Ob-Ugric languages

Ob-Ugric languages
Central Russia
Linguistic classification: Uralic

The Ob-Ugric languages are a hypothetical branch of the Uralic languages, specifically referring to the Khanty (Ostyak) and Mansi (Vogul) languages. Both are split in numerous and highly divergent dialects. They, along with Hungarian, comprise the Ugric branch of the Uralic languages.

The languages are spoken in the region between the Urals and the Ob River and the Irtysh in central Russia. The forests and forest steppes of the southern Urals are thought to be the original homeland of the Ugric branch. Beginning some 500 years ago the arrival of the Russians pushed the speakers eastward to the Ob and Irtysh. Some Ob-Ugric speakers remained west of the Urals until as late as the early 20th century. Hungarian split off during the 11th century BC.[1][2]

Although the languages are related to Hungarian, the connection is loose and they are radically different in phonology, syntax, and vocabulary. Khanty and Mansi, on the other hand, are usually considered closely related, but are not mutually intelligible. The Ob-Ugric languages were later strongly influenced by nearby Turkic languages, especially Tatar.[3] Until 1930, these languages had no written or literary traditions, but since 1937 have used a modified Cyrillic alphabet. However, no significant texts have been created in these languages and they have few official usages.[4]

Mansi has about 3800 speakers while Khanty has about 14280 speakers, all within Russia.[5]

Some linguists have considered the Ob-Ugric languages an areal grouping and treat the common features of Mansi and Khanty as later convergence under mutual influence.


  1. ^ Hajdú, Péter (1981). Az uráli nyelvészet alapkérdései. Tankönyvkiadó, Budapest. ISBN 963-17-4219-9. 
  2. ^ Jászó, Anna (1994). A magyar nyelv könyve. Trezor Kiadó, Budapest. ISBN 963-7685-42-1. 
  3. ^ Greller, Wolfgang (2000-04-01). Encyclopedia of the Languages of Europe. Blackwell Publishing. p. 478. ISBN 0-631-22039-9. 
  4. ^ "Ob-Ugric languages". Encyclopædia Britannica. http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9056621. Retrieved 2006-06-22. 
  5. ^ Lyovin, Anatole V. (1997-03-06). An Introduction to the Languages of the World. Oxford University Press US. p. 55. ISBN 0-19-508116-1. 

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