Guardian Unlimited, February 18, 2004
Shor mayu xakas: Bloody freezing, yes. But then what do you expect here in the depths of Siberia?
Gul iniot botrioviok ni? I couldn't say exactly, but we're about 3,500 miles east of Moscow, not far from the border with Mongolia. That's the Chulym river right there.
Osnyutsi blezas ob ud niot? Well, this morning I'll probably drill a hole in this ice and do a bit of fishing. Then this afternoon we were thinking of upping sticks and wandering off somewhere else with our yaks and camels.
Dishod ubedsikian Americanski linguisiok David Harrison ib Swarthmore College ot Pennsylvania: I know, damn lucky that he did too, if you ask me. No one knew Middle Chulym existed. It was definitely on the way out. He's going to document it, and produce a couple of books - a grammar primer and a collection of stories.
Karaj, irkumsi xen 426 popli! Incredible isn't it? And of that lot, only 35 of us are fluent. The youngest is 52.
Churvash os dilod kumari di Stalin? You'd have to say he is the main culprit. It was he who insisted that Russian was spoken and who forced the Siberian communities to abandon their nomadic existences. It's been on the way out ever since.
Ibru cheyru em Chulymdi taxi e taxi, bi television e television: I know, but they're the same in all languages aren't they? I just wish I knew what a taxi and a television were.
Produ liniog ut iskel oentis! I know, it's all been complete nonsense as there has never been an official script. One member did once devise a system of writing and kept a hunting journal for a while, the first book in the language.
Confusedski nono mi: Ket, another obscure language from around there somewhere, which has a word to describe the noise a bear makes when it moves through cranberry bushes.