influence of Russian on AE

Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU
Tue Feb 8 19:04:46 UTC 2000

See John Holm, _Pidgins and Creoles_, vol. 2: Reference Survey (Cambridge,
1989), pp. 620-21:   "... the Russian loanwords found in Aleut, Eskimo, and
Indian languages from Alaska to northern California ... suggest that during
the Russian colonial period (from around 1750 to 1867, when Alaska was
purchased by the United States), Russian was used as a contact language,
quite possibly in reduced forms."  That's it--and it was a long time
ago.  The point is, some Russian may have crept into the indigenous
languages in the area as a result of trade contacts, but after 1867, that
contact would have waned.  I've seen nothing on Russian influence on the
English of the area.  I suspect your student has heard of the colonial
Russian contact with natives and thinks it still persists.

At 11:32 AM 2/8/00 -0700, you wrote:
>I have a student in my introductory language studies class who is claiming
>that Russian is an important language which has influenced the dialects of
>the West coast--Pacific northwest and Alaska. My sense is that its
>influence would be limited--but I don't know for sure. Can anyone give me
>some idea, so I can respond to this student who is phrasing this lack as a
>serious flaw in the reading. For him the ommision of Russian calls into
>question the validity of the entire chapter on history of dialects--the
>reading is from Walt and Natalie's book on American English
>Sonja Launspach
>Sonja Launspach
>Assistant Professor Linguistics
>Dept.of English & Philosophy
>Idaho State University
>Pocatello, ID 83209
>email: sllauns at

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