciit Qulirait-llu / Eskimo Narratives and Tales from Chevak, Alaska, p.71)
Yup’ik language materials
Alaskan Orthodox texts (Aleut, Alutiiq, Tlingit, Yup’ik). An ongoing project
offering Alaskan Orthodox texts on-line in their original languages and alphabets
Alaskan Native Heritage Center