Komi Zyrians Traditional Culture


Fenno-Ugric languages, the Introduction and Structure | Komi Zyrians Traditional Culture

Taken from:

p.11—37, Introduction.


Comparative Grammar of the
Uralic Languages.
Printed by Almqvist & Wiksells,
Stockholm, Sweden, 1960.


The Uralic family of languages comprises two main branches: Fenno-Ugric (FU) and Samoyed (sam).

Fenno-Ugric comprises two groups: Western Fenno-Ugric, and Ugric.

The western branch comprises Fennic (also called Baltic-Fennic), Lappish, Volgaic, and Permian.

The Fennic unit comprises Finnish (Suomi), Karelian-Olonets, (Lude), Veps, Vote, Estonian, and Livonian.

Volgaic is a common designation of Mordvin and Cheremis.

There are two Permian languages, very closely related: Votyak and Ziryene. The latter has two literary crystallizations, viz., Komi (Ziryene proper) and Permyak.

Ugric includes Ob-Ugric and Hungarian. Ob-Ugric comprises two closely related languages: Vogul and Ostyak.

Samoyed is divided into Northern Samoyed (samN) and Southern Samoyed (samS).

Northern Samoyed may be regarded as one language, with three main dialects: Yurak, Tavgi, and Yenisei Samoyed.

Southern Samoyed has two ramifications, namely, Selkup, and Sayan Samoyed. (Some scholars would reserve the designation samS for Sayan Samoyed.)

Sayan Samoyed is extinct by now. Kamassian was still spoken forty years ago. The following languages (or dialects) are known only by written records from the first half of the 19th Century or earlier: Koibal, Motor (or Mator), Taigi, Karagas.

It is not easy to say how many Uralic languages there are, because we have no exact definition of the notions of "language" and "dialect". Kola-Lappish is more different from the Lappish dialect spoken in Härjedalen than is Vote from Finnish, or Ziryene from Votyak.

Finno-Ugrian (Fenno-Ugric)



Finno-Ugric Language Family. Only groups with more than a thousand speakers, 2015.
Komi-Zyrians dialects.

*   *   *

We shall now give a list of the Uralic languages with the indigenous name, if needed, and the opproximate number of native speakers:

fi = Finnish, suomi > 4 mill.
kr-ol = Karelian-Olonets ¼ mill.
Veps 30,000
Vote, vadja ?
est = Estonian > 1 mill.
lv = Livonian ?
lp = Lappish, sabme, same-giellâ > 30,000
md = Mordvin > 1½ mill.
ch = Cheremis, marij ½ mill.
vty = Votyak, udmurt ¾ mill.
zr = Ziryene, komi < mill.
vg = Vogul, mańśi 6,000
os = Ostyak, hantə (kantəg) > 20,000
hu = Hungarian, magyar 14 mill.
yr = Yurak, nenets 18,000
tv = Tavgi (Avam), ηanasan 1,000
yn = Yenisei, enets 250
sk = Selkup (Ostyak-Samoyed) < 5,000
km = Kamassian †.
Total: < 23 mill.

*   *   *

The word Finn is Scandinavian; in all likelihood, it has denoted "hunter (finder)". As a tribal name, it occurs the first time in Tacitus' Germania (98 A.D.) in the shape Fenni, then in Ptolemaios' Geography (in the middle of the 2nd Century) in the shape (: finni). From the beginning it denoted the Lapps, not the people we call Finns. At Tacitus' time Finland was chiefly inhabited by Lappish hunters and fishermen, and the Finns had not yet occupied the country. Finland was named to the "Finns", i.e., the Lapps; and when the Swedes, at the beginning of the Viking epoch (or still earlier), came into contact with the suomalaiset, they called them Finns because they lived in Finland. Suomi may be a Swedish loan-word.

The Estonians were called eistr (or eistir) by the Scandinavians in the Viking epoch. Who the Aestii of Tacitus were, is difficult to tell.

The term Ugric is derived from Ugra (Jugra), an ancient Russian designation of the northwestern corner of Siberia. Ugra probably comes from Turkish ongur, on-ogur, "(a confederacy of) ten tribes". It may be identical with the basic stem of Hungary, Hungarian (French: Hongrie, hongrois).

Samoyed comes from Russian samoed, samod (pl. samodi), but it is not a genuine Russian word.

The Mordvins may be identical with the mordens mentioned by the Gothic historian Jordanes (6th Century) as subjects of king Ermanarik. The name may be identical with vty murt (see below).

Marij means "man (human male)"; it is probably an Indo-Iranian loan-word.

The second member of the compound Udmurt is an Indo-Iranian loan-word, signifying "man (human being)". The first member is found in neighbouring languages as name of the Yotyaks, and Votyak is a Russian adaptation of the same word. Earlier, the Russians used the term votskij = votjackij.

Komi is probably derived from kom "man (human being)"; in the Votyak language, sara-kum is "a Ziryene". Russian zyrjanin, pl. zyrjane, comes from vg, os saran; the basic stem is perhaps zr sar, sea.

Mansi, which in the Vogul language is the common designation of the two Ob-Ugric nations, may be identical with the basic stem of the word magyar. The name Vogul has come to the Russian language through the intermediary of Ostyak and Ziryene. From the beginning, it denoted the Voguls at the river Vogulka, which has got its name from a Vogul word that means "a straight stretch of a river between two bends".

Hanəd, kantəg means Ostyak and "man (human being)"; it may be derived from a counterpart of vg hant, hu had, army, host. Ostyak comes from os as-jah, Ob-people.

Nenets, ηanasan, and enets are one and the same word, and it means "man (human being)". The name haasawa, used preferably by the Forest Yuraks, means "man (human male)". The origin of the name Yurak is controversial.

Söl-cup means "earth-man", śöl-kup (used by some of the Selkups) means "forest-man". They also call themselves kup (kum), "man".

The name Kamass(ian) comes from km kaηmaaž-kuza "man from (the rivers) Kan and Mana".

*   *   *

The area where the Finnish language is spoken, exclusively or predominantly, comprises the sovereign territory of Finland except its northernmost community, Utsjoki (where the Lappish language dominates), and the Swedish-speaking areas, namely, the Aland-isles and the archipelago to the east of them, and the coastal regions of Nyland (fi Uusimaa) and southern Ostrobotnia (fi Pohjanmaa, Swed. Österbotten). Finnish is also spoken in the region immediately to the west of the Finnish-Swedish frontier and (together with Lappish and Swedish) in the three northernmost parishes of Swedish Lappland (Karesuando, the "city" of Kiruna, and Gellivare). In westernmost Värmland and the adjacent region in Norway, the vernacular of the Finnish settlers is moribund. There are Finnish-speaking minorities in Finnmark (the northernmost province of Norway), in Leningrad, and here and there in the historical province of Ingermanland, and in U.S.A. (especially in Michigan and Minnesota) and Canada.

The Finns (and the Karelians) probably invaded southern Finland at the beginning of our era, coming partly across the Finnish Gulf, partly across the Karelian Isthmus. They slowly expanded northward, expelling, subduing or assimilating the Lapps. The different Finnish tribes, Suomalaiset (or Finns proper), Hämäläiset (Tavastians), and Karelians, were mutually independent until they were successively incorporated into the Kingdom of Sweden. There is still a borderline dividing the eastern group of Finnish dialects from the western one; it goes approximately from Hamina in the southeast to Kokkola (Gamlakarleby) in the northwest. (The Finnish-speaking population to the north of the Botnic Gulf came from western Finland and there­fore speak predominantly western idioms.) The southwestern idioms, spoken in Turunmaa (Finland proper), have some features in common with Estonian.

Nobody knows at what time the political collaboration of Finns and Swedes began. A mediaeval legend tells us that the southwestern part of Finland was conquered by a Swedish king in the middle of the 12th Century. But according to an older source, Swedish kings had a foothold in southern Finland as early as the 9th Century. The Hämäläiset, living to the east of the Suomalaiset, swore allegiance to the Swedish crown in the middle of the 13th Century, according to a Swedish chronicle. Russian sources speak of a battle fought at the mouth of the Neva River in 1240 by Swedes, Finns, and Tavastians (Hämäläiset) on one side and Russians and Karelians on the other. The Russians won the battle, and it decided the fate of the eastern­most of the Finnish tribes, the Karelians. Although the Swedes were mostly successful in their wars with Russia till the rise of the Roma­novs (in the 17th Century), all they could do in favour of the Karelians was to split their land in two parts, leaving the eastern part to the Russians.

The Karelians were christianized by the Russians, and it is not unlikely that also the Tavastians got their first christian impulses from the East. The Finnish language has got the terms risti, cross, palcana, pagan, and raamattu, bible (est raamat book), through the intermediary of Russian. There are a considerable number of profane Russian loan-words in Standard Finnish, e.g. ikkuna (akkuna) window, kanava canal, kapakka public house, saloon, leima stamp, hallmark, seal, lusikka spoon, majakka lighthouse, beacon, määrä quantity, proportion, measure, rotu race, stock, saapas boot, sääli pity, siisti tidy, neat, clean, tavara ware, stuff, goods, toveri fellow, comrade, tuuma thought, idea, vapaa free.

The Finnish language received hundreds of Swedish loan-words in the Middle Ages and later, and most of the common European words of civilization came to Finland over Sweden.

Sweden as it was before 1809, when Finland came under Russian domination, may be described as an homogeneous state, where two free nations lived under a common government. Finland enjoyed no autonomy, and the constitution did not even recognize it as a unit of its own. But the Finns had the same civil rights as the Swedes, without regard to their domicile or vernacular. On the other hand, the Swedes were about twice as numerous as the Finns, and in the capital and the central parts of the kingdom there lived comparatively few Finnish-speaking people. From time to time the Finns complained that they had to put up with officials who did not know their language.

From 1710 to 1721, Finland was occupied and partly devastated by Russian troops. Almost everybody who could afford it fled to Sweden. Those officials who returned to Finland after this disastrous decade, brought a strong Swedish influence with them. The Russian invasion in the early forties of the same century had the same effect, only in a less degree.

Thus, before 1809 the national development of the Finnish nation was impeded more by the logic of circumstances than by any conscious tendency on the part of the Swedes to keep the Finnish language down.

After 1809, the emancipation of the Finnish language in the administrative field went hand in hand with the zealous cultivation of written and spoken Finnish. By the end of the century, Finnish was a fully developed all-round language of civilization, with inexhaustible sources of indigenous word-formation.

From the middle of the 19th Century there has almost always been a tension, not to say struggle, between "fennomanes" and "svecomanes". In 1918, the doctrine of bilingualism prevailed. The constitution of 1919 says that Finnish and Swedish are the national languages of the republic, and that the right of any citizen to use his vernacular, Finnish or Swedish, in the courts of justice and in dealing with administrative officials shall be guaranteed by law, taking into account that the rights of Finnish-speaking and Swedish-speaking citizens shall be satisfied according to the same principles. The laws that regulate the situation of the two languages in jurisdiction, administration and education, are masterpieces of equity and common sense. Swedish is quite on a par with Finnish from the point of view of law. In reality, Finnish has a better position, but that is because it is spoken almost over the whole territory of Finland and is the vernacular of 90% of the population.

As early as the 15th Century, the Lord's prayer and a few other texts belonging to the divine service were read in the Finnish churches; but the literary cultivation of the Finnish language began in the thirties of the 16th Century. The veritable founder of Finnish literature was bishop Michael Agricola († 1557). His ABC-book was printed in 1543, his translation of the New Testament in 1548. His usage was based upon the language spoken in Turku (Abo), namely, a mixture of southwestern Finnish (Turunmaa dialect) and Tavastian, and this form of written Finnish prevailed until the first half of the 19th Century. The language that took shape in the second half of the 19th Century, is the outcome of a compromise between western and eastern tendencies.

Sources: Aarne-Krohn, Agricola, Agricola-Rapola, S.Alanne, Y.S.Alanne, Atkinson, von Becker, Cannelin, Collinder-Geijer-Aikio, Eliot, Englund, Florinus, Fromm-Sadeniemi, Ganander, Genetz, Godenhjelm, Grotenfelt, Hagfors, Hakulinen, Halme, Jahnsson, Juslenius, Kallio, Karlsson, Katara, Kettunen, Kokoelma ..., Koskimies, Kreander-Canstrén, Kukkonen-Lehmus-Lindroos, Lizelius, Lopmeri, Lonnrot, Martinius, Mägiste, Monumenta linguae Fennicae, Neuvonen, Nykysuomen sanakirja, Papp, Penttilä, Perret-Nurmela, Petraeus, Rapola, Renvall, Ringvall-Kijanen, Runeberg, Runeberg-Schröder-Wuolio, Saksalais-Suomalainen fysikalinen sanasto, Salenius, Salola, Schroderus, Setälä, Skogsordbok, Snell, Strahlmann, Streng, Suomen kansalliskirjallisuus, Suomen kansan murrekirja, Suomen kansan vanhat runot, Suomen runotar, Szinnyei, Tarkiainen- Brummer, Tarkiainen-Harmas, Tekniiltan sanasto, Teppo-Vilkuna, Tuomikoski-Slöör, Variarum rerum vocabula, Yarsinais-Suomen sananparsia, Vhael, Virtaranta, Waronen, Westerholm, Whitney, Wuolle. (See Bibliography.)

*   *   *

The Karelian tribe, having reached the Isthmus Carelicus at the beginning of our era or earlier, expanded northward, and reached the south coast of the Kola peninsula in the Viking epoch. Scandinavian sources from the beginning of this millennium, confounding them with the Ziryenes (Permians), call them Bjarmar. They subdued the Kola Lapps and kept part of them in serfdom. In the 13th Century, Karelia lost its independence and became a part of the Republic of Novgorod Velikij. At the beginning of the 14th Century, the Swedes conquered the southwestern corner of Karelia, where they built the fortress of Viipuri (Viborg). The Swedish advancement caused a good many Karelians to migrate to Ingermanland in order to evade the conversional zeal of the Swedish-Finnish clergy. After 1617, when the region to the north and west of Lake Ladoga had been handed over to Sweden, a new emigration took place, chiefly to the region north of Tver (Kalinin).

In 1721 (as in 1940 and 1944), almost the whole of the Karelian territory came under Russian domination.

Ingermanlandian (fi Inkerin kieli) is the name of an eastern Finnish dialect spoken in a few villages in Ingermanland by Greek catholics whose ancestors emigrated from southwestern Karelia at an early epoch, perhaps as early as the 12th Century.

Sources to the knowledge of Ingermanlandian: Junus, Mägiste, Porkka, Tetjurev, Virtaranta.

*   *   *

Karelian and Olonets may be regarded as eastern Finnish dialects, influenced by Russian. In Olonets, spoken in the former province of Olonets (fi Aunus), even the pronunciation gives evidence of this influence. These vernaculars are chiefly spoken in the Karelian Autonomous Republic and in a restricted area in the neighbourhood of Tver. At the time of the Finnish-Russian Winter War (1939—1940), the Russians created an artificial Karelian written jargon, consisting almost entirely of Russian words. After that war, Finnish was introduced as official language, beside Russian, in the Karelian Autonomous Republic.

Elias Lönnrot's Kalevala is written in a modified and normalized form of (Northern) Karelian. The Soviet Karelian nationalists have adopted Lonnrot's work as a kind of literary Palladium.

Sources to the knowledge of Karelian-Olonets: Ahlqvist, Ahtia, Forsström-Hainari, Genetz, Hakulinen-Kalima-Uotila, Härkönen, Kujola, Leskinen, Ljeskov-Kujola, Mikkola, J. Mustakallio., Ojansuu, Palmeos, Perevodu ... Korel'skij jazyku, Perevodu ... Oloneckoj jazyku, Pohjanvalo, Turunen, Virtaranta.

*   *   *

The Veps language is definitely a language in its own right. It is spoken in two rather restricted areas, one in the peninsula southwest of Lake Onega between 61° and 61°30' N, covering about the half of the coast of the peninsula, the other southeast of Lodinapeldo (Lodejnoe pole), northeast of Tihvina. The dialects spoken south of 60° are called Southern Veps, those spoken on the shore of Lake Onega, Onega Veps (or Northern Veps), the rest are called Middle Veps. Earlier, the area of the Veps nation (the Ves' of Russian chronic­les) was much greater, extending westward to Lake Ladoga and the Volhov river.

In the last century there was a Veps enclave in the parish of Isajevo (veps Isarv) southeast of Lake Onega, not far from the Vytegra river (about N 60°45', E 38°); this enclave seems to have been the result of a comparatively late dislocation.

Sources: Ahlqvist, Airila-Turunen-Rainio, Andrejev, Basilier, Bogdanov-Hamalainen-Mihkijev, Hamalainen-Andrejev, Kettunen, Kettunen-Siro, Lonnrot, Popova, Tetjurev, Tunkelo, Turunen.

*   *   *

The Lude dialects (fi lyydiläismurteet) form a transition from Olonets to Veps. The Lude area is a narrow strip of land, stretching from the western neighbourhood of Petrozavodsk about 100 km to the South and as much to the North.

Sources: Kujola; Lyydiläisiä kielennäytteitä.

*   *   *

The Vote language is spoken — or rather: was spoken in a few villages in the northwestern corner of Ingermanland; now it is almost extinct. Once upon a time, the area of Vote, the aboriginal Fennic language of Ingermanland, stretched eastward right to the Volhov river.

The so-called Krevins (from Lett krievs Russian) in Courland, in the neighbourhood of the town Bauske, were brought there as pri­soners of war in the 15th Century. They kept their Vote vernacular till the middle of the 19th Century.

Sources: Ahlqvist, Alava, Ariste, Kettunen, Kettunen-Posti, Lensu, Lönnrot, Magiste, Mustonen, Reguly-Haltsonen, Salminen, Tsvetkov, Wiedemann.

*   *   *

Estonian is spoken in the Estonian Soviet Republic. There are also Estonians some places in European Russia, Siberia, U.S.A., Canada, Australia, and (from 1944) in Sweden.

From the end of the tenth Century to the first half of the 13th Century, the Estonians were a warlike independent nation. They won a battle against the Novgorodians as late as 1132, and they are supposed to have burned Sigtuna, the important Swedish centre, in 1187.

The German Order of Sword Brethren conquered most of Estonia after hard battles in the years 1208-1227. The Danish king Valdemar II conquered the northernmost part of Estonia and founded Tallinn ("the Danish city") in 1219. After an insurrection, the country was divided between the Danes and the Germans in 1238. After a new insurrection in 1343, the Danes sold their part of Estonia to the German Order of Knights.

In 1558, the czar Ivan IV crushed the German Order. In 1559, the greatest part of the Estonian-speaking territory was ceded to Poland, whilst in the two following years Ösel came under Danish sovereignty and the nobility of Tallinn (Reval) and the adjacent districts swore allegiance to the king of Sweden. From 1645 till 1710, the whole of Estonia (including the Estonian-speaking northern part of the historical province of Livland) belonged to Sweden.

From the German conquest till the middle of the 19th Century, the Estonian peasantry lived under the tyranny of the great German landowners, and the Swedes did not rule long enough to be able to turn the current. The feudal jurisdiction was abolished after 1880, but at the same time the authorities began to russify the administration and the public education.

In 1917, Estonia obtained autonomy, and in 1918 it became an independent republic. But the Estonians had to fight both the Germans and the Russian bolshevists, till the Estonian Republic was recognized in 1920. Twenty years later, the country was occupied by Russian troops, and this meant the end of national independence.

Estonian differs so much from Finnish that mutual understanding without previous studies is impossible.

In many particulars, Southern Estonian (earlier: Dorpat-Estonian) deviates from Northern Estonian (earlier: Reval-Estonian), upon which Standard Estonian is based. The borderline goes westward from Lake Peipus to Viljandi (Fellin), and therefrom to the southwest. The Kodavere dialect (spoken west of Lake Peipus to the north of the borderline between estN and estS) displays both northern and southern features. The Western idioms (on Ösel-Saaremaa and Dagden-Hiiumaa, and the opposite coast) have some peculiarities of their own; the coastal idioms from Tallinn to Narva are influenced by Finnish.

Many Estonian place-names are known from the beginning of the Danish domination. The oldest Estonian text, the so-called Kullamaa prayers, is from the twenties of the 16th Century. The oldest printed text consists of fragments of a cathechism in Low German and Estonian, printed in 1330.

The popular poetry of the Estonians is very extensive.

The epos Kalvipoeg, written by the physician Fr. R. Kreutzwald, is based upon Estonian folklore.

From the beginning of this Century, a literature of high standing has been created by poets as Gustav Suits, Willem Ridala, Marie Under, Henrik Visnapuu, and novelists as Fr.Tuglas, A.H.Tammsaare, August Malk, August Gailit, Karl Ristikivi.

For the Estonian language, Low German has played a role similar to that which Swedish has played for the Finnish language. There are also a few comparatively recent Swedish loan-wards in Estonian. During the last two generations, the Estonian vocabulary has been enriched with about a hundred Finnish words.

Sources: Aavik, Ahrens, Ariste, Biezais-Saareste, Estonum car- mina popularia, Hupel, Hurt, Janes, Jogever, Kallas, Kentmann, Kettunen, Korv, Kreutzwald, Krohn, Magiste, Muhel-Pravdin, Must, Mustonen, Muuk, Muller, Neumann, Oras-Lagman, Pall, Saagpakk, Saareste, Saareste-Cederberg, Setu lugomik, Silvet, Snellman, Stahl, Suits, Tamm-Pravdin, Tampere, Valgma-Leibak, Vares, Vesterinen-Winter, Villecourt, Weske, Wiedemann, Wieselgren, Wrangell.

*   *   *

Livonian is spoken — or rather, was spoken in 1944 — in twelve fishing-villages on the extreme tip of Courland (in Lettland), northeast of Windau (Ventspils). The dialect spoken in the westernmost villages, Luz (Luschen) and Piza (Pisen), NNE of Windau, has been called Western Livonian; the dialect spoken in the other villages with the exception of Ira (Gross-Irben), where a transition idiom was spoken, has been called Eastern Livonian.

The Livonian spoken nowadays, is sometimes called Courland Livonian as opposed to the Livonian dialect that was spoken along the river Salis in Livland to the east of the Gulf of Riga as late as the second part of the 19th Century.

Livonian is chiefly spoken by aged people, the young people having taken over the Lett language.

In the Middle Ages Livonian was spoken in a wide area, probably comprising a considerable part of Livland and the northern peninsula of Courland.

The vocabulary of Livonian is inundated by Lett loan-words.

Sources: Damberg, Kettunen, Liivi lugemik, Llvo klel lolod, Loorits, Setälö, Setölö-Kyrölö, Sjögren, Stalte.

*   *   *

Before the beginning of our era, the Fennic tribes lived in an area to the south of the Finnish Gulf — probably including the northern peninsula of Courland — and farther east to the south of the river Neva, Lake Ladoga, the river Svir, and Lake Onega. Across the Neva and the Svir, they had a lively intercourse with the Lapps. Their eastern neighbours were probably Fenno-Ugric tribes, later assimilated by the Russians: Muroms and Merja. By their southern neigh­bours, the forefathers of the Letts, Lituanians and Prussians, they were deeply influenced. There are many Baltic loan-words in the Fennic languages, e.g. fi ankerias eel, halla frost, hammas tooth, heimo tribe, heinä hay, hihna strap, thong, herne pea, hirvi elk, moose, karva hair, colour, kaula neck, kelta yellow colour, kirves axe, laiha lean, thin, lohi salmon, paimen shepherd, rastas thrush, reisi thigh, seinä wall, seura company, society, siemen seed, silta bridge, taula tinder, tuhat thousand, tuohi birch bark, tyhjä empty, vielä yet, still, villa wool, vuota hide, pelt.

These words may have been borrowed a few centuries before our era. The Germanic influence, emanating from warlike tribes — probably of Scandinavian breed — that had got a foothold on the western coast and the isles of Estonia and southern Finland, began later. The numerous ancient Germanic loan-words in the Fennic languages bear witness of a far-reaching influence; e.g. fi airo oar, ansas balk, hartia shoulder, juusto cheese, kaura oats, kuningas king, laina loan, lammas sheep, miekka sword, neula needle, pelto (arable) field, rengas ring, ruhtinas prince, sairas ill, sick, seula sieve, tanhu(a) cattle-pen, teljo seat in a boat, varas thief, vierre wort.

*   *   *

The area where Lappish is spoken, is divided between Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia.

In Russia, Lappish is spoken in the Kola Peninsula, with the exception of the southern coastal region, and in the western frontier region.

In Finland, Lappish is spoken in the parishes of Utsjoki (where it is the language of the majority), Inari, Enontekiö and Sodankylä, all situated in the province of Lappland (fi Lappi).

In Norway, Lappish is spoken in the provinces of Finnmark and Troms, and in the province of Nordland down to 66° N approximately; farther south, it is spoken in the frontier area down to the Röros region (about 62°30'), and by a few people still farther south.

In Sweden, Lappish is spoken in the historical province of Lappland (comprising those parts of the administrative provinces of Norrbotten and Västerbotten that are situated west of the so-called Lappmark frontier) with adjacent parts of the coastal region, and the alpine region of the administrative province of Jämtland (= the historical provinces of Jämtland and Härjedalen), and finally in the northernmost part of Idre in the northwestern tip of the province of Dalarna.

The Lappish dialects, richly variegated, form three distinct groups, namely, Northern (lpN), Eastern (IpE), and Southern Lapp (lpS). lpE comprises Kola Lappish, Skolt Lappish (spoken in the region where Russia, Norway and Finland meet), and Inari Lappish (the vernacular of the Lappish fishermen of the parish of Inari). lpN is spoken by the Utsjoki Lapps and the reindeer-breeding Mountain Lapps of Inari etc. and by the Norwegian and Swedish Lapps down to the area of lpS. The borderline between lpN and lpS goes along the Pite River between the parishes of Jockmock and Arvidsjaur, and farther west through the parish of Arjeplog. The Forest Lapps of Arjeplog speak lpS; the idioms of the Mountain Lapps in southern Arjeplog form a transition between lpN and lpS. The northern idioms of lpS, down to the Ume River (that divides the parish of Tärna), are called Ume Lappish; the idioms south of that river have no consonant gradation.

In northern Norway, the Lapps came into close contact with the Scandinavians in the sixth Century, or perhaps much earlier, as appears from the numerous ancient Scandinavian loan-words of the Lappish language.

Sources: Andelin, Åtå Testamenta, Bergsland, Bergsland-Hasselbrink, Bergström, Collinder, Černjakov, 0.Donner, Endjukovskij, Fellman, Fellman-Sainio, Fiellström, Friis, Ganander, Genetz, Grundström, Guttorm, Halász, Hætta-Bær-Bergsland, Heika, Henriksen, T.I.Itkonen, Tuomo Itkonen, Jalvi, Koskimies-Itkonen, Lagercrantz, Lagercrantz(-Jaakkola), Leem, Lindahl-Öhrling, Montell, K. Nielsen, Nuorttanaste, Outakoski, Pirak, Possart, Qvigstad, Qvigstad-Wiklund, Rask, Ravila, Ryle-Itkonen, Sabmelaš, Ságat, Salokannel-Savonen-Guttorm, Schlachter, Setälä, Skum, Stockfleth, Y.H.Toivonen, Turi, Valerstejn, Wiklund, Žuljov-Endjukovskij.

*   *   *

The Mordvins live south of a straight line drawn from Moscow to Ufa. The Cheremis and the Votyaks live between this line and a straight line drawn WNW from Perm. North of the last-mentioned line is the territory of the Ziryenes.

The Mordvins are scattered over a territory which extends to the south even beyond a line drawn from Saratov to Uralsk. They live east of the Oka river and its tributary Tsna (the line Nižnij Novgorod—Murom—Tambov), and west of the Belaja, tributary of the river Kama (vaguely, the line Ufa—Orenburg).

*   *   *

The Cheremis habitations form two clusters, separated by the territory of the Votyaks. The western territory is chiefly situated between the Vetljuga (tributary of the Volga) and the Vjatka (tributary of the Kama). In its eastern outskirts (along the nether course of the Vjatka), this territory overlaps the Votyak area. The south­western corner of this territory is situated south of the Volga, girded on two sides by this river and its tributary Sura. In these parts, the right bank of the Volga is high and steep. Therefore, the Cheremis living in the neighbourhood of Kozmodemjansk have been called Hill Cheremis, as opposed to the "Meadow Cheremis" north of the Volga.

About ten thousand Cheremis live as far north as 59° N.

The eastern Cheremis territory (overlapping the southeastern out­skirts of the Votyak territory) is situated east of the Kama, on both sides of its tributary Ufa.

*   *   *

The Votyaks chiefly live in the angle between the Vjatka and the Kama, with an isolated cluster east of Slobodskoj (not far from the town of Vjatka). The easternmost European Votyaks live on both sides of the Ufa and between the Ufa and the Kama.

*   *   *

Part of the Ziryenes live within the bend formed by the upper Kama, running first north, then east, then south. This is the most densely populated part of the Ziryene area. Fairly isolated from the southern territory is the main territory of the Ziryenes (geographically speaking), stretching from a line north of the Vjatka and the Kama to the neighbourhood of the Arctic Ocean. From the eighties of the last century, there are some hundred Ziryenes in the Kola peninsula too. The eastern boundary of the Ziryene territory is the mountain chain of Ural.

The northern Ziryenes (Ziryenes proper) are chiefly concentrated in the basins of Luza (tributary of the Suhona, which is, in its turn, a tributary of the Vyčegda), the Vyčegda and its tributaries Sysola, Višera and Vym, the Mezen and its tributary Vaška, and the Pečora with its tributaries Ižma, Uža and Iljos. See more: about the Komi republic and the map.

*   *   *

The Voguls live along the Northern Sosva (tributary of the Ob) and its tributaries, and along the following tributaries of the Irtyš: the Konda (except its nether course) and the Tavda, with its tributaries: the Southern Sosva, the Lozva, the Vagil, the Pelym.

*   *   *

The Ostyaks are chiefly concentrated along the Ob and its tributaries (running from the west:) Synja, Vogulka, (from the east:) Kunovat, Kazym, (from the north:) Pim, Tremjugan, Vah, Tym, (from the south:) Irtyš (with the Demjanka and the nethermost course of the Konda), Salym, Jugan, Yasjugan. The easternmost point of the Ostyak area is situated east of 85° E Greenwich (farther east than Tomsk).


There are Mordvins, Cheremis, Votyaks and Ziryenes living here and there in western Siberia.


Konstantinos Porfyrogennetos (10th Century) mentions a land called Mordia. According to the Nestor chronicle, the Mordvins payed taxes to the Rus'. About 1220, Nižnij Novgorod was founded in the land of the Mordvins. After the fall of the Tatar khanate of Kazan (1552), the Mordvins came definitely under Russian domina­tion. In the 17th and 18th Centuries, a considerable part of the nation emigrated to the almost unsettled regions east of the Volga.

About one third of the Mordvin nation live in the Mordvin Auto­nomous Republic, where they are in the minority. Capital: Saransk.

The Mordvins have two principal dialects and two literary languages: Erza and Mokša. The Erza idioms are spoken in the north-(west), the Mokša idioms in the south(east).

The Mordvin habitations form many clusters, separated by Russian settlements. The language is strongly influenced by Russian.

Sources to the knowledge of Mordvin: Ahlqvist, Bubrih, Budenz, Bukvar' ..., Čerapkin, Evsev'ev, von der Gabelentz, Grigožin, Koljadenkov, Koljadenkov-Cyganov, Lach-Lewy, Lewy, Majnov (Mainow), Morfologija ..., Moro, Ornatov, Paasonen, Paasonen-Ravila, Pelissier, Potapkin-Imjarekov, Prokaev, Rjabov, Sintaksis i punktuacija ..., Sovetkin-Arapov-Varlamov, Szilasi, Šahmatov, Tyumenev-Budenz, Vaseń aśkolks, Wiedemann.

*   *   *

Earlier, the Cheremis area extended farther west (and south) than it does nowadays.

From the 8th Century, the Cheremis have lived in very close contact with the Bolgar-Turks and their descendants, the Chuvash. There are lots of Chuvash loan-words in the Cheremis language. In the 13th Century, the Cheremis were conquered by the Tatars. In the 17th Century, they came definitely under Russian domination.

About a half of the Cheremis nation live in the Marij Autonomous Republic, where they constitute about 50% of the population. Capital: Joškar-Ola, earlier Krasnokokšajsk, earlier Carevokokšajsk.

The Cheremis dialects form a western (chW) and an eastern (chE) unit. The dialect of the so-called Hill Cheremis in the region of Kozmodemjansk is a pure representative of chW; the dialect of Jaransk has a few traits in common with chE. Among the eastern dialects, the Malmyž dialect is the most conservative.

The easternmost dialects — especially the idioms spoken in the province of Perm — have some peculiarities of their own. Some authors call these dialects "Eastern Cheremis" in contradistinction to "Meadow Cheremis" (the rest of chE) and "Hill Cheremis" (chW).

The Cheremis philologists have not as yet succeeded in moulding a unified Literary Language, common to the western and eastern sections of the nation.

Sources: Akrėj, etc., Andrejev, etc., Beke, Budenz, Castrén, Čavajn, Čefranov, Čeremisskaja grammatika, Čhaidze, Epin, First Cheremis Grammar, Grigor'ev, Ivanov, Ivanov-Dobrov, Karmazin, Karmazin-Wichmann, Lach-Beke-Rohr, Lewy, Marijsko-russkij slovar', Paasonen-Siro, Pengitov, Porkka, Ramstedt, Romaškin, Smirnov-Borisov, Sočinenija ..., Szilasi-Genetz, Šorin, Troiekij, F.Vasil'ev, V.M.Vasil'ev, Wichmann, Wiedemann.

*   *   *

Earlier, the Votyak area extended farther west than it does now. The Votyaks, like the Cheremis, were first under Bolgar Turk, then under Tatar domination, till they became subjects of Moscow in the 16th Century.

Two thirds of the Votyaks live in the Udmurt Autonomous Republic, where they constitute about 50% of the population. Capital: Ižkar (Iževsk), with a crushing majority of Russians.

The Votyak dialects are: (W) Kazan, Malmyž, Malmyž-Uržum, (N) Slobodskoj, Glazov, (E) Perm, Ufa, Sarapul, (S) Jelabuga, Samara.

Sources: Aminoff, Aminoff-Wichmann, Babincev, Borisov, Borisov-Perevoščikov, Bubrih, Emel'janov, Fokos (Fuchs), Gavrilov, Gerd, Glezdenev, Gor'kij-Zazubrin-Medvedev, Gorohov, Gospoda ..., Islent'ev, Jakovlev, Kenes, Krylov, Lach-Munkacsi-Fokos (Fuchs), Lekomcev, Molitvennik ..., Munkacsi, Nazidatel'noe čtenie, Perevoščikov, Petrov, Pozdeeva, Russkih, Russko-udmurtskij slovar', Sočinenija ..., Svjaščennaja istorija, Udimirtsko-russkij slovar', Vereščagin, Wichmann, Wiedemann, Zagrebin-Lekomcev-Klestov.

*   *   *

The Ziryenes seem to have separated from the Votyaks in the Viking epoch. A little later, they came into contact with eastern Fennic tribes (Veps, Karelians), from which they received a few loan-words. In the second half of the 14th Century, the Ziryenes were converted by St. Stephen (Stepan Hrap). From that time, the Ziryenes usually assisted the Moscovites in their efforts to conquer the Voguls and the Ostyaks.

Twenty-five years ago, half of the Ziryene nation lived in the Komi Autonomous Republic, where they constituted about 90% of the population. Capital: Syktyvkar (Ustsysolsk). One third lived in the Komi-Permyak district, where they constituted 70% of the population. After the Russians had made up their mind, about 1930, to transform the Uhta-Pečora area into a territory of mining and industry, a railway was built through the northern part of the Komi Republic and two towns, Vorkuta and Inta, were founded. By now, this area is decidedly Russian.

The earliest Ziryene texts date from the time of St.Stephen.

The Ziryene dialects form three units: Ziryene proper (spoken in the Komi Autonomous Republic), Permyak proper (spoken within the bend of Upper Kama, to the northwest of Perm, in the Komi-Permyak district of the province of Perm), and the Jazva dialect (spoken on both sides of the river Jazva, in the territory of Upper Višera in the province of Perm).

Permyak proper is called Western Permyak (PW) or simply Permyak (P), whilst the Jazva dialect is called Eastern Permyak (PE). Ziryene proper might be called zrN, and then, PW would be zrSW, and PE would be zrSE.

These are the dialects of Ziryene proper: Nether Vyčegda, Udora (Vaška-Mezen), Vym, Ižma, Upper Vyčegda, Syktyvkar, Middle Sysola (also called Sysola), Upper Sysola, Luza, Pečora.

The Ziryene (Komi) Literary Language is based upon the Syktyvkar dialect.

The idioms of Permyak proper form a northern and a southern group. The Permyak Literary Language is based upon the southern idiom of Kudymkar.

The Jazva dialect, spoken by some three thousand persons, is very conservative, especially in the system of vowels.

ńņšóźņóšą Źīģč ’ēūźą

Komi-Zyrians dialects.

Sources to the knowledge of Ziryene: Brailovskaja-Rybnikova, Budenz-Hálasz, Castrén, Cember, Doronin, Fljorov, Fokos (Fuchs), Fortunatova, von der Gabelentz, Genetz, Gribanov, Karavaev, Komi mu, Komi orfografičeskij slovar', Komi-russkij slovar', Krasov, Lach-Munkácsi-Fokos (Fuchs), Lihaev, G.S.Lytkin, V.I.Lytkin, Majšev, Majšev-Bubrih, Mihajlov, Mi(j)an Gospod'lӧn ..., Molodcov, Molodcova, Popov, Popov-Lytkin, Rogov, Savvajtov, Schrenk, Svjatoe Evangelie, Šahov, Tarabukin-Doronin, Tetjurev, Uotila, Vojvyv kodzyv, Wichmann, Wichmann-Uotila, Wiedemann.

*   *   *

The Mordvins, Chereinis, Votyaks and Ziryenes have made tremen­dous progress in the cultural field during four decades of Soviet regime. They have scientific institutes of their own (at Saransk, Joskar-Ola, Iževsk, Syktyvkar), newspapers and even periodicals of distinction. They have good poets, and dramatic art is flourishing, especially among the Votyaks. More and more, these nations take an active part in the investigation of their vernaculars.

*   *   *

The Jugra tribes, Voguls and Ostyaks, were attacked by the Novgorodians as early as the 11th Century. In 1445, the Voguls, under the prince Asyka, made a raid to the Vyčegda area and killed the Permian bishop. In 1483, the Moscovites, aided by Ziryenes, invaded the land of the Ostyaks and took an Ostyak prince as prisoner. The result was that all the Vogul and Ostyak princes agreed to pay taxes to Moscow.

Czar Ivan III conquered Jugra in 1499; but the definite conquest took place in the last two decades of the 16th Century.

As late as the middle of the 19th Century, there lived Voguls at the uppermost course of the Pečora. And to judge from place-names, Voguls earlier lived in most places where there are now Ziryenes, nay, even farther to the northwest and southwest.

As we have mentioned already, the Voguls call themselves and the Ostyaks by a common name, vgN mańśi, S mœńś.

Both among the Voguls and among the Ostyaks, the society was earlier divided into two main groups of exogamic phratries, one called, in Ostyak, måś, måńś-, the other called por. According to the popular tradition, the måś of yore were clever, whilst the por were raw and stupid. The word måś seems to be identical with vg mańśi and hu magy- (in magyar); por may be = vg poor, foreign, and vty por, Cheremis.

The popular poetry of the Ob-Ugrians is rich and many-sided. Nowadays, both languages are cultivated by poets and prose writers.

Most of the Voguls and the Ostyaks belong to the Hanti-Mansi National District, the centre of which is the recently founded town Hantimansijsk (Ostjakovogulsk) at the mouth of the Irtyš.


Vogul has four main dialects: vgN (Sosva, Upper Lozva), vgE (Nether, Middle, and Upper Konda), vgS (Tavda), vgW (Pelym, Vagilsk, Nether Lozva, Middle Lozva). vgS and vgW are dwindling away.

The Literary Language is based upon vgN.

Sources: Ahlqvist, Ahlqvist-Wichmann, Balandin-Vahruševa, Ćernecov, Erdmann, Hunfalvy, Kálmán, Kannisto, Kannisto-Liimola, Lakó, Munkácsi, Munkácsi-Kálmán, Otŭ Matþeja ... po Vogul'ski, Rombandeeva, Skribeckij-Kimlozov, Slovcov, Šestakov, Tolstoj-Sodomin, Trocsányi, Ušinskij-Kimlozov, Vasil'ev-Sodomin.

*   *   *

There are three groups of Ostyak dialects: osE, osN, and osS.

The osE dialects are: Vah-Vasjugan (the most conservative of the os dialects), Surgut (including Tremjugan, Jugan, etc.), Salym.

The osN dialects are: Obdorsk, Berjozov (including Synja, etc.), Kazym, Šerkal.

The osS dialects are: Nizjam (or Kondinskoe — forming a transition from osN to osS), Keuški, Irtyš (including Demjanka, Konda, etc.).

Sources: Ahlqvist, Beke, Castrén, Erdmann, Faludi, Hatanze(j)ev, Hunfalvy, Karger, Karjalainen-Toivonen, Mamin-Sibirjak-Kaksina, Munkácsi, Paasonen-Donner, Pápay, Pápay-Fazekas, Patkanov, Patkanov-Fuchs, Puškin, Reguly-Pápay-Zsirai, Sjomuškin-Dabin, Steinitz, Terjoškin, Vologodskij, Zsirai.

*   *   *

The fortunes of the Magyars from the time they took possession of Hungary, belong to the history of Europe. In this context, we shall only dwell with their migrations down to 895.

The Hungarians may have separated from their Ugric neighbours and crossed the Ural Mountains eastward bound as early as the beginning of our era, to establish themselves as a tribe of mounted nomads in the steppe region of western Siberia. They may be identical with those Onoguri who were, about 460, according to the Byzantine author Priskos Rhetor, driven away from their country by the Savirs, who had, in their turn, been put to flight by the Avars.

From the Irtyš region the Hungarians migrated to the Kuban area, where they came into contact with the Iranian Alans, the forefathers of the Ossetes. There are some Ossete loan-words in Hungarian, e.g. asszony, lady, vám, customs, á, fortress, castle.

The Hungarians also had a lively intercourse with the Bolgar Turks, who seem to have conquered the Volga-Kama area about 600.

In the 8th Century, the Hungarians were incorporated in the rapidly increasing empire of the Khazars. When this empire began to dissolve at the beginning of the 9th Century, the Magyars went west, to the region between the Don and the Dnepr.

In the first half of the nineties of the 9th Century, the Hungarians were attacked by the Pechenegs, a Turkish people living in the Volga area. About the same time, the Hungarians allied themselves with the Eastern Frank king, Arnulf, against the Moravian chieftain, Svatopluk. After two endeavours, the Hungarians definitely conquered Hungary in 895 and 896.

The Magyar conqueror of Hungary, Árpád, commanded a confederacy of eight tribes of which the majority probably was Turkish.

Those Turkish tribes with which the Magyars lived before the Conquest, have contributed about two hundred words to the Hungarian vocabulary. The following examples will give an idea of what the Ugric horsemen learned from their more advanced nomadic neighbours and allies: árpa barley, balta axe, bill, barom cattle, betű letter (of the alphabet), bika bull, bor wine, borjú calf, borsó pea, disznó swine, eke plough, ír- write, kapu gate, kender hemp, komló hop, kos ram, orsó spindle, ökör ox, sarló sickle, tyúk hen.

The Slavs of Hungary and the adjacent regions supplied the savage Magyars with the christian faith and the amenities of a settled existence. Some of the numerous Slavic loan-words bear witness of intimate social intercourse. E.g. ablak window, barát friend, monk, friar, család family, csütörtök thursday, dolog matter, affair, work, task, drága dear, ebéd lunch, midday meal, iga yoke, káposzta cabbage, kereszt cross, konyha kitchen, kulcs key, len flax, molnár miller, munka work, pap priest, paraszt peasant, pénz money, pogány pagan, puszta deserted, mere, bare, steppe, rend order, szabad free, szalma straw, széna hay, szent holy, szolga servant, térs fellow, comrade, tiszta clean, pure, udvar court, unoka grandchild, utca street, vacsora supper, zálog pawn, pledge.

In the polyglot kingdom of Hungary, the Latin language preserved its official status down to the first half of the 19th Century; and there may still be some people living whose grandmothers were fluent in the clerical language. Several words of international currency are still used by the Hungarians in their Latin (written) shape, e.g. formális, sors (pronounced šorš), virtus, and a few Romance words have been latinized, e.g. lojális, loyal.

The German influence has lasted for almost a thousand years, and it cannot be overrated. There are hundreds and hundreds of loan­words and translation-loans, not to speak of borrowed constructions and locutions. Towards the end of the 18th Century, fervent Hungarian patriots started a linguistic reform movement, directed against the overwhelming German influence. This neologist movement lasted for two generations, and it gave the Hungarian language a new aspect. Old genuine words were revived, and full use was made of the resources of derivation. New compounds were fabricated, sometimes by mutilation, e.g. csör, bill, beak, nib, from csö, tube, and orr, nose. Popular etymologies were made on purpose, e.g. szivar, cigar, from the verb sziv-, suck. The most remarkable example of successful rashness in these endeavours is minta, sample, model, pattern, which is a most current and indispensable word in modern Hungarian. It was taken from a Lappish dictionary — it is, as a matter of fact, a Norwegian loan-word in Lappish, now obsolete in both languages — under the false pretence that it has a Hungarian etymon: mint, as, like, + a, that one.

Sources: Balassa, Bálint, Ballagi, Boronkay, Csüry, Czuczor-Fogarasi, Deutsch-ungarisches ..., Eckhardt, Elöd Halász, Hall, Heltai, Hevesi, Jakubovich-Pais, Kelemen-Thienemann, Lotz, Magyar Tudományos Akadémia, Majtinskaja, Mészöly, Nagy-Philipp, Népnyelvi szövegmutatványok, Országh, Pesti, Riedl, Sági, Sauvageot, Simonyi, Simonyi-Balassa, A.Szabó, Szamota-Zolnai, Szarvas, Szarvas-Simonyi-Szily, Sivirsky, Szinnyei, Szinnyei-Kivekäs, Szladits-Szemzö, Temesi, etc., Tóth, Várady, Weöres, Whitney, Wichmann-Csüry-Kannisto.

*   *   *

The Samoyeds earlier lived to the west of the central part of the mountain chain of Ural. The Nestor Chronicle mentions them as allies of the Jugra. In the 11th Century there were Samoyeds as far southwest as the Onega region. The Russian conquest of the Siberian Samoyeds was completed about 1630.

Like the Lapps, the Samoyeds seem never to have had any political state of their own. Economically, they have — like most of the Voguls and Ostyaks — remained on the stage of fishing, hunting, and small-scale reindeer breeding. Their folklore is unpretentious. To them, European civilization has preferably meant impoverishment, alkoholization, and infectious diseases. After the Bolshevist revolution the primary schools, and the Institute of the Peoples of the North in Leningrad, have opened a track to education for some Samoyeds, and a few of them have contributed to the scientific investigation of their vernacular.

The Yuraks live on the confines of the Arctic Ocean from the Kanin peninsula (opposite the Kola peninsula) inclusive, to the nethermost course of the Yenisei, and the islands off the coast, including the southern half of the Novaya Zemlya. (Recently, a few Yuraks have migrated to the Kola peninsula.) Their southern neighbours are: west of the estuary of the Pečora, Russians; between the estuary of the Pečora and the Ural mountains, Russians and Ziryenes; between the Ural mountains and 80° E Greenwich (approximately), Ostyaks; between 80° E and the Yenisei (the southern borderline going a trifle north of the Arctic Circle), Selkup Samoyeds.

Those Yuraks who live in a triangle-shaped territory on both sides of the river Pur south of the Arctic Circle, are called Forest Yuraks; all the other are called Tundra Yuraks.

In the very last decades, Yurak has been cultivated to some extent by indigenous writers. Four regional newspapers used to publish articles in Yurak, and the geographer I.K. (Tyko) Vylko has translated poems by Puškin and Lermontov into his vernacular.

Tundra Yurak has the following dialects: Kanin, Malaja Zemlja, Bol'šaja Zemlja, Jamal, Taz. The differences are small; the western­most idioms are considerably influenced by Russian. Forest Yurak is split up in several idioms.

The Yenisei Samoyeds live in a relatively small area east of the nethermost course of the Yenisei. Besides Russians, they have as neighbours: to the west, Yuraks, to the south, Tunguz, to the east, Yakutes, to the northeast, Tavgi Samoyeds.

Castrén distinguished between two branches of Yenisei Samoyed: the Hantai (Chantai) dialect (H, Castrén: Ch.) and the Baiha (Baicha) dialect (B).

The Tavgi (or Avam) Samoyeds are the northernmost people of the Eurasian continent. They are the chief inhabitants of the Taimyr peninsula (to the east of the estuary of the Yenisei). Their southern neighbours are Yenisei Samoyeds, Russians, Yakutes, Tunguz, and Dolgans (a Turkish tribe).

The northeastern extreme of the Uralic world is situated east of 110° E Greenwich, 75° N.

There are two groups of Tavgi Samoyeds. The eastern group (ajă, "younger brothers") consists of Tunguz who have adopted the Samoyed language, whilst the western group (ńă, "fellows") consists of genuine Samoyeds.

The Selkup Samoyeds (or Ostyak Samoyeds) live on both sides of the central and upper course of the river Taz and on a strip farther south down to the Ket, a tributary of the Ob (about 58° N). To the north, their territory extends to 67° N. Their neighbours are: to the north, Tundra Yuraks, to the west, Forest Yuraks and (farther south) Ostyaks, to the south, Russians, to the East, Tunguz (north of 63° N) and Kets (Yenisei Ostyaks). In the eastern parts of the Selkup terri­tory, there are Tunguz living here and there.

Selkup has three main dialects (from north to south): Taz, Tym, and Ket. Four of the Ket idioms, investigated by Castrén, display some specific traits, namely, Nats-Pumpokolsk, Čaja, Čulym, and Upper Ob. The Selkup Literary Language is based upon skTaz.

To the southeast of Krasnoyarsk (where the Siberian railway crosses the Yenisei) is the village Abalakova, at the foot of the Sayan mountains. At Abalakova there were still at the beginning of the first World War a few Samoyed-speaking Kamassians. The next relations of the Kamassians, namely, the Motor or Mator tribe, the Koibals, the Karagas, the Soyots, and the Taigi Samoyeds, had dropped their Samoyed vernacular earlier.

Sources to the knowledge of the Samoyed languages: Budenz, Bukvar' dlja samoedovŭ, Castrén-Schiefner, Castrén-Lehtisalo, Čarusin-Prokof'ev, K.Donner, K.Donner-Joki, Dunin-Gorkavič, Erdmann, Grigorovskij, Homič, James, Klaproth, Koselev-Sobrin, Kulagin-Pyrerka, Lehtisalo, Makarij, Messerschmidt, Mundy, Pallas, K.Papai-Hajdú, Plotnikov, Popova, Potapov, Prokof'ev, Prokof'eva, Pyrerka-Tereščenko, Rae, Rožin, Schlözer, Schrenk, Sprogis-Sebestyén, von Strahlenberg, Tereščenko, Witsen, Žitkov.

*   *   *

The only Uralians of whom we have no reason to assume that they ever left the abodes of their forefathers, are the western Mordvins, the Cheremis, the Votyaks, and the southern Ziryenes. Looking for the home of the people that spoke PU, we have got to begin with an area that is limited in southeast by the Kama and (farther south) by the Volga down to the height of Saratov, and in northwest by a straight line drawn through Vetljuga and Nižnij-Novgorod. In this area, we find the Permyaks (southern Ziryenes), the bulk of the Votyaks and the Cheremis, and those Mordvins who have not emigrated to the east of the Volga. The breadth of this area, as measured from NW to SE, is a little less than the geographic distance between the Cheremis and the Veps.

Knowing that Nižnij-Novgorod has belonged to the land of the Mordvins and that the Cheremis area has earlier extended farther west than it does now, we may assume that the Rjazan-Moscow-Kostroma region was formerly inhabited by Fenno-Ugric tribes, perhaps the Muroms and the Merja, among others. The Lapps may have come to the Onega and the Ladoga from the Suhona basin (Vologda-Kotlas).

The forefathers of the Ugric peoples probably once lived between the river Kama and the Ural mountains. We may suppose that two thousand years ago, the Magyars lived in the height of Perm, flanked to the north by the Vogul-Ostyaks, whilst the area north of 61° was the land of the Samoyeds. Trying to delimit the area that was inhabited, five thousand years ago, by the forefathers of the Uralic peoples, there are two tracks to follow: the prehistoric earth finds, and the data of linguistic palajontology. Both give evidence of cultural rather than ethnic units, and in this respect the finds are much more fallacious than the words.

The common Uralic names of the cloudberry (fi muurain), the reindeer (Ip boaƺo), the Siberian silver fir (ch nulgo), and the Siberian cedar tree (vty susy-pu, zr sus-pu), taken together, seem to exclude southern and western Europe.

Those Indo-Iranian loan-words that are common to the Fenno-Ugric languages, were probably supplied by the Scythes who lived north of the Black Sea. The name of the bee (fi mehiläinen) points in this direction.

Such loan-words as "sister" (md sazor) and orphan (fi orpo) give evidence of close connexions between Fenno-Ugrians and Indo-Iranians. Obviously, no Indo-Iranian loan-words found their way to PU. On the other hand, none of those Indo-European loan-words that are common to the FU languages — but are lacking in Samoyed — seems to have been borrowed from the common Indo-European mother-language. Probably, the Indo-European linguistic unity no longer existed at the time when the Samoyeds separated from the Fenno-Ugrians. But there is a small group of Uralic words that have striking counterparts in Indo-European: fi asu- dwell, live, nimi name, tuo- bring, suoni tendon, sinew, vesi water. These words may be loan-words or they may bear witness of Indo-Uralic affinity: in both cases, there must once have been a line of geographical contact. Taking into account that the primordial abode of the Indo-Europeans is likely to have been situated north of the Black Sea (and perhaps farther east to the south of the Caspian Sea), we should look for the contact line in the southern part of European Russia.

The Indo-Uralic hypothesis cannot be regarded as proved. The pronominal stems show a striking conformity, and there are some resemblances in the derivative suffixes and flexional endings too; but there are very few common words.

The Ural-Altaic affinity hypothesis is less alluring from a geographical point of view; but the agreements in flexion are so numerous that they ought to be explained one way or the other, and the affinity hypothesis seems to offer the simplest solution.

The Yukagir language, spoken by some hundreds of people in the northeastern corner of Siberia (the Anadyr area), has so much in common with Uralic — especially with Samoyed — in word flexion, that any explanation would involve more difficulties than does the affinity hypothesis. The extinct speeches of the Chuvants (Čuvancy) and Omok tribes may be regarded as dialects of the Yukagir language.

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