Udmurt Language
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Udmurt Language

Udmurt kyl
Native toRussia
Native speakers
324,000 in the Russian Federation, ethnic population: 554,000, total users in all countries: 335,730 (2010 census)[1]
Official status
Official language in
Language codes
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Udmurt ( , Udmurt kyl) is a Permic language spoken by the Udmurt natives of the Russian constituent republic of Udmurtia, where it is co-official with Russian.

It is written using the Cyrillic alphabet with the addition of five characters not used in the Russian alphabet: ?/?, ?/?, ?/?, ?/?, and ?/?. Together with the Komi and Permyak languages, it constitutes the Permic grouping of the Uralic family. Among outsiders, it has traditionally been referred to by its Russian exonym, Votyak. Udmurt has borrowed vocabulary from neighboring languages, mainly from Tatar and Russian.

Distribution of the Udmurt language.

Ethnologue estimates 550,000 native speakers (77%) in an ethnic population of 750,000 in the former USSR (1989 census).[2]


Udmurt varieties can be grouped in three broad dialect groups:

A continuum of intermediate dialects between Northern and Southern Udmurt is found, and literary Udmurt includes features from both areas. Besermyan is more sharply distinguished.[]

The differences between the dialects are regardless not major and mainly involve differences in vocabulary, largely attributable to the stronger influence of Tatar in the southern end of the Udmurt-speaking area. A few differences in morphology and phonology still exist as well; for example:

  • Southern Udmurt has an accusative ending - /-?z/, contrasting with northern - /-t?/.
  • Southwestern Udmurt distinguishes an eighth vowel phoneme /?/.
  • Besermyan has /e/ in place of standard Udmurt /?/ (thus distinguishing only six vowel phonemes), and /?/ in place of standard Udmurt /?/.


Udmurt is written using a modified version of the Russian Cyrillic alphabet:

Cyrillic Latin IPA Letter name Notes
? ? A a [a] ?
? ? B b [b]
? ? V v [v]
? ? G g [?]
? ? D d
? ?
[d?~?] before ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?
? ? JE je
E e
[?e] after coronals ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?
? ? JO jo
O o
[?o] after ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?
? ? ? ? [?]
? ? D? d? [d?] ? + ?
? ? Z z
? ?
[?] before ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?
? ? ? ? [d?] +
? ? I i [i]
[?i] after ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?
? ? I i [i] when preceded by ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ? ? ?, ? ("dotted i") Like Komi ?. Non-palatalized form of ?.
? ? J j [j] ? ("short i")
? ? K k [k]
? ? ? ?
L l
[?] before ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?
? ? M m [m]
? ? N n
? ?
[?] before ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?
? ? O o [o] ?
? ? Õ õ [?~?] ?
? ? P p [p]
? ? R r [r]
? ? S s
? ?
[?] before ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?
? ? T t
? ?
[t?~c] before ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?
? ? U u [u] ?
? ? F f [f] In loanwords.
? ? H h [x] In loanwords.
? ? C c [ts] In loanwords.
? ? ? ? [t?] +
? ? ? ? [t?] ? + ?
? ? ? ? [?]
? ? [?(:)] In loanwords.
? ? - - ("hard sign") Distinguishes palatalized consonants (/d? t? z? s? l? n/) from unpalatalized consonants followed by /j/ if followed by vowel; for example, /z?o/ and /zjo/ are written (?o) and (zjo), respectively.
? ? Y y [?~?] ?
? ? - [?] ("soft sign")
? ? E e [e] ?
? ? JU ju [ju]
[?u] after ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?
? ? JA ja [ja]
[?a] after ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?


Unlike other Uralic languages such as Finnish and Hungarian, Udmurt does not distinguish between long and short vowels and does not have vowel harmony.

Labial Alveolar Post-
Palatal Velar
plain lat. plain lat.
Plosive voiceless p t k
voiced b d ?
Affricate voiceless (t?s) t t
voiced (d?z) d d
Fricative voiceless (f) s ? ? (x)
voiced v z ? ?
Nasal m n ? ?
Approximant l j ?
Trill r

The consonants /f x t?s/ are restricted to loanwords, and are traditionally replaced by /p k t/ respectively.


Udmurt language textbook, 1898 (in Russian) ?

Udmurt is an agglutinating language. It uses affixes to express possession, to specify mode, time, and so on.

No gender distinction is made in nouns or personal pronouns.


Udmurt has fifteen cases: eight grammatical cases and seven locative cases.

There is no congruency between adjectives and nouns in neutral Udmurt noun phrases; in other words, there is no adjective declension as in the inessive noun phrase ? ("in a big village"; cf. Finnish inessive phrase isossa kylässä, in which iso "large" is inflected according to the head noun).

Udmurt cases
Case Suffix Example Translation
nominative - ?
genitive -
of a village / village's
accusative -/-/-/-

village (as an object)
ablative -?

from a village
dative -

to a village
instrumental -/-/-

by means of a village
abessive -
without a village
adverbial -?

in a village way
Locative cases*
inessive -

in a village
illative -?/-?/-?

into a village (or house)
elative -
from a village
egressive -?

starting from a village
terminative -
end up at a village
prolative -/-/-/-
along a village
allative -?

towards a village

*Of all the locative cases, personal pronouns can only inflect in the allative (also called approximative).


There are two types of nominal plurals in Udmurt. One is the plural for nouns -/-ë? and the other is the plural for adjectives -/-.

Nominal plural

The noun is always in plural. In attributive plural phrases, the adjective is not required to be in the plural:

Attributive plural
Udmurt English
() ?ë? (the) beautiful girls

The plural marker always comes before other endings (i.e. cases and possessive suffixes) in the morphological structure of plural nominal.

Morphological order
Udmurt English
?ë? to the girls
??ë? to/in their villages

Predicative plural

As in Hungarian, if the subject is plural, the adjective is always plural when it functions as the sentence's predicative:

Attributive plural
Udmurt English
?ë? the girls are beautiful
the winters are cold

Udmurt pronouns are inflected much in the same way that their referent nouns are. However, personal pronouns are only inflected in the grammatical cases and cannot be inflected in the locative cases.


Personal pronouns

Udmurt personal pronouns are used to refer to human beings only. However, the third person singular can be referred to as it. The nominative case of personal pronouns are listed in the following table:

Personal pronouns
Udmurt English
/mon/ I
/ton/ you
/so/ she or he or it
/mi/ we
/ti/ you
? /so:s/ they

Interrogative pronouns

Udmurt interrogative pronouns inflect in all cases. However, the inanimate interrogative pronouns 'what' in the locative cases have the base form -. The nominative case of interrogative pronouns are listed in the following table:

Interrogative pronouns (nominative case)
Udmurt English
/m?/ what
/kin/ who
? /m?os/ what
?ë? /kinjos/ who


Udmurt verbs are divided into two conjugation groups, both having the infinitive marker -.

There are three verbal moods in Udmurt: indicative, conditional and imperative. There is also an optative mood used in certain dialects. The indicative mood has four tenses: present, future, and two past tenses. In addition there are four past tense structures which include auxiliary verbs. Verbs are negated by use of an auxiliary negative verb that conjugates with personal endings.

The basic verbal personal markers in Udmurt are (with some exceptions):

Personal endings of verbs
Person Ending
2nd -?
3rd -?
1st -
2nd -
3rd -
Example conjugation: (conjugation I)
Person Udmurt English
1st * I know
2nd * you know
3rd ? he/she knows
1st ? we know
2nd ? you know
3rd ? they know

*The present tense in Udmurt in all but the third person, is marked with -(?)?-/-(?)?-.


Udmurt is an SOV language.


Depending on the style, about 10 to 30 percent of the Udmurt lexicon consists of loanwords. Many loanwords are from the Tatar language, which has also strongly influenced Udmurt phonology and syntax.

A bilingual sign in Izhevsk proclaiming "welcome" in Russian (" ?") and Udmurt (" ").

The Udmurt language, along with the Tatar language, influenced the language of the Udmurt Jews, in the dialects of which the words of Finno-Ugric and Turkic origin there were recorded.[3][4][5][6]

Media in Udmurt

Eurovision runners-up Buranovskiye Babushki, a pop group composed of Udmurt grandmothers, sing mostly in Udmurt.[7]

The romantic comedy film Berry-Strawberry, a joint Polish-Udmurt production, is in the Udmurt language.

In 2013 the film company "Inwis kinopottonni" produced a film in the Udmurt language called Puzkar ("nest").[8]

The Bible was first completely translated into Udmurt in 2013.[9]


  • Kel'makov, Valentin; Sara Hännikäinen (2008). Udmurtin kielioppia ja harjoituksia (in Finnish) (2nd ed.). Helsinki: Suomalais-Ugrilainen Seura. ISBN 978-952-5150-34-6.
  • Moreau, Jean-Luc (2009). Parlons Oudmourte. Paris: L'Harmattan. ISBN 978-2-296-07951-9.


  1. ^ Udmurt at Ethnologue (23rd ed., 2020)
  2. ^ Ethnologue code=UDM Archived October 9, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Altyntsev A.V., "The Concept of Love in Ashkenazim of Udmurtia and Tatarstan", Nauka Udmurtii. 2013. No 4 (66), pp. 131-132. ( ?.?., "? ? - ? ?". . 2013. No4. ?. 131-132?.) (in Russian)
  4. ^ Goldberg-Altyntsev A.V., "A short ethnographic overview of the Ashkenazic Jews' group in Alnashsky District of Udmurt Republic". Die Sammlung der wissenschaftlichen Arbeiten der jungen jüdischen Wissenschaftler. Herausgegeben von Artur Katz, Yumi Matsuda und Alexander Grinberg. München, Dachau, 2015. S. 51.
  5. ^ - ?.?., "? ? ? ? / . ? ?. . ?.?. ?." Jewish studies in the Udmurt Republic: Online. Part 1. Edited by A. Greenberg. February 27, 2015 published. P. 3. (in Russian)
  6. ^ Goldberg-Altyntsev A.V., "Some characteristics of the Jews in Alnashsky District of Udmurt Republic." The youth. The creativity. The science. Edited by V. Cox, A. Katz and A. Greenberg. Trenton, 2014, p. 28. (- ?.?., ". ? ? " The youth. The creativity. The science. = Die Jugend. Die Kreativität. Die Wissenschaft. = ?. . Edited by V. Cox, A. Katz and A. Greenberg. Trenton, 2014. P. 28.) (in Yiddish)
  7. ^ Omelyanchuk, Olena (7 March 2012). "Buranovskiye Babushki to represent Russia in Baku". European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 2015.
  8. ^ " ( ?)".
  9. ^ "First Bible in Udmurt - arrives this week!". United Bible Societies. Retrieved 2015.

External links

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