Geography

I Can’t Wait to Use tuntussuqatarniksaitengqiggtuq In a Conversation

yupik
The word Yupik describes a family of five languages, spoken by residents of Siberia and Western Alaska. Each one of those languages is similar, but different—if two people from a different region met, one might not be able to understand the words spoken by the other, but because of the sentence structure and similar phonetic sounds they could still carry on a basic conversation.
Yupik is what’s known as a polysynthetic language—words are sometimes created that have a very, very specific meaning, to the point of creating a sentence out of a single word. For example, take the word tuntussuqatarniksaitengqiggtuq. It literally means, “He had not yet said again that he was going to hunt reindeer.” It is a word that can only be used for an extremely specific situation and, even more bizarre, none of the individual word parts make any sense unless they’re used in that specific word. The only exception is the word for reindeer, tuntu.

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