Entry for the Nivkh Alphabet Contest is still open

Until 10 March 2019, we will continue to accept works/projects for the Nivkhi Alphabet Contest held by the Sakhalin Oblast Association of Museums with Sakhalin Energy's support to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the modern Nivkh alphabet and the International Year of Indigenous Languages.  

“The Projects aimed to support the Sakhalin indigenous minorities hold a special place in Sakhalin Energy's activity. For many years we have been co-operating with those communities, and moreover, we have become friends, helping them to resolve their problems and deal with the challenges of their everyday life. We are also delivering a number of projects to safeguard the indigenous languages, and the Nivkh Alphabet contest is one of them”, commented Yulia Zavyalova, Senior Specialist for Social Performance in Sakhalin Energy.  

Evgenia Firsova, President of the Sakhalin Oblast Association of Museums, said that the unusual contest had no age limits and no requirement for participants to speak the Nivkh language.   

Although the Nivkh alphabet has several unique symbols and combinations, it is based on the Cyrillic graphic writing system. So anyone, not only the Nivkh, can participate in the contest, if they are interested in the past and future of this unique language. This is another benefit of the Nivkh alphabet: it brings people together.  

One of the contest participants is Oksana Innokentyeva, a representative of the Uilta, a pupil of the 10th grade of the Val village school (Nogliki district). When Oksana was three, she joined the Dorima traditional singing ensemble where she now sings in her native language. She made a presentation in the Uilta language at the children and youth conference titled ‘Mother Tongue’ and at the Second International Symposium on the Languages of Small Indigenous Peoples of the North of the RF Far East.

“I will definitely take part in the contest, because it shows the beauty of the Nivkh alphabet and draws the attention of younger generation to the importance of learning native languages and indigenous cultures.  It doesn't matter what kind of language you speak, the main thing is to respect the traditions of your native country”, Oksana told us.    

The Contest is held in the following categories: 
1. Creative Writing (‘A story about an alphabet character’). The contestants are invited to send in fairy-tales, essays, and legends centred on one or several letters of the Nivkh alphabet. 
2. Applied and Decorative Arts. The contestants are invited to send in pieces of the applied and decorative art made in any technique, showing one or several letters of the Nivkh alphabet. 
3. Pictorial and Graphic Arts. The contestants are invited to send in pictures (paintings and graphic illustrations) showing one or several letters of the Nivkh alphabet. 

The contest participants are required to create the entries on their own. 

The Nivkh alphabet has more letters than the Russian one, namely 46, which means that the contestants have more opportunities to improvise. Additional letters reflect different shades of the same sounds, for instance, this alphabet has four varieties of "k”:  к, к’ , ‘ӄ’ and ӄ’.

The results of the contest will be published and the winners will be awarded their prizes on the 18 March 2019, on the date of birth of Vladimir Mikhailovich Sangi, the father of the Nivkh literature and the author of the first Nivkh ABC Book. Vladimir Sangi is expected to be on the jury of the contest together with some representatives of the region’s cultural institutions and Sakhalin Energy employees. 

Following the completion of the contest, an exhibition will be arranged that will show all entries that had participated in the contest. The best ones will be posted on the websites of the Sakhalin Oblast Association of Museums and the Literary and Art Museum of Chekhov’s book ‘The Sakhalin Island’.

5 March 2019