(self-designation, Nia; former names, Tavgi or Tavgi-Samoyeds), a people living in Taimyr (Dolgan-Nenets) National Okrug, Krasnoiarsk Krai, RSFSR. Population about 1,000 persons (1970 census). The language of the Nganasani is related to the Samoyed languages.
The Nganasani evolved in the course of assimilation of the ancient aboriginal population of the Taimyr by alien Samoyed-speaking tribes. In the past, the religion of the Nganasani was animism. The present day Nganasani, who are gathered on kolkhozes, engage in reindeer breeding, hunting, and fishing.
REFERENCESPopov, A. A. Nganasany, fasc. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1948.
Narody Sibiri. Moscow-Leningrad, 1956. (Bibliography, page 1006.)
(also Tavgi or Tavgi-Samoyed), the language of the Nganasani. It is spoken by more than 750 persons (1970 census) in the southwestern and central parts of the Taimyr Peninsula. It is related to the Samoyed group of the Uralic language family.
Nganasani is divided into two closely related dialects, Avam and Vadeev. The language is not written. Its phonetic features include up to 18 vowel phonemes and 20 consonant phonemes and an abundance of diphthongs. Its grammatical structure is similar to that of agglutinative languages, in spite of the presence of internal stem inflection (for example, voiced-voiceless consonant alternation). There are seven cases, and also sets of affixes that differ depending on number. The verb has intransitive, transitive objectless, and transitive voices (with distinction of three object numbers). There are two tenses in the imperative. The oblique cases of personal pronouns are replaced by possessive postpositional forms. Syntactic features include agreement of adjective and noun and expression of negation by means of a conjugated auxiliary verb. The influence of Russian, Nenets, and Dolgan (a Yakut language) is evident in the Nganasani vocabulary.
REFERENCESTereshchenko, N. M. “Nganasanskii iazyk.” In Iazyki narodov SSSR, vol. 3. Moscow, 1966.
Castrén, M. A. Nordische Reisen und Forschungen, vol. 7–8. St. Petersburg, 1854–55.
E. A. KHELIMSKII