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Finno-Ugric Profile

 Language Learning Forum : Collaborative writing Post Reply
Chung
Diglot
Senior Member
Joined 5756 days ago

4228 posts - 8257 votes 
20 sounds
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Polish, Slovak, Uzbek, Turkish, Korean, Finnish

 
 Message 1 of 5
10 April 2011 at 5:04pm | IP Logged 
INTRODUCTION
The Finno-Ugric* languages are a sub-group of the Uralic languages spoken mainly in northeastern Europe and northwestern Asia. One of the Finno-Ugric languages, Hungarian stands out from this distribution in being spoken in central Europe. Approximately 24 million people are native speakers of a Finno-Ugric language although most of these are confined to relatively small areas of Eurasia, and none of the languages is used as a lingua franca outside a few regions or borderlands (e.g. Hungarian on the Slovak side of the border dividing Hungary and Slovakia).

The primary attraction of the Finno-Ugric languages for many potential learners is their relatively low profile and “exoticism” for speakers of languages from the Indo-European, Afroasiatic, Sino-Tibetan or Austronesian families among others. Some speakers of Romance, Germanic or Balto-Slavonic languages axiomatically profess that Finnish and/or Hungarian count among the most difficult languages to learn and some native speakers of Finnish and/or Hungarian go along in echoing such beliefs (perhaps as a form of indirect boasting?). Regardless of the hyperbole, studying a Finno-Ugric language can represent a credible but rewarding challenge for people considering learning a “different” language. Three of the Finno-Ugric languages, Estonian, Finnish and Hungarian, are national languages and reasonably well-supported by learning material thus making exposure/immersion via travel and independent learning respectively feasible endeavours.

As with any other language, the associated culture of the respective Finno-Ugric speech communities can be sufficient encouragement for someone to study a Finno-Ugric language. The modern culture of the Estonians, Finns and Hungarian is broadly “Western” in being informed to a certain degree by Christianity and social or artistic movements experienced throughout Europe. However the cultures of those speaking other Finno-Ugric languages (e.g. Khanty, Northern Saami) are tied quite closely to the harsh environment/climate faced by these people as well traditions which predate the spread of the “Western” and/or Christian ethos to these people.

*Finno-Ugric was conceived as a group in the late 19th century using classificatory criteria considered useful or decisive at that time and subsequently accepted without reservation by most linguists. In the second half of the 20th century, some linguists began to question the validity of or the need to conceive (Proto-)Finno-Ugric for various reasons. This essay by Prof. Tapani Salminen at the University of Helsinki is a summary of the reexamination. One hypothesis is that there might not have been a Proto-Finno-Ugric language at all, and the attested languages that we have often considered Finno-Ugric would be instead the results of independent development from Proto-Uralic. However, I will retain the scheme of Finno-Ugric to maintain the focus of this profile comparing Estonian, Finnish, Hungarian and Saamic.

TRAVEL OPPORTUNITIES
Finno-Ugric languages are most likely to be encountered natively when travelling to Estonia, Finland or Hungary. They are also used in northern Fennoscandinavia in the form of the Saamic (Lappic) languages but bilingualism with the higher-profile Finnish Norwegian or Swedish is the norm. Finno-Ugric languages in Russia are found mainly in rural areas of certain republics or autonomous okrugs but bilingualism with the higher-profile Russian is the norm.

COUNTRIES
Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Norway, Russia and Sweden. Hungarian is designated as a minority or regional language in Austria, Croatia, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia and Ukraine. The diaspora of Finno-Ugric native speakers is concentrated in some cities in the Americas and Australia.

SPEAKERS
Approximately 24 million.

CHARACTERISTICS/FEATURES OF INTEREST TO THE POTENTIAL LEARNER IN SELECTED FINNO-UGRIC LANGUAGES
a) ESTONIAN
- main stress fixed on first syllable
- more elaborate consonant gradation than in Finnish
- no vowel harmony
- hybrid of agglutinative and fusional typology
- relatively flexible word order but tendency toward SVO in declarative sentences.
- no grammatical gender and minimal marking for natural gender
- singular and plural
- 4 moods
- 4 tenses
- frequent use of infinitive and supine (often described in tetxtbooks as “-da” and “ma” infinitives)
- conjugation in affirmative differs from that of negative (i.e. negative verb)
- possession conventionally expressed with possessor in adessive case plus “to be” (i.e. “on-me is…”)
- 14 noun cases
- definiteness expressed by context, certain demonstrative pronouns or word order instead of definite articles
- telicity (i.e. predicate (including direct object) takes on different cases depending on the definiteness of its quantity or the degree to which it’s affected/completed by the relevant verb)
- postpositions are more common than prepositions
- Two-tiered T-V distinction
- According to linguist Tiit-Rein Viitso, there are 770-850 loanwords from Low German, 490-540 from High German, 60 from Baltic German, 100-150 from Swedish, 300-350 from Russian, 30-45 from Latvian and roughly 800 from Finnish.
- moderately supported by learning materials published for speakers of English

b) FINNISH
- main stress fixed on first syllable
- less elaborate consonant gradation than in Estonian
- relatively basic vowel harmony
- primarily agglutinative but some fusional typology
- relatively flexible word order but tendency toward SVO in declarative sentences
- no grammatical gender and minimal marking for natural gender
- singular and plural
- 5 moods
- 4 tenses
- 1 frequently-used infinitive and 4 infinitives whose use is noticeably less frequent.
- conjugation in affirmative differs from that of negative (i.e. negative verb)
- possession conventionally expressed with possessor in adessive case plus “to be” (i.e. “on-me is…”)
- 15 noun cases
- definiteness expressed by context, certain demonstrative pronouns or word order instead of definite articles
- telicity (i.e. the predicate (including direct object) takes on different cases depending on the definiteness of its quantity or the degree to which it’s affected/completed by the relevant verb)
- postpositions are more common than prepositions
- Largely two-tiered T-V distinction
- According to linguist Fred Karlsson, there are several hundred loanwords (mainly from Swedish) and many calques.
- moderately supported by learning materials published for speakers of English

c) HUNGARIAN
- main stress fixed on first syllable
- no consonant gradation
- relatively elaborate vowel harmony compared to Finnish (front vowels in Hungarian can harmonize for “roundedness” or not (i.e. e vs. ö))
- primarily agglutinative with much less fusional typology than in Estonian, Finnish or Northern Saami
- relatively flexible word order and governed more by needs for emphasis or meaning than in Estonian, Finnish or Northern Saami.
- no grammatical gender and minimal marking for natural gender
- singular and plural
- 3 moods
- 3 tenses
- 1 infinitive
- conjugation in affirmative does not differs from that of negative (i.e. negative verb is not used)
- possession conventionally expressed with possessor in the dative case plus “to be” (i.e. “to-me is…”)
- 16 to 24 noun cases depending on how one counts them.
- definiteness expressed by definite articles or implied by associated verb's ending (see following).
- verbs' endings are divisible into those referring to “defined” direct objects and everything else (i.e. “definite” vs. “indefinite” conjugation).
- postpositions only
- Four-tiered T-V distinction
- According to linguist István Kenesei, approximately 30% of Hungarian's word roots are of uncertain etymology. The remainder is traceable to various languages or language families (21% from Finno-Ugric, 20% from Slavonic, 11% from Germanic, 9.5% from Turkic, 6% from Latin and Greek, 2.5% from Romance languages (i.e. descendants of Latin), 1% from other languages/families).
- moderately supported by learning materials published for speakers of English

d) NORTHERN SAAMI
- main stress fixed on first syllable
- more elaborate consonant gradation than in Estonian and even more than in Finnish
- no vowel harmony
- hybrid of agglutinative and fusional typology
- relatively flexible word order but tends to be SVO in main clauses.
- no grammatical gender and minimal marking for natural gender
- singular, dual and plural
- 4 or 5 moods depending on how one counts them
- 4 tenses
- 2 infinitives
- conjugation in affirmative differs from that of negative (i.e. negative verb)
- possession conventionally expressed with possessor in the locative case plus “to be” (i.e. “at/in/on-me is…”)
- 6 or 7 noun cases depending on how one counts them.
- definiteness expressed by context, certain demonstrative pronouns or word order instead of definite articles
- no consideration for telicity as in Estonian or Finnish nor consideration for definiteness of the direct object as in Hungarian
- postpositions are more common than prepositions
- no T-V distinction
- According to linguist Pekka Sammallahti, roughly 600 words from the traditional vocabulary have cognates in other Uralic languages. There are also several thousand loanwords from each of North Germanic and Finnish.
- poorly supported by learning materials published for speakers of English

BOOKS OF INTEREST ON FINNO-UGRIC LANGUAGES IN GENERAL
- Abondolo, Daniel (ed.). The Uralic Languages. London, New York, Routledge: 1998 (Somewhat technical and not focused on comparison but it's the current standard descriptive manual of the Uralic languages (i.e. Finno-Ugric plus Samoyedic))
- Benkő, Loránd (ed.) et al. Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Ungarischen. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó, 1995. (2 vols. or 6 booklets) (updated version in German only of the large standard dictionary of Hungarian etymology. It's expensive and not essential unless the learner were an etymological fiend)
- Collinder, Björn. Comparative Grammar of the Uralic Languages. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1960. (Somewhat dated but the focus on comparison is attractive to the learner interested in the relationship between several suffixes or grammatical concepts used in the Uralic languages, not just in Finno-Ugric.)
- Häkkinen, Kaisa. Nykysuomen etymologinen sanakirja. Juva (Finland): WSOY, 2005 (basic etymological dictionary of modern Finnish - useful for learners with no more than moderate interest in seeing cognates in the other Uralic languages)
- Itkonen, Erkki & Kulonen, Ulla-Maija (eds.). Suomen sanojen alkuperä: Etymologinen sanakirja. Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura: Kotimaisten kielten tutkimuskeskus, 1992-5 (3 vols.) (large etymological dictionary of Finnish with detailed coverage. Expensive and not essential unless the learner were an etymological fiend)
- Marcantonio, Angela. The Uralic Language Family: Facts, Myths and Statistics. Malden (USA): Blackwell Publishers, 2002. (A thought-provoking examination of the ideas and comparative evidence used to postulate the Uralic family despite doubts about some of the analytical techniques used by Marcantonio when questioning the current classification.)
- Rédei, Károly (ed.). Uralisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. Budapest: Harrasowitz, 1986-8. (3 vols.) (Standard etymological dictionary of Uralic languages but published in German and somewhat dated)
- Sinor, Denis (ed.). The Uralic Languages: Description, History and Foreign Influences. Leiden (Holland): Brill, 1988. (Somewhat technical compilation of descriptions of and essays about Uralic languages with authors' contributions in English, French or German)
- Zaicz, Gábor (ed.). Etimológiai szótár - Magyar szavak és toldalékok eredete. Budapest: Tinta, 2007. (basic etymological dictionary of modern Hungarian - useful for learners with no more than moderate interest in seeing cognates in the other Uralic languages)

LINKS
Difficulties of Finno-Ugric
Estonian/Finnish/Hungarian "cheat sheet"
Difficulty of Finno-Ugric languages
Easiest Finno-Ugric language?
Estonian Profile
Etymological database of Uralic languages
Finnish & Estonian
Finnish and Hungarian: Mutual intelligibility
Finnish Profile (revised)
Finno-Ugric languages
Hungarian or Finnish - please help!
Hungarian Profile
Mari course
Saamic / Lappish Profile
Which is more practical and easier to learn, Estonian or Finnish?

Audio recordings of numbers (“Lukusanat”), greetings (“Tervehdykset”) and short samples including monologues, readings, dialogues or songs from Finno-Ugric languages.
Estonian
Finnish
Hungarian
Karelian and Veps
Khanty (Kazym dialect)
Komi
Mansi
Mari
Mordvin - Erzya
Saamic
Udmurt

COMMENTS FROM THOSE WHO HAVE “BEEN THERE” WITH AT LEAST TWO FINNO-UGRIC LANGUAGES

Chung (HTLAL) wrote:
Notwithstanding the potential sense of accomplishment or uniqueness in tackling Finno-Ugric languages (especially the lesser-known ones) it’s most likely that the choice will be between Estonian, Finnish and Hungarian after having considered opportunities to practice the language or obtain sufficient learning material. Learning materials for Lappic/Sammic languages can be difficult to obtain or expensive and where available use Finnish, Norwegian, Russian or Swedish as the intermediary/teaching language. Learning resources for lesser-known Finno-Ugric languages often use Russian as the intermediary/teaching language (the online textbook and audio for Mari which uses English as the intermediary/teaching language and is supported by the Department of Finno-Ugric Studies at the University of Vienna is a notable exception). In general, potential learners will need to balance their interests with what is available or accessible without being prohibitively costly in time or money.

I found Hungarian to be the easiest of the four to grasp to a usable level while Estonian was the hardest (it's very debatable whether I can say that I have an even usable grasp of that language!). Inari Saami was also quite difficult for me to grasp and its has the added complications of being endangered and very limited in number of native speakers and geographic distribution thus severely limiting opportunities for practice. Finnish's difficulty for me falls somewhere between Hungarian on one end, and Estonian and Inari Saami on the other.

The grammar of all four languages is complicated for a newcomer but Hungarian is indeed most regular. Thus it may be easier to assimilate patterns as you learn them. Learning the double-conjugation (definite versus indefinite) of Hungarian was much easier for me than trying to understand declension of the direct object in Estonian or Finnish, or get used to the highly fusional morphology typical of Saamic languages. As you get deeper into these languages, you'll find other things to keep you occupied (I'm still at the beginner stage in Finnish, but estimate to have reached high-beginner/low-intermediate for Estonian, mid-intermediate for Hungarian and mid-beginner for Inari Saami). In Hungarian to this day I still struggle with the vagaries of word-order and case governance for various verbs. Hungarian word order is quite flexible and getting the "native-sounding" or "nearest-to-correct" word order is far from easy for a foreigner, even though in theory almost any word order will convey the proper general meaning (if not the subtlety).

I am finding Finnish grammar to be much easier to grasp than Estonian. The apocope (loss of final unstressed syllables) in older forms of Estonian has meant that different case forms in modern Estonian can look the same in print and there does not seem to be any rule by which one can tell if the printed form in genitive or partitive is the same as that of the nominative. Yet to maintain the distinctions Estonians can use up to three vowel lengths (short, long, over-long) to distinguish different case forms or stems. Of course to make life tough, these vowel lengths are not usually marked in texts unless you are consulting a special dictionary or technical manual on Estonian prosody.

Estonian grammar looks just as complicated as Finnish's in my opinion. When you get into the details, the various inflections in Standard Finnish grammar are easier to manage than in Estonian because there's no apocope which leads to syncretized stems (forms that look the same) or complicated rules for determining stems of other words. Apocope wreaks havoc for the foreign learner (in my opinion) when he/she tries to see the details of Estonian inflection. When you compare the formation of the genitive singular, partitive singular and partitive plural (all three are important or "core" cases) in Estonian with how it's done in Finnish, you'll likely wonder how you could think that Estonian grammar would be less complicated than Finnish grammar. If anything, you'll probably be grateful for the more predictable setup in Finnish [...]

Saamic languages stand out noticeably from the Finno-Ugric national languages in relying more on fusion than simple agglutination. This means that instead of adding suffixes to minimally-altered stems to make grammatical / morphological distinctions, Saamic languages sometimes use consonantal or vocalic alternations to make such distinctions (N.B. this is somewhat similar to the use of "strong" verbs in English with vocalic alternations yielding "sing", "sang", and "sung") thus removing the need to attach suffixes here. However, some of these altered forms are stems themselves to which one adds suffixes that make additional distinctions for subject, case or tense thus adhering to agglutinative principles. This somewhat resembles Estonian inflection but in Saamic languages the application is much more widespread as alternations affect more phonemes than in Estonian (and even more than in Finnish and Hungarian).

[Ed.: Some of my comments are from my response (message # 5) to ellasevia's question about comparative difficulty of the three Finno-Ugric national languages in the discussion Estonian/Finnish/Hungarian "cheat sheet"]


David O. (HTLAL) wrote:
For those planning to learn both Finnish and Estonian, the former is the one to start with, as it requires less memorization and the pronunciation is easier. Finnish is also the "purer" of the two, having stayed much truer to its Finno-Ugric roots, whereas Estonian has more loan words and more analytical morphology, primarily through the influence of German.

Estonian is considerably less regular than Finnish; however, a great number of irregularities in Estonian can easily be explained with reference to Finnish. For many Estonian words ending in a consonant, there is no way of knowing which vowel to add to form the genitive stem, except for the fact that the Estonian genitive form often matches the Finnish nominative form. For example, Estonian must (nom.) > musta (gen.) vs. Finnish musta (nom.) > mustan (gen.).

Most difficult things about Finnish, compared to Estonian:
1) Telicity (the use of the partitive in Estonian is somewhat more consistent and intuitive than in Finnish).
2) Complex participial and infinitival constructions.
3) Vast difference between written and spoken language.

Most difficult things about Estonian, compared to Finnish:
1) Unpredictable genitive and partitive forms.
2) Three phonemic lengths (short, long, and "overlong"), compared to the simpler strong/weak grade division in Finnish.


Ketutar (HTLAL) wrote:

Hungarian is the biggest of the Finno-Ugric languages, and thus it would be most accessible, I think. I haven't got there yet :-D
Nevertheless, Hungarian has a lot of cases and phonemes, and might be a "difficult" language to learn. Now, I find that only challenging and thus fun and more interesting - "easy" languages aren't as fun to learn, I think, but in that sense Estonian and Finnish would be "easier".

I think Sámi would be nice to begin with with it's simpler grammar, but it has a bit difficult writing/phonemes. The problem with Sámi is that there isn't much material, and the native speakers are very few and all in Sapmi... it can be really hard to learn in that sense.

I suppose Estonian and Finnish are equally "difficult", very similar indeed, so you can choose which one you like as your first Finno-Ugric (or Uralic) language.
Estonian seems to be easier that Finnish, but close enough so that if you learn Estonian, you can learn Finnish easier.
Finnish is easier to pronounce, I think, but I would think so, being Finnish :-D

Both Estonians and Finns are kind, friendly and helpful people who are present around the internet, so there will be native speakers around to help you with both languages. There are about 5 times more Finns than Estonians, but it doesn't much matter.
(I suppose the same goes to Hungarians, but as I haven't needed to find out yet, so I don't know.)


Kuunhalme (HTLAL) wrote:
From the grammatical point of view, Hungarian indeed is more regular than Finnish or Estonian, but it might have less Indo-European loan words than Finnish. I'd like to point out, however, that often it might be hard to notice that a Finnish word indeed is a Germanic loan word. When I browse my etymological dictionary, I often come upon words which to my great surprise turn out to be Germanic loan words. In many cases, they have been borrowed a long time ago. [Ed. From his post as Message # 47 in the discussion Hungarian or Finnish - please help!]


Laurits (HTLAL) wrote:
[...] So I understand you'd like my opinion on studying Hungarian? (because in my case speaking about learning Finnish it was growing up in a bloody Soviet Estonia and watching Finnish tv already in kindergarten beacause our parents did so and we are thankful to them, both parents and Finns :))

Hungarian was different. It was taught that it is related to us. A typical Estonian would think: "Hey, how the hell is Hungarian a related language if we don't understand a word?" I guess it's the same in Hungary vice versa.

So as I went to the university, I picked up Hungarian course because it was really exciting for me, even mystical. What I found out, it was more REGULAR than our FU. I mean cases of nouns: just find the right endings (compared to Estonian extremely difficult gradation system). The verbs are tougher though. I never understood to the bottom the indefinite/definite verbs of Hungarian. We have cases in that use up north, like partitive :D.

And pronounciation. If you take any non-FU learner, the Hungarian must be the easiest, you don't have those terrible diphtongs like you'd have in Estonian or Finnish. Who can pronounce Estonian word 'võõrtööjõud'? or Finnish 'pyöräily'?

Then again, both Finnish and Estonian have only s and ts, but Hungarian has sz, s, zs, c, cs, dz, dzs. Very difficult to pronounce for Finns for instance.

Ok, so much for now, I don't know did I stay in topic but just some thoughts that came to my mind.

[...]

I forgot the analytical forms of Baltic-Finnic (Germanic influence), it would be very comfortable to learn E or F for a Germanics or Balts because of 'olen teinud/olen tehnyt'. Hungarian follows more a Slavic pattern in that sense.


yangbowen (UniLang) wrote:
[...] I would be happy to share some of my thoughts on learning North Sami and Finnish.

The first Finno-Ugric language I studied was North Sami, but I eventually put my Sami language studies on hold to pursue learning Finnish instead. As a native speaker of English and second language speaker of Swedish, I found the process of learning North Sami to be more challenging and time-consuming overall than the process of learning Finnish, even though I found North Sami to be easier in some ways as far as the actual features of the language. Here are some of the pros and cons of learning North Sami versus Finnish that speakers of Indo-European languages can consider:

Pros of North Sami:
-North Sami only has 6 cases as opposed to the 15 cases of Finnish.
-Adjectives in North Sami do not agree with the case of the noun they modify, as they do in Finnish.
-North Sami does not have a partitive case to express atelicity, an aspect of Finnish grammar that I have found difficult to learn to use correctly.
-Germanic loanwords in North Sami are often more transparent than in Finnish (for example, compare North Sami namma and Finnish nimi (“name”).
-There is no strong contrast in North Sami between a standard form of the language and a colloquial form of the language as there is in Finnish (this remains one of the most frustrating aspects of Finnish for me).

Cons of North Sami:
-Consonant gradation in North Sami is more complicated than in Finnish, and North Sami has more phonemes and consonant clusters than Finnish.
-Verbs in North Sami conjugate according to three grammatical numbers (singular, dual and plural), as opposed to the two grammatical numbers in Finnish (singular and plural).
-The orthography of North Sami does not reflect its actual pronunciation as accurately as the orthography of Finnish reflects Finnish pronunciation.
-The resources available for learning North Sami are very limited, so you will have to use a creative combination of resources if you are serious about learning it. Most of the resources for learning North Sami that do exist are designed for native speakers of Norwegian or Swedish, and not having any understanding of either of these languages will make progress very difficult.
-There is no regional form or accent of spoken North Sami that is considered the “standard”, so students of the language should choose an accent or dialect to base their pronunciation off of. It can be confusing to hear the same word pronounced differently by different speakers in the early stages of learning the language, before students can realize that the differences in pronunciation that they are hearing are due to regional variation.

If you have already studied one of the languages, many grammatical concepts in the other language will be familiar to you if you choose to study it too. There are also many cognates between North Sami and Finnish (for example NS oastit and FI ostaa, “to buy”). However, the languages are not closely related and have almost no mutual intelligibility, so you will probably not feel prone to mix them, as can happen when one tries to learn two closely related languages simultaneously, such as Spanish and Italian.

Which language will be easier for you to learn obviously depends on which language(s) you already understand. If you understand Norwegian or Swedish, then North Sami resources will be far more accessible to you than to people who do not have knowledge of either language. It can also depend on your individual aptitude for language learning. For example, if you struggle with pronunciation but are good at grammar, Finnish might be easier for you. If, on the other hand, you are intimidated by the grammar and case system of Finnish but are good at pronouncing foreign words, then you might prefer North Sami. Finally, which language you should choose depends most of all on your personal interests and motivation for learning it!


ADDENDUM: LINKS TO LEARNING MATERIAL FOR OTHER FINNO-UGRIC LANGUAGES AND THE SAMOYEDIC LANGUAGES

MULTILINGUAL

- Short cartoon of prologue of Alexander Pushkin’s “Ruslan and Ludmilla” in Russian and translations to English, Finnish, Karelian,
Khanty, Komi, Mansi, Western Mari, Nenets and Udmurt

FINNIC

Ingrian

Courses / Supplementary learning material (including literature)
- Electronic corpus (Lisa Lena Opas, Sjur Moshagen and Espen S. Ore) [English]
- Self-instructional course of Ingrian (Vitaliy Chernyavskiy – it seems that he’s allowing it to be downloaded freely) [Russian]

Karelian

Courses / Supplementary learning material (including literature)
- Assorted texts and radio broadcasts (hosted by the Karelian Language Society) [Finnish]
- Basic course in Livvi dialect (N. Giloyeva, S. Rudakova) [Karelian, Livvi]
- Lessons and exercises (Olga Kiveleva) [Karelian, Russian]
- Lessons and exercises (Svetlana Kondratieva) [Karelian]
- Games and exercises (Maria Kähäri) [Karelian]
- Handouts (Ol’ga Nikitina) [Karelian]
- Songs (Lidija Olešovana) [Karelian]
- Short text about Karelian writers (L’udmila Pupulainen) [Karelian]
- Slideshow about animals (Oksana Serebr’annikova) [Karelian]
- Collection of literature and lyrics [Karelian]
- Lessons in Karelian (V. P. Deputatov) [Russian]
- Texts in Karelian (Esa Anttikoski) [English, Finnish, Russian]
- Selected Karelian books (Finno-Ugric Electronic Library and part of the Finno-Ugric Information Centre in the Komi Republic, Russia) [English, Russian]

Dictionaries / Reference material / Phrasebooks / Word-lists
- Descriptive grammar (L’udmila Markianova) [Karelian]
- Karelian-Finnish-Russian dictionary
- Karelian-Finnish dictionary (Finnish Research Institute of Domestic Languages)
- English/Russian-Karelian phrasebook (Finno-Ugric Electronic Library)
- English/Russian-Karelian (Lud) phrasebook (Finno-Ugric Electronic Library)
- Short phrasebook for Karelian [Russian]

Livonian

Courses / Supplementary learning material
- Virtual Livonia

Dictionaries / Reference material / Phrasebooks / Word-lists
- Latvian – Livonian – English phrasebook with brief description of grammar (Valda Šuvcane and Ieva Ernštreite)

Veps

Courses / Supplementary learning material
- Anthology of poetry “The Old Mirror” (Mihail Bashnin) [Russian, Veps]
- Dual-language texts from “Pupils’ Trip to Deserted Villages” (Leo Baskin) [English, Veps]

Dictionaries / Reference material / Phrasebooks / Word-lists
- Finnish-Karelian-Russian-Veps dictionary

Votic

Courses / Supplementary learning material
- Translations of two poems (Ferenc Valóczy) [German, Hungarian, Votic]
- Self-instructional course of Votic (Vitaliy Chernyavskiy – it seems that he’s allowing it to be downloaded freely) [Russian]

Dictionaries / Reference material / Phrasebooks / Word-lists
- Declension (Ferenc Valóczy) [English]
- Orhthography (Ferenc Valóczy) [English]
- Phonology (Ferenc Valóczy) [English]
- Votic-English word-list (Ferenc Valóczy)
- Votic (Wikipedia) [Czech]
- Votic grammar (Wikipedia) [Czech]
- Votic grammar (August Ahlqvist) [Swedish]

Võro

Dictionaries / Reference material / Phrasebooks / Word-lists
- Description of the language (Evar Saar) [English]
- Grammatical tables of Võro/Setu (Vitaliy Chernyavskiy – it seems that he’s allowing it to be downloaded freely) [Russian]
- “Inflectional Morphology in the Võro Literary Language” (submttted by Sulev Iva as a dissertation) [Estonian]
- Võro-Estonian dictionary

Media / Culture
- Uma Leht (newspaper)
- Jäno-Jussi (cartoons for children)

KHANTY

Khanty

Courses / Supplemental learning material (including literature)
- Annotated texts in Northern and Eastern Khanty (University of Vienna) [English]
- “From Finland to Siberia” (National Board of Antiquities of Finland) [English, Finnish, Kazym Khanty, Mansi]
- Glossed texts in Surgut Khanty with comparative analysis (Márta Csepregi, Sachiko Sosa) [English]
- Glossed text in Vasyugan Khanty (Andrey Filichenko) [English]
- Audio of glossed text in Vasyugan Khanty (Andrey Filichenko) [English]
- Video of the narration of glossed text (Andrey Filichenko) [English]

Dictionaries / Phrasebooks / Reference material / Word-lists
- Descriptive grammar of Eastern Khanty (submitted as doctoral thesis) (Andrey Filichenko) [English]
- English <> Khanty dictionary (Renato B. Figueiredo)
- Khanty-Russian dictionary (Z. I. Randymova)
- Khanty-Russian phrasebook
- Overview of Eastern Khanty dialects (Andrey Filichenko) [English]
- Russian-Surgut Khanty phrasebook (E. R. Pokacheva, A. S. Pesikova) [Russian]

Analyses / Monographs
- Case marker and direct object (Andre Schuchardt) [English]
- Glossed texts in Surgut Khanty with comparative analysis (Márta Csepregi, Sachiko Sosa) [English]
- Negation (University of Vienna) [English]
- Pronouns (Andre Schuchardt) [English]
- Sinyan Khanty words and phrases (Zsófia Kováts, Mária Sipos) [Hungarian]
- Less-travelled paths from pronoun to agreement: The case of the Uralic objective conjugation (Elizabeth Coppock and Stephen Wechsler)

Media / Culture
- Past issues of “Khanty Yasang” and “Vypusk” (From the informational and educational portal of Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, Russia)
- Past issues of “Khanty Yasang” (From the Finno-Ugric Electronic Library)

MANSI

Mansi

Courses / Supplementary material (including literature)
- Annotated texts (Ob-BABEL Project for Endangered Languages at Ludwig Maximilians-Universität Müchen)
- Anthology of poetry (poems by Andrey Tarkhanov)
- Collection of folk songs and dance-songs
- Sisi vot (play by A. Pleškov)

Dictionaries / Phrasebooks / Reference material / Word-lists
- Charts of nouns’ declension for Northern Mansi (Ob-BABEL Project for Endangered Languages at Ludwig Maximilians-Universität Müchen)
- Charts of pronouns’ declension for Northern Mansi (Ob-BABEL Project for Endangered Languages at Ludwig Maximilians-Universität Müchen)
- Descriptive grammar (E. I. Rombandeeva) [Russian]
- English<>Mansi dictionary (Renato B. Figueiredo)
- Grammatical sketch of Sosva Mansi (Wikipedia) [Hungarian]

Media / Culture
- Past issues of “Luyma seripos” and “Vypusk” (From the informational and educational portal of Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, Russia)

MARI

Mari

Courses / Supplementary learning material
- Assorted books (Finno-Ugric Electronic Library)
- Assorted texts (Anatoliy Kuklin and Kazuto Matsumura)
- Expanded adaptation in English of Russian “Mari Language for Everyone” (Timothy Riese, Jeremy Bradley, Emma Yakimova and Galina Krylova)
- Flash cards (Christopher Culver) [English, Mari]

Dictionaries / Phrasebooks / Reference material / Word-lists
- Descriptive grammar of Meadow Mari (Kimberli Mäkäräinen) [English]
- Descriptive grammar of Mari (Author unknown) [Russian]
- Descriptive grammar of (Meadow) Mari (Alho Alhoniemi) [Finnish]
- Dictionaries for Mari (Marlamuter) [English, Russian]
- English – Meadow (Eastern) Mari phrasebook (Finno-Ugric Electronic Library)
- Short grammatical sketch of Mari (Marlamuter) [Russian]
- Short word-list (Anatoliy Kuklin and Kazuto Matsumura) [Japanese, Russian]

Analyses / Monographs
- The Derivational Passive and Reflexive in Mari Grammars (Merja Salo) [English]
- Comparison of Mari and Hungarian (Péter Pomozi) [Hungarian]
- Distributive local postpositions (Sirkka Saarinen) [Hungarian]
- Studies in Mari (Kazuto Matusmura) [Japanese]

Media / Culture
- Kugarnya (newspaper)
- Mariuver (blog and news) [English, Estonian, Mari, Russian]
- Saltak (song by Jaudat Gilmanov)

MORDVIN

Dictionaries / Phrasebooks / Reference material / Word-lists
- Dictionary of dialects in Mordvin (adapted from Heikki Paasonen’s material) [German – requires downloading of Finno-Ugric fonts hosted on the site]

Analyses / Monographs
- Differences between Erzya and Moksha (author unknown) [Russian]
“The Mordvinic Languages Between Bush and Tree: A Historical Reappraisal (Riho Grünthal) [English]

Culture / Media
- Toorama (music group)

Erzya

Courses / Supplementary learning material (including literature)
- Handouts and audio recordings used in classes at University of Helsinki (Olga Yerina) [Erzya, Finnish]
- Basic textbook of Erzya (M. D. Imaykinoy) [Russian – scroll to bottom of the screen]

Dictionaries / Phrasebooks / Reference material / Word-lists
- Description of morphology (Anatoliy Ryabov) [Russian]
- Description of syntax (Anatoliy Ryabov) [Russian]
- English/Russian-Erzya phrasebook (Finno-Ugric Electronic Library)
- English-Erzya word-list (Jack Rueter)
- Erzya-English word-list (Jack Rueter)
- Erzya-Finnish dictionary (Giellatekno)
- Erzya-Russian dictionary (eds. M. N. Kolyadenkov and N. F. Cyganov)
- Erzya-Russian dictionary (Giellatekno)
- Russian – Erzya dictionaries (Erzan.ru)
- Russian – Erzya word-list (author unknown)
- Russian – Moksha – Erzya dictionary (eds. V. I. Shchankina, A. M. Kochevatkin and S. A. Mishina)

Analyses / Monographs
- Stress and quantity in Erzya (submitted as doctoral thesis by Niina Aasmäe) [English]

Media / Culture
- Erzyan Mastor (association for language preservation) [Erzya, Russian]
- Erzyan Pravda (newspaper)
- New Testament (edited by Jack Rueter)
- Gospel (edited by Jack Rueter)
- Podcasts
- Songbook and dictionary of frequently mispelled words (Finno-Ugric Electronic Library)
- Vaygel’ (Mordovian radio in Erzya) [Erzya, Russian]

Moksha

Courses / Supplementary learning material (including literature)
- “Let’s Learn to Speak in Moksha” (Center for the Culture of Volgaic Finno-Ugrian Peoples) [Russian]
- Songbook, collection of folktales and analysis of children’s literature (Finno-Ugric Electronic Library)

Dictionary / Phrasebooks / Reference material / Word-lists
- Fundamentals of Moksha (Aleksandr Feoktyistov) [Hungarian]
- Moksha-Finnish dictionary (Giellatekno)

Media / Culture
- Vaygel’ (Mordovian radio in Moksha) [Moksha, Russian]
- Music in Moksha (Center for the Culture of Volgaic Finno-Ugrian Peoples) [Russian]

PERMIC

Analyses / Monographs
- “The 2nd Past in the Permic Languages” (submitted as master’s thesis by Florian Siegl) [English]

Komi

Courses / Supplementary learning materials (including literature)
- Assorted texts in Komi including dual-language readers and L.A. Motorina’s introductory textbook for Komi (Finno-Ugric Electronic Library) [Komi, Russian]
- Literature in Komi and Russian translation [Komi, Russian]
- Collection of Komi folklore with line-by-line translations to English, Estonian and Russian (Paul Ariste) [English, Estonian, Komi, Russian]

Dictionaries / Phrasebooks / Reference material / Word-lists
- Downloadable Komi <> Russian dictionaries (Finno-Ugric Electronic Library)
- English/Russian-Komi phrasebook (Finno-Ugric Electronic Library)
- Sketch of grammar (Nikolai Kuznetsov (?)) [Komi]
- Sketch of grammar (Nikolai Kuznetsov (?)) [Estonian]
- Sketch of grammar (Sebastien Cagnoli) [French]
- Sketch of grammar (V. I. Lytkin and D. A. Timushev) [Russian]
- Sketch of grammar (Wikipedia) [English]
- Small list of phrases in English and Komi (author unknown) [English, Komi]
- Small list of phrases (author unknown) [English, Finnish, German, Hungarian, Komi]
- Komi <> English dictionary (Giellatekno)
- Komi <> Finnish dictionary (Giellatekno)
- Komi <> Russian dictionary (Giellatekno)
- Komi-Russian dictionary (author unknown - click on banner of letters in upper half of the screen)
- Komi-Russian phraseological dictionary (I. I. Tarabukin)

Analyses / Monographs
- “Some Observations on Zyrian Word Stress, Past and Present” (Dennis Estill) [English]
- “Function of Komi possessive suffix in non-possession” (Marja Leinonen) [Finnish]
- “The Russification of Komi” (Marja Leinonen) [English]

Media / Culture
- Komi Mu (newspaper) [Komi, Russian]
- “Kuratov” (opera by Sergei Noskov – divided into installments on Youtube) [Komi, Russian]

Permian Komi

Courses / Supplementary learning material
- Assorted downloadable texts (Finno-Ugric Electronic Library)

Dictionaries / Phrasebooks / Reference material / Word-lists
- Permian Komi-Russian dictionary (A. S. Krivoshchyokovoy-Gantman) [Permian Komi, Russian]
- English/Russian-Permian Komi phrasebook
- Sketch of grammar (R. M. Batalova) [Russian]

Analyses / Monographs
- “Place and Manner Contrasts in Komi-Permyak Obstruents: An Acoustic Study” (Alexei Kochetov and Alevtina Lobanova) [English]
- “Phonetics and Phonology of Komi-Permyak coronals: Root Co-occurrence Restrictions” (Alexei Kochetov) [English]

Udmurt

Courses / Supplementary learning material (including literature)
- Introductory course (Vladimir Napolski) [Russian]
- Lessons for children in 1st grade (N. P. Botalovoy) [Russian]
- Recordings of folk tales (Ministry of National Affairs, Udmurt Republic, Russia)
- Assorted downloadable texts (Finno-Ugric Electronic Library)
- “Adventures of Bears” as dual-language texts (Bernát Munkácsi) [Russian, Udmurt]
- Translations of Russian literature into Udmurt

Dictionaries / Phrasebooks / Reference material / Word-lists
- Downloadable Russian <> Udmurt Dictionary (beta) (compiler unknown) [Russian, Udmurt]
- English/Russian-Udmurt phrasebook (Finno-Ugric Electronic Library)
- Sketch of grammar (Wikipedia) [English]
- Short sketch of grammar (Vasiliy Alatyrev) [Russian]
- ”Phonetics and Morphology of the Central Chepetski Dialect of Udmurt” (submitted by Lyudmila Leonidovna Kapova as a dissertation) [Russian]

Media / Culture
- Assorted downloadable songs and lyrics [Russian, Udmurt]
- Assorted downloadable songs [Russian, Udmurt]
- National Library of the Udmurt Republic (The library permits downloading of some content from its collection) [English, Russian, Udmurt]
- List of websites in Udmurt (“Udmurtology” website) [Russian, Udmurt]
- Udmurt Dunne (newspaper)

SAMOYEDIC

- Grammar of the Samoyedic Languages (Matthias A. Castrén) [German] (in public domain)
- Lexical index of the Samoyedic Languages (Matthias A. Castrén) [German] (in public domain)

Enets (Material uses English as the primary intermediary language unless otherwise indicated)

Courses / Supplementary learning material (including literature)
- Annotated texts (University of Vienna – Forest Enets)
- Glossed version of Anna Urmančieva’s “Vacation” (Michael Katzschmann) [English, German, Russian]

Dictionaries / Reference material / Phrasebooks / Word-lists
- Preliminary Enets-German glossary based on texts by several authors (Michael Katzschmann) [German]
- Preliminary Enets-German glossary for texts in Tereshchenko, 1973 (Michael Katzschmann) [German]
- Preliminary Enets-German index of derivatives (Michael Katzschmann) [German]
- Preliminary Enets-German reverse index of derivatives (Michael Katzschmann) [German]
- Preliminary reverse index of structural derivatives (Michael Katzschmann) [German]
- Tables of inflection (provisional as of Feb. 1, 2012) (Michael Katzschmann) [German]

Analyses / Monographs
- Negation (Michael Katzschmann) [German]
- Negation (University of Vienna)

Nenets (Material uses English as the primary intermediary language unless otherwise indicated)

Courses / Supplementary learning material (including literature)
- Annotated texts
- Lessons (11) in Nenets for Russian-speakers [Nenets, Russian]
- Descriptive grammar (Tapani Salminen - Tundra Nenets)

Dictionaries / Reference material / Phrasebooks / Word-lists
- Comparative Nenets-Nganasan Multimedia Dictionary [English, Nenets, Nganasan, Russian]
- Nenets <> English/Russian dictionary
- Russian-Nenets Audio Phrasebook [Nenets, Russian]
- Slideshow of the language's salient features (Emily Bender)

Analyses / Monographs
- Conjugation (Erika Körtvély - Tundra Nenets)
- Interaction of aspect, argument structure and communication (Olesya Khanina - Tundra Nenets)
- Loanwords from Russian (Tapani Salminen - Tundra Nenets)
- Negation (University of Vienna)
- Opacity (Darya Kavitskaya and Peter Staroverov - Tundra Nenets)
- Phonology (Tapani Salminen - Forest Nenets)
- Sonority of the glottal stop (Darya Kavitskaya and Peter Staroverov - Tundra Nenets)
- Vowel deletion and stress (Peter Staroverov - Tundra Nenets)

Nganasan (Material uses English as the primary intermediary language unless otherwise indicated)

Courses / Supplementary learning material (including literature)
- Annotated texts with audio (University of Vienna)
- Corpus of glossed texts recounted on video (Valentin Gusev) [English, Russian]
- Corpus of folklore (Valentin Gusev) [Russian]

Dictionaries / Reference material / Phrasebooks / Word-lists
- English/Russian <> Nganasan Dictionary (University of Vienna)
- German-Nganasan Glossary (7000 entries) (Michael Katzschmann) [German]
- German-Nganasan Glossary (55,000 entries) (Michael Katzschmann) [German]
- Comparative Nenets-Nganasan Multimedia Dictionary [English, Nenets, Nganasan, Russian]
- Nganasan Multimedia Dictionary [Nganasan, Russian]

Analayses / Monographs
- Negation (Beáta Wagner-Nagy) [German]
- Negation (Beáta Wagner-Nagy) [Hungarian]
- Negation (University of Vienna)
- Negation of constituents (Beáta Wagner-Nagy) [German]
- Vowel harmony (Beáta Wagner-Nagy and Zsuzsa Várnai) [Hungarian]

Selkup

Courses / Supplementary learning material (including literature)
- Annotated texts (University of Vienna)

Analyses / Monographs
- Negation (University of Vienna)
- The Kenga Vernacular of the Selkup Language (S. Glushkov, N. Tuchkova, A. Baidak)

Edited by Chung on 05 October 2012 at 4:23am

10 persons have voted this message useful



Chung
Diglot
Senior Member
Joined 5756 days ago

4228 posts - 8257 votes 
20 sounds
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Polish, Slovak, Uzbek, Turkish, Korean, Finnish

 
 Message 2 of 5
10 April 2011 at 5:16pm | IP Logged 
This type of profile is designed for people who are interested in learning their first Finno-Ugric language but are unsure of which one to pick. I hope that this brief profile will help potential learners focus their choice. In addition I encourage others who have studied at least two Finno-Ugric languages as foreign languages to post comments and will incorporate their comments into the main profile as time allows.

Similar profiles for Romance and Germanic are in the works while ones for Balto-Slavonic, Indo-Aryan, Iranian, Malayo-Polynesian and Semitic among other groups seem feasible given the languages represented by the forum's membership.

Comments and/or suggestions are welcome.
2 persons have voted this message useful



Ketutar
Triglot
Newbie
Sweden
Joined 3383 days ago

20 posts - 31 votes
Speaks: Finnish*, English, Swedish
Studies: French, Italian, Maltese

 
 Message 3 of 5
24 October 2011 at 11:19pm | IP Logged 
I don't know if my subjective opinion is of any value, but here goes:

Hungarian is the biggest of the Finno-Ugric languages, and thus it would be most accessible, I think. I haven't got there yet :-D
Nevertheless, Hungarian has a lot of cases and phonemes, and might be a "difficult" language to learn. Now, I find that only challenging and thus fun and more interesting - "easy" languages aren't as fun to learn, I think, but in that sense Estonian and Finnish would be "easier".

I think Sámi would be nice to begin with with it's simpler grammar, but it has a bit difficult writing/phonemes. The problem with Sámi is that there isn't much material, and the native speakers are very few and all in Sapmi... it can be really hard to learn in that sense.

I suppose Estonian and Finnish are equally "difficult", very similar indeed, so you can choose which one you like as your first Finno-Ugric (or Uralic) language.
Estonian seems to be easier that Finnish, but close enough so that if you learn Estonian, you can learn Finnish easier.
Finnish is easier to pronounce, I think, but I would think so, being Finnish :-D

Both Estonians and Finns are kind, friendly and helpful people who are present around the internet, so there will be native speakers around to help you with both languages. There are about 5 times more Finns than Estonians, but it doesn't much matter.
(I suppose the same goes to Hungarians, but as I haven't needed to find out yet, so I don't know.)

1 person has voted this message useful



Chung
Diglot
Senior Member
Joined 5756 days ago

4228 posts - 8257 votes 
20 sounds
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Polish, Slovak, Uzbek, Turkish, Korean, Finnish

 
 Message 4 of 5
25 October 2011 at 3:08am | IP Logged 
Kiitos, Ketutar.
1 person has voted this message useful



Chung
Diglot
Senior Member
Joined 5756 days ago

4228 posts - 8257 votes 
20 sounds
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Polish, Slovak, Uzbek, Turkish, Korean, Finnish

 
 Message 5 of 5
22 April 2012 at 8:53am | IP Logged 
Having been inspired by this post, I expanded on the original request for learning material in Nenets and the profile now has an addendum with links to learning material in all other Uralic languages even if the Samoyedic languages go beyond the profile's focus on Finno-Ugric languages. For the record, the Uralic language family is most often divided into Finno-Ugric and Samoyedic sub-groups although as mentioned in the profile's introduction, there is some controversy over the justification or validity of Finno-Ugric as encompassing those Uralic languages not classified within Samoyedic.




1 person has voted this message useful



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