Linguistic areas in the history of the Mansi language

2022. №5, 7-34

Anna Yu. Urmanchieva
Tomsk State University, Tomsk, Russia;


The article is devoted to the reconstruction of historical contacts of the Mansi language with Samoyedic languages. On the modern linguistic map of Western Siberia these languages are not in direct contact, however, linguistic data make it possible to reconstruct several contact situations of varying degrees of temporal depth. I suppose that in the region of the Upper Ob there was a historical linguistic area, which included the Mansi, Selkup, and Kamas languages. In the eastern periphery of this zone, some limited contacts between the Selkups and the Kets took place. The Khanty language was widespread north of the Mansi language, possibly, in the northern periphery of this area. The ancestor of the modern Eastern Khanty language was located closest to the Mansi language. The Mansi contacted with the speakers of the Southern Samoyedic languages most probably across the rivers of Chizhapka and Parabel. Within the same area E. G. Bekker identifi ed the zone of distribution of the Kamas toponymy. During the period of these contacts, in my opinion, Kamas and Selkup were already two separate languages, but the dialectal diff erentiation of Selkup had not yet begun: the article proposes a number of Mansi-Selkup areal isoglosses, equally represented in all Selkup dialects. Subsequently, the relative position of the Khanty and Mansi languages on the linguistic map of Western Siberia changed. The Eastern Khanty penetrated the Upper Ob area. Then the Northern and Southern Khanty settled in a wide zone stretching from north to south along the course of the Middle Ob and Irtysh. This interrupts the connection between the Mansi and the Eastern Khanty and cuts off the Mansi from the Upper Ob area. During this period, the modern “Ostyak” area including the Selkup, Ket, and Khanty languages began to form in the Upper Ob region. The formation of this “Ostyak” area should be attributed to the period after the dialectal differentiation of the both mentioned Uralic languages: this area includes only the easternmost dialects of Khanty and only the Northern and Tym dialects of Selkup.

For citation:

Urmanchieva A. Yu. Linguistic areas in the history of the Mansi language. Voprosy Jazykoznanija, 2022, 5: 7–34.


The study was supported by Russian Science Foundation grant No. 19-18-00329.