Negidal language


There are no alternative names of the language in the academic literature. But there are several alternative self-designations of Negidals. The Russian ethnonym of негидальцы is related to the word не̄γида̄ ~ ӈе̄γида̄, which means Negidal (plural не̄γида̄л ~ ӈе̄γида̄л [Negidals]). The Negidal word не̄γида̄ ~ ӈе̄γида̄ also means ‘a site located downstream, by the shore’, which means that Negidals are people living by the river. V. Cincius explained that this ethnonym was designed to oppose Negidals as coastal people to Evenki that roamed the mountain slopes of taiga.

Negidal language

The origin of this ethnonym is probably Negidal, but it is also possible that it was initially an external ethnonym: the Evenki language has a word similar to the one in Negidal, both historically and phonetically: ӈе̄γида̄ [a space on the lower slope, a coastal space], so it is quite possible that it was Evenki who gave Negidals their name. Some Negidals use the self-designation елкан бэйэнин, which is interpreted as “a real man”.

Participants of the First Far Eastern International Festival of the KMNS "Living Thread"
General characteristics

Based on the 2020 Census, 22 people speak Negidal (according to this Census, there are 481 Negidals in total). Researchers, however, estimate that there are no more than 5 people who really speak Negidal. Based on the First All-Russian Population Census of 1897, there were 423 men recorded as Negidals. In the 1926 Census, there were 683 Negidals; the 1959 Census did not indicate Negidals as a separate nationality, in 1970, 537 people were recorded as Negidals, in 1979 — 504 people, in 1989 — 622, in 2002 — 567, in 2010 — 513.

Interactive atlas of indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East