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The Erzya language (Erzya: эрзянь кель, translit. erzänj kelj) 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 newly independent 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.

Erzya
erzänj kelj
эрзянь кель
Native to Russia
Region Mordovia, Nizhny Novgorod, Chuvashia, Ulyanovsk, Samara, Penza, Saratov, Orenburg, Tatarstan, Bashkortostan
Native speakers
36,726 (2010 census)[1]
Cyrillic
Official status
Official language in
Mordovia (Russia)
Language codes
ISO 639-2 myv
ISO 639-3 myv
Glottolog erzy1239[2]
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 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.

Contents

PhonologyEdit

ConsonantsEdit

Labial Alveolar Post-
alveolar
Palatal Velar
plain pal.
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive voiceless p t k
voiced b d ɡ
Affricate voiceless t͡s t͡sʲ t͡ʃ
Fricative voiceless f s ʃ x
voiced v z ʒ
Trill r
Approximant l j

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

  • /janɡa/ "along the path", in which the alveolar /n/ of the stem is retained before the prolative case ending /ɡa/, vs. /jaŋɡa/, the connegative form of the verb /jaŋgams/ "to break"
  • /jonks/ "good", subject or object complement in /ks/ translative, vs. /joŋks/ "direction; area". See Rueter 2010: 58.

VowelsEdit

Vowel harmonyEdit

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 -шка (ška) "the size of" and the prolative -ка/-га/-ва (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: веле (veĺe) "village", велесэ (veĺese) "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: кудо (kudo) "house", кудосо (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: кальсэ (kaĺse) "with willow", ойсэ (ojse) "with butter". Likewise, if a front-vowel stem is followed by a low back vowel suffix, subsequent syllables will contain back harmony: велеванзо (veĺevanzo) "throughout its villages"

Thus the seeming violations of vowel harmony attested in stems, e.g. узере (uźere) "axe", суре (suŕe) "thread (string)", are actually due to the palatalized consonants /zʲ/ and /rʲ/.

One exception to front-vowel harmony is observed in palatalized non-final /lʲ/, e.g. асфальтсо (asfaĺtso) "with asphalt".

WritingEdit

The modern Erzya alphabet is the same as for Russian:

А
/a/
Б
/b/
В
/v/
Г
/ɡ/
Д
/d/
Е
/je/
Ё
/jo/
Ж
/ʒ/
З
/z/
И
/i/
Й
/j/
К
/k/
Л
/l/
М
/m/
Н
/n/
О
/o/
П
/p/
Р
/r/
С
/s/
Т
/t/
У
/u/
Ф
/f/
Х
/x/
Ц
/t͡s/
Ч
/t͡ʃ/
Ш
/ʃ/
Щ
/ʃt͡ʃ/
Ъ
/-/
Ы
/ɨ/
Ь
/◌ʲ/
Э
/e/
Ю
/ju/
Я
/ja/

The pre-1929 version of the Erzya alphabet included the additional letter Cyrillic ligature En Ge (Ҥ ҥ) in some publications, (cf. Evsevyev 1928).

The highlighted letters were used in loanwords from Russian only, with the specification that the soft sign ь appearing after non-alveolar consonants is a sign of loan words.[citation needed]
А
/a/
Б
/b/
В
/v/
Г
/ɡ/
Д
/d/
Е
/je/
Ё
/jo/
Ж
/ʒ/
З
/z/
И
/i/
Й
/j/
К
/k/
Л
/l/
М
/m/
Н
/n/
нг
/ŋ/
О
/o/
П
/p/
Р
/r/
С
/s/
Т
/t/
У
/u/
Ф
/f/
Х
/x/
Ц
/t͡s/
Ч
/t͡ʃ/
Ш
/ʃ/
Щ
/ʃt͡ʃ/
Ъ
/-/
Ы
/ɨ/
Ь
/◌ʲ/
Э
/e/
Ю
/ju/
Я
/ja/
ä
/æ/
ə
/ə/

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

a в c ç d ә e f g y i j k l m n o p r s ş t u v x z ƶ ь

The other version of Latin alphabet exists:

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

See alsoEdit

BibliographyEdit

  • A.I. Bryzhinskiy, O.V. Pashutina, Ye.I. Chernov. Писатели Мордовии Биобиблиографический справочник. Saransk: Mordovskoye Knizhnoye Izdatelystvo, 2001. ISBN 5-7595-1386-9.
  • Vasilij D'omin. Сюконян тенк... Эрзянь писательде ёвтнемат. 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. Основы мордовской грамматика, Эрзянь грамматика. С приложением образцов мокшанских склонений и спряжений. Москва: Центральное издательство народов СССР, 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. Память запечатленная в слове: Словарь географических названий республики Мордовия. Saransk, 2005. ISBN 5-7493-0780-8.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ [Перепись-2010 "Population of the Russian Federation by Languages (in Russian)"] Check |url= value (help). gks.ru. Russian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 1 November 2017. 
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Erzya". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 

External linksEdit