Other Samoyedic languages

The Enets language only has a few dozen speakers (there are around 200 ethnic Enets). Enets is divided into two dialects, Forest Enets and Tundra Enets, which can also be regarded as two distinct languages.

The Nganasans are said to be the most northernmost people in Eurasia. There are around 860 Nganasans, with only 150 of them speakers of Nganasan. The Nganasan language has been documented and studied very little, but it is known to differ clearly from the other Samoyedic languages.

Selkup is the only remaining Southern Samoyedic language. There are a total of around 3,600 Selkups, with around 100 of them native speakers. Selkup is divided into the Northern, Central and Southern varieties, and dialectal differences are large. A literary language for Selkup was created first in the 1930s and then again in the 1980s. The first books in Selkup are, however, from as early as 1879 (alphabet book, religious texts).

Kamas is a language belonging to the Southern Samoyedic group that became extinct in 1989 when its last speaker, Klavdia Plotnikova, passed away. Kamas had, however, been documented since the 1800s, which means the language can still be researched and learned even though it no longer has native speakers.

The Remembrance Day for Extinct Uralic Languages is observed on 20 September.

Klavdia Plotnikova, the last native speaker of Kamas, passed away on 20 September 1989. She was born in 1895 in Abalakovo, what is today Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia, and her father was Russian and her mother Kamas. After around 1950, her only opportunity to speak Kamas was with linguists. It is therefore said that she used to speak Kamas to her cow and to God.

Klavdia Plotnikova features in Veelinnu rahvas [The Waterfowl People], a 1970 documentary film by Estonian Lennart Meri.

List of the world’s extinct languages.