Erzya
eŕźań keĺ
эрзянь кель
Native toRussia
RegionMordovia, Nizhny Novgorod, Chuvashia, Ulyanovsk, Samara, Penza, Saratov, Orenburg, Tatarstan, Bashkortostan
Ethnicity610,000 (553,000 in Russia, 2010 census)
Native speakers
300,000 claimed to speak "Mordovin" while 50,000 claimed to speak "Erzya-Mordvin" (2020 census)[1]
Cyrillic
Official status
Official language in
Mordovia (Russia)
Language codes
ISO 639-2myv
ISO 639-3myv
Glottologerzy1239
ELPErzya
Mordvin languages at the beginning of the 20th century[2][3]
Erzya is classified as Definitely Endangered by the UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger (2010)
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.
Erzya flag

The Erzya language (эрзянь кель, eŕźań keĺ, pronounced [ˈerʲzʲanʲ ˈkelʲ]), also Erzian or historically Arisa, is spoken by approximately 300,000 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 and 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 (Palato-)
alveolar
Velar
plain pal.
Nasal /m/ м /n/ н // нь /ŋ/ н
Plosive voiceless /p/ п /t/ т // ть /k/ к
voiced /b/ б /d/ д // дь /ɡ/ г
Affricate /t͡s/ ц /t͡sʲ/ ць /t͡ʃ/ ч
Fricative voiceless (/f/ ф) /s/ с // сь /ʃ/ ш (/x/ х)
voiced /v/ в /z/ з // зь /ʒ/ ж
Trill /r/ р // рь
Approximant /l/ л // ль /j/ й

Note on romanized transcription: in Uralic studies, the members of the palatalized series are usually spelled as ⟨ń⟩, ⟨ť⟩, ⟨ď⟩, ⟨ć⟩, ⟨ś⟩, ⟨ź⟩, ⟨ŕ⟩, ⟨ľ⟩, while the postalveolar sounds are spelled ⟨č⟩, ⟨š⟩, ⟨ž⟩ (see Uralic Phonetic Alphabet).

/f/ and /x/ are loan phonemes from Russian.[4] There is a phonemic contrast between /n/ and /ŋ/, despite that they share the standard spelling ⟨н⟩. Minimal pairs include:

Mordovians in European Russia

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. siń [sïnʲ] "they", seń [sënʲ] "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 -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".

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 мода moda "ground, earth"). Number is systematically distinguished only with definite nouns; for indefinite nouns and nouns with a possessive suffix, only the nominative case has a distinct plural.[5][4]

Case Indefinite Definite 1st person sg. possessive 2nd person sg. possessive 3rd person sg. possessive
singular plural singular plural singular plural singular/plural singular plural
nominative мода
moda
мода-т
moda-t
мода-сь
moda-ś
мода-тне
moda-tńe
мода-м
moda-m
мода-н
moda-n
мода-т
moda-t
мода-зo
moda-zo
мода-нзo
moda-nzo
genitive мода-нь
moda-ń
мода-нть
moda-ńt́
мода-тне-нь
moda-tńe-ń
dative/allative мода-нень
moda-ńeń
мода-нтень
moda-ńt́eń
мода-тне-нень
moda-tńe-ńeń
inessive мода-со
moda-so
мода-сонть
moda-sońt́
мода-тне-сэ
moda-tńe-se
мода-со-н
moda-so-n
мода-со-т
moda-so-t
мода-со-нзo
moda-so-nzo
elative мода-сто
moda-sto
мода-стонть
moda-stońt́
мода-тне-стэ
moda-tńe-ste
мода-сто-н
moda-sto-n
мода-сто-т
moda-sto-t
мода-сто-нзo
moda-sto-nzo
illative мода-с
moda-s
мода-нтень
moda-ńt́eń
мода-тне-с
moda-tńe-s
мода-з-oн
moda-z-on
мода-з-oт
moda-z-ot
мода-з-oнзo
moda-z-onzo
prolative мода-ва
moda-va
мода-ванть
moda-vańt́
мода-тне-ва
moda-tńe-va
мода-ва-н
moda-va-n
мода-ва-т
moda-va-t
мода-ва-нзo
moda-va-nzo
ablative мода-до
moda-do
мода-донть
moda-dońt́
мода-тне-дe
moda-tńe-d́e
мода-до-н
moda-do-n
мода-до-т
moda-do-t
мода-до-нзo
moda-do-nzo
lative мода-в
moda-v
- - - - -
translative мода-кс
moda-ks
мода-ксонть
moda-ksońt́
мода-тне-кс
moda-tńe-ks
мода-кс-oн
moda-ks-on
мода-кс-oт
moda-ks-ot
мода-кс-oнзo
moda-ks-onzo
abessive мода-втомо
moda-vtomo
мода-втомонть
moda-vtomońt́
мода-тне-втеме
moda-tńe-vt́eme
мода-втомо-н
moda-vtomo-n
мода-втомо-т
moda-vtomo-t
мода-втомо-нзo
moda-vtomo-nzo
comparative мода-шка
moda-ška
мода-шканть
moda-škańt́
мода-тне-шка
moda-tńe-ška
мода-шка-н
moda-ška-n
мода-шка-т
moda-ška-t
мода-шка-нзo
moda-ška-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 мода-нoк
moda-nok
мода-нк
moda-nk
мода-ст
moda-st
inessive

(...)
мода-со-нoк
moda-so-nok
(...)
мода-со-нк
moda-so-nk
(...)
мода-со-ст
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-ś "watched", e-stem ńiĺ-ś "swallowed"), but there also o- and e-stem verbs which retain the vowel (udo "slept", pid́e "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 e-stem
1sg мора-н
mora-n
ван-ан
van-an
пил-ян
piĺ-an
сод-ы-нь
sod-i-ń
мер-и-нь
meŕ-i-ń
неи-линь
ńej-i-ĺiń
2sg мора-т
mora-t
ван-ат
van-at
пил-ят
piĺ-at
сод-ы-ть
sod-i-t́
мер-и-ть
meŕ-i-t́
неи-лить
ńej-i-ĺit́
3sg мор-ы
mor-i
ван-ы
van-i
пил-и
piĺ-i
содa-сь
soda-ś
мер-сь
meŕ-ś
неи-ль
ńej-i-ĺ
1pl мора-тано
mora-tano
ван-тано
van-tano
пиль-тяно
piĺ-t́ano
сод-ы-нек
sod-i-ńek
мер-и-нек
meŕ-i-ńek
неи-линек
ńej-i-ĺińek
2pl мора-тадо
mora-tado
ван-тадо
van-tado
пиль-тядо
piĺ-t́ado
сод-ы-де
sod-i-d́e
мер-и-де
meŕ-i-d́e
неи-лиде
ńej-i-ĺid́e
3pl мор-ыть
mor-it́
ван-ыть
van-it́
пил-ить
piĺ-it́
содa-сть
soda-śt́
мер-сть
meŕ-śt́
неи-льть
ńej-i-ĺt́
first infinitive мора-мс
mora-ms
вано-мс
vano-ms
пиле-мс
piĺe-ms
сода-мс
soda-ms
мере-мс
meŕe-ms
нее-мс
ńeje-ms
second infinitive мора-мо
mora-mo
вано-мо
vano-mo
пиле-ме
piĺe-me
сода-мо
soda-mo
мере-ме
meŕe-me
нее-ме
ńeje-me
'sing' 'watch' 'swallow' 'know' 'say' 'see'

The third-person singular form in the 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:

other mood categories
conditional conjunctive conditional-conjunctive desiderative
1sg ярс-ындеря-н
jars-ińd́eŕa-n
изня-влинь
iźńa-vĺiń
ул-индеря-влинь
uĺ-ińd́eŕa-vĺiń
вид-иксэлинь
vid́-ikseĺiń
2sg ярс-ындеря-т
jars-ińd́eŕa-t
изня-влить
iźńa-vĺit́
ул-индеря-влить
uĺ-ińd́eŕa-vĺit́
вид-иксэлить
vid́-ikseĺit́
3sg ярс-ындеря-й
jars-ińd́eŕa-j
изня-воль
iźńa-voĺ
ул-индеря-воль
uĺ-ińd́eŕa-voĺ
вид-иксэль
vid́-ikseĺ
1pl ярс-ындеря-тано
jars-ińd́eŕa-tano
изня-влинек
iźńa-vĺińek
ул-индеря-влинек
uĺ-ińd́eŕa-vĺińek
вид-иксэлинек
vid́-ikseĺińek
2pl ярс-ындеря-тадо
jars-ińd́eŕa-tado
изня-влиде
iźńa-vĺid́e
ул-индеря-влиде
uĺ-ińd́eŕa-vĺid́e
вид-иксэлиде
vid́-ikseĺid́e
3pl ярс-ындеря-йть
jars-ińd́eŕa-jt́
изня-вольть
iźńa-voĺt́
ул-индеря-вольть
uĺ-ińd́eŕa-voĺt́
вид-иксэльть
vid́-ikseĺt́
first infinitive ярса-мс
jarsa-ms
изня-мс
iźńa-ms
уле-мс
uĺe-ms
виде-мс
vid́e-ms
second infinitive ярса-мо
jarsa-mo
изня-мо
iźńa-mo
уле-ме
uĺe-me
виде-ме
vid́e-me
'eat' 'win' 'be' 'sow'

Writing

Main article: Mordvinic alphabets

Cyrillic alphabet

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

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

In combination with the alveolar consonants т, д, ц, с, з, н, л, and р, vowel letters are employed to distinguish between plain and palatalized articulations in a similar way as in Russian: а, э, ы, о, у follow plain alveolars, while я, е, и, ё, ю follow palatalized alveolars, e.g. та /ta/, тэ /te/, ты /ti/, то /to/, ту /tu/ vs. тя /tʲa/, те /tʲe/, ти /tʲi/, тё /tʲo/, тю /tʲu/. If no vowel follows, palatalization is indicated by ь, e.g. ть /tʲ/. Following non-alveolar consonants, only а, е, и, о, у occur, e.g. па /pa/, пе /pe/, пи /pi/, по /po/, пу /pu/.

Latin alphabet

This section may lend undue weight to romanization proposals that are neither official nor widely used/recognized. Please help to create a more balanced presentation. Discuss and resolve this issue before removing this message. (February 2023)

A Latin alphabet was officially approved by the government of Nizhne-Volzhskiy Kray in 1932, but it was never used:[7]

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

One of the modern Latin alphabet proposals:[8][9][10][11][non-primary source needed]

a b c č ć d d́/ď e f g h i j k l ĺ/ľ m n ń o p r ŕ s š ś t t́/ť u v z ž ź
Cyrillic Latin
a a
б b
в v
г g
д before e,ë,и,ь,ю,я — d́/ď
not before e,ë,и,ь,ю,я — d
e at the beginning of a word — je
after a vowel — je
after a consonant — e
ë at the beginning of a word — jo
after a vowel — jo
after a consonant — o
ж ž
з before e,ë,и,ь,ю,я — ź
not before e,ë,и,ь,ю,я — z
и at the beginning of a word — i
after a consonant — i
after a vowel — ji
й j
к k
л before e,ë,и,ь,ю,я — ĺ/ľ
not before e,ë,и,ь,ю,я — l
м m
н before e,ë,и,ь,ю,я — ń
not before e,ë,и,ь,ю,я — n
o o
п p
p before e,ë,и,ь,ю,я — ŕ
not before e,ë,и,ь,ю,я — r
c before e,ë,и,ь,ю,я — ś
not before e,ë,и,ь,ю,я — s
т before e,ë,и,ь,ю,я — t́/ť
not before e,ë,и,ь,ю,я — t
у u
ф f (only in loanwords)
x h (only in loanwords)
ц before e,ë,и,ь,ю,я — ć
not before e,ë,и,ь,ю,я — c
ч č
ш š
щ šč/šť (only in loanwords)
ъ
ы i
ь
э e
ю at the beginning of a word — ju
after a vowel — ju
after a consonant — u
я at the beginning of a word — ja
after a vowel — ja
after a consonant — a

Sample Text

Erzya English
Шумбрат (Šumbrat) Hello (to one person)
Шумбратадо (Šumbratado) Hello (to multiple people)
Кода тонь леметь? (Koda toń ĺemet́?) What is your name?
Монь лемем ___. (Moń ĺemem ___.) My name is ____.
Сюкпря (Śukpŕa) Thank you
Вастомазонок (Vastomazonok) Goodbye
ава (ava) woman
ломань (lomań) man, person
эйкакш (ejkakš) child
ялга (jalga), оя (oja) friend
тетя (t́et́a) father
ава (ava) mother
цёра (ćora) boy
тейтерь (t́ejt́eŕ) girl
кудо (kudo) house
ош () city
мастор (mastor) land
килей (kiĺej) birch tree
лей (ĺej) river
вирь (viŕ) forest
эрьке (eŕke) lake
кинига (kińiga), конёвкс (końovks) book
столь (stoĺ), тувор (tuvor) table
пине (pińe) dog
псака (psaka), катка (katka) cat
ракша (rakša) animal
овто (ovto) bear
кал (kal) fish
Erzya (Cyrillic)[12] Erzya (Transliteration) English[13]
Весе ломантне чачить олякс ды правасост весе вейкетекс. Сынст улить превест-чарьксчист ды визькстэ чарькодемаст, вейке-вейкень коряс прясь тенст ветяма братонь ёжо марто. Veśe lomańt́ńe čačit́ oĺaks di pravasost veśe vejket́eks. Sinst uĺit́ pŕevest-čaŕksčist di viźkste čaŕkod́emast, vejke-vejkeń koŕas pŕaś t́eńst vet́ama bratoń jožo marto. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

See also

Bibliography

References

  1. ^ "Итоги Всероссийской переписи населения 2020 года. Таблица 6. Население по родному языку" [Results of the All-Russian population census 2020. Table 6. population according to native language.]. rosstat.gov.ru. Retrieved 2023-01-03.
  2. ^ Rantanen, Timo; Tolvanen, Harri; Roose, Meeli; Ylikoski, Jussi; Vesakoski, Outi (2022-06-08). "Best practices for spatial language data harmonization, sharing and map creation—A case study of Uralic". PLOS ONE. 17 (6): e0269648. Bibcode:2022PLoSO..1769648R. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0269648. PMC 9176854. PMID 35675367.
  3. ^ Rantanen, Timo, Vesakoski, Outi, Ylikoski, Jussi, & Tolvanen, Harri. (2021). Geographical database of the Uralic languages (v1.0) [Data set]. Zenodo. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4784188
  4. ^ a b c d e Saarinen, Sirkka. "Erzya e-learning course" (PDF). Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. Retrieved 2019-03-05.
  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.
  7. ^ Г. Аитов (1932). Новый алфавит. Великая революция на востоке (in Russian). Саратов: Нижневолжское краевое изд-во. pp. 61–64.
  8. ^ Aasmäe, Niina (2014). An introductory course of the Erzya language (PDF). Tartu: Tartu Ülikooli. ISBN 978-9985-4-0800-1.
  9. ^ Mészáros, Edit (2008). Magyar-erza-mordvin szótár [Hungarian-Erzya dictionary] (PDF). Szeged: SzTE Finnugor Nyelvtudományi Tanszék.
  10. ^ Mészáros, Edit (1999). Erza-mordvin-magyar szótár [Erzya-Hungarian dictionary]. Szeged: JATE Finnugor Tanszék.
  11. ^ Mészáros, Edit (2000). Az erza-mordvin nyelv alapjai (PDF). Budapest: ELTE Finnugor Tanszék.
  12. ^ "Article 1 of the UDHR in Uralic languages". www.omniglot.com. Retrieved 2023-12-11.
  13. ^ "UDHR in Germanic languages". www.omniglot.com. Retrieved 2023-12-11.