What type of language is Finnish

Finno-Ugric languages

Finno-Ugric languages

1 definition

The f.n S. belong together with the Samoyed languages ​​to the Urals language family. The name f.S. itself reflects the main division into the Finnish-Permian on the one hand and the Ugric languages ​​on the other. In historical and family terms, the f.n S. are divided as follows:

  • Baltic Finnish: Finnish, Estonian, Karelian, Wepsish, Ingrian, Livisch, Wotisch;
  • Lappish (Sami);
  • Volga Finnish: Mordovian, Cheremissian (Mari);
  • Permic: Syrian (Komi), Votyak (Udmurt);
  • Hungarian;
  • Obugrisch: Ostjakisch (Chantisch), Vogulisch (Mansisch).

While this division into 15 f.S. is common and traditional outside of Russia, officially up to 18 languages ​​are differentiated there. Research into the f.n S. was the domain of Hungarian, Finnish and German researchers until the 20th century; these traditionally settled the linguistic differences in Mordovian, Cheremissic and Syriac on a dialectal level. In Russia, on the other hand, for historical, political and administrative reasons, a distinction is made between Erza- and Mokscha-Mordvinian, Berg- and Wiesentscheremissisch as well as Komi-Syrian and Komi-Permyak. The following f.S. are also historically documented or verifiable. T. already in the Middle Ages, z. Some of them only died out in the 19th century: Livish in Livonia (also: Salis-Livisch), Krewini, Merjan, Muromisch, the language of the ›Meščera‹ and “Burtasen”. The exact extent of the ethnonyms “Tschuden”, “Bjarmier” and “Jugrier” (and their languages ​​derived from them), which are generally understood as indifferent Russian names for Finno-Ugric foreign peoples, are unknown.

2 language area

The language area of ​​Lappish extends over the four countries Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia, in a wide arc starting in northern central Sweden and the adjacent Norwegian areas to the Kola peninsula, but not reaching the Baltic Sea and only from the height of Tromsø (Norway ) including the coastal area of ​​the Atlantic (to the Arctic Ocean). Of the Baltic Finnish languages, Finnish and Estonian are spoken in their own independent states, the Livonian language area was until recently the coastal region on the Curonian headland (Kurland / Latvia), the rest are spoken in Russia: Karelian in the an Finland bordering Republic of Karelia and in the Russian Federation (Tverʹ region), the Vepsian in the Karelian Republic and in the Leningrad region and in the Vologda region, the Ingrian and Votic in Ingermanland (Leningrad region). Like Karelian, Mordovian, Cheremissian, Votyak - these three in the area of ​​the Middle Volga and the Kama - and Syrian (in the western foothills of the Urals) have the status of an official language in their own republics (= Mordovia, Mari El, Udmurtia and Komi) ; The first three are also spoken in neighboring areas or republics. Ostyak and Vogul are the only two f.n S. whose language area is in Siberia, in the Autonomous Okrug named after them (Russian Khanty-Mansijskij avtonomny okrug), which belongs to the Tyumenʹ area.

It is characteristic of the Karelians, Mordvines, Syrjänen, Cheremissi and Votyaks that they are always, sometimes very clearly, in the minority in the language area named after them (= republic) and that between the number who belong to the ethnos, and the number who speak the language of ethnos as their mother tongue, there is a sometimes considerable difference. This tendency has steadily increased in the 20th century: In 2002 about 21.5% of the Cheremiss and even 77.9% of the Voguls stated Russian as their first language.

While the Finnougrians (with the exception of the Karelians) still made up the majority there at the time their republics were founded (1920s-1930s), their share is now between 43.5% (Cheremissi) and 25.2% (Syrian). This is explained e.g. In part due to the influx of non-Finno-Ugric populations, e.g. Partly due to the transition of the Finno-Ugrians to Russian or Russian. Leaving the Finno-Ugric language community is not only caused by active Russification, but also by the voluntary transition to Russian for professional or social reasons. In general, all Finno-Ugrians in Russia are at least bilingual; H. In addition to his own language, he is also proficient in Russian (in some cases also in other languages ​​in the region).

The total number of Finnougrians (according to the 2002 data) is just over 20 million, of which the Hungarians alone make up more than half and the Finns a little less than a quarter. The size of the other peoples (the basis for assessment is the census from 1989, which also shows the number of speakers - in the following each in square brackets -) ranges from around 1 million (Estonians and Mordvins [773,827]) to Votjaks (746,793 [520,101 ]), Cheremiss (670,868 [542,160]), Komi-Syrjänen (344,519 [242,515]), Komi-Permjaken (152,060 [106,530]), Karelians (130,929 [65,542]) and Lappen (50,000-100,000) up to Ostyaks ( 22,521 [13,615]), Wogulen (8474 [3140]) and Wepsen (12,501 [6355]). The number of the remaining peoples is around 1000 (Ingrier 820 [302]), or it tends towards zero, i. i.e., they are about to die out (Woten, Liven).

Hungarian, Finnish and Estonian are state languages. Lappish has official status as an official language in the northern municipalities of Norway, Sweden and Finland, which have a large or predominantly Lappish population. For the fn S. Russia, who have their own territory with republic status, a language law now applies everywhere: for Syrian since 1992, Cheremiss since 1995, Mordovian since 1999, Votyak since 2001 and Karelian (including Wepsi and Finnish) since 2004. While in In the Syrian Republic, parts of this law have already been implemented in practice in the regions with a large Syrian population, the significance of these laws in the other republics is subordinate or only exists on paper. All other f.n S. have no official status. Their existence is therefore endangered, and in some cases their demise is imminent.

2.1 Features

The f.n S. are structured dialectally to very different degrees. Large languages ​​such as Hungarian show only a slight internal differentiation, while the small languages ​​of the north - East Yak, Vogul, Lappish, but also Karelian - show very strong dialectal differences; in the case of Lappish, for example, one could speak of up to eight languages ​​(not dialects), since there is little or only very limited intelligibility between the dialects.

Estonian also belongs to this last group, at least until recently. There is a rough dichotomy in Finnish, Mordovian, Cheremissian and Syriac - Russian linguistics also speaks of languages ​​(and not dialects) here (see above). In the case of the other f.n S., the differences tend to be at the dialect level. Overall, the f.n S. are documented or codified very late. Apart from names or individual words in a foreign language context, the earliest memorial is the “Hungarian funeral speech” (Halotti Beszéd) from the beginning of the 13th century. The tradition of Syriac begins with the Orthodox proselytizing at the end of the 14th century, of Estonian and Finnish in the Connection with the Reformation in the 16th century and Lappish in the 17th century. The earliest language samples of Karelian, Livonian, Mordovian and Cheremissian come from the same century. All other languages ​​are first recorded in the 18th or even in the 19th century (e.g. Wepsi). The earliest monuments are either religious in character or simple, small word lists obtained for the purpose of linguistic comparison for historical studies.

Own literature and literature set in much later: for Hungarian in the 16th century, for Finnish and Estonian at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century, then Syrian follows; At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, the development of Mordovian, Cheremiss and Votyak began, then clearly in the 20th century for Karelian, Lappish, Livic, Ostyak, Wepsis and Vogul. The Wotic and Ingrian have remained illiterate to this day.

According to this, only Hungarian, Finnish and Estonian have longer written language traditions. All other written languages ​​were only created in the 20th century. Accordingly, these, but also those of the three major languages, are almost entirely based on the sound; only in Hungarian does the morphological principle also play a role. The f.n S. use either the Latin alphabet (e.g. Hungarian, Finnish, Estonian, Lappish - outside of Russia - and Karelian), otherwise the Cyrillic alphabet (sometimes with special characters). In the circle of the f.n S. two autochthonous scripts or alphabets are historically documented, the so-called Abur script in Old Syrian and a carved script (Hungarian rovásírás) in the southern language area of ​​Hungarian.

The f.n S. are clearly influenced by others. In terms of linguistic history, the Finnougrians were mostly the takers, rarely the givers. The contact languages ​​essentially belong to two language families, the Indo-European and that of the Turkic languages. In this respect, the fn S. can be divided into two groups, a western one (the Baltic Finnish languages ​​and Lappish), which was exposed to Germanic and Baltic influence (the latter can also be proven to a small extent in Mordovian), and an eastern one, the Turkic language Has influence, but not Germanic and Baltic.

The influence of Aryan (or Indo-Iranian) and Slavonic can be seen in all f.n S. The former must have had an effect on the Uralic basic language, while the clearly Iranian influence only took place after the division into individual languages. Slavic (mostly Russian) influence is the most recent overall. In addition, there is also a relatively recent interaction of the f.n S. with one another (e.g. there are Syrian loanwords in Ostyak).

The influence of other languages ​​is largely responsible for the fact that the f.n S. z. T. have developed very divergent. Overall, they can be characterized as belonging to the agglutinating language type, but they also show clear deviations towards the inflected type (e.g. Estonian or Livonian).

On the phonetic level are characteristic: vowel harmony (in the stem and / or suffix only front or rear vowels appear), quantity correlation in vowelism (partly also in consonantism), correlation of palatality in consonantism, sometimes very pronounced, but historically secondary vocal pitch correlation in the Obstruentenbereich (but not in Finnish and Estonian), consonant change (level change) in Baltic Finnish and Lappish, vowel change (ablaut) in Obugrischen, usually no or only slight differences in vowelism (inventory, quantity) of the main and secondary syllables (but very pronounced differences in Estonian), no accumulation of consonants in the initial and only to a limited extent in the final, first syllable stress.

In the morphological field: no gender, no article (exception: Hungarian), a pronounced local case system, dual (today only in Lappish and Obugrischen), expression of possessiveness through suffixes, only weakly pronounced comparison (can only be syntactically or be expressed lexically); Object congruence between verb and specific object (objective conjugation in Mordovian, Hungarian and Obugrian), weak development of verbal categories such as passive and future tense, often morphologically expressed evidentiality, negation by means of a negative verb, strongly developed infinite / nominal domain, noun conjugation (formation of predicative structures by means of conjugation of the nominal predicative) in Mordovian. In the syntactic area: preferred sentence structure in Cheremiss, Obugrian and Votyak subject-object-verb, otherwise subject-verb-object; compulsory use of the copula only in Baltic Finnish and Lappish; Numerals usually rule the singular, the adjective attribute only congruent with the reference word in Baltic Finnish; Subordination takes place primarily through infinite verb forms, the corresponding conjunctions are usually developed or borrowed from individual languages ​​under outside influence. With the exception of Obugric and Lappish (in its southern dialects), the f.n S. do not have a ›have‹ verb and have to paraphrase the meaning with a generally fixed syntagm (›have‹ construction).

The scientific proof of the relationship of the f.n S. and thus the constitution of the discipline is a child of the late 19th or early 20th century. It is true that there were already compilations of languages ​​considered to be related as early as the 17th century; however, they were based on mere appearance, i.e. H. easily recognizable similarities in sound and meaning (Martin Fogel, Gottfried Wilhelm v. Leibniz, Philipp Johann v. Strahlberg, Johann Eberhard Fischer) as well as structural similarities (János Sajnovics, Sámuel Gyarmathi). Only with the application of the methodology of phonetic law developed by the so-called young grammarians within Indo-European studies can the proof be considered as provided.

(Eberhard Winkler)