The Ket had seven souls, unlike animals, who had only one.
April 16, 2014 9:15 PM   Subscribe

The Ket from the Lake Munduiskoye (2008, 30 min.) The Ket people are an indigenous group in central Siberia whose population has numbered less than two thousand during the past century. Although mostly assimilated into the dominant Russian culture at this point, a couple hundred of them are still able to speak the Ket language, the last remaining member of the Yeniseian language group. Recent scholarship has proposed a link between Ket and some Native American language groups.
posted by XMLicious (7 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Well, I'm glad the old gal remembers everything that happened there, because after 30 minutes of video I'm none the wiser.
posted by carping demon at 11:06 PM on April 16, 2014

Ancient Egyptians had multiple souls, too. I wonder how it affects your sense of personal identity.
posted by Segundus at 2:30 AM on April 17, 2014

posted by ACair at 4:49 AM on April 17, 2014

Emerging studies show that Ket may be a distant relative of native-American languages like Navajo. If so, the link could have wide anthropological resonance, helping to substantiate the theory of prehistoric human migration across an ice bridge from Asia to the Americas. And since Ket is spoken thousands of kilometers inland from Russia's eastern coast, the link may extend our estimates of the migration's scale.

A minority group in Russia isn't too far from being a Russian minority, with ties to native Americans... I can see where this is leading.... and I bet Vladimir Putin is already making plans to take back Alaska.

It is a testament to the durability of language as a cultural identifier that a population as small as 2000 can keep one alive, but the oral history thing is as valid as the memory of old people.
posted by three blind mice at 5:04 AM on April 17, 2014

Ancient Egyptians had multiple souls, too. I wonder how it affects your sense of personal identity.

As I understand it, the Ancient Egyptian system goes like this:

ren (secret name, a sort of "source code" for who you are)
ba (soul, the eternal self, the "boss" part of you)
ka (spirit, the "living" part of your soul)
akh (ghost, what dead people have instead of a ka)
ib (literally "heart" but meant as "mind" -- they thought the brain was an organ for producing mucus)
ha (physical body)
khaibit (shadow, literally just a physical shadow)

In modern times we have phrases like "of two minds" and the idea of internal struggles of will between different aspects of our consciousness, so I imagine it probably wasn't that different. Except they gave things names.

There was a piece of literature called "Dispute Between a Man and his Ba", and funerary spells against the ib betraying the ka when it is judged after death.
posted by Foosnark at 6:29 AM on April 17, 2014 [3 favorites]

Homer Simpson has three souls.
posted by bukvich at 7:27 AM on April 17, 2014

I did a couple of posts about this a few years ago (1, 2) whose comment threads are full of interesting discussion by linguists (as well as the usual chitchat), in case anyone's interested in the linguistic arguments for and against the relationship (and discussion of long-range relationships in general).
posted by languagehat at 3:30 PM on April 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

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