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The Uralic languages (; sometimes called Uralian languages ) form a
language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the painful divisions b ...
of 38
language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the ...

language
s spoken by approximately 25million people, predominantly in Northern
Eurasia Eurasia () is the largest continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a ...

Eurasia
. The Uralic languages with the most native speakers are
HungarianHungarian may refer to: * Hungary, a country in Central Europe * Kingdom of Hungary, state of Hungary, existing between 1000 and 1946 * Hungarians, ethnic groups in Hungary * Hungarian algorithm, a polynomial time algorithm for solving the assignmen ...
(which alone accounts for more than half of the family's speakers),
Finnish Finnish may refer to: * Something or someone from, or related to Finland * Finnish culture * Finnish people or Finns, the primary ethnic group in Finland * Finnish language, the national language of the Finnish people * Finnish cuisine See also

...
, and
Estonian Estonian may refer to: *Something of, from, or related to Estonia, a country in the Baltic region in northern Europe *Estonians, people from Estonia, or of Estonian descent *Estonian language *Estonian cuisine *Estonian culture See also

* * La ...
. Other significant languages with fewer speakers are Erzya,
Moksha ''Moksha'' (; sa, मोक्ष, '; Tamil Tamil may refer to: * Tamils, an ethnic group native to India, Sri Lanka and some other parts of Asia **Sri Lankan Tamils, Tamil people native to Sri Lanka **Tamil Malaysians, Tamil people native ...
,
Mari Mari may refer to: Places *Mari, Paraíba, Brazil, a city *Mari, Cyprus, a village *Mari, Greece, a village, site of ancient town of Marius (Laconia), Marius *Mari, Iran (disambiguation), places in Iran *Mari, Punjab, a village and a union counci ...

Mari
,
Udmurt
Udmurt
,
Sami Places * Sápmi, a cultural region in Northern Europe * Sami, Burkina Faso, a district of the Banwa Province * Sami District, Gambia * Sami, Cephalonia, a municipality in Greece * Sami (ancient city), in Elis, Greece * Sami Bay, east of Sami, Ceph ...
,
KomiKomi may refer to: Places Greece *Komi, Cyclades, a village on the island of Tinos, part of the municipality Exomvourgo *Komi, Elis, a settlement in the municipality of Vouprasia Iran *Komi, Iran, a village in East Azerbaijan Province, Iran Japan ...

Komi
, and Vepsian, all of which are spoken in northern regions of
Scandinavia Scandinavia; Sami Places * Sápmi, a cultural region in Northern Europe * Sami, Burkina Faso, a district of the Banwa Province * Sami District, Gambia * Sami, Cephalonia, a municipality in Greece * Sami (ancient city), in Elis, Greece * Sa ...

Scandinavia
and the
Russian Federation Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, largest country in the world, covering over , and encom ...

Russian Federation
. The name "Uralic" derives from the family's original homeland (''
Urheimat In historical linguistics Historical linguistics, also termed diachronic linguistics, is the scientific study of language change over time. Principal concerns of historical linguistics include: # to describe and account for observed changes i ...
'') commonly hypothesized to have been somewhere in the vicinity of the
Ural Mountains The Ural Mountains (; rus, Ура́льские го́ры, r=Uralskiye gory, p=ʊˈralʲskʲɪjə ˈgorɨ; ba, Урал тауҙары, ''Ural tauźarı'') or simply the Urals, are a mountain range that runs approximately from north to south ...
.
Finno-Ugric Finno-Ugric ( or ; ''Fenno-Ugric'') or Finno-Ugrian (''Fenno-Ugrian''), is a traditional grouping of all languages in the Uralic language family except the Samoyedic languages. Its formerly commonly accepted status as a subfamily of Uralic is ba ...

Finno-Ugric
is sometimes used as a synonym for Uralic, though Finno-Ugric is widely understood to exclude the
Samoyedic languages The Samoyedic () or Samoyed languages () are spoken on both sides of the Ural Mountains The Ural Mountains (; rus, Ура́льские го́ры, r=Uralskiye gory, p=ʊˈralʲskʲɪjə ˈgorɨ; ba, Урал тауҙары, ''Ural tauźarı ...
. Scholars who do not accept the traditional notion that Samoyedic split first from the rest of the Uralic family may treat the terms as synonymous.


History


Homeland

Proposed homelands of the
Proto-Uralic language Proto-Uralic is the reconstructed Reconstruction may refer to: Politics, history, and sociology *Reconstruction (law), the transfer of a company's (or several companies') business to a new company *''Perestroika'' (Russian for "reconstruction" ...
include: * The vicinity of the
Volga River The Volga (; russian: Во́лга, a=Ru-Волга.ogg, p=ˈvoɫɡə) is the longest river in Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rat ...
, west of the Urals, close to the Urheimat of the
Indo-European languages The Indo-European languages are a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, based on speech and gesture (spoken language), Signed language, sign, or o ...
, or to the east and southeast of the Urals. Historian Gyula László places its origin in the forest zone between the
Oka River The Oka (russian: Ока́, ) is a river in central Russia, the largest right tributary of the Volga. It flows through the regions of Oryol Oblast, Oryol, Tula Oblast, Tula, Kaluga Oblast, Kaluga, Moscow Oblast, Moscow, Ryazan Oblast, Ryazan, Vl ...
and central
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinces, covering an area of , and has a largely Temperate climate, temperate seasonal cli ...

Poland
. E. N. Setälä and M. Zsirai place it between the
Volga The Volga (; russian: Во́лга, a=Ru-Волга.ogg, p=ˈvoɫɡə) is the longest river in Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention ra ...
and
Kama River The Kama (russian: Ка́ма, ; tt, Чулман/Çulman; udm, Кам) is a long«Река КАМА»
s. According to E. Itkonen, the ancestral area extended to the
Baltic Sea The Baltic Sea is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean, enclosed by Denmark Denmark ( da, Danmark, ) is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that a ...

Baltic Sea
. Jaakko Häkkinen identifies Proto-Uralic with Eneolithic Garino-Bor (Turbin) culture 3,000–2,500 YBP located in the Lower Kama Basin. * P. Hajdu has suggested a homeland in western and northwestern
Siberia Siberia (; rus, Сибирь, r=Sibir', p=sʲɪˈbʲirʲ, a=Ru-Сибирь.ogg) is an extensive geographical region, constituting all of North Asia, from the Ural Mountains in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east. It has been a part of R ...

Siberia
. *
Juha Janhunen Juha Janhunen (born 12 February 1952 in Pori) is a Finnish linguist whose wide interests include Uralic and Mongolic languages. Since 1994 he has been Professor in East Asian Studies at the University of Helsinki. He has done fieldwork on Samoy ...
suggests a homeland in between the
Ob
Ob
and
Yenisei The Yenisey (russian: Енисе́й, ''Yeniséy''; mn, Енисей мөрөн, ''Yenisei mörön''; Buryat language, Buryat: Горлог мүрэн, ''Gorlog müren''; Tuvan language, Tuvan: Улуг-Хем, ''Uluğ-Hem''; Khakas language, ...
drainage areas in
Central Siberia The Central Siberian Plateau (russian: Среднесибирское плоскогорье, Srednesibirskoye ploskogorye; sah, Орто Сибиир хаптал хайалаах сирэ) is a vast mountainous area in Siberia, one of the Great ...
. * A 2019 study based on genetics, archaeology and linguistics suggested that Uralic-speakers arrived in the Baltic region from the East, specifically from Siberia, at the beginning of the
Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's pa ...
some 2,500 years ago.


Early attestations

The first plausible mention of a people speaking a Uralic language is in
Tacitus Publius Cornelius Tacitus ( , ; – ) was a Roman historian and politician. Tacitus is widely regarded as one of the greatest Roman historians by modern scholars. He lived in what has been called the Silver Age of Latin literature Classi ...

Tacitus
's ''
Germania Germania ( , ), also called Magna Germania (English: ''Great Germania''), Germania Libera (English: ''Free Germania'') or Germanic Barbaricum Barbaricum (from the gr, Βαρβαρικόν, "foreign", "barbarian") is a geographical name used by ...
'' (c. 98 AD), mentioning the ''
Fenni The Fenni were an ancient people of northeastern Europe, first described by Cornelius Tacitus Publius (or Gaius) Cornelius Tacitus ( , ; – ) was a Roman historian and politician. Tacitus is widely regarded as one of the greatest Roman hi ...
'' (usually interpreted as referring to the
Sami Places * Sápmi, a cultural region in Northern Europe * Sami, Burkina Faso, a district of the Banwa Province * Sami District, Gambia * Sami, Cephalonia, a municipality in Greece * Sami (ancient city), in Elis, Greece * Sami Bay, east of Sami, Ceph ...
) and two other possibly Uralic tribes living in the farthest reaches of Scandinavia. There are many possible earlier mentions, including the Iyrcae (perhaps related to Yugra) described by
Herodotus Herodotus ( ; grc, Ἡρόδοτος, Hēródotos, ; BC) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), ge ...
living in what is now European Russia, and the
Budini The Budini (Ancient Greek: Βουδίνοι; ''Boudínoi'') was a group of people (a tribe) described by Herodotus and several later classical authors. Described as nomads living near settled Gelonians, Herodotus located them east of the Tanais ri ...
, described by Herodotus as notably red-haired (a characteristic feature of the
Udmurts The Udmurts ( udm, Удмуртъёс, ) are a Permian The Permian ( ) is a geologic period and stratigraphic system which spans 47 million years from the end of the Carboniferous period million years ago (Mya), to the beginning of the Triass ...

Udmurts
) and living in northeast Ukraine and/or adjacent parts of Russia. In the late 15th century, European scholars noted the resemblance of the names ''Hungaria'' and '' Yugria'', the names of settlements east of the Ural. They assumed a connection but did not seek linguistic evidence.


Uralic studies

The affinity of
HungarianHungarian may refer to: * Hungary, a country in Central Europe * Kingdom of Hungary, state of Hungary, existing between 1000 and 1946 * Hungarians, ethnic groups in Hungary * Hungarian algorithm, a polynomial time algorithm for solving the assignmen ...
and
Finnish Finnish may refer to: * Something or someone from, or related to Finland * Finnish culture * Finnish people or Finns, the primary ethnic group in Finland * Finnish language, the national language of the Finnish people * Finnish cuisine See also

...
was first proposed in the late 17th century. Three candidates can be credited for the discovery: the
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...

German
scholar Martin Vogel, the
Swedish Swedish or ' may refer to: * Anything from or related to Sweden, a country in Northern Europe * Swedish language, a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Sweden and Finland * Swedish alphabet, the official alphabet used by the Swedish langua ...

Swedish
scholar
Georg Stiernhielm Georg Stiernhielm (August 7, 1598 – April 22, 1672) was a Sweden, Swedish civil servant, mathematician, linguistics, linguist and poet. Life Stiernhielm was born on the family estate Gammelgården in the village Svartskär in Vika parish in Dala ...

Georg Stiernhielm
and the Swedish courtier . Vogel's unpublished study of the relationship, commissioned by Cosimo III of Tuscany, was clearly the most modern of these: he established several
grammatical In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include ...

grammatical
and lexical parallels between Finnish and Hungarian as well as
Sami Places * Sápmi, a cultural region in Northern Europe * Sami, Burkina Faso, a district of the Banwa Province * Sami District, Gambia * Sami, Cephalonia, a municipality in Greece * Sami (ancient city), in Elis, Greece * Sami Bay, east of Sami, Ceph ...

Sami
. Stiernhelm commented on the similarities of Sami, Estonian and Finnish, and also on a few similar words between Finnish and Hungarian. These authors were the first to outline what was to become the classification of the Finno-Ugric, and later Uralic family. This proposal received some of its initial impetus from the fact that these languages, unlike most of the other languages spoken in Europe, are not part of what is now known as the
Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation ...
family. In 1717, Swedish professor
Olof Rudbeck Olaus Rudbeck (also known as Olof Rudbeck the Elder, to distinguish him from his son, and occasionally with the surname Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages ...
proposed about 100 etymologies connecting Finnish and Hungarian, of which about 40 are still considered valid. Several early reports comparing Finnish or Hungarian with Mordvin, Mari or Khanty were additionally collected by
Leibniz Gottfried Wilhelm (von) Leibniz ; see inscription of the engraving depicted in the "#1666–1676, 1666–1676" section. ( – 14 November 1716) was a German polymath active as a mathematician, philosopher, scientist, and diplomat. He is a promin ...

Leibniz
and edited by his assistant . In 1730,
Philip Johan von Strahlenberg Philip Johan von Strahlenberg (1676–1747) was a Swedish officer and geographer A geographer is a physical scientist, social scientist and humanist whose area of study is geography, the study of Earth's natural environment and human societ ...

Philip Johan von Strahlenberg
published his book (''The Northern and Eastern Parts of Europe and Asia''), surveying the geography, peoples and languages of Russia. All the main groups of the Uralic languages were already identified here. Nonetheless, these relationships were not widely accepted. Hungarian intellectuals especially were not interested in the theory and preferred to assume connections with
Turkic Turkic may refer to: * anything related to the country of Turkey * Turkic languages, a language family of at least thirty-five documented languages ** Turkic alphabets (disambiguation) ** Turkish language, the most widely spoken Turkic language * T ...
tribes, an attitude characterized by
Merritt Ruhlen Merritt Ruhlen (May 10, 1944 – January 29, 2021) was an American linguist who worked on the classification of languages and what this reveals about the origin and evolution of modern humans. Amongst other linguists, Ruhlen's work was recognized ...

Merritt Ruhlen
as due to "the wild unfettered
Romanticism Romanticism (also known as the Romantic era) was an artistic, literary, musical, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe towards the end of the 18th century, and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to ...
of the epoch". Still, in spite of this hostile climate, the Hungarian
Jesuit , image = Ihs-logo.svg , caption = Christogram A Christogram (Latin ') is a monogram or combination of letters that forms an abbreviation for the name of Jesus Christ, traditionally used as a Christian symbolism ...
János Sajnovics János Sajnovics de Tordas et Káloz (Tordas, 12 May 1733 – Pest, Hungary, Pest, 4 May 1785) was a Hungarian people, Hungarian linguistics, linguist and member of the Society of Jesus, Jesuit order. He is best known for his pioneering work in co ...
travelled with
Maximilian Hell Maximilian Hell ( hu, Hell Miksa) (May 15, 1720 – April 14, 1792) was an astronomer An astronomer is a scientist in the field of astronomy who focuses their studies on a specific question or field outside the scope of Earth. They observe astro ...
to survey the alleged relationship between Hungarian and Sami. Sajnovics published his results in 1770, arguing for a relationship based on several grammatical features. In 1799, the Hungarian Sámuel Gyarmathi published the most complete work on Finno-Ugric to that date. Up to the beginning of the 19th century, knowledge on the Uralic languages spoken in Russia had remained restricted to scanty observations by travelers. Already Finnish historian
Henrik Gabriel Porthan Image:Henrik Gabriel Porthan.jpg, 250px, Porthan, portrait by Johan Erik Hedberg Henrik Gabriel Porthan (1739 in Viitasaari – 1804 in Turku) was a professor and rector at the Royal Academy of Turku. He was a scholar sometimes known as ''The Fat ...

Henrik Gabriel Porthan
had stressed that further progress would require dedicated field missions. One of the first of these was undertaken by , who brought the
Vepsians Veps, or Vepsians (Vepsian language, Veps: ''vepsläižed''), are a Baltic Finns, Finnic people who speak the Veps language, which belongs to the Finnic languages, Finnic branch of the Uralic languages. According to the 2002 census, there were 8, ...
to general knowledge and elucidated in detail the relatedness of Finnish and
KomiKomi may refer to: Places Greece *Komi, Cyclades, a village on the island of Tinos, part of the municipality Exomvourgo *Komi, Elis, a settlement in the municipality of Vouprasia Iran *Komi, Iran, a village in East Azerbaijan Province, Iran Japan ...

Komi
. Still more extensive were the field research expeditions made in the 1840s by (1813–1852) and (1819–1858), who focused especially on the Samoyedic and the
Ob-Ugric languages The Ob-Ugric languages are a commonly proposed branch of the Uralic languages The Uralic languages (; sometimes called Uralian languages ) form a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured sy ...
, respectively. Reguly's materials were worked on by the Hungarian linguist Pál Hunfalvy (1810–1891) and German Josef Budenz (1836–1892), who both supported the Uralic affinity of Hungarian. Budenz was the first scholar to bring this result to popular consciousness in Hungary, and to attempt a reconstruction of the Proto-Finno-Ugric grammar and lexicon. Another late-19th-century Hungarian contribution is that of Ignácz Halász (1855–1901), who published extensive comparative material of Finno-Ugric and Samoyedic in the 1890s, and whose work is at the base of today's wide acceptance of the inclusion of Samoyedic as a part of Uralic. Meanwhile, in the autonomous
Grand Duchy of Finland The Grand Duchy of Finland ( fi, Suomen suuriruhtinaskunta; sv, Storfurstendömet Finland; russian: Великое княжество Финляндское, , alternatively Grand prince, Grand Principality of Finland) was the predecessor state of ...

Grand Duchy of Finland
, a chair for Finnish language and linguistics at the
University of Helsinki The University of Helsinki ( fi, Helsingin yliopisto, sv, Helsingfors universitet, la, Universitas Helsingiensis, abbreviated UH) is a university located in Helsinki Helsinki ( or ; ; sv, Helsingfors, ; la, Helsingia) is the Capital c ...
was created in 1850, first held by Castrén. In 1883, the
Finno-Ugrian Society Finno-Ugrian Society (french: Société Finno-Ougrienne, fi, Suomalais-Ugrilainen Seura) is a Finland, Finnish learned society, dedicated to the study of Uralic languages, Uralic and Altaic languages, Altaic languages. It was founded in Helsinki i ...
was founded in Helsinki on the proposal of
Otto Donner Otto Donner (15 December 1835, Kokkola Kokkola (; sv, Karleby, ) is a cities of Finland, town and municipalities of Finland, municipality of Finland. The town is located in the Central Ostrobothnia regions of Finland, region. The town has a p ...
, which would lead to Helsinki overtaking St. Petersburg as the chief northern center of research of the Uralic languages. During the late 19th and early 20th century (until the separation of Finland from Russia following the
Russian revolution The Russian Revolution was a period of political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relatio ...

Russian revolution
), a large number of stipendiates were sent by the Society to survey the still less known Uralic languages. Major researchers of this period included Heikki Paasonen (studying especially the
Mordvinic languages The Mordvinic languages, also known as the Mordvin, Mordovian or Mordvinian languages (russian: Мордовские языки, ''Mordovskiye yazyki''), are a subgroup of the Uralic languages, comprising the closely related Erzya language and Moksh ...
), Yrjö Wichmann (studying
Permic The Permic or Permian languages are a branch of the Uralic The Uralic languages (; sometimes called Uralian languages ) form a language family of 38 languages spoken by approximately 25million people, predominantly in Northern Eurasia. The Ural ...

Permic
), Artturi Kannisto (
Mansi Mansi may refer to: People * Mansi people The Mansi ( Mansi: Мāньси / Мāньси мāхум, ''Māńsi / Māńsi māhum'', ) are a Ugrian indigenous people living in Khanty–Mansia, an autonomous okrug within Tyumen Oblast Tyumen ...
), Kustaa Fredrik Karjalainen (
Khanty The Khanty (in older literature: Ostyaks) are a Ugrian The Ugric or Ugrian languages ( or ) are a proposed branch of the Uralic language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spo ...
), Toivo Lehtisalo ( Nenets), and
Kai Donner Karl (Kai) Reinhold Donner (April 1, 1888 in Helsinki Helsinki ( or ; ; sv, Helsingfors, ; la, Helsingia) is the Capital city, capital, primate city, primate and List of cities and towns in Finland, most populous city of Finland. Located ...

Kai Donner
(). The vast amounts of data collected on these expeditions would provide edition work for later generations of Finnish Uralicists for more than a century.


Classification

The Uralic family comprises nine undisputed groups with no consensus classification between them. (Some of the proposals are listed in the next section.) An agnostic approach treats them as separate branches. Obsolete or native names are displayed in italics. * (Fennic, Baltic Finnic, Balto-Finnic, Balto-Fennic) *
HungarianHungarian may refer to: * Hungary, a country in Central Europe * Kingdom of Hungary, state of Hungary, existing between 1000 and 1946 * Hungarians, ethnic groups in Hungary * Hungarian algorithm, a polynomial time algorithm for solving the assignmen ...
(Magyar) *
Khanty The Khanty (in older literature: Ostyaks) are a Ugrian The Ugric or Ugrian languages ( or ) are a proposed branch of the Uralic language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spo ...
(''Ostyak, Handi, Hantõ'') *
Mansi Mansi may refer to: People * Mansi people The Mansi ( Mansi: Мāньси / Мāньси мāхум, ''Māńsi / Māńsi māhum'', ) are a Ugrian indigenous people living in Khanty–Mansia, an autonomous okrug within Tyumen Oblast Tyumen ...
(''Vogul'') *
Mari Mari may refer to: Places *Mari, Paraíba, Brazil, a city *Mari, Cyprus, a village *Mari, Greece, a village, site of ancient town of Marius (Laconia), Marius *Mari, Iran (disambiguation), places in Iran *Mari, Punjab, a village and a union counci ...

Mari
(''Cheremis'') *
Mordvinic The Mordvinic languages, alternatively Mordvin languages, or Mordvinian languages (russian: Мордовские языки, ''Mordovskiye yazyki'', the official Russian term for the language pair), are a subgroup of the Uralic languages, comprisin ...
(Mordvin, Mordvinian) *
Permic The Permic or Permian languages are a branch of the Uralic The Uralic languages (; sometimes called Uralian languages ) form a language family of 38 languages spoken by approximately 25million people, predominantly in Northern Eurasia. The Ural ...

Permic
(Permian) *
Sami Places * Sápmi, a cultural region in Northern Europe * Sami, Burkina Faso, a district of the Banwa Province * Sami District, Gambia * Sami, Cephalonia, a municipality in Greece * Sami (ancient city), in Elis, Greece * Sami Bay, east of Sami, Ceph ...

Sami
(Saami, Samic, Saamic, ''Lappic, Lappish'') * Samoyedic (Samoyed) There is also historical evidence of a number of extinct languages of uncertain affiliation: *
MeryaMerya may refer to: * Merya people * Merya language, an extinct language * Merya (Tanzanian ward) See also

* Meryan (disambiguation) * Merja (disambiguation), pronounced "Merya" * Meria (disambiguation) * Marya, a tribe of Eritria {{Disambig ...
* Muromian * Meshcherian (until 16th century?) Traces of Finno-Ugric substrata, especially in toponymy, in the northern part of European Russia have been proposed as evidence for even more extinct Uralic languages.


Traditional classification

All Uralic languages are thought to have descended, through independent processes of
language change Language change is variation over time in a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing ...
, from
Proto-Uralic Proto-Uralic is the reconstructed language ancestral to the Uralic language family. The language was originally spoken in a small area in about 7000–2000 BCE (estimates vary), and expanded to give differentiated protolanguages. The location o ...
. The internal structure of the Uralic family has been debated since the family was first proposed. Doubts about the validity of most or all of the proposed higher-order branchings (grouping the nine undisputed families) are becoming more common. A traditional classification of the Uralic languages has existed since the late 19th century. It has enjoyed frequent adaptation in whole or in part in encyclopedias, handbooks, and overviews of the Uralic family. Otto Donner's model from 1879 is as follows: *
Ugric The Ugric or Ugrian languages ( or ) are a proposed branch of the Uralic language family. The name Ugric is derived from Ugrians, an archaic exonym for the Magyars (Hungarians) and Yugra, a region in north-west Russia. Ugric includes three ...
(Ugrian) **
HungarianHungarian may refer to: * Hungary, a country in Central Europe * Kingdom of Hungary, state of Hungary, existing between 1000 and 1946 * Hungarians, ethnic groups in Hungary * Hungarian algorithm, a polynomial time algorithm for solving the assignmen ...
** Ob-Ugric (Ob-Ugrian) ***
Khanty The Khanty (in older literature: Ostyaks) are a Ugrian The Ugric or Ugrian languages ( or ) are a proposed branch of the Uralic language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spo ...
***
Mansi Mansi may refer to: People * Mansi people The Mansi ( Mansi: Мāньси / Мāньси мāхум, ''Māńsi / Māńsi māhum'', ) are a Ugrian indigenous people living in Khanty–Mansia, an autonomous okrug within Tyumen Oblast Tyumen ...
* Finno-Permic (Permian-Finnic) **
Permic The Permic or Permian languages are a branch of the Uralic The Uralic languages (; sometimes called Uralian languages ) form a language family of 38 languages spoken by approximately 25million people, predominantly in Northern Eurasia. The Ural ...

Permic
** Finno-Volgaic (Finno-Cheremisic, Finno-Mari) *** Volga-Finnic ****
Mari Mari may refer to: Places *Mari, Paraíba, Brazil, a city *Mari, Cyprus, a village *Mari, Greece, a village, site of ancient town of Marius (Laconia), Marius *Mari, Iran (disambiguation), places in Iran *Mari, Punjab, a village and a union counci ...

Mari
****
Mordvinic The Mordvinic languages, alternatively Mordvin languages, or Mordvinian languages (russian: Мордовские языки, ''Mordovskiye yazyki'', the official Russian term for the language pair), are a subgroup of the Uralic languages, comprisin ...
*** (Finno-Saamic, Finno-Samic) ****
Sami Places * Sápmi, a cultural region in Northern Europe * Sami, Burkina Faso, a district of the Banwa Province * Sami District, Gambia * Sami, Cephalonia, a municipality in Greece * Sami (ancient city), in Elis, Greece * Sami Bay, east of Sami, Ceph ...

Sami
**** At Donner's time, the
Samoyedic languages The Samoyedic () or Samoyed languages () are spoken on both sides of the Ural Mountains The Ural Mountains (; rus, Ура́льские го́ры, r=Uralskiye gory, p=ʊˈralʲskʲɪjə ˈgorɨ; ba, Урал тауҙары, ''Ural tauźarı ...
were still poorly known, and he was not able to address their position. As they became better known in the early 20th century, they were found to be quite divergent, and they were assumed to have separated already early on. The terminology adopted for this was "Uralic" for the entire family, "
Finno-Ugric Finno-Ugric ( or ; ''Fenno-Ugric'') or Finno-Ugrian (''Fenno-Ugrian''), is a traditional grouping of all languages in the Uralic language family except the Samoyedic languages. Its formerly commonly accepted status as a subfamily of Uralic is ba ...

Finno-Ugric
" for the non-Samoyedic languages (though "Finno-Ugric" has, to this day, remained in use also as a synonym for the whole family).
Finno-Ugric Finno-Ugric ( or ; ''Fenno-Ugric'') or Finno-Ugrian (''Fenno-Ugrian''), is a traditional grouping of all languages in the Uralic language family except the Samoyedic languages. Its formerly commonly accepted status as a subfamily of Uralic is ba ...

Finno-Ugric
and Samoyedic are listed in
ISO 639-5 ISO 639-5:2008 "Codes for the representation of names of languages—Part 5: Alpha-3 code for Language family, language families and groups" is a highly incomplete international standard published by the International Organization for Standardizatio ...
as primary branches of Uralic. The following table lists nodes of the traditional family tree that are recognized in some overview sources. Little explicit evidence has however been presented in favour of Donner's model since his original proposal, and numerous alternate schemes have been proposed. Especially in Finland, there has been a growing tendency to reject the Finno-Ugric intermediate protolanguage. A recent competing proposal instead unites Ugric and Samoyedic in an "East Uralic" group for which shared innovations can be noted.Häkkinen, Jaakko 2009
Kantauralin ajoitus ja paikannus: perustelut puntarissa
– Suomalais-Ugrilaisen Seuran Aikakauskirja 92.
The Finno-Permic grouping still holds some support, though the arrangement of its subgroups is a matter of some dispute. Mordvinic is commonly seen as particularly closely related to or part of Finno-Samic. The term '' Volgaic'' (or ''Volga-Finnic'') was used to denote a branch previously believed to include Mari, Mordvinic and a number of the extinct languages, but it is now obsolete and considered a geographic classification rather than a linguistic one. Within Ugric, uniting Mansi with Hungarian rather than Khanty has been a competing hypothesis to Ob-Ugric.


Lexical isoglosses

Lexicostatistics Lexicostatistics is a method of comparative linguistics Comparative linguistics, or comparative-historical linguistics (formerly comparative philology) is a branch of historical linguistics that is concerned with comparing languages to establish ...
has been used in defense of the traditional family tree. A recent re-evaluation of the evidenceMichalove, Peter A. (2002) The Classification of the Uralic Languages: Lexical Evidence from Finno-Ugric. In: Finnisch-Ugrische Forschungen, vol. 57 however fails to find support for Finno-Ugric and Ugric, suggesting four lexically distinct branches (Finno-Permic, Hungarian, Ob-Ugric and Samoyedic). One alternate proposal for a family tree, with emphasis on the development of numerals, is as follows: * Uralic ( "2", "5" / "10") ** Samoyedic (*op "1", *ketä "2", *näkur "3", *tettə "4", *səmpəleŋkə "5", *məktut "6", *sejtwə "7", *wiət "10") ** Finno-Ugric ( "1", "3", "4", "5", "6", "10") *** Mansic **** Mansi **** Hungarian (''hét'' "7"; replacement ''egy'' "1") *** Finno-Khantic (reshaping *kolmi "3" on the analogy of "4") **** Khanty **** Finno-Permic (reshaping *kektä > *kakta) ***** Permic ***** Finno-Volgaic (*śećem "7") ****** Mari ****** Finno-Saamic (*kakteksa, *ükteksa "8, 9") ******* Saamic ******* Finno-Mordvinic (replacement *kümmen "10" (*luki- "to count", "to read out")) ******** Mordvinic ******** Finnic


Phonological isoglosses

Another proposed tree, more divergent from the standard, focusing on consonant isoglosses (which does not consider the position of the Samoyedic languages) is presented by Viitso (1997),Viitso, Tiit-Rein. Keelesugulus ja soome-ugri keelepuu. Akadeemia 9/5 (1997) and refined in Viitso (2000):Viitso, Tiit-Rein. Finnic Affinity. Congressus Nonus Internationalis Fenno-Ugristarum I: Orationes plenariae & Orationes publicae. (2000) * Finno-Ugric ** Saamic–Fennic (
consonant gradation Consonant gradation is a type of consonant mutation (mostly lenition but also assimilation) found in some Uralic languages The Uralic languages (; sometimes called Uralian languages ) form a language family of 38 language A language ...
) *** Saamic *** Fennic ** Eastern Finno-Ugric ***Mordva ***(node) **** Mari **** Permian–Ugric (*δ > *l) ***** Permian ***** Ugric (*s *š *ś > *ɬ *ɬ *s) ****** Hungarian ****** Khanty ****** Mansi The grouping of the four bottom-level branches remains to some degree open to interpretation, with competing models of Finno-Saamic vs. Eastern Finno-Ugric (Mari, Mordvinic, Permic-Ugric; *k > ɣ between vowels, degemination of stops) and Finno-Volgaic (Finno-Saamic, Mari, Mordvinic; *δʲ > *ð between vowels) vs. Permic-Ugric. Viitso finds no evidence for a Finno-Permic grouping. Extending this approach to cover the Samoyedic languages suggests affinity with Ugric, resulting in the aforementioned East Uralic grouping, as it also shares the same sibilant developments. A further non-trivial Ugric-Samoyedic isogloss is the reduction *k, *x, *w > ɣ when before *i, and after a vowel (cf. *k > ɣ above), or adjacent to *t, *s, *š, or *ś. Finno-Ugric consonant developments after Viitso (2000); Samoyedic changes after Sammallahti (1988) *Note: Proto-Khanty *ɬ in many of the dialects yields *t; Häkkinen assumes this also happened in Mansi and Samoyedic. The inverse relationship between consonant gradation and medial lenition of stops (the pattern also continuing within the three families where gradation ''is'' found) is noted by Helimski (1995): an original allophonic gradation system between voiceless and voiced stops would have been easily disrupted by a spreading of voicing to previously unvoiced stops as well.


Honkola, et al. (2013)

A computational phylogenetic study by Honkola, et al. (2013) classifies the Uralic languages as follows. Estimated divergence dates from Honkola, et al. (2013) are also given. ;Uralic (5300
YBP Before Present (BP) years is a geologic time scale, time scale used mainly in archaeology, geology, and other science, scientific disciplines to specify when events occurred before the origin of practical radiocarbon dating in the 1950s. Because t ...
) * Samoyedic *
Finno-Ugric Finno-Ugric ( or ; ''Fenno-Ugric'') or Finno-Ugrian (''Fenno-Ugrian''), is a traditional grouping of all languages in the Uralic language family except the Samoyedic languages. Its formerly commonly accepted status as a subfamily of Uralic is ba ...

Finno-Ugric
(3900
YBP Before Present (BP) years is a geologic time scale, time scale used mainly in archaeology, geology, and other science, scientific disciplines to specify when events occurred before the origin of practical radiocarbon dating in the 1950s. Because t ...
) **
Ugric The Ugric or Ugrian languages ( or ) are a proposed branch of the Uralic language family. The name Ugric is derived from Ugrians, an archaic exonym for the Magyars (Hungarians) and Yugra, a region in north-west Russia. Ugric includes three ...
(3300 YBP) ***
HungarianHungarian may refer to: * Hungary, a country in Central Europe * Kingdom of Hungary, state of Hungary, existing between 1000 and 1946 * Hungarians, ethnic groups in Hungary * Hungarian algorithm, a polynomial time algorithm for solving the assignmen ...
*** Ob-Ugric (1900 YBP) ****
Khanty The Khanty (in older literature: Ostyaks) are a Ugrian The Ugric or Ugrian languages ( or ) are a proposed branch of the Uralic language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spo ...
****
Mansi Mansi may refer to: People * Mansi people The Mansi ( Mansi: Мāньси / Мāньси мāхум, ''Māńsi / Māńsi māhum'', ) are a Ugrian indigenous people living in Khanty–Mansia, an autonomous okrug within Tyumen Oblast Tyumen ...
** Finno-Permic (3700 YBP) ***
Permian The Permian ( ) is a geologic period The geologic time scale (GTS) is a system of chronological dating that classifies Geology, geological strata (stratigraphy) in time. It is used by geologists, paleontology, paleontologists, and other earth ...

Permian
**** ****
KomiKomi may refer to: Places Greece *Komi, Cyclades, a village on the island of Tinos, part of the municipality Exomvourgo *Komi, Elis, a settlement in the municipality of Vouprasia Iran *Komi, Iran, a village in East Azerbaijan Province, Iran Japan ...

Komi
*** Finno-Volgaic ****
Mari Mari may refer to: Places *Mari, Paraíba, Brazil, a city *Mari, Cyprus, a village *Mari, Greece, a village, site of ancient town of Marius (Laconia), Marius *Mari, Iran (disambiguation), places in Iran *Mari, Punjab, a village and a union counci ...

Mari
(3200 YBP) ****(core branch) ***** Erzya (2900 YBP) (
Mordvinic The Mordvinic languages, alternatively Mordvin languages, or Mordvinian languages (russian: Мордовские языки, ''Mordovskiye yazyki'', the official Russian term for the language pair), are a subgroup of the Uralic languages, comprisin ...
) ***** ******
Sami Places * Sápmi, a cultural region in Northern Europe * Sami, Burkina Faso, a district of the Banwa Province * Sami District, Gambia * Sami, Cephalonia, a municipality in Greece * Sami (ancient city), in Elis, Greece * Sami Bay, east of Sami, Ceph ...

Sami
(800 YBP) ****** (1200 YBP)


Typology

Structural characteristics generally said to be typical of Uralic languages include:


Grammar

* extensive use of independent
suffix In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languag ...
es (
agglutination The middle sign is in Hungarian, which agglutinates extensively. (The top and bottom signs are in Romanian and German, respectively, both Fusional language, inflecting languages.) The English translation is "Ministry of Food and Agriculture: Sa ...
) * a large set of
grammatical case Grammatical case is a term regarding a manner of categorizing s, s, s, s, and s according to their traditionally corresponding s within a given , , or . In some languages, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, s, participles, prepositions, numerals, art ...
s marked with agglutinative suffixes (13–14 cases on average; mainly later developments: Proto-Uralic is reconstructed with 6 cases), e.g.: ** Erzya: 12 cases ** Estonian: 14 cases (15 cases with instructive) ** Finnish: 15 cases ** Hungarian: 18 cases (together 34 grammatical cases and case-like suffixes) ** Inari Sami: 9 cases ** Komi: in certain dialects as many as 27 cases ** Moksha: 13 cases ** Nenets: 7 cases ** North Sami: 6 cases ** Udmurt: 16 cases ** Veps: 24 cases * unique Uralic case system, from which all modern Uralic languages derive their case systems. ** nominative singular has no case suffix. ** accusative and genitive suffixes are
nasal consonant In phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that studies how humans produce and perceive sounds, or in the case of sign languages, the equivalent aspects of sign. Phoneticians—linguists who specialize in phonetics—study the physical ...
s (''-n'', ''-m'', etc.) ** three-way distinction in the local case system, with each set of local cases being divided into forms corresponding roughly to "from", "to", and "in/at"; especially evident, e.g. in Hungarian, Finnish and Estonian, which have several sets of local cases, such as the "inner", "outer" and "on top" systems in Hungarian, while in Finnish the "on top" forms have merged to the "outer" forms. ** the Uralic locative suffix exists in all Uralic languages in various cases, e.g. Hungarian superessive, Finnish
essive In grammar In linguistics, the grammar (from Ancient Greek ''grammatikḗ'') of a natural language is its set of structure, structural constraints on speakers' or writers' composition of clause (linguistics), clauses, phrases, and words. The te ...
(''-na''), North Sami
essive In grammar In linguistics, the grammar (from Ancient Greek ''grammatikḗ'') of a natural language is its set of structure, structural constraints on speakers' or writers' composition of clause (linguistics), clauses, phrases, and words. The te ...
, Erzyan inessive, and Nenets
locative In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, a ...
. ** the Uralic
lativeIn grammar, lative (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) is a grammatical case which indicates motion to a location. It corresponds to the English prepositions "to" and "into". The lative case belongs to the group of the general local cases ...
suffix exists in various cases in many Uralic languages, e.g. Hungarian illative, Finnish
lativeIn grammar, lative (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) is a grammatical case which indicates motion to a location. It corresponds to the English prepositions "to" and "into". The lative case belongs to the group of the general local cases ...
(''-s'' as in ''ulos'' 'out' and ''rannemmas'' 'more towards the shore'), Erzyan illative, Komi approximative, and Northern Sami
locative In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, a ...
. * a lack of grammatical gender, including one pronoun for both ''he'' and ''she''; for example, ''hän'' in Finnish, ''tämä'' in Votic, ''tämā'' or ''ta'' (short form for tämā) in Livonian, ''tema'' or ''ta'' (short form for tema) in Estonian, ''sijə'' in Komi, ''ő'' in Hungarian. * negative verb, which exists in almost all Uralic languages (notably absent in Hungarian) * use of postpositions as opposed to prepositions (prepositions are uncommon). * possessive suffixes ** the Genitive case, genitive is also used to express possession in some languages, e.g.
Estonian Estonian may refer to: *Something of, from, or related to Estonia, a country in the Baltic region in northern Europe *Estonians, people from Estonia, or of Estonian descent *Estonian language *Estonian cuisine *Estonian culture See also

* * La ...
''mu koer'', Spoken Finnish, colloquial Finnish ''mun koira'', Northern Sami language, Northern Sami ''mu beana'' 'my dog' (literally 'dog of me'). Separate possessive adjectives and possessive pronouns, such as ''my'' and ''your'', are rare. * dual (grammatical number), dual, in the Samoyedic, Ob-Ugric and Samic languages and reconstructed for Proto-Uralic * plural markers -j (i) and -t (-d, -q) have a common origin (e.g. in Finnish, Estonian, Võro, Erzya, Samic languages, Samoyedic languages). Hungarian, however, has -i- before the possessive suffixes and -k elsewhere. The plural marker -k is also used in the Samic languages, but there is a regular merging of final -k and -t in Samic, so it can come from either ending. * Possessions are expressed by a possessor in the adessive or dative case, the verb "be" (the copula (linguistics), copula, instead of the verb "have") and the possessed with or without a possessive suffix. The grammatical subject of the sentence is thus the possessed. In Finnish, for example, the possessor is in the adessive case: "Minulla on kala", literally "At me is fish", i.e. "I have a fish", whereas in Hungarian, the possessor is in the dative case, but appears overtly only if it is contrastive, while the possessed has a possessive ending indicating the number and person of the possessor: "(Nekem) van egy halam", literally "(To me [dative]) is a fish-my" ("(For me) there is a fish of mine"), i.e. "(As for me,) I have a fish". * expressions that include a Numeral (linguistics), numeral are singular if they refer to things which form a single group, e.g. "négy csomó" in Hungarian, "njeallje čuolmma" in Northern Sami, "neli sõlme" in Estonian, and "neljä solmua" in Finnish, each of which means "four knots", but the literal approximation is "four knot". (This approximation is accurate only for Hungarian among these examples, as in Northern Sami the noun is in the singular accusative/genitive case and in Finnish and Estonian the singular noun is in the partitive case, such that the number points to a part of a larger mass, like "four of knot(s)".)


Phonology

* Vowel harmony: this is present in many but by no means all Uralic languages. It exists in Hungarian and various Baltic-Finnic languages, and is present to some degree elsewhere, such as in Mordvinic, Mari, Eastern Khanty, and Samoyedic. It is lacking in Sami, Permic and standard Estonian, while it does exist in Võro language, Võro and elsewhere in South Estonian language, South Estonian, as well as in Kihnu, Kihnu Island subdialect of North Estonian. (Although Diaeresis (diacritic), diaeresis diacritics are used in writing Uralic languages, the languages do not exhibit Germanic umlaut, a different type of vowel Assimilation (phonology), assimilation.) * Large vowel inventories. For example, some Selkup language, Selkup varieties have over twenty different monophthongs, and
Estonian Estonian may refer to: *Something of, from, or related to Estonia, a country in the Baltic region in northern Europe *Estonians, people from Estonia, or of Estonian descent *Estonian language *Estonian cuisine *Estonian culture See also

* * La ...
has over twenty different diphthongs. * Palatalization (phonetics), Palatalization of consonants; in this context, palatalization means a secondary articulation, where the middle of the tongue is tense. For example, pairs like – [n], or [c] – [t] are contrasted in Hungarian, as in ''hattyú'' "swan". Some Sami languages, for example Skolt Sami language, Skolt Sami, distinguish three degrees: plain [l], palatalized , and palatal , where has a primary alveolar articulation, while has a primary palatal articulation. Original Uralic palatalization is phonemic, independent of the following vowel and traceable to the millennia-old Proto-Uralic. It is different from Slavic palatalization, which is of more recent origin. The Finnic languages have lost palatalization, but several of them have reacquired it, so Finnic palatalization (where extant) was originally dependent on the following vowel and does not correlate to palatalization elsewhere in Uralic. * Lack of phonologically contrastive tone (linguistics), tone. * In many Uralic languages, the stress is always on the first syllable, though Nganasan shows (essentially) penultimate stress, and a number of languages of the central region (Erzya, Mari, Udmurt and Komi-Permyak) synchronically exhibit a lexical accent. The Erzya language can vary its stress in words to give specific nuances to sentential meaning.


Lexicography

Basic vocabulary of about 200 words, including body parts (e.g. eye, heart, head, foot, mouth), family members (e.g. father, mother-in-law), animals (e.g. viper, partridge, fish), nature objects (e.g. tree, stone, nest, water), basic verbs (e.g. live, fall, run, make, see, suck, go, die, swim, know), basic pronouns (e.g. who, what, we, you, I), numerals (e.g. two, five); derivatives increase the number of common words.


Selected cognates

The following is a very brief selection of cognates in basic vocabulary across the Uralic family, which may serve to give an idea of the sound changes involved. This is not a list of translations: cognates have a common origin, but their meaning may be shifted and loanwords may have replaced them. Orthographical notes: The hacek denotes postalveolar articulation ( , , ) (In Northern Sami, ( ), while the acute denotes a secondary palatal articulation ( , , ) or, in Hungarian, vowel length. The Finnish letter and the letter in other languages represent the high rounded vowel ; the letters and are the front vowels and . As is apparent from the list, Finnish is the most conservative of the Uralic languages presented here, with nearly half the words on the list above identical to their Proto-Uralic reconstructions and most of the remainder only having minor changes, such as the conflation of *ś into /s/, or widespread changes such as the loss of *x and alteration of *ï. Finnish has even preserved old Indo-European borrowings relatively unchanged as well. (An example is ''porsas'' ("pig"), loaned from Proto-Indo-European language, Proto-Indo-European ''*porḱos'' or pre-Proto-Indo-Iranian language, Proto-Indo-Iranian ''*porśos'', unchanged since loaning save for loss of Palatalization (phonetics), palatalization, *ś > s.)


Mutual intelligibility

The Estonian philologist Mall Hellam proposed cognate sentences that she asserted to be mutually intelligible among the three most widely spoken Uralic languages: Finnish, Estonian, and Hungarian: * et, Elav kala ujub vee all. * fi, Elävä kala ui veden alla. * hu, Eleven hal úszik a víz alatt. * en, A living fish swims underwater. However, linguist Geoffrey Pullum reports that neither Finns nor Hungarians could understand the other language's version of the sentence.


Comparison

No Uralic language has exactly the idealized typological profile of the family. Typological features with varying presence among the modern Uralic language groups include: Notes: # Clearly present only in Nganasan language, Nganasan. # Vowel harmony is present in the Uralic languages of Siberia only in some marginal archaic varieties: Nganasan language, Nganasan, Southern Mansi and Eastern Khanty. #Only recently lost in modern Estonian # A number of umlaut processes are found in Livonian language, Livonian. # In
KomiKomi may refer to: Places Greece *Komi, Cyclades, a village on the island of Tinos, part of the municipality Exomvourgo *Komi, Elis, a settlement in the municipality of Vouprasia Iran *Komi, Iran, a village in East Azerbaijan Province, Iran Japan ...

Komi
, but not in .


Proposed relations with other language families

Many relationships between Uralic and other language families have been suggested, but none of these is generally accepted by linguists at the present time: All of the following hypotheses are minority views at the present time in Uralic studies.


Uralic-Yukaghir

The Uralic–Yukaghir languages, Uralic–Yukaghir hypothesis identifies Uralic and Yukaghir languages, Yukaghir as independent members of a single language family. It is currently widely accepted that the similarities between Uralic and Yukaghir languages are due to ancient contacts. Regardless, the hypothesis is accepted by a few linguists and viewed as attractive by a somewhat larger number.


Eskimo-Uralic

The Eskimo–Uralic languages, Eskimo–Uralic hypothesis associates Uralic with the Eskimo–Aleut languages. This is an old thesis whose antecedents go back to the 18th century. An important restatement of it is Knut Bergsland, Bergsland 1959.


Uralo-Siberian

Uralo-Siberian languages, Uralo-Siberian is an expanded form of the Eskimo–Uralic hypothesis. It associates Uralic with Yukaghir, Chukotko-Kamchatkan languages, Chukotko-Kamchatkan, and Eskimo–Aleut. It was propounded by Michael Fortescue in 1998. It is currently the most supported hypothesis regarding close relatives of Uralic. Modern supporters include Morris Swadesh,
Juha Janhunen Juha Janhunen (born 12 February 1952 in Pori) is a Finnish linguist whose wide interests include Uralic and Mongolic languages. Since 1994 he has been Professor in East Asian Studies at the University of Helsinki. He has done fieldwork on Samoy ...
and Häkkinen. Michael Fortescue (2017) present next to new linguistic evidence also several genetic studies, that support a common origin of the included groups, with a suggested homeland somewhere in Northeast Asia.


Ural-Altaic

Theories proposing a close relationship with the Altaic languages were formerly popular, based on similarities in vocabulary as well as in grammatical and phonological features, in particular the similarities in the Uralic and Altaic pronouns and the presence of
agglutination The middle sign is in Hungarian, which agglutinates extensively. (The top and bottom signs are in Romanian and German, respectively, both Fusional language, inflecting languages.) The English translation is "Ministry of Food and Agriculture: Sa ...
in both sets of languages, as well as vowel harmony in some. For example, the word for "language" is similar in
Estonian Estonian may refer to: *Something of, from, or related to Estonia, a country in the Baltic region in northern Europe *Estonians, people from Estonia, or of Estonian descent *Estonian language *Estonian cuisine *Estonian culture See also

* * La ...
(''keel'') and Mongolian language, Mongolian (''хэл'' (''hel'')). These theories are now generally rejected and most such similarities are attributed to language contact or coincidence.


Indo-Uralic

The Indo-Uralic languages, Indo-Uralic (or "Indo-Euralic") hypothesis suggests that Uralic and
Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation ...
are related at a fairly close level or, in its stronger form, that they are more closely related than either is to any other language family.


Uralo-Dravidian

The hypothesis that the Dravidian languages display similarities with the Uralic language group, suggesting a prolonged period of contact in the past, is popular amongst Dravidian linguists and has been supported by a number of scholars, including Robert Caldwell, Thomas Burrow, Kamil Zvelebil, and Mikhail Andronov. This hypothesis has, however, been rejected by some specialists in Uralic languages, and has in recent times also been criticised by other Dravidian linguists, such as Bhadriraju Krishnamurti.


Nostratic

Nostratic languages, Nostratic associates Uralic, Indo-European, Altaic, Dravidian, and various other language families of Asia. The Nostratic hypothesis was first propounded by Holger Pedersen (linguist), Holger Pedersen in 1903 and subsequently revived by Vladislav Illich-Svitych and Aharon Dolgopolsky in the 1960s.


Eurasiatic

Eurasiatic languages, Eurasiatic resembles Nostratic in including Uralic, Indo-European, and Altaic, but differs from it in excluding the South Caucasian languages, Dravidian, and Afroasiatic and including Chukotko-Kamchatkan, Nivkh language, Nivkh, Ainu languages, Ainu, and Eskimo–Aleut. It was propounded by Joseph Greenberg in 2000–2002. Similar ideas had earlier been expressed by Heinrich Koppelmann in 1933 and by Björn Collinder in 1965.


Uralic skepticism

In her book, ''The Uralic language family: facts, myths, and statistics'', linguist Angela Marcantonio argues against the validity of several subgroups of the Uralic family, as well against the family itself, claiming that many of the languages are no more closely related to each other than they are to various other Eurasian languages (e.g. Yukaghir or Turkic), and that in particular Hungarian is a language isolate. Marcantonio's proposal has been strongly dismissed by most reviewers as unfounded and methodologically flawed. Problems identified by reviewers include: * Misrepresentation of the amount of comparative evidence behind the Uralic family, by arbitrarily ignoring data and mis-counting the number of examples known of various regular sound correspondences * After arguing against the proposal of a Ugric subgroup within Uralic, claiming that this would constitute evidence that Hungarian and the Ob-Ugric languages have no relationship at all * Excessive focus on criticizing the work of early pioneer studies on the Uralic family, while ignoring newer, more detailed work published in the 20th century * Criticizing the evidence for the Uralic family as unsystematic and statistically insignificant, yet freely proposing alternate relationships based on even scarcer and even less systematic evidence. A more ambiguous review comes from linguist Edward Vajda, who does not, however, specialize in Uralic languages. Although he also rejects all of the book's new proposals (including the author's dismissal of Uralic as a language family), he agrees that Marcantonio has raised a number of worthwhile questions that both Uralicists and non-Uralicists should aim to answer seriously.


Other comparisons

Various unorthodox comparisons have been advanced. These are considered at best spurious fringe-theories by specialists: *Finno-Basque languages, Finno-Basque * Alternative theories of Hungarian language origins#Etruscan-Hungarian language relation, Hungarian-Etruscan *Sino-Uralic * Cal-Ugrian theory *Dené-Finnish (Sino-Tibetan languages, Sino-Tibetan, Na-Dene languages, Na-Dené and Uralic) * Alternative theories of Hungarian language origins


See also

*List of Uralic languages


Notes


References

* Abondolo, Daniel M. (editor). 1998. ''The Uralic Languages''. London and New York: Routledge. . * * Collinder, Björn. 1955. ''Fenno-Ugric Vocabulary: An Etymological Dictionary of the Uralic Languages.'' (Collective work.) Stockholm: Almqvist & Viksell. (Second, revised edition: Hamburg: Helmut Buske Verlag, 1977.) * Collinder, Björn. 1957. ''Survey of the Uralic Languages.'' Stockholm. * Collinder, Björn. 1960. ''Comparative Grammar of the Uralic Languages.'' Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell * Comrie, Bernhard. 1988. "General Features of the Uralic Languages." In ''The Uralic Languages'', edited by Denis Sinor, pp. 451–477. Leiden: Brill. * Décsy, Gyula. 1990. ''The Uralic Protolanguage: A Comprehensive Reconstruction.'' Bloomington, Indiana. * Hajdu, Péter. 1963. ''Finnugor népek és nyelvek.'' Budapest: Gondolat kiadó. * Eugene Helimski, Helimski, Eugene. ''Comparative Linguistics, Uralic Studies. Lectures and Articles.'' Moscow. 2000. (russian: link=no, Хелимский Е.А. Компаративистика, уралистика. Лекции и статьи. М., 2000.) * Laakso, Johanna. 1992. ''Uralilaiset kansat'' ('Uralic Peoples'). Porvoo – Helsinki – Juva. . *. * Vladimir Napolskikh, Napolskikh, Vladimir. The First Stages of Origin of People of Uralic Language Family: Material of Mythological Reconstruction. Moscow, 1991. (russian: link=no, Напольских В. В. Древнейшие этапы происхождения народов уральской языковой семьи: данные мифологической реконструкции. М., 1991.) * Rédei, Károly (editor). 1986–88. ''Uralisches etymologisches Wörterbuch'' ('Uralic Etymological Dictionary'). Budapest. *


External classification

* Sauvageot, Aurélien. 1930. ''Recherches sur le vocabulaire des langues ouralo-altaïques'' ('Research on the Vocabulary of the Uralo-Altaic Languages'). Paris.


Linguistic issues

* Künnap, A. 2000. ''Contact-induced Perspectives in Uralic Linguistics.'' LINCOM Studies in Asian Linguistics 39. München: LINCOM Europa. . * Wickman, Bo. 1955. ''The Form of the Object in the Uralic Languages.'' Uppsala: Lundequistska bokhandeln.


Further reading

* Bakró-Nagy, Marianne. "The Uralic Languages". In: ''Revue belge de philologie et d'histoire'', tome 90, fasc. 3, 2012. Langues et littératures modernes. Moderne taal en letterkunde. pp. 1001-1027. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3406/rbph.2012.8272; www.persee.fr/doc/rbph_0035-0818_2012_num_90_3_8272


External links


"The Finno-Ugrics"
''The Economist'', December 20, 2005 * Kulonen, Ulla-Maija
Origin of Finnish and related languages.
''thisisFINLAND'', Finland Promotion Board. Cited 30.10.2009. * *Syrjänen, Kaj, Lehtinen, Jyri, Vesakoski, Outi, de Heer, Mervi, Suutari, Toni, Dunn, Michael, … Leino, Unni-Päivä. (2018). lexibank/uralex: UraLex basic vocabulary dataset (Version v1.0) [Data set]. Zenodo.


"Rebel" Uralists


"The 'Ugric-Turkic battle': a critical review"
by Angela Marcantonio, Pirjo Nummenaho, and Michela Salvagni

by Johanna Laakso – a book review of Angela Marcantonio's ''The Uralic Language Family: Facts, Myths and Statistics'' {{DEFAULTSORT:Uralic Languages Uralic languages, Agglutinative languages Language families Languages of Russia Languages of Finland Languages of Hungary Languages of Estonia