How language ties Siberians and Alaska Natives 3,000 miles apart

Spoken by only a few dozen people, a language uttered in river villages 3,000 miles from Alaska is related to Tlingit, Eyak and Athabaskan. This curious link has researchers wondering how people in the middle of Siberia are related to Alaskans and other North Americans -- and what it means to the populating of the Americas.

When he visited Kellog Village in central Siberia a few years ago, Edward Vajda stirred the coals of what has become a bonfire in the world of anthropology and linguistics. Vajda, a linguist and professor at Western Washington University, is the person who perhaps knows most about Ket, spoken by fewer than 50 people who live along the Yelogui and Yenisei rivers in central Siberia.

Monday, April 30, 2012