- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
171

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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DUDINKA TO THE KUREIKA
171
people more than any other ; but we had no time to
stop here, and I was promised that we should find plenty
of them farther south.
They are unlike any other people in Siberia. Their
peculiar language does not seem to be related to any
other living language in this part of the world ; it must
have an altogether different origin. It does not appear
to be agglutinative, like the so-called Altai languages,
such as the Samoyede, the Finno-Ugrian, the Turco-
Tatar and others ; but it is rather a one-syllable
language originally, more like Chinese. But the Yenisei-
Ostiaks and their language have not been investigated
since Castrén’s days until quite recently, when a Russian,
Anuchin, has spent some time among them, and the
Finnish philologist, Kai Donner, has also visited them
for a few months.
Where these people originally came from it is not easy
to decide. But in any case it is certain that they must
formerly have been far more widely spread on the south
than they are now, and it is probable that those now
living are a last remnant of a race that in former times
was widely diffused in Asia. The Norwegian scholar,
Dr. Andreas M. Hansen, has even put forward the
hypothesis that these Yenisei-Ostiaks belonged to the
same race as the short-skulled primitive people which
inhabited Scandinavia before the Germanic immigra
tion, and which, perhaps, was spread over a great part
of Europe. Indeed, he goes so far as to make them
related to the Hittites, Pelasgians and other ancient
peoples of southern Europe and the Mediterranean
countries.
If this were so, these Yenisei-Ostiaks might claim
no ordinary share of attention. But even if such
hypotheses as these may rest upon a slender foundation,
it is in any case certain that these Yenisei-Ostiaks are

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