Udmurt grammar

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This article deals with the grammar of the Udmurt language.

Pronouns[edit]

Udmurt pronouns are inflected much in the same way that their referent nouns are. However, personal pronouns are only inflected in the grammatical cases and cannot be inflected in the locative cases.

Personal pronouns[edit]

Somewhat like in English, Udmurt personal pronouns are used to refer to human beings only. However, the third person singular can be referred to it. Udmurt personal pronouns only inflect in the grammatical cases and the approximative case. The nominative case of personal pronouns are listed in the following table:

Personal pronouns
Udmurt English
Singular
мон I
тон you
со she or he or it
Plural
ми we
тӥ you
соос they

Reflexive pronouns[edit]

Udmurt reflexive pronouns only inflect in the grammatical cases and the approximative case. The nominative case of reflexive pronouns are listed in the following table:

Reflexive pronouns
Udmurt English
Singular
аслам me myself
аслад you yourself
аслаз she herself/he himself/it itself
Plural
асьмеос we ourselves
асьтэос you yourselves
асьсэос they themselves

Interrogative pronouns[edit]

Udmurt interrogative pronouns inflect in all cases. However, the inanimate interrogative pronouns 'what' in the locative cases have the base form кыт-. The nominative case of interrogative pronouns are listed in the following table:

Interrogative pronouns (nominative case)
Udmurt English
Singular
ма what
кин who
Plural
маос what
кинъëс who

The following table shows Udmurt interrogative pronouns in all the cases:

Interrogative pronouns (all cases)
Case кин- English ма-/кыт- English
Nominative кин who ма what
Accusative кинэ whom мае what
Genitive кинлэн whose малэн of what
Ablative кинлэсь from whom малэсь from what
Dative кинлы to whom малы to what
Instructive кинэн with whom маин with what
Abessive кинтэк without whom матэк without what
Adverbial кинъя in whose way мая in what way
Inessive кытын where
Illative кытчы to where
Elative кытысь from where
Egressive кытысен start from where
Terminative кытчыозь end up where
Prolative кытӥ along where
Approximative кинлань towards whom малань towards where

Noun forms[edit]

Udmurt does not distinguish gender in nouns or even in personal pronouns: 'со' = 'he' or 'she' depending on the referent.

Cases[edit]

Udmurt has fifteen noun cases: eight grammatical cases and seven locative cases. Notice that the word in a given locative case modifies the verb, not a noun. The locative cases can only be used with inanimate references with the exception of the approximative case.

Udmurt cases
Case Suffix English prep. Example Translation
Grammatical
nominative гурт village
genitive -лэн of / 's гуртлэн of a village / village's
accusative -эз/-ез/-ты/-ыз гуртэз village (as an object)
ablative -лэсь from гуртлэсь from a village
dative -лы to/for гуртлы to a village
instrumental -эн/-ен/-ын with/by means of гуртэн by means of a village
abessive -тэк without гурттэк without a village
adverbial in a way гуртъя in a village way
Locative cases
inessive -ын in гуртын in a village
illative -э/-е/-ы into гуртэ into a village (or house)
elative -ысь from гуртысь from a village
egressive case -ысен starting from гуртысен starting from a village
terminative -озь end up гуртозь end up at a village
prolative -этӥ/-етӥ/-ытӥ/-тӥ along гуртэтӥ along a village
approximative -лань towards гуртлань towards a village

Udmurt case endings affix directly to nouns quite regularly with the exception of a few lexemes of Uralic origin. These lexemes have stem changes when declining in the locative cases whose endings begin with a vowel:

Examples of lexemes with varied stems
Lexeme Stem Inessive English Original stem form Cognate example
син синм- синмын (in an) eye *-lm- → *-nm- Finnish: silmä 'eye'
ин инм- инмын (in the) sky Finnish: ilma 'air'
кус куск- кускын (in the) hips *-sk- Erzya: каске 'rump'
нюлэс нюлэск- нюлэскын (in the) forest
кык кыкт- кыктэтӥ two; second *-kt- Northern Sami: guokte 'two'

The personal pronouns, however, have irregularities in comparison to the declension of other nouns:

Udmurt personal pronoun declensions
Case 1st pers. sing. 2nd pers. sing. 3rd pers. sing. 1st pers. pl 2nd pers. pl. 3rd pers pl.
nominative мон тон со ми тӥ соос
genitive мынам тынад солэн милям тӥляд соослэн
accusative монэ тонэ сое милемыз ~ милемды тӥледыз ~ тӥледды соосыз ~ соосты
ablative мынэсьтым тынэсьтыд солэсь милесьтым тӥлесьтыд соослэсь
dative мыным тыныд солы милем(лы) тӥлед(лы) соослы
instrumental монэн ~ монэным тонэн ~ тонэныд соин милемын ~ миленымы тӥледын ~ тӥленыды соосын
abessive монтэк тонтэк сотэк митэк тӥтэк соостэк
adverbial монъя тонъя соя мия тӥя соосъя
approximative монлань тонлань солань милань тӥлань соослань

Plural[edit]

There are two types of nominal plurals in Udmurt. One is the plural for nouns -ос/-ëс and the other is the plural for adjectives -эсь/-есь.

Nominal plural[edit]

The noun is always in plural. In attributive plural phrases, the adjective is not required to be in the plural:

Attributive plural
Udmurt English
чебер(есь) нылъëс (the) beautiful girls

The plural marker always comes before other endings (i.e. cases and possessive suffixes) in the morphological structure of plural nominal.

Morphological order
Udmurt English
нылъëслы to the girls
гуртъëсазы to/in their villages

Predicative plural[edit]

As in Hungarian, if the subject is plural, the adjective is always plural when it functions as the sentence's predicative:

Attributive plural
Udmurt English
нылъëс чебересь the girls are beautiful
толъёс кузесь the winters are cold

Following numerals[edit]

Nouns are ordinarily in the singular when following cardinal numbers. However, a living being as the sentence's subject may be in the plural. In this case, the predicate verb must be in congruency with the subject.

Udmurt English
Та гуртын витьтон куать корка There are fifty-six houses in this village
Аудиториын дас студент пуке ~ Аудиториын дас студентъëс пуко There are ten students sitting in the lecture hall

Possessive suffixes[edit]

Nominal possessive suffixes[edit]

Udmurt possessive suffixes are added to the end of nouns either before or after a case ending. The possessive suffixes vary in the nominative and accusative cases and with case endings. The consonant of the second and third person plural depends on if the last phoneme of the word is voiced or unvoiced.

Nominative possessive suffix
Suffix ending Udmurt English
-е/-э эше my friend
-ед/-эд эшед your friend
-ез/-эз эшез his/her friend
-мы эшмы our friend
-ды/-ты эшты your (pl) friend
-зы/-сы эшсы their friend

Certain lexemes of Finno-Ugric origin (especially those ending with a vowel or meaning an inalienable object) contain the vowel -ы- in the first, second and third person singular nominative possessive suffixes:

Nominative possessive suffix
Suffix ending Udmurt Finnish equivalent English
киы käteni my hand
-ыд киыд kätesi your hand
-ыз киыз kätensä his/her hand

Accusative possessive suffixes[edit]

Accusative possessive suffixes are shown in the following table. The consonant of the second and third person singular and plural depends on if the last phoneme of the word is voiced or unvoiced.

Accusative possessive suffix
Suffix ending Udmurt English
-ме эшме my friend
-тэ/-дэ эштэ your friend
-сэ/-зэ эшсэ his/her friend
-мес эшмес our friend
-дэс/-тэс эштэс your (pl) friend
-зэс/-сэс эшсэс their friend

Possessive suffixes with case endings, singular[edit]

The morphological placement of possessive suffixes with other endings depends on the case. Possessive suffixes are the same as nominative suffixes after which the genitive, ablative, dative, abessive, adverbial and approximative cases agglutinates.

Possessive suffixes with case endings
Case Udmurt (first person singular) English
nominative гуртэ my village
genitive гуртэлэн my village's/of my village
ablative гуртэлэсь from my village
dative гуртэлы for my village
abessive гуртэтэк without my village
adverbial гуртэя across my village
approximative гуртэлань towards my village

The possessive suffix follows the instrumental, inessive, illative, elative egressive, terminative and prolative cases and the vowel reduces to ы in the singular persons. An м, an old Uralic first person singular marker, appears in the first person singular. When adding a possessive suffix, the inessive and illative forms change to -а- and the elative form changes to -ысьт-. The ы does not appear in the inessive, illative, terminative and prolative cases where the case ends with a vowel.

Possessive suffixes with case endings
person instrumental inessive illative elative egressive terminative prolative
Singular
first гуртэным гуртам гуртам гуртысьтым гуртысеным гуртозям гуртэтӥм
second гуртэныд гуртад гуртад гуртысьтыд гуртысеныд гуртозяд гуртэтӥд
third гуртэныз гуртаз гуртаз гуртысьтыз гуртысеныз гуртозяз гуртэтӥз
Plural
first гуртэнымы гуртамы гуртамы гуртысьтымы гуртысенымы гуртозямы гуртэтӥмы
second гуртэныды гуртады гуртады гуртысьтыды гуртысеныды гуртозяды гуртэтӥды
third гуртэнызы гуртазы гуртазы гуртысьтызы гуртысенызы гуртозязы гуртэтӥзы

Possessive suffixes with case endings, plural[edit]

As in the singular, possessive suffixes precede the genitive, ablative, dative, abessive, adverbial and approximative cases. However, the vowel of the singular persons reduce to ы:

Possessive suffixes with case endings
Case Udmurt (first person singular) English
nominative гуртъëсы my villages
genitive гуртъëсылэн my villages'/of my villages
ablative гуртъëсылэсь from my villages
dative гуртъëсылы for my villages
abessive гуртъëсытэк without my villages
adverbial гуртъëсыя across my villages
approximative гуртъëсылань towards my villages

As in the singular, possessive suffixes follow the instrumental, inessive, illative, elative, egressive, terminative and prolative cases. The suffix forms follow the same structure as in the singular. The same exceptions appear in the plural as in the singular with the added exception of the instrumental э/е reducing to ы and the prolative э/е not used.

Possessive suffixes with case endings
Case Udmurt (first person singular) English
instrumental гуртъëсыным by means of my villages
inessive гуртъëсам in my villages
illative гуртъëсам to my villages
elative гуртъëсысьтым from my villages
egressive гуртъëсысеным starting from my villages
terminative гуртъëсозям ending up at my villages
prolative гуртъëстӥм along my villages

Some words can be used as nouns, adjectives, and adverbs without a change in form. For example, чылкыт čilkit means "cleanliness", "clean", and "clearly".

The third person singular possessive suffix also acts as a definite article: удмурт кыл(ыз) чебер udmurt kyliz č´eber ("the Udmurt language is nice" – literally "Udmurt language's nice").

Adjectives[edit]

There is no congruency between adjectives and nouns in neutral Udmurt noun phrases, i.e. there is no adjective declension as in the inessive noun phrase бадӟым гуртын, 'in a large/big village' (cf. Finnish inessive phrase isossa kylässä 'in a large/big village', in which iso 'big/large' is inflected according to the head noun). However, as stated earlier, Udmurt adjectives in neutral attributive (non-predicative) noun phrases may have a plural marker when the noun is pluralised.

Determinative[edit]

Udmurt does have an emphasising determinative suffix. Its function is to place emphasis on the features of the referent, defining and separating it from a group of other similar referents. The third person singular possessive suffix -ез/-эз and -из and plural -ыз acts as the determinative suffix. The determinative adjective conjugates as in the third person singular or plural and the noun conjugates without any other marker.

Determinative suffix
Case neutral English determinative English
Singular
nominative бадӟым гурт (a) big village бадӟымез гурт (specifically) a big village
inessive бадӟым гуртын in a big village бадӟымаз гуртын in the (specifically) big village
illative бадӟым гуртэ to a big village бадӟымаз гуртэ to the (specifically) big village
elative бадӟым гуртысь from a big village бадӟымысьтыз гуртысь from the (specifically) big village
Plural
nominative бадӟым(есь) гуртъëс (the) big villages бадӟымъëсыз гуртъëс the (specifically) big villages
inessive бадӟым(есь) гуртъëсын in the big villages бадӟымъëсаз гуртъëсын in the (specifically) big villages
illative бадӟым(есь) гуртъëсы to the big villages бадӟымъëсаз гуртъëсы to the (specifically) big villages
elative бадӟым(есь) гуртъëсысь from a big village бадӟымъëсысьтыз гуртъëсысь from the (specifically) big village

Comparative[edit]

Comparative is used when two referents are compared to each other but the subject of comparison does not necessarily need to be expressed.

The comparative suffix in Udmurt is -гес. The subject of comparison can be expressed either in the ablative case or with the postposition сярысь structure. If the subject of comparison it is shown the comparative suffix can be left out.

Comparative
Udmurt English
Скал ыжлэсь бадӟым(гес) ~ Скал ыж сярысь бадӟым(гес) A cow is larger than a sheep

Superlative[edit]

There is no superlative suffix in Udmurt. Superlative is expressed with the Russian particle самой or indefinitive expressions ваньмызлэсь, котькинлэсь or котьмалэсь.

Superlative
Udmurt English
самой ~ ваньмызлэсь ~ котькинлэсь ~ котьмалэсь бадӟым biggest (of them all)
самой ~ ваньмызлэсь ~ котькинлэсь ~ котьмалэсь выль newest (of them all)
самой ~ ваньмызлэсь ~ котькинлэсь ~ котьмалэсь дун cleanest (of them all)

Postpositions[edit]

Udmurt makes use of postpositions rather than prepositions. A large percentage of the stems of Udmurt postpositions have a locative meaning and can conjugate in the local cases. For example, выл means 'top' and also 'surface' and can inflect in all the locative cases: (inessive) вылын, (elative) вылысь, (illative) вылэ, (prolative) вылтӥ, (eggressive) вылысен, (termanitive) вылозь and (approximative) выллань.

However less than the seven locative cases are included in paradigm inflection of many of the postpositions. The paradigm usually consists of the inessive, elative and illative cases. Like nominals of foreign Uralic origin, some postpositions have a consonant in their stem. such as вис(к-), 'between'.

Some common postpositions are:

Postpositions
Stem Example (inessive) English
азь азьын in front of
выл вылын on top of
дор дорын next to, at
бӧрсьы бӧрсьыын in back of/behind
пум пумын at the end of
ул улын under

The illative case can vary between -э/-е and . The illative form of the postposition пал 'side' is пала 'to the side of'.

Postpositions
Stem Example (illative) English
-э/-е
азь азе to the front of
выл вылэ to the top of
пум пуме to the end of
ул улыэ under
дор доры next to, at
шор шоры to the centre of
сьӧр сьӧры to the behind of
вис(к-) вискы between

There is also a small group of non-inflecting postpositions in addition to those inflecting in the locative cases (cf. Finnish kanssa "with (a person)" that always takes the genitive case: ystävän kanssa "with a friend"). A few examples of these are:

Postposition English
артэ next to
бере after
быдэ all, each
валче together; because of, due to
дыръя during
кузя along
сямен in the way of/ -wise
сярысь about
ӵоже within
ӵош together

Most of the nouns in Udmurt postposition phrases are inflected in the nominative but there are a few postpositions that require the noun to be in the dative, ablative or instrumental cases:

Example English
Nominative
ӝок вылын on top of a/the table
писпу сьӧрысь from behind a/the tree
анай сярысь about (a) mother
университет бере after university
тон понна because of you
Dative
арлы быдэ every year
тӧллы пумит against the wind
Ablative
талэсь азьло before this
Instrumental
анаен ӵош with mother
соин валче because of it
монэн артэ next to me

Verbs[edit]

Udmurt verbs are divided into two groups or two conjugations, both having the infinitive marker -ны. The conjugation I type verb is structured with ы as in мыныны, 'to go'. The conjugation II type verb features an -а- in the infinitive as in ужаны, 'to work'. The conjugation I verb can also have two stems, a full stem as in мыны- and a short stem as in мын-.

There are three verbal moods in Udmurt: indicative, conditional and imperative. There is also an optative mood used in certain dialects. The indicative mood has four tenses: present, future, and two past tenses. In addition there are four past tense structures which include auxiliary verbs. Verbs are negated by use of an auxiliary negative verb that conjugates with personal endings. Separate personal pronouns are not required in verb phrases.

The basic verbal personal markers in Udmurt are (with some exceptions):

Personal endings of verbs
Person Ending
Singular
1st
2nd
3rd
Plural
1st -мы
2nd -ды
3rd -зы

Present tense[edit]

Present tense in Udmurt, in all but the third person, is marked with -(ӥ)сько-/-(и)сько-. Third person singular is marked with -э/-е (conjugation I) or unmarked (conjugation II) and third person plural is marked with (conjugation I) or -ло (conjugation II).

Present tense
Person тодыны (conjugation I) English кырӟаны (conjugation II) English
Singular
1st тодӥсько I know кырӟасько I sing/I am singing
2nd тодӥськод you know кырӟаськод you sing/you are singing
3rd тодэ he/she knows кырӟа he/she sings / he/she is singing
Plural
1st тодӥськомы we know кырӟаськомы we sing/we are singing
2nd тодӥськоды you know кырӟаськоды you sing/you are singing
3rd тодо they know кырӟало they sing/they are singing

The negative indicative present is formed by the auxiliary у- negative verb and the marker -(ӥ)ськы/-(и)ськы in the first and second person singular or -(ӥ)ське/-(и)ське in the first and second plural of the main verb. The third person singular main verb is either marked by the full stem (conjugation I) or unmarked (conjugation II). The third person plural is marked with (conjugation I) or -ло (conjugation II).

The negative verb conjugates with the ending in first and third person singular and third person plural. Second person singular and plural both conjugate with the ending and first person plural with .

Present tense negative
Person тодыны (conjugation I) English кырӟаны (conjugation II) English
Singular
1st уг тодӥськы I do not know уг кырӟаськы I do not sing/I am not singing
2nd уд тодӥськы you do not know уд кырӟаськы you do not sing/you are not singing
3rd уг тоды he/she does not know уг кырӟа he/she does not sing / he/she is not singing
Plural
1st ум тодӥське we do not know ум кырӟаське we do not sing/we are not singing
2nd уд тодӥське you do notknow уд кырӟаське you do not sing/you are not singing
3rd уг тодо they do not know уг кырӟало they do not sing/they are not singing

Future tense[edit]

The future tense in Udmurt is marked with -о- in conjugation I verbs and -ло- in conjugation II verbs.

Future tense
Person тодыны (conjugation I) English кырӟаны (conjugation II) English
Singular
1st тодо I will know кырӟало I will sing/I will be singing
2nd тодод you will know кырӟалод you will sing/you will be singing
3rd тодоз he/she will know кырӟалоз he/she will sing / he/she will be singing
Plural
1st тодомы we will know кырӟаломы we will sing/we will be singing
2nd тододы you will know кырӟалоды you will sing/you will be singing
3rd тодозы they will know кырӟалозы they will sing/they will be singing

The negative indicative future is formed by the auxiliary у- negative verb and the stem of the main verb in singular persons. The plural persons are marked either with -э/-е (conjugation I) or -лэ (conjugation II)

The negative verb conjugates with the ending in first person singular. Third person singular and third person plural have the ending and the remaining are as in present negative.

Future tense negative
Person тодыны (conjugation I) English кырӟаны (conjugation II) English
Singular
1st уг тод(ы) I will not know уг кырӟа I will not sing/I will not be singing
2nd уд тод(ы) you will not know уд кырӟа you will not sing/you will not be singing
3rd уз тод(ы) he/she will not know уз кырӟа he/she will not sing / he/she will not be singing
Plural
1st ум тодэ we will not know ум кырӟалэ we will not sing/we will not be singing
2nd уд тодэ you will not know уд кырӟалэ you will not sing/you will not be singing
3rd уз тодэ they will not know уз кырӟалэ they will not sing/they will not be singing

Past tense[edit]

The conventionally used designations preterite and perfect are used with denotations which are divergent from their usual meanings in the grammar of other languages.

Preterite I[edit]

The first preterite can be compared with the simple past in English. Preterite I is marked with ӥ/и in conjugation I. There is no past tense marker in conjugation II verbs with the exception of й in the first person singular.

Preterite I
Person тодыны (conjugation I) English кырӟаны (conjugation II) English
Singular
1st тодӥ I knew кырӟай I sang
2nd тодӥд you knew кырӟад you sang
3rd тодӥз he/she knew кырӟаз he/she sang
Plural
1st тодӥм(ы) we knew кырӟам(ы) we sang
2nd тодӥды you knew кырӟады you sang
3rd тодӥзы they knew кырӟазы they sang

The negative preterite I is formed by the auxiliary ӧ- negative verb and the stem of the main verb in singular persons. The plural persons are marked either with -э/-е (conjugation I) or -лэ (conjugation II)

The negative verb conjugates with the ending in first person singular. Third person singular and third person plural have the ending and the remaining are as in present negative.

Preterite I negative
Person тодыны (conjugation I) English кырӟаны (conjugation II) English
Singular
1st ӧй тоды I did not know ӧй кырӟа I did not sing
2nd ӧд тоды you did not know ӧд кырӟа you did not sing
3rd ӧз тоды he/she did not know ӧз кырӟа he/she did not sing
Plural
1st ӧм тодэ we did not know ӧм кырӟалэ we did not sing
2nd ӧд тодэ you did not know ӧд кырӟалэ you did not sing
3rd ӧз тодэ they did not know ӧз кырӟалэ they did not sing

Preterite II[edit]

The second preterite is a past tense with an evidentiality distinction. It can be compared to the English perfect in which the speaker did not personally observe the past event. The preterite II is marked with (э)м/(е)м, which is historically related to the third infinitive in Finnish.

In addition to the normal personal endings, the present indicative marker -(ӥ)ськ-/-(и)ськ- is featured in first persons and a frequentive verbal marker -лля- is present in the second and third person plural. There is no personal ending in the third person singular and sometimes featured in the third person plural.

Preterite II
Person тодыны (conjugation I) English кырӟаны (conjugation II) English
Singular
1st тодӥськем I have evidently known кырӟаськем I have evidently sung
2nd тодэмед you have evidently known кырӟамед you have evidently sung
3rd тодэм he/she has evidently known кырӟам he/she has evidently sung
Plural
1st тодӥськеммы we have evidently known кырӟаськемм(ы) we have evidently sung
2nd тодӥллямды you have evidently known кырӟаллямды you have evidently sung
3rd тодӥллям(зы) they have evidently known кырӟаллям(зы) they evidently sung

The negative preterite II is formed either by including the auxiliary copular negative verb ӧвӧл 'is not' or with the negation marker -мтэ-.

Preterite II negative
Person тодыны (conjugation I) English кырӟаны (conjugation II) English
Singular
1st тодӥськымтэе ~ ӧвӧл тодӥськем I have evidently not known кырӟаськымтэе ~ ӧвӧл кырӟаськем I have evidently not sung
2nd тодымтэед ~ ӧвӧл тодэмед you have evidently known кырӟамтэед ~ ӧвӧл кырӟамед you have evidently not sung
3rd тодымтэ ~ ӧвӧл тодэм he/she has evidently known кырӟамтэ ~ ӧвӧл кырӟам he/she has evidently not sung
Plural
1st тодӥськымтэмы ~ ӧвӧл тодӥськеммы we have evidently not known кырӟаськымтэмы ~ ӧвӧл кырӟаськемм(ы) we have evidently not sung
2nd тодӥллямтэды ~ ӧвӧл тодӥллямды you have evidently not known кырӟаллямтэды ~ ӧвӧл кырӟаллямды you have evidently not sung
3rd тодӥллямтэ ~ ӧвӧл тодӥллям(зы) they have evidently not known кырӟаллямтэ ~ ӧвӧл кырӟаллям(зы) they evidently not sung

Auxiliary past tenses[edit]

There are four past tenses in Udmurt which use a preterite form of the main verb and a preterite form of the auxiliary verb 'to be'.

Pluperfect I[edit]

The Udmurt pluperfect makes use of the preterite I main verb and the auxiliary вал, 'was' in third person singular, also in simple past. The pluperfect I tense expresses a process of action that has happened in the (distant) past.

Pluperfect I
Person тодыны (conjugation I) English кырӟаны (conjugation II) English
Singular
1st тодӥ вал I had known кырӟай вал I had sung
2nd тодӥд вал you had known кырӟад вал you had sung
3rd тодӥз вал he/she had known кырӟаз вал he/she had sung
Plural
1st тодӥм(ы) вал we had known кырӟам(ы) вал we had sung
2nd тодӥды вал you had known кырӟады вал you had sung
3rd тодӥзы вал they had known кырӟазы вал they had sung

The negative Pluperfect I is formed by the negative preterite I negative plus the auxiliary вал.

Pluperfect I negative
Person тодыны (conjugation I) English кырӟаны (conjugation II) English
Singular
1st ӧй тоды вал I had not known ӧй кырӟа вал I had not sung
2nd ӧд тоды вал you had not known ӧд кырӟа вал you had not sung
3rd ӧз тоды вал he/she had not known ӧз кырӟа вал he/she had not sung
Plural
1st ӧм тодэ вал we had not known ӧм кырӟалэ вал we had not sung
2nd ӧд тодэ вал you had not known ӧд кырӟалэ вал you had not sung
3rd ӧз тодэ вал they had not known ӧз кырӟалэ вал they had not sung
Pluperfect II[edit]

There are two structures of the pluperfect II tense. One uses the preterite I third person singular form of the main verb inflected with a personal possessive suffix and the auxiliary вал. The other is the preterite I of the main verb (with normal personal inflection) and the preterite I form of the 'to' be verb вылэм. The pluperfect II tense expresses the result of an action that has been completed, but no one had seen.

Pluperfect II (тодыны)
Person Pluperfect II a Pluperfect II b English
Singular
1st тодэме вал тодӥськем вылэм I had evidently known
2nd тодэмед вал тодэмед вылэм you had evidently known
3rd тодэм вал тодэм вылэм he/she had evidently known
Plural
1st тодэммы вал тодӥськеммы вылэм we had evidently known
2nd тодэмды вал тодӥллямды вылэм you had evidently known
3rd тодэмзы вал тодӥллям(зы) вылэм they had evidently known

The negative pluperfect II is formed either by with the preterite II third person singular of the main verb in the negative (marked with -мтэ-) with a personal possessive suffix and the auxiliary verb вал (pluperfect II a) or with the negative preterite II of the main verb marked with -мтэ- with the preterite II auxiliary verb вылэм.

Preterite II negative (тодыны)
Person Pluperfect II a Pluperfect II b English
Singular
1st тодымтэе вал тодӥськымтэе вылэм I had evidently not known
2nd тодымтэед вал тодымтэед вылэм you had evidently known
3rd тодымтэ вал тодымтэ вылэм he/she had evidently known
Plural
1st тодымтэмы вал тодӥськымтэмы вылэм we had evidently not known
2nd тодымтэды вал тодӥллямтэды вылэм you had evidently not known
3rd тодымтэзы вал тодӥллямтэ вылэм they had evidently not known
Durative preterite[edit]

The durative preterite in Udmurt can be compared to the past progressive in English "was doing". Its function can be described as expressing a process in the past. The structure is the present tense of the main verb with either preterite of the auxiliary verb. The structure of the negative durative preterite is the negative present tense of the main verb with either preterite of the auxiliary verb.

Durative preterite (кырӟаны)
Person Affirmative English Negative English
Singular
1st кырӟасько вал/вылэм I was singing уг кырӟаськы вал/вылэм I was not singing
2nd кырӟаськод вал/вылэм you were singing уд кырӟаськы вал/вылэм you were not singing
3rd кырӟа вал/вылэм he/she was singing уг кырӟа вал/вылэм he/she was not singing
Plural
1st кырӟаськомы вал/вылэм we were singing ум кырӟаське вал/вылэм we were not singing
2nd кырӟаськоды вал/вылэм you were singing уд кырӟаське вал/вылэм you were not singing
3rd кырӟало вал/вылэм they were singing уг кырӟало вал/вылэм they were not singing
Frequentative preterite[edit]

The frequentative preterite in Udmurt expresses a repeated action in the past. The structure is the future tense of the main verb with either preterite of the auxiliary verb. The structure of the negative frequentative preterite is the negative future tense of the main verb with either preterite of the auxiliary verb.

Frequentative preterite (кырӟаны)
Person Affirmative English Negative English
Singular
1st кырӟало вал/вылэм I sang (always) уг кырӟа вал/вылэм I did not sing (always)
2nd кырӟалод вал/вылэм you sang (always) уд кырӟа вал/вылэм you did not sing (always)
3rd кырӟлоз вал/вылэм he/she sang (always) уз кырӟа вал/вылэм he/she did not sing (always)
Plural
1st кырӟаломы вал/вылэм we sang (always) ум кырӟалэ вал/вылэм we did not sing (always)
2nd кырӟалоды вал/вылэм you sang (always) уд кырӟалэ вал/вылэм you did not sing (always)
3rd кырӟалозы вал/вылэм they sang (always) уз кырӟалэ вал/вылэм they did not sing (always)

Passive voice[edit]

Udmurt does not have a separate affix to express a passive voice. The plural third person of the verb is used as a personal form to express an unknown, non-determinative actor.

Passive voice
3rd pers. pl English Passive voice English
Соос ужало They are working Татын ужало (People) are working here
Соос удмурт сямен верасько They speak Udmurt Татын удмурт сямен верасько Udmurt is spoken here
Соос ӟуч сямен уг верасько They do not speak Russian Татын ӟуч сямен уг верасько Russian is not spoken here

Moods[edit]

Conditional[edit]

The conditional mood expresses an unrealistic action which the speaker considers to be supposed, possible or hopeful. The conditional marker is -сал and is attached to the stem of the verb (i.e. full stem of conjugation I verbs) along with personal endings. The third person singular, however, can function without a personal ending. The first person singular preterite I negative verb ӧй is used in the negative conditional.

Conditional (карыны)
Person Affirmative English Negative English
Singular
1st карысал I would do ӧй карысал I would not do
2nd карысалыд you would do ӧй карысалыд you would not do
3rd карысал(ыз) he/she would do ӧй карысал(ыз) he/she would not do
Plural
1st карысалмы we would do ӧй карысалмы we would not do
2nd карысалды you would do ӧй карысалды you would not do
3rd карысалзы they would do ӧй карысалзы they would not do

Imperative[edit]

The stem of the verb is used for the second person singular imperative in Udmurt. If the stem of a conjugation I verb ends in one consonant or is one syllable and ends in a vowel, the short stem is the imperative. If the stem of a conjugation I verb ends in two consonants, the full stem is used.

The second person plural infinitive is marked with -е(лэ)/-э(лэ) in conjugation I verbs and -лэ in conjugation I verbs.

The imperative negative auxiliary is эн which precedes the infinitive form.

Imperative
Person сиыны (conjugation I) English басьтыны (conjugation I) English вараны (conjugation II) English
Singular
2nd си! eat! басьты! take/buy! вара! talk/speak!
Plural
2nd сие(лэ)! eat! басьтэ(лэ)! take/buy! варалэ! talk/speak!
Negative singular
2nd эн си! do not eat! эн басьты! do not take/buy! эн вара! do not talk/speak!
Negative plural
2nd эн сие(лэ)! do not eat! эн басьтэ(лэ)! do not take/buy! эн варалэ! do not talk/speak!

Optative[edit]

Modals[edit]

Udmurt makes use of the morphosyntactic structure of inflected nominals and verbs with an auxiliary for modal expressions.

To express ability, the verb луынын, 'to be' is inflected in the third person singular (in all tenses) with the subject in the genitive case. The verb to which the subject directs ability is inflected with the past participle (э)м/(е)м (preterite II, third person singular) with a personal possessive suffix.

Udmurt English Literal translation
Тынад лыктемед луиз You could come "yours your came was"
Кышномуртлэн магазинэ мынемез ӧз луы The woman could not go to the store "woman's to the store her went was not"

Desiderative[edit]

The desiderative modal expresses desire. The verb потынын, 'to want' is inflected in the third person singular (in all tenses) with the subject in the genitive case. The verb to which the subject directs the desire is inflected with the past participle (э)м/(е)м (preterite II, third person singular) with a personal possessive suffix.

Udmurt English Literal translation
Мынам иземе потэ I want to sleep "mine my slept wants"
Кышномуртлэн магазинэ мынемез уг поты The woman does not want to go to the store "woman's to the store her went not want"

Necessive[edit]

To express necessity, the word кулэ, 'necessary' is used with the copula verb inflected in the third person singular (in all tenses) with the subject in the dative case. The infinitive of the verb to which the subject directs necessity or an object is used.

Udmurt English Literal translation
Солы трос лыӟиськыны кулэ He/she needs to read a lot "to him/her much to read necessity is"
Мыным книга кулэ ӧвӧл I did not need a book "to me book necessity is not"

Permissive[edit]

To express permissiveness, the verb яраны, 'to suit/to be valid' is inflected in the third person singular (in all tenses) with the subject in the dative case. The infinitive of the verb to which the subject directs permissiviness is used.

Udmurt English Literal translation
Мыным кошкыны яра-а? May I leave? "to me to leave suits?"
Тӥледлы пырыны уг яра You (pl) may not come in "to you (pl) to come in does not suit"

Participles[edit]

Udmurt verbs have past, present and future participles. Participles can be used in different ways than ordinary adjectives. In addition to affirmative participles, Udmurt also has caritive participles.

Present[edit]

The present participle is -(ӥ)сь/-(и)сь. It is a participle which expresses continuous action. It is affixed to short stems in conjugation I verbs. The present participle caritive is -(ӥ)сьтэм/-(и)сьтэм

Affirmative English Caritive English
лыӟись ныл a girl that reads лыӟисьтэм ныл a girl that does not read
кырӟась пи a boy that sings кырӟасьтэм пи a boy that does not sing

In addition to functioning as regular attributive participles, the present participle also functions as a nominalising derivational suffix.

as a participle English as a noun English
дышетскись ныл a girl that studies дышетскись student
висись ныл a girl that gets sick висись patient
кырӟась ныл a girl that sings кырӟась singer

Past[edit]

The past participle is -(э)м/-(е)м. It is an attributive participle which expresses completed action. It is affixed to short stems in conjugation I verbs. The past participle caritive is -(э)мтэ/-(е)мтэ.

Affirmative English Caritive English
лыктэм куно a guest that arrived лыктэмтэ куно a guest who did not arrive
пограм писпу a tree that fell пограмтэ писпу a tree that did not fall
лыӟем книга a book that has been read лыӟемтэ книга a book that has not been read

The past participle can also be inflected with the inessive ending -(э)мын/-(е)мын. This is a predicative participle which expresses completed action.

Udmurt English
Куно лыктэмын. The guest has arrived.
Писпу пограмын. The tree had fallen.
Книга лыӟемын. The book has been read.

Future[edit]

The modal-future participle is -(о)но. It is affixed to short stems in conjugation I verbs. The future participle caritive is -(о)нтэм and expresses that which is unable to be done.

Affirmative English Caritive English
пияно кышномурт a woman who will give birth soon пиянтэм кышномурт a woman who will not be able to give birth
лыӟоно книга a book that will be read лыӟонтэм книга a book that is not able to be read

There is also a modal participle similar to gerunds in function. It expresses the ability to do some action or that it is possible to do the action. The marker is -мон and it is affixed to short stems in conjugation I verbs.

Udmurt English
лэсьтымон уж a job (work) which is possible to do
улымон корка a house in which one can live

Gerunds[edit]

There are four gerunds in Udmurt, one being a caritive. that are affixed to the verb's full stem. One gerund, which also has a caritive, is formed by the past participle (э)м/(е)м (preterite II, third person singular) with the instrumental or elative case.

The "basic" -са gerund (and its caritive -тэк) can be compared to the English present active participle -ing and Finnish second or third infinitives, however having more functions. They can express a way of doing something, a reason for the action or a certain condition.

The temporal -ку gerund (-кы in southern dialects) expresses action or state of being which happens simultaneously with the action of the main verb of the clause.

The fourth gerund is -тозь which can express an action or an event that lasts to the starting or ending limit of the action expressed by the predicate verb of the sentence. The gerund also expresses the structure "instead of". In addition, possessive suffixes can be affixed after the -тозь gerund.

Gerunds
Udmurt English
-са
Адями дыртыса мынэ A person is going in a hurry (lit. rushing)
Адями дыртытэк мынэ A person is going without rushing
дышетскись малпаськыса пуке The student sits (there) thinking
Атае, корка пырыса, ӝӧк сьӧры пукиз My father sat at the table when he came into the house (lit. when coming in)
-ку
Лымыяку куазь шуныгес кариське It (lit. the weather) gets warmer when it snows
-тозь
Туннэ шунды пукськытозь ты дурын улӥмы We were at the river bank today until sun set (lit. until the setting of the sun)
Mи вуытозь, та ужез быдэсты Finish this work by the time we get there (lit. until the time when we arrive)
Тэк пукытозь, книга коть лыӟы Instead of idly sitting, why do not you read a book
Вуытозям та ужез быдэсты ~ Mон вуытозь, та ужез быдэсты Finish this work by the time I get there (lit. until the time when I arrive)

The past participle gerund is inflected with either the instrumental -(э)мен/-(е)мен (caritive -мтэен) or elative -(э)мысь/-(е)мысь (caritive -мтэысь) case, both having the basic same meaning of "because". In literary Udmurt, the gerund in the instrumental case is preferred. However, the gerund in the eleative case is used with some verbs such as дугдыны 'to cease/stop'.

Gerunds
Udmurt English
-(э)мен/-(е)мен
куазь зоремен because it (lit. the weather) stops raining
-(э)мысь/-(е)мысь
куазь зоремысь because it (lit. the weather) stops raining
висись ӝуштемысь дугдӥз The patient stopped moaning (lit. from moaning)
Caritive
куазь зормтэен ~ куазь зормтэысь because it (lit. the weather) did not stop raining

Personal possessive suffixes can also be affixed to -(э)м-/-(е)ме- gerunds:

Udmurt English
Affirmative
Висеменым (~ висемысьтым) та ужез ас дыраз лэсьтыны ӧй быгаты I could not complete this work on time because I was sick
Caritive
Тазэ ужез дыраз лэсьтымтэеным (~ лэсьтымтэысьтым), мукетъëсыз туж кулэ ужъëс ӝегало Other important things got delayed because I did not to this job on time

Interrogative suffix[edit]

If there are no interrogative (question) words (who, what, when etc.), an interrogative phrase is formed by the suffix . The interrogative suffix is affixed to the constituent to which the question is concerned. The suffix's placement can also vary according to dialect. Both southern and northern dialect forms are used in literary Udmurt.

Interrogative suffix
Udmurt English
Мынӥськод-а? Are you going?
Уд-а мынӥськы? ~ Уд мынӥськы-а? Aren't you going?
Чай юиськод-а? Are you drinking tea?/Do you drink tea?
Чай уд-аюиськы? ~ Чай уд юиськы-а? Don't you drink tea?
Чай-а юиськод? Is it tea which you drink? (not e.g. coffee)
Чай-а уд юиськы? Is it tea which you do not drink? (not e.g. coffee)
Нюлэс пичи-а? Is the forest small?
Пичи-а нюлэс ? Is the forest small? (but not big)
Коля студент ӧвӧл-а? ~ Ӧвӧл-а Коля студент? Isn't Kolja a student?
Отын шур вал-а? ~ Отын вал-а шур ? Was there a river there?
Шур мтын-а вал? Was the river close by?
Ммтын-а шур вал? Was the river close by? (not far away)
Шур ӧй вал-а мтын? Wasn't the river close by?

Word formation[edit]

There are a few main derivational suffixes in Udmurt word formation.

Nouns[edit]

Udmurt has the productive deverbalising nominal suffix -(о)н/-(ë)н. -(о)н/-(ë)н is affixed to the short stem of conjugation I verbs and affixes directly to the stem of conjugation II verbs The function of this suffix is quite diverse. With this deverbalising affix, the nominal usually:

1. expresses the action (deverbalised noun) set out by the base verb:

Verb English Noun English
сылыны to stand сылон (a) standing
ӝуаны to burn ӝуан (a) burning
куасьмыны to dry куасьмон (a) drying

2. expresses the result of action:

Verb English Noun English
вормыны to win вормон a victory
кырӟаны to sing кырӟан a song

3. expresses an instrument or tool denoted by an action:

Verb English Noun English
портыны to drill портон a drill

4. expresses the focus of action:

Verb English Noun English
сиыны to eat сиëн food
юыны to drink юон drink

Most of these derivations have both abstract and concrete meanings. The derivation can expresses both the action set out by the base verb or result or instrument:

Verb English Noun English
пукыны to sit пуконы (a) sitting, a seat, a chair
висьыны to become ill висëн getting ill, a disease, an illness
шудыны to play шудон playing, play, a toy, a plaything

Deverbalised nominal derivations can function as qualifiers of collocations, such as лыдӟон книга 'reader, digest' or юон ву 'drinking water'.

Adjectives[edit]

Udmurt has the denominalising adjectival suffixes -о/-ë and carritive -тэм. The adjectives formed by the suffix -о/-ë express the condition of a quality, feature or phenomenon of the base word or possession of the referent. The adjectives formed by the suffix -тэм express the lack of quality, feature, phenomenon or referent. This suffix can be compared to the prefix un- or suffix -less in English.

Adjectival derivational suffixes
Nominal English Example English
-о/-ë
визь sense визьмо адями a wise person
кужым strength кужымо ки a strong hand
шуд luck шудо нылпи a lucky child
куар leaf куаро писпу a leafy tree (a tree with leaves)
туш beard тушо пиосмурт a bearded man (a man with a beard)
-тэм
шуд luck шудтэм нылпчагыр an unlucky child
туш beard туштэм пиосмурт a beardless man (a man with no beard)
нылпи child нылпитэм семъя a childless family (a family with no children)

Adjectives formed by the suffix can also have a qualifier:

Nominal English Example English
чагыр син blue eye чагыр сино ныл a blue-eyed girl
кузь ки long arm кузь киë адями a long-armed person (a person with long arms)

Udmurt also has moderative adjectival suffixes (-алэс, -мыт and -пыр(ъем)) which express a somewhat large, but not complete, amount of quality of an adjective base, usually a colour or flavour. They can be compared to the English suffix -ish. The suffix -мыт does not normally associate with flavour, but Southern dialect variant -пыр(ъем) does.

Moderative adjectival derivational suffixes
Nominal English Example English
вож green вожалэс ~ вожмыт ~ вожпыръем дэрем a greenish shirt
лыз blue лызалэс ~ лызмыт ~ лызпыръем кышет a blueish scarf
сьӧд black сьӧдалэс ~ сьӧдмыт ~ сьӧдпыръем йырси blackish hair
курыт bitter курыталэс ~ курытпыръем кияр a rather bitter cucumber

Verbs[edit]

In Udmurt grammar, the lexical aspect (aktionsart) of verbs is called verbal aspect. Udmurt verbs can be divided into two categories: momentane verbs and frequentative verbs. The transitivity or of a verb mainly relies on if the verb is frequentative or not.

In Udmurt word formation, verbs can be derived by frequentative or causative deverbalising suffixes.

Momentane[edit]

The momentane aspect of Udmurt verbs expresses action (state of being or process) that happens only once. There is no transparent base momentane marker (cf. Finnish momentane verbs). For example, лыӟыны 'to read (once)'. However a causative -т- denotes momentanity and those verbs can be derived into frequentative verbs.

Frequentative[edit]

The frequentative aspect expresses that the action (state of being or process) does not happen just one time. The action is continuous or frequent. There are various frequentative markers, usually containing an л, for example лыӟылыны 'to read (frequently/often)'. The frequentative aspect, however, does not denote continuous repetitiveness as in e.g.some Finnish frequentative derivations.

The frequentative deverbalising affixes in Udmurt are -лы- (conjugation I), -лля- (conjugation II) (both historically related to the Finnish frequentative derivational suffix -ele-) and -а-/-я- (conjugation I) which precede the infinitive marker ны.

Frequentative derivation
Base English Derivation English
-л-
лыӟыны to read лыӟылыны to read (often)
лыктыны to come лыктылыны to come (often)
юыны to drink юылыны to drink (often)
-лля-
ужаны to work ужалляны to work (often)
кораны to chop коралляны to chop (often)
-а-/-я-
пырыны to step inside пыраны to step inside (often)
потыны to step outside потаны to step outside (often)
гожтыны to write гожтъяыны to write (often)

Some verbal derivations, that follow the pattern потыныпотаны, have parallel frequentative derivations, and -лля- can be affixed to an already frequentatised derivation:

тубыны 'to rise' → тубылыны 'to rise (often)'

тубыны 'to rise' → тубанытубалляны 'to rise (often)'

Another frequentative verb affix is -иськы-/-ӥськы-, which is historically related to the Finnish frequentative derivational suffix -skele-. -иськы-/-ӥськы- frequentative verbs can be considered different from the above mentioned derivations. -иськы-/-ӥськы- verbs do not semantically denote frequency in the same way; their "ofteness" is related to objective or non-objective relation. For example the verb лыӟыны ('to read') requires an object and the verb лыӟиськыны does not.

Udmurt English
мон лыӟиськыны яратӥсько I like to read (generally)
мон книга лыӟӥсько I am reading a book

Syntax[edit]

Udmurt is an SOV language.

Nominal sentence[edit]

The copular verb (вань vań, – "to be") is omitted if the sentence is in the present tense: туннэ кыӵе 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 вань-а? ti palan ńulesjos vań-a? ("At you (plur.), are there forests?")

Existential sentences[edit]

These are sentences which introduce a new subject – they often begin with 'there is' or 'there are' in English.

Udmurt English Literal translation
Финляндиын трос нюлэсъëс there are many forests in Finland "in Finland many forests (is/are)"

Possessive sentences[edit]

As in most Uralic languages, ownership in Udmurt is expressed by inflection and sentence structure, rather than with a separate verb 'have'. The owner of the object and the possessed object are both inflected with a possessive suffix and used with the copula verb to express ownership.

Udmurt English Literal translation
мынам книгае вань I have a book "mine my book is"
мынам книгае ӧвӧл I do not have a book "mine my book is not"
мынам книгае вал I had a book "mine my book was"
мынам книгае ӧй вал I did not have a book "mine my book was not"

Sources[edit]

  • Kel'makov, Valentin; Sara Hännikäinen (2008). Udmurtin kielioppia ja harjoituksia (in Finnish) (2nd ed.). Helsinki: Suomalais-Ugrilainen Seura. ISBN 978-952-5150-34-6.