A language of Russia (Asia)

ISO 639-3: gld

Population 5,760 in Russia (1990 census). Population total all countries: 5,772. Ethnic population: 11,877 in Russia.
Region In the extreme Soviet far east, confluence of the Amur and Ussuri rivers, scattered in Ussuri Valley and Sikhote-Alin, settled more densely in the Amur Valley below Khabarovsk. Also spoken in China.
Alternate names   Nanaj, Gold, Goldi, Hezhen, Hezhe, Heche
Dialects Sunggari, Torgon, Kuro-Urmi, Ussuri, Akani, Birar, Kila, Samagir. The dialects are quite distinct.
Classification Altaic, Tungus, Southern, Southeast, Nanaj
Language use 48.4% or less of the ethnic group speaks Nanai. Used in the home. Youngest speakers are over 30, with most over 50. Older adults use Chinese. People neutral to mildly supportive toward Nanai. Speakers also use Russian.
Language development Dictionary. Bible portions: 1884.
Comments Shamanist.

Also spoken in: China
Language name   Nanai
Population 12 in China (1999 Chaoke). Ethnic population: 4,245 in China (1990 census).
Region Sanjiang plain in the northeastern corner of Heilongjiang Province, near where the Heilong, Songhua, and Wusuli rivers merge, with most in Tongjiang county, Bacha and Jiejinkou villages, and in Sipai village in Raohe County.
Alternate names   Goldi, Gold, Sushen, Juchen
Dialects Hezhen (Hezhe, Heche), Qileng (Qile'en, Kili, Kilen, Kirin).
Language use 47 can understand Nanai. Used in religion, traditional literature. All speakers are older adults. Younger generation in China speaks Chinese. People have lost hope that it will survive. All are first- or second-language speakers of Chinese. Written Chinese in common use.
Language development Literacy rate in second language: 84%.


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An official nationality, called Hezhen. Formerly called 'Sushen'. Mountain slope, riverine. Forests. Agriculturalists; fishermen; hunters; forestry. Shamanist, Buddhist.