Yucho languages

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Ethnicity:25,870 Yucho
Kasiiralq (Yaru Islands)
Linguistic classification:One of Sahar's primary language families

Yucho (Yucho: [jutʃo]), sometimes also Yuchic, is a small language family, occasionally considered a language isolate, spoken by the Yucho people of the Yaru archipelago, with a small community inhabiting the mouth of the Enyet river basin on the Kasiiralqi mainland.

Yucho is commonly separated into four main dialects or languages: Hirachir, Nirewo, Tuskurasu and Enyet. Of these, Hirachir is the most widely spoken with around 15,830 speakers, followed by Nirewo with around 6,960, Tuskurasu with around 2,540 and Enyet with around 540. Mutual intelligibility between Nirewo and Tuskurasu is reported to be low, with Hirachir appearing to be largely transitional between the two. All island dialects have low intelligibility with Enyet. The standard Yucho language is a koine based primarily on Hirachir, but with contributions from Nirewo, Tuskurasu and, to a lesser extent, Enyet.

The autonym Yucho is derived from the Proto-Yucho word *pjuco. The standard form Yuco appears to be based on Nirewo - the only dialect that preserved mid-high vowels word finally - with the native forms in the other dialects being Yucu in Hirachir and Tuskurasu and Pucu in Enyet. However, the -o form appears to have been borrowed into Hirachir at a relatively early date and is overwhelmingly the most popular form, with Yucu only found among highly rural speakers. The p-form Pucu was historically the most common form found in Enyet, but standardisation efforts have introduced the y-form into the vocabulary in recent years, and it appears to be the preferred form among younger people.

Further Reading