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Word in Alutiiq: Kalliq
In a sentence:

Kallikan alingnartaartut. - When it is thundering it is scary.


MP3 File: thunder
ThunderThunder is the loud, booming noise created by the rapid expansion and contraction of air heated by a lightning strike. As electricity, in the form of lightening, travels through the air, it opens a channel. When the electricity dissipates, the channel collapses, creating thunder. The Alutiiq word for thunder–kalliq–references this sound. Kalliq comes from the word kalluk–to make a sharp noise–especially a bang, clank, or clatter.

Although storms are common in Kodiak, thunder and lightning are relatively rare. This is because thunder storms occur when cold and warm weather fronts collide, and warm air masses pass over Kodiak infrequently. However, electrical storms do occur, creating dangerous conditions in both summer and winter.

Alutiiq people have long feared thunder and lightning, for their power and connection to the unseen world. In January 1801, a Russian naval office recorded an eerie event during an electrical storm. Residents of an Alutiiq settlement were hosting a winter festival. During the storm, many people observed a rock jumping up and down, making its way up a hillside. No one could explain this phenomenon, but villagers suspected it was caused by thunder.

Similarly, an Alutiiq legend suggests that thunder and lightning were once two, poor, hungry girls whose community tired of caring for them and sent them away. This mistreatment led the girls to wander for many days, until they flew into the sky and became the angry and powerful thunder and lightning. The story reminds people of the importance of generosity.

Photo: Cumulus clouds over a Kodiak peak.
Podcast Available: Thunder
Located in: Legends | Environment
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