Samoyedic languages

The common protolanguage of the Samoyedic languages is called Proto-Samoyedic. The Samoyedic languages and peoples are divided into the Northern and Southern groups. Three Northern Samoyedic languages are currently alive: Nenets, Enets and Nganasan. The only remaining Southern Samoyedic language is Selkup. The Southern group used to include at least Kamas (extinct since 1989) and Mator (extinct since the 1800s).

The Samoyedic languages are spoken in Siberia, a region that is highly multilingual, multicultural and multinational. Other languages spoken in the speaking areas of the Samoyedic languages include Ob-Ugric languages (Khanty and Mansi), Turkic languages (Sakha (Yakut), Dolgan), Tungusic languages (Evenki) and Yeniseian languages (Ket) and, of course, Russian.

The speaking areas of the Samoyedic languages appear very large on the map, but in practice the languages are spoken in individual villages dotted around that vast region. If is also highly typical that multiple languages, including ones belonging to different language families, are spoken in the same village.

Finnish linguist and anthropologist Kai Donner (1888–‍1935) carried out two fieldwork expeditions to Samoyedic peoples. Interested in the origin of Finns, Donner collected information about the Selkup, Kamas and Ket languages. His accounts of the expeditions were published in the travelogues Bland Samojeder i Sibirien åren 1911–‍1913, 1914 [Among the Samoyed in Siberia in 1911–‍1013, 1914 ] (1915) and Sibirien: folk och forntid [Siberia: People and the Past] (1933).

Researcher of Samoyedic peoples and Finnish independence movement activist Kai Donner in Yle Archives )(in Finnish).