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The authors of this work estimate there are perhaps one hundred native speakers of Udeghe left in the world. All of the native speakers are older than sixty years of age, it is almost certain that the Udeghe languge will cease to exist within a generation. This fact alone makes this contribution to Tungusic studies extremely valuable.

Udeghe is a Tungusic language spoken in the southern part of the Russian Far East. It is divided into two dialects, a northern and a southern. The southern branch, spoken in the Bikin river basin (a tributary of the Ussuri, south of Khabarosk), is the subject of this study. Though a handful of studies have been made of the folklore of the northern dialect, the authors believe this is first study made of the study of the southern dialect (p. 9).

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