Komi-Zyryan language

  (Redirected from Komi-Zyryan language)
Komi language
Коми кыв
Native toRussia
RegionKomi Republic
Native speakers
160,000 (2010 census)[1]
Official status
Official language in
Language codes
ISO 639-1kv
ISO 639-3kpv
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Komi language (outdated Zyryan language[2]), or Komi-Zyryan language[3] (Коми кыв, Komi kyv), is one of the two regional varieties of the pluricentric Komi language, the other regional variety being Permyak.

Komi-Zyryan is spoken by the Komi-Zyryans' ethnic group in Komi Republic and some other parts of Russia. In 1994, Komi-Zyryan had about 285,000 speakers. The Komi-Zyryan language has a standard form.

It was written in the form of Old Permic alphabet for liturgical purposes as early as the 14th century in the Old Permic script. Said alphabet was replaced by Cyrillic in the 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, Lower Vychegdan, Central Vychegdan, Luzsko-letsky, Upper Sysolan, Upper Vychegdan, Pechoran, Izhemsky, Vymsky, and Udorsky. Prisyktyvkarsky is spoken in the region of Syktyvkar and 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:[4]

  • Older */l/ remains unchanged in upper Vychegdan and Pechoran dialects (also in most dialects of Komi-Permyak).
  • In Central dialects, /*l/ changed to /v/ syllable-finally, for instance in literary Komi */kɨl/ → /kɨv/ "tongue".
  • In Northern dialects, /l/ changes have continued with complete vocalization of syllable-final /l/, resulting in long vowels.

The start of the change has been dated to the 17th century. It is not seen in the oldest Komi texts from the 14th century, nor in loanwords from Komi to Khanty, dated to the 16th; but it has fully occurred before loanwords from Russian entered the language in the 18th century, as /l/ remains unchanged in these. Some dialects are further distinguished based on the palatalized alveolars /dʲ tʲ/, which have unpacked in syllable-final position as clusters /jd jt/.[4]

Komi language

Writing system

A sample of the Komi language words. Upper "Улица Коммунистическая" is in Russian, lower "Коммунистическӧй улича" is in Komi. Both mean "Communist street". This picture was taken in Syktyvkar, the capital of Komi Republic
Trilingual (Russian, Komi, and English) sign in a hotel in Ukhta, Komi Republic

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. The alphabet shows some similarity to medieval Greek and Cyrillic. In the 16th century this alphabet was replaced by the Russian alphabet with 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 Ӧ, ӧ.

Komi alphabet (Коми анбур)

Uppercase Lowercase Transliteration IPA Letter name
А а a [ɑ] а
Б б b [b] бе
В в v [v] ве
Г г g [g] ге
Д д d [d]; as palatal, [ɟ] дэ
Дж дж [dʒ] дже
Дз дз dž' [dʑ] дзе
Е е e [je]; [e] after C except [t, d, s, z, n, l] е
Ё ё ë [jo]; [o] after [c, ɟ, ɕ, ʑ, ɲ, ʎ] ё
Ж ж ž [ʒ] же
З з z [z]; as palatal [ʑ] зэ
И и i [i], [ʲi] небыд и "soft i"
І і ï [i] after [t, d, s, z, n, l] чорыд и "hard i"
Й й j [j] и краткӧй
К к k [k] ка
Л л l [ɫ]; as palatal [ʎ] эл
М м m [m] эм
Н н n [n]; as palatal [ɲ] эн
О о o [o] о
Ӧ ӧ ö [ə] ӧ
П п p [p] пе
Р р r [r] эр
С с s [s]; as palatal [ɕ] эс
Т т t [t]; as palatal [c] тэ
Тш тш č [tʃ] тше
У у u [u] у
Ф ф f [f] эф
Х х x [x] ха
Ц ц c [ts] це
Ч ч ć [tɕ] че
Ш ш š [ʃ] ша
Щ щ šč [ɕ], [ɕː] ща
Ъ ъ - чорыд знак "hard sign"
Ы ы y [ɨ] ы
Ь ь ' [ʲ] небыд знак "soft sign"
Э э è [e] э
Ю ю ju [ju]; [u] after [c, ɟ, ɕ, ʑ, ɲ, ʎ] ю
Я я ja [jɑ]; [a] after [c, ɟ, ɕ, ʑ, ɲ, ʎ] я

Letters particular to the Molodtsov alphabet include ԁ, ԃ, ԅ, ԇ, ԉ, ԋ, ԍ, ԏ, most of which represent palatalized consonants.

The Molodtsov alphabet
А а Б б В в Г г Ԁ ԁ Ԃ ԃ Д д Е е Ж ж Ԅ ԅ Ԇ ԇ
И и Ј ј К к Л л Ԉ ԉ М м Н н Ԋ ԋ О о П п Р р
С с Ԍ ԍ Т т Ԏ ԏ У у Ф ф Х х Ч ч Ш ш Щ щ Ы ы



Consonant phonemes of Zyrian
Labial Dental Post-
Palatal Velar
Plosive voiceless p t c k
voiced b d ɟ ɡ
Affricate voiceless t͡ʃ
voiced d͡ʒ
Fricative voiceless s ʃ ɕ
voiced v z ʒ ʑ
Nasal m n ɲ
Trill r
Approximant lateral l ʎ
central j


Front Central Back
Close i ɨ u
Mid e ə o
Open a


For a closer presentation, see Komi grammar

Komi has seven vowels: close /i/, /ɨ/, /u/, mid /e/, /ɘ/, /o/ and low /a/. It has 17 cases, with a rich inventory of locative cases. Like other Uralic languages, Komi has no gender. Verbs agree with subjects in person and number (sg/pl). Negation is expressed with an auxiliary verb, which is inflected for person, number and tense.

Komi is an agglutinative language and adheres to a subject–object–verb order.[5]


  1. ^ Komi language at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ a b Bartens 2000, p. 47-49
  5. ^ [3]


  • Bartens, Raija (2000). Permiläisten kielten rakenne ja kehitys (in Finnish). Helsinki: Suomalais-Ugrilainen Seura. ISBN 952-5150-55-0.
  • Abondolo, Daniel (2015). The Uralic Languages. Routledge
  • R. M. Batalova. 1993. Komi(-Zyryanskij) Jazyk. In V. N. Jartseva (ed.), Jazyki Mira: Ural'skie Jazyki, 214–229. Moskva: Nauka.
  • Fed'un'ova, G.V. Önija komi kyv ('The Modern Komi Language'). Morfologia/Das’töma filologijasa kandidat G.V.Fed'un'ova kipod ulyn. Syktyvkar: Komi n’ebög ledzanin, 2000. 544 pp. ISBN 5-7555-0689-2.

External links

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