- Komi language
Komi Republic, Perm Krai
speakers=293,000 (census 2002.)
ll2=Komi languageThe Komi language, also known as Zyrian, or Komi-Zyrian, is a Finno-Permic language spoken by the
Komi peoplesin the northeastern European part of Russia. Komi is one of the two members of the Permic subgroup of the Finno-Ugric branch. The other Permic language is Udmurt, to which Komi is closely related.
Of the several dialects found within Komi, two major dialects are recognized, although the differences are not great: Komi-Zyrian, the largest group, serves as the literary basis within the
Komi Republic; and Komi-Yazva, spoken by a small, isolated group of Komi to the north-west of Perm Kraiand south of the Komi Republic. Permyak (also called Komi-Permyak) is spoken in Komi-Permyak, where it has literary status.
Komi language has a very interesting history of writing, unusual among Finno-Ugric languages. The first
writing system, the Old Permic script, was invented in the 14th century by the missionary Stepan Khrap, apparently of a Komi mother in Veliky Ustyug. Stephen later became a Komi saint. The alphabet shows some similarity to medieval Greek and Cyrillic. In the 16th century this alphabet was replaced by the Russian alphabetwith certain modifications for affricates. In the 1920s, the language was written in Molodtsov alphabet, also derived from Cyrillic. In the 1930s it was switched to Latin. Since the 1940s it uses the Russian alphabet plus the additional letters " І, і" and Unicode|" Ӧ, ӧ".
Letters particular to the
Komi-Zyrian, ("Коми Кыв - Komi Kyv") or simply Zyrian or Zyryan, is spoken by the
Komi-Zyrians' ethnic group in Komi Republicand some other parts of Russia. It is disputed whether Zyrian is a separate language or a dialect of Komi, because of its affinity to Komi-Permyak language. In 1994, Komi-Zyrian had about 285,000 speakers.
It was written in the form of
Old Permic languagefor liturgical purposes as early as the 14th century in the Old Permic script. Said alphabet was replaced by the Cyrillic alphabetin 17th century. A tradition of secular works of literature in the modern form of the language dates back to the 19th century.
Komi-Zyrian has ten dialects: Prisyktyvkarsky, Nizhnevychegodsky, Srednevychegodsky, Luzsko-letsky, Verkhnesysolsky, Verkhnevychegodsky, Pechorsky, Izhemsky, Vymsky, and Udorsky. Prisyktyvkarsky is spoken in the region of
Syktyvkarand forms the model for the generic standard dialect of the language. Dialects are divided based primarily on their use of the v and l phonemes, and some dialects are further distinguished based on palatalized d's and t's.
*Finno-Ugric Electronic Library by the Finno-Ugric Information Center in
Syktyvkar, Komi Republic(interface in Russian and English, texts in Mari, Komi, Udmurt, Erzya and Moksha languages): http://library.finugor.ru/
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