Samoyedic Languages

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Samoyedic Languages


a group of languages belonging to the Uralic language family. The Samoyedic languages include the Nenets, Enets, and Nganasan languages, which are spoken in the tundra zone of extreme northeastern Europe and northwestern Asia and which form the North Samoyedic subgroup; the Selkup language of Western Siberia; and the practically extinct Kamas, a dialect of which is known as Koibal and which is spoken in the Minusinsk Basin. Samoyedic dialects included Mator, Karagas, and Taigi; these closely related dialects were supplanted by Turkic languages and are known only from word lists of the 18th and early 19th centuries, when they were spoken in the Saian Upland region. Samoyedic languages are currently spoken by more than 34,000 persons (1970 census). The Saian Upland and the adjacent regions are assumed to be the homeland of the Proto-Samoyedic linguistic community, which dissolved early in the Common Era.

Most Samoyedic languages have a well-developed vowel system consisting of 15 to 25 phonemes. Consonant clusters almost never occur at the beginning of a word. Some dialects have preserved a mobile stress that serves to distinguish linguistic units. There are frequent morphophonemic changes in roots and affixes, especially nasal-obstruent alternations (n/t, n/?, and so forth), which date back to Proto-Samoyedic. Nouns have three numbers, from five to ten cases (and sometimes more), and possessive personal forms, as in the Nenets form ḿa?al (“your [singular] tent”). Some languages also have personal forms that indicate intent or destination, as in the Nenets form ḿatar (“a tent for you [singular]”); these forms may take predicative endings and are inflected for person and even tense. The verb has three types of conjugations in most Samoyedic languages: objective (transitive), subjective (intransitive), and reflexive. The verb produces a large number of nominal forms and has many moods and tenses. Word order is not very fixed, with subject-object-predicate and definer-defined models predominating. The vocabulary exhibits traces of contacts with Turkic, Mongol, Ob-Ugric, and Eniseian languages. From the 17th century to the present, Russian has been the primary source of borrowings.


Iazyki ipis’mennost’ narodov Sever a, part 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1937.
Iazyki narodov SSSR, vol. 3. Moscow, 1966.
Tereshchenko, N. M. Sintaksis samodiiskikh iazykov. Leningrad, 1973.
Castrén, M. A. Grammatik der samojedischen Sprachen. St. Petersburg, 1854.
Castrén, M. A. Wörterverzeichnisse aus den samojedischen Sprachen. St. Petersburg, 1855.


References in periodicals archive ?
Samoyedic languages have a clear distance from Finno-Ugric languages but somewhat surprising is that the South Samoyed language Selkup has most cognates with Estonian.
Kamassian, a southern Samoyed language spoken in the Upper Yenisey region of Russia was supposed to have died out until two old women who still spoke it turned up at a conference in Tallinn, Estonia in the early 1970s.
In addition to Finnish, a number of Baltic-Finnic languages, Lapp (Sami), and a couple of Samoyed languages employ it.
This is a case of a particularly productive root which, in Samoyed languages, clearly refers to the semantic fields associated with ideas of life, animation and soul.
It is also mentioned that there are similar words in Samoyed languages, but they are not considered cognate with the Finnic word.
Still a possibility remains that it is a Common-Uralic 2PSg marker -t, in front of which there appeared a homorganic nasal as is often the case in Samoyed languages.
The point of the article is to give a systematic description of the Inferential Mood in Nenets--one of the Northern Samoyed languages.
Based on the use of (Northern) Samoyed languages one could imagine that in a number of Uralic languages the text meant for the listener (= the 2nd person) sounds natural when determined by means of the above-men tioned 2Px, meaning something like 'the matter heard by you'.
The numerals 'nine' in different Ugric and 'eight' and 'nine' in different Samoyed languages, having evident etymologies of the kind 'twice four', '(ten) without two/one', etc.
In Samoyed languages this *V-sV has four main functions.
In seinen Forschungen konzentrierte er sich im Wesentlichen auf die samojedischen Sprachen (On Samoyed Languages, Szombathely 1996 (Dissertationes Savariensis, 14); Enets, Munchen--Newcastle, 1999 (LINCOM Europa); Kamass, Muncen--Newcastle 1999 (LINCOM Europa)), auf die Geschichte der finnisch-ugrischen und samojedischen Sprachwissenschaft, die allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft, die Areallinguistik (Supplements to the Areal Relationships of the Morphology of Samoyed Languages.
The existence of the Finno-Ugric family is held to have subsequently been reinforced by the work of Otto Donner on the close and unique relationship between the Samoyed languages and the newly established Finno-Ugric family, thus giving rise to the Uralic family as it is traditionally conceived of.