Erzya Language
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Erzya Language
Erzya
erzänj kelj
?
Native toRussia
RegionMordovia, Nizhny Novgorod, Chuvashia, Ulyanovsk, Samara, Penza, Saratov, Orenburg, Tatarstan, Bashkortostan
Native speakers
430,000 Mordvin (2010 census)[1]
The 1926 census found that approximately 2/3 of ethnic Mordvins were Erzya, and the figure might be similar today[2]
Cyrillic
Official status
Official language in
Mordovia (Russia)
Language codes
myv
myv
Glottologerzy1239[3]
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

The Erzya language (Erzya: ?, romanized: ea? ke?, pronounced ['er?z?an? 'kel?]), or Erzian, is spoken by about 37,000 people in the northern, eastern and north-western parts of the Republic of Mordovia and adjacent regions of Nizhny Novgorod, Chuvashia, Penza, Samara, Saratov, Orenburg, Ulyanovsk, Tatarstan and Bashkortostan in Russia. A diaspora can also be found in Armenia, Estonia as well as in Kazakhstan and other states of Central Asia. Erzya is currently written using Cyrillic with no modifications to the variant used by the Russian language. In Mordovia, Erzya is co-official with Moksha and Russian.

The language belongs to the Mordvinic branch of the Uralic languages. Erzya is a language that is closely related to Moksha but has distinct phonetics, morphology and vocabulary.

Phonology

Consonants

The following table lists the consonant phonemes of Erzya together with their Cyrillic equivalents.[4]

Labial Alveolar Post-
alveolar
Palatal Velar
plain pal.
Nasal /m/ ? /n/ ? /n?/ /?/ (?)
Plosive voiceless /p/ ? /t/ ? /t?/ /k/ ?
voiced /b/ ? /d/ ? /d?/ /?/ ?
Affricate voiceless /t?s/ ? /t?s?/ /t/ ?
Fricative voiceless /f/ ? /s/ ? /s?/ /?/ ? /x/ ?
voiced /v/ ? /z/ ? /z?/ /?/ ?
Trill /r/ ? /r?/
Approximant /l/ ? /l?/ /j/ ?

Note on romanized transcription: in Uralic studies, the members of the palatalized series are usually spelled as ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, while the postalveolar sounds are spelled ?, ?, ? (see Uralic Phonetic Alphabet).

Minimal pairs between /n/ and /?/ include:

  • /jan?a/ "along the path", in which the alveolar /n/ of the stem is retained before the prolative case ending /?a/, vs. /jaa/, the connegative form of the verb /jaams/ "to break"
  • /jonks/ "good", subject or object complement in /ks/ translative, vs. /jo?ks/ "direction; area". See Rueter 2010: 58.

Vowels

Erzya has a simple five-vowel system.[5]

Front Back
High i u
Mid e o
Low a

The front vowels /i/ and /e/ have centralized variants [ï] and [ë] immediately following a plain alveolar consonant, e.g. si? [sïn?] "they", se? [sën?] "blue".

Vowel harmony

As in many other Uralic languages, Erzya has vowel harmony. Most roots contain either front vowels (/i/, /e/) or back vowels (/u/, /o/). In addition, all suffixes with mid vowels have two forms: the form to be used is determined by the final syllable of the stem. The low vowel (/a/), found in the comparative case - (?ka) "the size of" and the prolative -/-/- (ka/ga/va) "spatial multipoint used with verbs of motion as well as position" is a back vowel and not subject to vowel harmony.

The rules of vowel harmony are as follows:

  1. If the final syllable of the word stem contains a front vowel, the front form of the suffix is used: ? (ve?e) "village", (ve?ese) "in a village"
  2. If the final syllable of the word stem contains a back vowel, and it is followed by plain (non-palatalized) consonants, the back form of the suffix is used: ? (kudo) "house", (kudoso) "in a house"

However, if the back vowel is followed by a palatalized consonant or palatal glide, vowel harmony is violated and the "front" form of the suffix is used: (ka?se) "with willow", ? (ojse) "with butter". Likewise, if a front-vowel stem is followed by a low back vowel suffix, subsequent syllables will contain back harmony: (ve?evanzo) "throughout its villages"

Thus the seeming violations of vowel harmony attested in stems, e.g. (u?ere) "axe", ? (su?e) "thread (string)", are actually due to the palatalized consonants /z?/ and /r?/.

One exception to front-vowel harmony is observed in palatalized non-final /l?/, e.g. (asfa?tso) "with asphalt".

Morphology

Like all other Uralic languages, Erzya is an agglutinative language which expresses grammatical relations by means of suffixes.

Nouns

Nouns are inflected for case, number, definiteness and possessor. Erzya distinguishes twelve cases (here illustrated with the noun ? moda "ground, earth"). Number is systematically distinguished only with definite nouns; for indefinite nouns and nouns with a possessive suffix, only nominative case has a distinct plural.[5][4]

Case Indefinite Definite 1st pers. sg. poss. 2nd pers. sg. poss. 3rd pers. sg. poss.
singular plural singular plural singular plural singular/plural singular plural
nominative ?
moda
?-?
moda-t
?-
moda-?
?-
moda-e
?-?
moda-m
?-?
moda-n
?-?
moda-t
?-?o
moda-zo
?-o
moda-nzo
genitive ?-
moda-?
?-
moda-
?--
moda-e-?
dative/allative ?-?
moda-?e?
?-
moda-e?
?--?
moda-e-?e?
inessive ?-
moda-so
?-
moda-so
?--
moda-e-se
?--?
moda-so-n
?--?
moda-so-t
?--o
moda-so-nzo
elative ?-
moda-sto
?-
moda-sto
?--
moda-e-ste
?--?
moda-sto-n
?--?
moda-sto-t
?--o
moda-sto-nzo
illative ?-?
moda-s
?-
moda-e?
?--?
moda-e-s
?-?-o?
moda-z-on
?-?-o?
moda-z-ot
?-?-oo
moda-z-onzo
prolative ?-
moda-va
?-
moda-va
?--?
moda-e-va
?--?
moda-va-n
?--?
moda-va-t
?--o
moda-va-nzo
ablative ?-
moda-do
?-
moda-do
?--?e
moda-e-?e
?--?
moda-do-n
?--?
moda-do-t
?--o
moda-do-nzo
lative ?-?
moda-v
- - - - -
translative ?-
moda-ks
?-
moda-kso
?--
moda-e-ks
?--o?
moda-ks-on
?--o?
moda-ks-ot
?--oo
moda-ks-onzo
abessive ?-
moda-vtomo
?-
moda-vtomo
?--
moda-e-v?eme
?--?
moda-vtomo-n
?--?
moda-vtomo-t
?--o
moda-vtomo-nzo
comparative ?-
moda-?ka
?-
moda-?ka
?--
moda-e-?ka
?--?
moda-?ka-n
?--?
moda-?ka-t
?--o
moda-?ka-nzo

Plural possessors follow the pattern of second person singular possessors.

Case 1st pers. pl. poss. 2nd pers. pl. poss. 3rd pers. pl. poss.
singular/plural singular/plural singular/plural
nominative ?-?o?
moda-nok
?-
moda-nk
?-
moda-st
inessive

(...)
?--?o?
moda-so-nok
(...)
?--
moda-so-nk
(...)
?--
moda-so-st
(...)

Verbs

Erzya verbs are inflected for tense and mood, and are further conjugated for person of subject and object.[4][5] Traditionally, three stem types are distinguished: a-stems, o-stems and e-stems. A-stems always retain the stem vowel a in the non-third person present tense forms, and in the third person first past tense forms (e.g. pala-? "kissed"). With many o-stems and e-stems, the stem vowel is dropped in these forms (e.g. o-stem van-? "watched", e-stem ?i?-? "swallowed"), but there also o- and e-stem verbs which retain the vowel (udo-? "slept", pi?e-? "cooked"). Rueter (2010) therefore divides verb stems into vowel-retaining stems and vowel-dropping stems.[6]

In indicative mood, three tenses are distinguished: present/future, first past, second (=habitual) past.

indicative mood
present/future tense first past tense second past tense
a-stem o-stem e-stem a-stem e-stem a-stem
1sg ?-?
mora-n
-
van-an
-
pi?-an
-?-
sod-i-?
-?-
me?-i-?
?-?
mori-?i?
2sg ?-?
mora-t
-
van-at
-
pi?-at
-?-
sod-i-?
-?-
me?-i-?
?-?
mori-?i?
3sg -?
mor-i
-?
van-i
-?
pi?-i
a-
soda-?
-
me?-?
?-
mori-?
1pl ?-?
mora-tano
-?
van-tano
?-?
pi?-?ano
-?-
sod-i-?ek
-?-
me?-i-?ek
?-
mori-?i?ek
2pl ?-?
mora-tado
-?
van-tado
?-?
pi?-?ado
-?-
sod-i-?e
-?-
me?-i-?e
?-?
mori-?i?e
3pl -
mor-i?
-
van-i?
-
pi?-i?
a-
soda-
-
me?-
?-?
mori-
infinitive ?-
mora-ms
?-
vano-ms
?-
pi?e-ms
?-
soda-ms
?-
me?e-ms
?-
mora-ms
'sing' 'watch' 'swallow' 'know' 'say' 'sing'

The third person singular form in present tense is also used as present participle. The second past tense is formed by adding the past tense copula -? to the present participle.

The other mood categories are:

  • conditional (-ie?a + present suffixes)
  • conjunctive (-v(o)? + past suffixes)
  • conditional-conjunctive (-ie?a-v(o)? + past suffixes)
  • desiderative (-ikse? + past suffixes)
  • optative (zo + present suffixes)
  • imperative (-k/-do)
other mood categories
conditional conjunctive conditional-conjunctive desiderative
1sg --?
jars-ie?a-n
a-
jarsa-v?i?
--
jars-ie?a-v?i?
-
mor-ikse?i?
2sg --?
jars-ie?a-t
a-
jarsa-v?i?
--
jars-ie?a-v?i?
-
mor-ikse?i?
3sg --?
jars-ie?a-j
a-?
jarsa-vo?
--?
jars-ie?a-vo?
-
mor-ikse?
1pl --?
jars-ie?a-tano
a-
jarsa-v?i?ek
--
jars-ie?a-v?i?ek
-
mor-ikse?i?ek
2pl --?
jars-ie?a-tado
a-
jarsa-v?i?e
--
jars-ie?a-v?i?e
-
mor-ikse?i?e
3pl --
jars-ie?a-j?
a-
jarsa-vo
--
jars-ie?a-vo
-
mor-ikse
infinitive ?-
jarsa-ms
?-
jarsa-ms
?-
jarsa-ms
?-
mora-ms
'eat' 'eat' 'eat' 'sing'

Writing

Cyrillic alphabet

The modern Erzya alphabet is the same as for Russian:[4]

?
/a/
?
/b/
?
/v/
?
/?/
?
/d/
?
/je/
?
/jo/
?
/?/
?
/z/
?
/i/
?
/j/
?
/k/
?
/l/
?
/m/
?
/n/
?
/o/
?
/p/
?
/r/
?
/s/
?
/t/
?
/u/
?
/f/
?
/x/
?
/t?s/
?
/t/
?
/?/
?
/?t/
?
/-/
?
/?/
?
//
?
/e/
?
/ju/
?
/ja/

The letters ?, ?, ? and ? are only used in loanwords from Russian. The pre-1929 version of the Erzya alphabet included the additional letter Cyrillic ligature En Ge (? ?) in some publications, (cf. Evsevyev 1928).

In combination with the alveolar consonants ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, and ?, vowel letters are employed to distinguish between plain and palatalized articulations in a similar way as in Russian, ?, ?, ?, ? follow plain alveolars, while ?, ?, ?, ?, ? follow palatalized alveolars, e.g. /ta/, /te/, /ti/, /to/, /tu/ vs. /t?a/, /t?e/, /t?i/, /t?o/, /t?u/. If no vowel follows, palatalization is indicated by ?, e.g. /t?/. Following non-alveolar consonants, only ?, ?, ?, ?, ? occur, e.g. /pa/, /pe/, /pi/, /po/, /pu/.

Latin alphabet

A Latin alphabet was officially approved by the government of Nizhne-Volzhskiy Kray in 1932, but it was never used:

a ? c ç d ? e f g y i j k l m n o p r s ? t u v x z ? ?

The other version of Latin alphabet exists:

a ä b c ? cy d e f g h i j k l m n ny o ö p r ry s ? sy t ty u ü v y z ? zy

See also

Bibliography

  • A.I. Bryzhinskiy, O.V. Pashutina, Ye.I. Chernov. ?. Saransk: Mordovskoye Knizhnoye Izdatelystvo, 2001. ISBN 5-7595-1386-9.
  • Vasilij D'omin. ? ?... ? . Saransk, 2005. ISBN 5-7595-1665-5.
  • Ksenija Djordjevic & Jean-Leo Leonard. Parlons Mordve. Paris: L'Harmattan, 2006, ISBN 2-296-00147-5.
  • Makar E. Evsev'ev. ? ?, ?. ? ? ? . ? ? ?, 1928.
  • Jack Rueter. Adnominal Person in the Morphological System of Erzya. Suomalais-Ugrilaisen Seuran Toimituksia 261. Helsinki: Suomalais-Ugrilainen Seura, 2010, ISBN 978-952-5667-23-3 [print], ISBN 978-952-5667-24-0 [online].
  • D.V. Tsygankin. ? ? ? . Saransk, 2005. ISBN 5-7493-0780-8.

References

  1. ^ [-2010 "Population of the Russian Federation by Languages (in Russian)"] Check |url= value (help). gks.ru. Russian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 2017.
  2. ^ Jack Rueter (2013) The Erzya Language. Where is it spoken? Études finno-ougriennes 45
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Erzya". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  4. ^ a b c d Saarinen, Sirkka. "Erzya e-learning course" (PDF). Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. Retrieved .
  5. ^ a b c Zaicz, Gábor (1998). "Mordva". In Abondolo, Daniel (ed.). The Uralic Languages. London: Routledge. pp. 184-218.
  6. ^ Rueter, Jack (2010). Adnominal Person in the Morphological System of Erzya. Suomalais-Ugrilaisen Seuran Toimituksia 261. Helsinki: Suomalais-Ugrilainen Seura.

External links


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