Udmurt language

Udmurt language

Udmurt (удмурт кыл, udmurt kyl) is a Finno-Permic language spoken by the Udmurts, natives of the Russian constituent republic of Udmurtia, where it is co-official with the Russian language. It is closely related to the Komi language, together with which it forms the group of Permic languages. It is written in the Cyrillic script with five additional characters. Linguistically, it is most closely related to Komi and Komi-Permyak.


The Udmurt alphabet is based on the Russian Cyrillic alphabet. From top to bottom: letters, their names (in Russian for Ӥ, Й, Ъ and Ь), and their pronunciation in IPA:

А а Б б В в Г г Д д Е е Ё ё Ж ж Ӝ ӝ З з
а бэ вэ гэ дэ е ё жэ ӝэ зэ
/a/ /b/ /v/ /g/ /ʒ/ /d͡ʒ/
Ӟ ӟ И и Ӥ ӥ Й й К к Л л М м Н н О о Ӧ ӧ
ӟэ и и с точками и краткое ка эль эм эн о ӧ
/d͡ʑ/ /i/ /k/ /m/ /o/ /ʌ/
П п Р р С с Т т У у Ф ф2 Х х2 Ц ц2 Ч ч
пэ эр эс тэ у эф ха цэ че
/p/ /r/ /u/ /f/ /x/ /t͡s/ /t͡ɕ/
Ӵ ӵ Ш ш Щ щ2 Ъ ъ Ы ы Ь ь Э э Ю ю Я я
ӵэ ша ща твёрдый знак ы мягкий знак э ю я
/t͡ʃ/ /ʃ/ /(j)/4 /ʲ/ /e/

  • 1 If followed by я, е, и, ё, ю or ь.
  • 2 Only used in Russian loanwords and names.
  • 3 If preceded by д, т, з, с, л, or н.
  • 4 Silent, but required to distinguish palatalized consonants from unpalatalized consonants followed by /j/ if followed by a vowel; for example, /zʲo/ and /zjo/ are written -зё- and -зъё-, respectively.

Four of these characters (Ӝ/ӝ, Ӟ/ӟ, Ӥ/ӥ, Ӵ/ӵ) are unique to the Udmurt alphabet.


The language does not distinguish between long and short vowels, and does not have vowel harmony.


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

There is no grammatical gender.


Specific noun types have no distinguishable formats; some words even belong to three categories: ӵилкит čilkit means "clean", "cleanness" and "clearly" as well. There are 15 cases in the language. In the singular first, second, and third person, the ordinary possessive declining suffixes, -е, -ед, -ез/-э, -эд, -эз -e, -ed, -ez sometimes change to -и, -ид, -из/-ӥ, -ӥд, -ӥз -i, -id, -iz, especially in non-loanwords, such as кии kii (ki + i, "my hand"), киид kiid (ki + id, "your (sing.) hand") and кииз kiiz (ki + iz, "her/his hand").

The possessive suffix in the singular third person also acts as a definite article: удмурт кылӥз чебер udmurt kyliz č´eber ("the Udmurt language is nice" - literally "Udmurt language's nice"). An affirmative plural adjective gets the -есь/-эсь -eś suffix: толъёс кузесь toljos kuźeś ("the winters are cold").


In Udmurt, there are three modes. In indicative, there are four tenses: present, future, and two past tenses with an evidentiality distinction: "preterite" (the speaker personally observed the past event) and "perfect" (the speaker did not personally observe the past event). The last two have distinguishable suffixes: -и-/-ӥ-/-я-/-а- -i-/-a- and -ем/-эм/-м -em/-m.


The language has free word order.

The copular verb (вань vań, - "to be") is omitted if the sentence is in the present tense: туннэ киӵе нунал? tunne kiče nunal? ("What day is it today?"). If the sentence expresses possession, the vań can be part of the predicate: тӥ палан нюлэсъёс ваня? ti palan ńulesjos vańa? ("At you (plur.), are there forests?")


Based on the style, about 10 to 30 percent of the Udmurt lexicon are loanwords. Many loanwords are from the Tatar language, as well as phonetics, the syntax and so on. Words related to technology, science and politics have been borrowed from Russian.

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