Mansi language

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ма̄ньси ла̄тыӈ
Native toRussia
Ethnicity12,200 Mansi (2020 census)[1]
Native speakers
2,200 (2020 census)[1]
  • Southern
  • Eastern
  • Northern
  • Western
Language codes
ISO 639-3mns
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

The Mansi languages are spoken by the Mansi people in Russia along the Ob River and its tributaries, in the Khanty–Mansi Autonomous Okrug, and Sverdlovsk Oblast. Traditionally considered a single language, they constitute a branch of the Uralic languages, often considered most closely related to neighbouring Khanty and then to Hungarian.

The base dialect of the Mansi literary language is the Sosva dialect, a representative of the northern language. The discussion below is based on the standard language. Fixed word order is typical in Mansi. Adverbials and participles play an important role in sentence construction. A written language was first published in 1868, and the current Cyrillic alphabet was devised in 1937.


Dialects of Mansi (and Khanty).
  Northern Mansi
  Western and Southern Mansi
  Eastern Mansi

Mansi is subdivided into four main dialect groups which are to a large degree mutually unintelligible, and therefore best considered four languages. A primary split can be set up between the Southern variety and the remainder. A number of features are also shared between the Western and Eastern varieties, while certain later sound changes have diffused between Eastern and Northern (and are also found in some neighboring dialects of Northern Khanty to the east).

Individual dialects are known according to the rivers their speakers live(d) on:[2]


Southern Mansi (Tavda)

Core Mansi
Central Mansi
Western Mansi


North Vagil Modern Mansi Language

South Vagil Old Mansi Language

Lower Lozva Mansi Language

Middle Lozva Mansi Language

Eastern Mansi (Konda)

Lower Konda Mansi Language

Middle Konda Mansi Language

Upper Konda Mansi Language

Jukonda Mansi Language

Northern Mansi

Upper Lozva Mansi Language

Severnaya Sosva Mansi Language

Sygva Mansi Language

Ob Mansi Language

The sub-dialects given above are those which were still spoken in the late 19th and early 20th century and have been documented in linguistic sources on Mansi. Pre-scientific records from the 18th and early 19th centuries exist also of other varieties of Western and Southern Mansi, spoken further west: the Tagil, Tura and Chusovaya dialects of Southern[3] and the Vishera dialect of Western.[4]

The two dialects last mentioned were hence spoken on the western slopes of the Urals, where also several early Russian sources document Mansi settlements. Placename evidence has been used to suggest Mansi presence reaching still much further west in earlier times,[5] though this has been criticized as poorly substantiated.[6]

Northern Mansi has strong Russian, Komi, Nenets, and Northern Khanty influence, and it forms the base of the literary Mansi language. There is no accusative case; that is, both the nominative and accusative roles are unmarked on the noun. */æ/ and */æː/ have been backed to [a] and [aː].

Western Mansi became extinct ca. 2000. It had strong Russian and Komi influences; dialect differences were also considerable.[7] Long vowels were diphthongized.

Eastern Mansi is spoken by 100–200 people. It has Khanty and Siberian Tatar influence. There is vowel harmony, and for */æː/ it has [œː], frequently diphthongized.

Southern (Tavda) Mansi was recorded from area isolated from the other Mansi varieties. Around 1900 a couple hundred speakers existed; in the 1960s it was spoken only by a few elderly speakers,[7] and it has since then become extinct. It had strong Tatar influence and displayed several archaisms such as vowel harmony, retention of /y/ (elsewhere merged with */æ/), /tsʲ/ (elsewhere deaffricated to /sʲ/), /æː/ (elsewhere fronted to /aː/ or diphthongized) and /ɑː/ (elsewhere raised to /oː/).



Mansi consonants[8]
Labial Alveolar (Alveolo-)
Plain Labialized
Nasals /m/
Stops /p/
Affricate /ɕ/ [1]
щ ~ сь
Fricatives /s/
/x/ [2] /ɣ/
х г
/xʷ/ [3] *ɣʷ [4]
хв (в)
Semivowels /j/
Laterals /l/
Trill /r/

The inventory presented here is a maximal collection of segments found across the Mansi varieties. Some remarks:

  1. /ɕ/ is an allophone of /sʲ/.[9]
  2. The voiceless velar fricatives /x/, /xʷ/ are only found in the Northern group and the Lower Konda dialect of the Eastern group, resulting from spirantization of *k, *kʷ adjacent to original back vowels.
  3. According to Honti, a contrast between *w and *ɣʷ can be reconstructed, but this does not surface in any of the attested varieties.
  4. The labialization contrast among the velars dates back to Proto-Mansi, but was in several varieties strengthened by labialization of velars adjacent to rounded vowels. In particular, Proto-Mansi *yK → Core Mansi *æKʷ (a form of transphonologization).


The vowel systems across Mansi show great variety. As typical across the Uralic languages, many more vowel distinctions were possible in the initial, stressed syllable than in unstressed ones. Up to 18–19 stressed vowel contrasts may be found in the Western and Eastern dialects, while Northern Mansi has a much reduced, largely symmetric system of 8 vowels, though lacking short **/e/ and having a very rare long [iː]:


  1. ы/и /i/ has a velar allophone [ɨ] before г /ɣ/ and after х /x/.[10]
  2. Long [iː] occurs as a rare and archaic phonetic variant of /eː/, cf. э̄ти ~ ӣти (‘in the evening, evenings’)[11]
  3. Long /eː/ and /oː/ can be pronounced as diphthongs [e͜ɛ] and [o͜ɔ].[10]
  4. у /u/ is found in unstressed (“non-first”) syllables before в /w/, in the infinitive suffix -ункве /uŋkʷe/ and in obscured compound words.[10]
  5. Reduced /ə/ becomes labialized [ə̹] or [ɞ̯] before bilabial consonants м /m/ and п /p/.[10]


The first publication of the written Mansi language was a translation of the Gospel of Matthew published in London in 1868.[12] In 1932 a version of Latin alphabet was introduced by the Institute of the Peoples of the North with little success.

The former Latin alphabet:

A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, Ꜧ, I, J, K, L, Ļ, M, N, Ņ, Ŋ, O, P, R, S, Ꞩ, T, Ţ, U, V, Z, Ь

In 1937, Cyrillic replaced the Latin.

The highlighted letters, and Г with the value /ɡ/, are used only in names and loanwords. The allophones /ɕ/ and /sʲ/ are written with the letter Щ or the digraph СЬ respectively.

/ɡ/, /ɣ/
/l/, /ʎ/
/n/, /ɲ/


Mansi is an agglutinating, subject–object–verb (SOV) language.[13]


There are two articles in Mansi: definite ань (aɲ), which also means "now" when placed before verbs, and indefinite акв (akʷ), literally "one".[14] Definiteness (determination) can also be expressed by the third (less often second) person singular possession marker,[15] or in case of direct objects, using transitive conjugation.[16] E.g. а̄мп (’dog’) → а̄мпе (’his/her/its dog’, ’the dog’); ха̄п (’boat’) → ха̄п на̄лув-нарыгтас (’he/she pushed a boat in the water’) ≠ ха̄п на̄лув-нарыгтастэ (’he/she pushed the boat in the water’).


There is no grammatical gender. Mansi distinguishes between singular, dual and plural number. Six grammatical cases exist. Possession is expressed using possessive suffixes, for example -ум, which means "my".

Grammatical cases, declining[edit]

Example with: пут /put/ (cauldron) [17]
case sing. dual plural
nom. пут
loc. путт
lat. путн
abl. путныл
trans. путыг
- -
instr. путыл

Missing cases can be expressed using postpositions, such as халныл (χalnəl, 'of, out of'), саит (sait, 'after, behind'), etc.


Mansi conjugation has three persons, three numbers, two tenses, and five moods. Active and passive voices exist.

Intransitive and transitive conjugations are distinguished. This means that there are two possible ways of conjugating a verb. When the speaker conjugates in intransitive, the sentence has no concrete object (in this case, the object is nothing or something like something, anything). In the transitive conjugation, there is a concrete object. This feature also exists in the other Ugric languages.

Personal suffixes[edit]

Personal suffixes are attached after the verbal marker. The suffixes are the following:

Singular Dual Plural
1st person -ум -ме̄н
2nd person -ын -ы̄н -ы̄н
3rd person -ыт


Mansi uses suffixes to express the tense.

Intransitive present tense[edit]

In intransitive verb conjugations there is no object present. The tense suffix precedes the personal suffix. The form of the present tense suffix depends on the character of the verbal stem, as well as moods. Tense conjugation is formed with the suffixes -эг, -э̄г, -и, -э, -э̄, -г, or -в.[18] In the following examples, the tense suffix is in bold and the personal ending is in italic.

рӯпитаӈкве - to work
Singular Dual Plural
1st person рӯпитэ̄гум рӯпитыме̄н рӯпитэ̄в
2nd person рӯпитэ̄гын рӯпитэгы̄н рӯпитэгы̄н
3rd person рӯпиты рӯпитэ̄г рӯпитэ̄гыт

The present tense suffix -э̄г is used if the following personal marker contains a consonant or a highly reduced vowel; the suffix -эг is used if the following personal marker has a stronger vowel, as it is the case in 2nd person dual and plural. 1st person dual has no tense marker but rather a ы between the verb stem and personal ending.

Verb stems that end in a vowel, have -г as verbal marker. Verb stems that end with the vowel у have -в as verbal marker.[19]

3rd person dual has no personal ending. If the verbal stem ends in a vowel, the tense suffix becomes -ыг.

1st person plural personal ending is -в if the verbal stems ends in a consonant; the personal ending becomes -ув if the verbal stem ends in a vowel.


There are four moods: indicative, conditional, subjunctive, imperative and precative.

Indicative mood has no suffix. Imperative mood exists only in the second person.

Active/Passive voice[edit]

Verbs have active and passive voice. Active voice has no suffix; the suffix to express the passive is -ве-.

Verbal prefixes[edit]

Verbal prefixes are used to modify the meaning of the verb in both concrete and abstract ways. For example, with the prefix эл- (el-) (away, off) the verb мина (mina) (go) becomes элмина (elmina), which means to go away. This is surprisingly close to the Hungarian equivalents: el- (away) and menni (to go), where elmenni is to go away

ēl(a) – 'forwards, onwards, away'

jōm- 'to go, to stride' ēl-jōm- 'to go away/on'
tinal- 'to sell' ēl-tinal- 'to sell off'

χot – 'direction away from something and other nuances of action intensity'

min- 'to go' χot-min- 'to go away, to stop'
roχt- 'to be frightened' χot-roχt- 'to take fright suddenly'


# Northern Mansi Hungarian
1 аква (akʷa) egy
2 китыг (kitiɣ) kettő
3 хурум (xuːrəm) három
4 нила (ɲila) négy
5 ат (at) öt
6 хот (xoːt) hat
7 сат (saːt) hét
8 нёллов (ɲollow) nyolc
9 онтэллов (ontəlow) kilenc
10 лов (low) tíz
20 хус (xus) húsz
100 сат (saːt/janiɣsaːt) száz
1000 сотэр (soːtər) ezer

Numbers 1 and 2 also have attributive forms: акв (1) and кит (2); compare with Hungarian két, Old Hungarian kit).

Sample vocabulary[edit]

Northern Mansi English
Па̄ща о̄лэн Hello (to one person)
Па̄ща о̄лэ̄н Hello (to multiple people)
Наӈ наме ма̄ныр? What is your name?
Ам намум ___. My name is ____.
Пумасипа! Thank you
О̄с ёмас ӯлум Goodbye
нэ̄ woman
хум man, person
ня̄врам child
юрт, рума friend
а̄щ father
ща̄нь mother
пы̄г boy
а̄ги girl
кол house
ӯс city
ма̄ land
ха̄ль birch tree
я̄ river
во̄р forest
тӯр lake
нэ̄пак book
пасан table
а̄мп dog
кати cat
ӯй animal
во̄рто̄лнут bear
хӯл fish


Northern Mansi English Morphological translation
Aм хӯл алысьлаӈкве минасум. I went fishing. I fish go.did.I
А̄кврись, а̄кврись, тутсяӈын хо̄т?

— А̄мпын тотвес.
А̄мпе хо̄т?
—Во̄рн минас.
Во̄ре хо̄т?
—На̄йн та̄йвес.

Dear auntie, dear auntie, where is your sewing kit?

— It has been taken by the dog.
Where is the dog?
— It has gone to the forest.
Where is the forest?
— It has been burnt down by fire.

Auntie.dear, auntie.dear, sewing-kit.your where?

— taken.was.(it).
Dog.its where?
— Forest.into go.did.(it).
Forest.its where?
— eaten.was.(it).


  1. ^ a b "Итоги Всероссийской переписи населения 2020 года. Таблица 6. Население по родному языку" [Results of the All-Russian population census 2020. Table 6. population according to native language.]. Retrieved 2023-01-03.
  2. ^ Honti 1998, pp. 327–328.
  3. ^ Gulya, Janos (1958). "Egy 1736-ból származó manysi nyelvemlék". Nyelvtudományi Közlemények (60): 41–45.
  4. ^ Kannisto, Artturi (1918). "Ein Wörterverzeichnis eines ausgestorbenen wogulischen Dialektes in den Papieren M. A. Castréns". Suomalais-Ugrilaisen Seuran Aikakauskira (30/8).
  5. ^ Kannisto, Artturi (1927). "Über die früheren Wohngebiete der Wogulen". Finnisch-Ugrische Forschungen (XVIII): 57–89.
  6. ^ Napolskikh, Vladimir V. (2002). ""Ugro-Samoyeds" in Eastern Europe?". Finnisch-Ugrische Mitteilungen (24/25): 127–148.
  7. ^ a b Kálmán 1965, pp. 4–5.
  8. ^ a b Honti 1998, p. 335.
  9. ^ Rombandeeva, E. I.; Ромбандеева, Е. И. (2017). Sovremennyĭ mansiĭskiĭ i︠a︡zyk : leksika, fonetika, grafika, orfografii︠a︡, morfologii︠a︡, slovoobrazovanie. Obsko-ugorskiĭ institut prikladnykh issledovaniĭ i razrabotok, Обско-угорский институт прикладных исследований и разработок. Ti︠u︡menʹ. p. 29. ISBN 978-5-6040210-8-8. OCLC 1062352461.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  10. ^ a b c d Kálmán 1989, pp. 32.
  11. ^ Kálmán 1989, pp. 32, 99, 102.
  12. ^ Rombandeeva, E. I.; Ромбандеева, Е. И. (2017). Sovremennyĭ mansiĭskiĭ i︠a︡zyk : leksika, fonetika, grafika, orfografii︠a︡, morfologii︠a︡, slovoobrazovanie. Obsko-ugorskiĭ institut prikladnykh issledovaniĭ i razrabotok, Обско-угорский институт прикладных исследований и разработок. Ti︠u︡menʹ. p. 41. ISBN 978-5-6040210-8-8. OCLC 1062352461.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  13. ^ Grenoble, Lenore A (2003). Language Policy in the Soviet Union. Springer. p. 14. ISBN 978-1-4020-1298-3.
  14. ^ Мансийский (вогульский) язык, р. 200
  15. ^ Kálmán 1989, pp. 60–61.
  16. ^ Kálmán 1989, pp. 69–70.
  17. ^ Современный мансийский язык: лексика, фонетика, графика, орфография, морфология, словообразование: монография; page 288 [1]
  18. ^ Rombandeeva, E. I.; Ромбандеева, Е. И. (2017). Sovremennyĭ mansiĭskiĭ i︠a︡zyk : leksika, fonetika, grafika, orfografii︠a︡, morfologii︠a︡, slovoobrazovanie. Obsko-ugorskiĭ institut prikladnykh issledovaniĭ i razrabotok, Обско-угорский институт прикладных исследований и разработок. Ti︠u︡menʹ. p. 133. ISBN 978-5-6040210-8-8. OCLC 1062352461.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  19. ^ Rombandeeva, E. I.; Ромбандеева, Е. И. (2017). Sovremennyĭ mansiĭskiĭ i︠a︡zyk : leksika, fonetika, grafika, orfografii︠a︡, morfologii︠a︡, slovoobrazovanie. Obsko-ugorskiĭ institut prikladnykh issledovaniĭ i razrabotok, Обско-угорский институт прикладных исследований и разработок. Ti︠u︡menʹ. p. 134. ISBN 978-5-6040210-8-8. OCLC 1062352461.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)


  • Nyelvrokonaink. Teleki László Alapítvány, Budapest, 2000.
  • A világ nyelvei. Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest
  • Honti, László (1998). "ObUgrian". In Abondolo, Daniel (ed.). The Uralic Languages.
  • Kálmán, Béla (1965). Vogul Chrestomathy. Indiana University Publications. Uralic and Altaic Series. Vol. 46. The Hague: Mouton.
  • Kálmán, Béla (1989). Chrestomathia Vogulica (in Hungarian and German) (3rd ed.). Budapest: Tankönyvkiadó. ISBN 963-18-2088-2.
  • Kulonen, Ulla-Maija (2007). Itämansin kielioppi ja tekstejä. Apuneuvoja suomalais-ugrilaisten kielten opintoja varten (in Finnish). Vol. XV. Helsinki: Suomalais-Ugrilainen Seura. ISBN 978-952-5150-87-2.
  • Munkácsi, Bernát and Kálmán, Béla. 1986. Wogulisches Wörterbuch. Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest. [In German and Hungarian.]
  • Riese, Timothy. Vogul: Languages of the World/Materials 158. Lincom Europa, 2001. ISBN 3-89586-231-2
  • Ромбандеева, Евдокия Ивановна. Мансийский (вогульский) язык, Russian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Linguistics, 1973. [In Russian.]

External links[edit]