A MULTILINGUAL PEOPLE DIVIDED INTO THREE COUNTRIES: KHAMNIGANS AND THEIR LANGUAGE SITUATION
The descendants of the Tungus group, which was known as the Nerchinsk Tungus in the Tsarist Russia after the 17th century and was called the Equestrian Tungus by other Tungus groups, live in three different countries, namely the Russian Federation (RF), Mongolia and the People’s Republic of China (PRC), under the name Khamnigan. The Khamnigan are not officially recognized in any of these three countries. They are classified as Buryats in RF, as Mongols in Mongolia and as Evenks in PRC. This is a result of the ethno-linguistic sate of the Khamnigan society. The name Khamnigan itself means ‘Evenk’ in Mongolian. On the other hand Khamnigans speak a variety of Mongolian in all three countries. In PRC they additionally speak a variety of Evenk. There is evidence that until recently they spoke Evenk in Mongolia as well. It is thought that the Khamnigans have almost completely switched over to Buryat and Russian in RF. Additionally Khamnigan Mongol is greatly influenced by Buryat and Khalkha Mongolic in Mongolia. The Khamnigans of PRC are the group, which has preserved the Khamnigan languages most. Khamnigans populate a small but ethnically mixed territory. Russians, Chinese and Mongolic peoples together with Tungusic peoples are ethnic groups, which Khamnigans are in contact with. Naturally the Khamnigan has become a multilingual people as a result of this cultural diversity.
Khamnigans, Khamnigan Mongol, Evenk, Mongolization, multilingualism