ELTE BTK Magyar Nyelvtudományi és Finnugor Intézet

Kantele, Simo

nyomtatható változat

Kantele, Simo (Helsinki – Izhevsk)

Russian elements in spoken Udmurt (pdf)

For the Udmurt language, the most important modern contact language is of course Russian. Contacts have started in 18th century, but in larger scale loaning of words has started only in the beginning of industrialization in the 19th century, when a great amount of labor force, mainly Russians, came to the region of modern Udmurtia. Before that, the most important contact language for (especially southern) Udmurt has been Tatar, from which many important cultural words have emerged.

The aim of my study is to lighten the role of Russian elements, words and structures in modern spoken Udmurt. We know that there is a lot of influence, but exactly what kind of it is, and in what areas of language. For this, I have used Sarah Grey Thomason’s Language Contact: An Introduction (2001) as a theoretical background. In her work she presents models of language contact and contact situations, as well as a scale of loaning from loaning of only some words, mainly nouns and verbs to very intense loaning to all different areas of language, vocabulary and structure, including bilingualism and social pressure. For the study I recorded speech of two native Udmurts, a young man and an older woman from different parts of Udmurtia, both living in Izhevsk.

The results were interesting, partly also expected. In the speech of the younger one was also a lot of code-shifting between Udmurt and Russian. All in all there is a great amount of loanwords, but especially in the speech of the older one they seem to be mainly nouns and verbs which are easy to loan, or particles with more syntactical than grammatical role. In the language structure couldn’t be found that many Russian elements, nor in the basic vocabulary. And of course also the topic defines the language: talk about work in the factories, sports or popular culture is more often in Russian than in themes like family, language or Udmurts themselves.