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Selkup language

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Title: Selkup language  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Selkup people, Kamassian language, Tundra Nenets language, Forest Nenets language, Mator language
Collection: Languages of Russia, Selkup People, Southern Samoyedic Languages, Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Selkup language

Selkup language is the language of the Selkups, belonging to the Samoyedic group of the Uralic language family. It is spoken by some 1,570 people (1994 est.) in the region between the Ob and Yenisei Rivers (in Siberia). The language name Selkup comes from the Russian "cелькупский язык" (selkupsky yazyk), based on the native name used in the Taz dialect, шӧльӄумыт әты šöľqumyt әty, lit. forest-man language. Different dialects use different names.

Selkup is fractured in an extensive dialect continuum whose ends are no longer mutually intelligible. The three main varieties are the Taz (Northern) dialect (тазовский диалект, tazovsky dialekt), which became the basis of the Selkup written language in the 1930s, Tym (Central) dialect (тымский диалект, tymsky dialekt), and Ket dialect (кетский диалект, ketsky dialekt).


There are 25 vowel and 16 consonant phonemes in the Taz dialect.

Taz Selkup consonants
Labial Dental Palatal(ized) Velar Uvular
Nasals /m/ /n/ /nʲ/ /ŋ/ [ɴ]
Stops /p/ /t/ /tʲ/ /k/ /q/
Fricatives ([f]) /s/ /sʲ/ ([x]) ([χ])
Trills /r/ [ʀ]
Laterals /l/ /lʲ/
Semivowels /w/ /j/
  • Voicing is not phonemic. Stops and fricatives may be voiced between vowels or after sonorant consonants.
  • The palatalized stop and fricative /tʲ/, /sʲ/ are most typically rendered as an alveolo-palatal affricate [tɕ] and fricative [ɕ].
  • Before front vowels, palatalized varieties of other consonants are also found.
  • [ɴ] and [ʀ] are allophones of /q/ when occurring before nasals and liquids, respectively.
  • The non-coronal stops /p/, /k/, /q/ have [[Free variation
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