Southwestern and Southeastern Russia
Linguistic classificationUralic
  • Mordvinic
Mordvin languages at the beginning of the 20th century[1][2]

The Mordvinic languages,[3] also known as the Mordvin,[4] Mordovian or Mordvinian languages (Russian: мордовские языки, mordovskiye yazyki),[5] are a subgroup of the Uralic languages, comprising the closely related Erzya language and Moksha language, both spoken in Mordovia.[6]

Previously considered a single "Mordvin language",[7] it is now treated as a small language grouping.[8] Due to differences in phonology, lexicon, and grammar, Erzya and Moksha are not mutually intelligible.[9] The two Mordvinic languages also have separate literary forms. The Erzya literary language was created in 1922 and the Mokshan in 1923.[10]

Phonological differences between the two languages include:[7]

The medieval Meshcherian language may have been Mordvinic or close to Mordvinic[citation needed].


Further information: Uralic languages § Classification

Dialects of Moksha and Erzya languages in the Republic of Mordovia
*M-I Central group *M-II Western group *M-III Southeast group
*E-I Central group *E-II Western group *E-III Northwestern group *E-IV Southeast group
*E-V Shoksha dialect

Traditionally, Uralicists grouped the Mordvinic and Mari languages together in the so-called Volgaic branch of the Uralic family; this view was however abandoned in the late 20th century.[11] Instead, some Uralicists now prefer a rapid expansion model, with Mordvinic as one out of nine primary branches of Uralic; others propose a close relation between Mordvinic with the Finnic and Saamic branches of Uralic.[12][13][14]


  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ Rantanen, Timo, Vesakoski, Outi, Ylikoski, Jussi, & Tolvanen, Harri. (2021). Geographical database of the Uralic languages (v1.0) [Data set]. Zenodo.
  3. ^ Bright, William (1992). International Encyclopedia of Linguistics. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-505196-4.
  4. ^ Mordvin languages @ google books
  5. ^ Dalby, Andrew (1998). Dictionary of Languages. Columbia University Press. p. 429. ISBN 9780231115681. Erza.
  6. ^ Grenoble, Lenore (2003). Language Policy in the Soviet Union. Springer. p. A80. ISBN 978-1-4020-1298-3.
  7. ^ a b Raun, Alo (1988). Sinor, Denis (ed.). The Uralic languages: Description, history and foreign influences. BRILL. p. A96. ISBN 978-90-04-07741-6.
  8. ^ Hamari, Arja; Ajanki, Rigina (2022). "Mordvin (Erzya and Moksha)". In Marianne Bakró-Nagy; Johanna Laakso; Elena Skribnik (eds.). The Oxford Guide to the Uralic Languages. Oxford University Press. pp. 392–431.
  9. ^ Феоктистов А. П. Мордовские языки. основы финно-угорского языкознания. Прибалтийско-финские, саамский и мордовские языки. М., 1975
  10. ^ Wixman, Ronald (1984). The Peoples of the USSR. M.E. Sharpe. p. A137. ISBN 978-0-87332-506-6.
  11. ^ Abondolo, Daniel (1988). The Uralic Languages. London & New York: Routledge. p. 4. [...] the idea, once widely-held, that there was a common Mordva-Mari protolanguage (so-called 'proto-Volgaic') is now out of favour.
  12. ^ Nichols, Johanna (2021). "The Origin and Dispersal of Uralic: Distributional Typological View". Annual Review of Linguistics. 7: 351–369. doi:10.1146/annurev-linguistics-011619-030405. S2CID 234179048.
  13. ^ Saarikivi, Janne (2022). "The divergence of Proto-Uralic and its offspring: A descendant reconstruction". In Marianne Bakró-Nagy; Johanna Laakso; Elena Skribnik (eds.). The Oxford Guide to the Uralic Languages. Oxford University Press. pp. 28–58.
  14. ^ Piispanen, Peter S. (2016). "Statistical Dating of Finno-Mordvinic Languages through Comparative Linguistics and Sound Laws" (PDF). Fenno-Ugrica Suecana Nova Series. 15: 1–58.