чу́мэл шэ, тюйкуй келл, шё̄шӄуй шэ̄, сӱ̄ссыӷӯй сэ̄, шöйӄумый эты
Native toRussia
RegionYamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug
EthnicitySelkup people
Native speakers
1,600 (2020 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-2sel
ISO 639-3sel
Traditional (a) and current (b) distribution of Selkup[2][3]
Northern Selkup is classified as Severely Endangered by the UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger
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Selkup is the language of the Selkups, belonging to the Samoyedic group of the Uralic language family. It is spoken by some 1,570 people (1994 est.) in the region between the Ob and Yenisei Rivers (in Siberia). The language name Selkup comes from the Russian селькуп, based on the native name used in the Taz dialect, шӧльӄумыт әты šöľqumyt əty, lit. 'forest-man language'. Different dialects use different names.

Selkup is fractured in an extensive dialect continuum whose ends are no longer mutually intelligible. The three main varieties are the Taz (Northern) dialect (тазовский диалект, tazovsky dialekt), which became the basis of the Selkup written language in the 1930s, Tym (Central) dialect (тымский диалект, tymsky dialekt), and Ket dialect (кетский диалект, ketsky dialekt). It is not related to the Ket language.


There are 25 vowel and 16 consonant phonemes in the Taz dialect.

Taz Selkup consonants[4]
Labial Dental Palatal(ized) Velar Uvular
Nasals m n ŋ [ɴ]
Plosives p t k q
Fricatives s ʃʲ
Trills r [ʀ]
Laterals l
Approximant w j
Taz Selkup vowels
Front Central Back
Unrounded Rounded Unrounded Rounded
Tense Close i, y, ɨ, ɨː u,
Mid e, ø, øː ɘ, ɘː o,
Open æ, æː a,
Lax Close ɪ, ɪː [ɪ̈ ~ ə]
Mid ɛ, ɛː ɔː

Selkup has a syllable structure (C)V(C). Word-initial /ŋ/ and word-final /tʲ/ or /w/ do not occur. Various consonant clusters and geminate consonants such as /nt/, /rm/, /ʃʲʃʲ/ may occur, though many potential combinations occurring morphologically are simplified.

Stress in Selkup is marginally phonemic. Generally the rightmost long vowel in a word is stressed, or otherwise the first syllable, but certain suffixes with short vowels may acquire stress, leading to minimal pairs such as [ˈtɕɛlʲtɕalqo] 'to stamp down' vs. [tɕɛlʲˈtɕalqo] 'to stamp once'.


Southern Selkup


маҗь 'forest', ӄуп 'person'[5]
Case name Ending Meaning Example Meaning of the example
Nominative case subject маҗь forest (as a subject)
Accusative case -п, (rare) direct object ма́җеп forest (as an object)
Genitive case , (rare) possession ма́җет of a forest
Dative case animate indirect object (animate) ӄун, ӄумн to the person
inanimate -нд indirect object (inanimate) маҗӧ́нд to the forest
Inessive case animate -нан the X has ӄу́нан the person has
inanimate -ӷэт/-ӄэт in маҗӧ́ӷэт in the forest
Elative case -эутэ/-утэ out of, from, along маҗӧ́утэ out of the forest
Instrumental-comitative case -ӽе/-хе, -э́ (with nouns denoting means of transport, always stressed) with маҗьӽе́ with the forest
Abessive case -галк/-калк without маҗьга́лк without the forest
Translative case -тӄо into маҗетӄо́ [turn] into a forest
Exessive case[a] animate -ндо/-эндо from ку́ндо from the person
inanimate -ӷэндо/-ӄэндо from маҗӧ́ӷэндо from the forest
  1. ^ Almost out of use


  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.]. 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.
  4. ^ Helimski 1998, pp. 551–552.
  5. ^ Korotkih, Grigoriy V. (2022). Современный язык нарымских селькупов (PDF) (in Russian). Соиздательство ценных книг «Грасион». p. 150. ISBN 978-5-6046304-5-7.

Works cited