Meshchera is an extinct Uralic language. It was spoken around the left bank of the Middle Oka. Meshchera was either a Mordvinic or a Permic language. Pauli Rahkonen has suggested on the basis of toponymic evidence that it was a Permic or closely related language. Rahkonen's speculation has been criticized by Vladimir Napolskikh. Some Meshchera speaking people possibly assimilated into Mishar Tatars. However this theory is disputed.
The first Russian written source which mentions them is the Tolkovaya Paleya, from the 13th century. They are also mentioned in several later Russian chronicles from the period before the 16th century, and even later, in one of the letters by Andrey Kurbsky written in the second half of the 16th century, where he claimed the language spoken in the Meshchera region to be Mordvinic.
Some words have been reconstructed from Meshchera based on toponymic data, for example: Meshchera hydronymic stems un-, ič-, vil- and ul, which can be compared to Udmurt uno 'big', iči 'little', vi̮l 'upper' and ulo 'lower'.
- ^ "Meshcherian". MultiTree. 2009-06-22. Retrieved 2012-07-13.
- ^ Aikio, Ante (2012). "An essay on Saami ethnolinguistic prehistory" (PDF). Mémoires de la Société Finno-Ougrienne. Helsinki, Finland: Finno-Ugrian Society. 266: 63–117. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
- ^ a b Rahkonen, Pauli (2009), "The Linguistic Background of the Ancient Meshchera Tribe and Principal Areas of Settlement", Finnisch-Ugrische Forschungen, 60, ISSN 0355-1253
- ^ "Вопросы Владимиру Напольских-2. Uralistica". Forum.molgen.org. Retrieved 2012-07-13.
- ^ M. Z. Zekiyev Mişerler, Başkurtlar ve dilleri / Mishers, Bashkirs and their languages Archived 2014-04-08 at the Wayback Machine. In Türkiyat Araştırmaları Dergisi 73–86 (in Turkish)
- ^ Мещера (in Russian)
- ^ Rahkonen, Pauli (2013). "The South-Eastern Contact Area of Finnic Languages in the Light of Onomastics" (PDF). HELDA - Digital Repository of the University of Helsinki. Retrieved 27 June 2022.