Missionaries Used "Govorka"

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Missionaries Used "Govorka"

By Yuri Klitsenko

I have found some sermons by Russian missionary Fr. Mikhail Suslov intentionally written in "govorka". Biblical text in "govorka" - lot of fun! It's an attempt to blend the prophane with the holy!

[Ed. Note] This also could help explain how the loving, compassionate and peacemaking message of Jesus Christ has been distorted or side-stepped in most of Christianity, where 'certain' humans and almost all animals have been excluded.

"Govorka" is a pidgin language, which came into being as a means of interethnic communication in the Taimyr peninsula .

There are good reasons to believe that the pidginization of Standard Russian (SR) into Govorka (G) occurred, first of all, due to the contacts of the so-called "Russian transtundraic peasants" with the indigenous population of Taimyr in the 18th and 19th centuries.

These peasants, migrants from European Russia (almost exclusively from its North) or retired soldiers, established since the 18th century a network of one or two-house settlements ("winter quarters") across the southern part of the peninsula, from west to east.

Switching more and more from trade and from traditional activities of Russian peasantry to hunting and fishing, and borrowing more and more from local aboriginal traditions, they ultimately by the end of the 19th century merged with baptized Yakuts and Evenkis to form the Dolgan ethnic unity.

The Govorka pidgin (or a predecessor of its current form) could facilitate the corresponding contacts at their early stages. Its spread across the area permitted it to assume also the functions of the local lingua franca. It is likely that earlier, before the penetration of Russians to the Siberian North, such functions could be accomplished by the Evenki language due to traditionally high mobility of the speakers of this language (this suggestion is prompted by the number and character of Evenki loan-words in the Northern Samoyedic languages; some features of G also can be plausibly explained by the influence of a Tungusic substrate).

A perfectly correct phrase in G may sometimes coincide with or be very similar to the corresponding SR phrase, but quite often it sounds for an unprepared Russian-speaking listener like an outrage upon his language, quite often absurd or funny.

"You night how cut?" - How did you spend the night? (this sentence, from the SR viewpoint, can be "understood" as addressed to somebody who has been cut by the night); "Reindeer place walked" - He rode a reindeer; "Me face earlier looked?" - Have you seen my face (=me) before?