Chuvash (Чӑвашла, Čăvašla; IPA: [tɕəʋaʂˈla]) is a Turkic language spoken in central Russia, primarily in the Chuvash Republic and adjacent areas. It is the only surviving member of the Oghur branch of Turkic languages and thus makes up one full half of the Turkic language family. Because of this, Chuvash has diverged considerably from the other Turkic languages, which typically demonstrate mutual intelligibility among one another to varying degrees.
Chuvash is the native language of the Chuvash people and an official language of Chuvashia. It is spoken by 1,640,000 persons in Russia and another 34,000 in other countries. 86% of ethnic Chuvash and 8% of the people of other ethnicities living in Chuvashia claimed knowledge of Chuvash language during the 2002 census. Despite that, and although Chuvash is taught at schools and sometimes used in the media, it is considered endangered, because Russian dominates in most spheres of life, and few children learning the language are likely to become active users.
A fairly significant production and publication of literature in Chuvash still continues. According to UNESCO's Index Translationum, at least 202 books translated from Chuvash were published in other languages (mostly Russian) since ca. 1979. However, as with most other languages of the former USSR, most of the translation activity took place before the dissolution of the USSR: out of the 202 translations, 170 books were published in the USSR, and just 17, in the post-1991 Russia (mostly, in the 1990s). A similar situation takes place with the translation of books from other languages (mostly Russian) into Chuvash (the total of 175 titles published since ca. 1979, but just 18 of them in post-1991 Russia).
Chuvash is the most distinctive of the Turkic languages and cannot be understood by speakers of other Turkic tongues. Chuvash is classified, alongside the extinct language Bulgar, as the only remaining member of the Oghuric branch of the Turkic language family. Since the surviving literary records for the non-Chuvash members of Oghuric are scant, the exact position of Chuvash within the Oghuric family cannot be determined.
The Oghuric branch is distinguished from the rest of the Turkic family (the Common Turkic languages) by two sound changes: r corresponding to Common Turkic z, and l corresponding to Common Turkic ş.
|А а||Ӑ ӑ||Б б||В в||Г г||Д д||Е е||Ё ё|
|Ӗ ӗ||Ж ж||З з||И и||Й й||К к||Л л||М м|
|Н н||О о||П п||Р р||С с||Ҫ ҫ||Т т||У у|
|Ӳ ӳ||Ф ф||Х х||Ц ц||Ч ч||Ш ш||Щ щ||Ъ ъ|
|Ы ы||Ь ь||Э э||Ю ю||Я я|
|Б б||бӑ||/b/||b||only in loanwords from Russian|
|Г г||гӑ||/ɡ/||g||only in loanwords from Russian|
|Д д||дӑ||/d/||d||only in loanwords from Russian|
|Е е||е||/ɛ/||e, je|
|Ё ё||ё||/jo/ or /ʲo/||jo||only in loanwords from Russian|
|Ж ж||жӑ||/ʐ/||ž||only in loanwords from Russian|
|З з||зӑ||/z/||z||only in loanwords from Russian|
|О о||о||/o/||o||only in loanwords from Russian|
|Т т||тӑ||/t/, /tʲ/||t, ť|
|Ф ф||фӑ||/f/||f||only in loanwords from Russian|
|Ц ц||цӑ||/ts/||ts, c||only in loanwords from Russian|
|šč||only in loanwords from Russian|
|Ъ ъ||хытӑлӑх палли||–||ʺ||only in loanwords from Russian. Placed after a consonant, acts as a "silent back vowel"; puts a distinct /j/ sound in front of the following iotified: Е, Ё, Ю, Я vowels with no palatalization of the preceding consonant|
|Ы ы||ы||/ɯ/||y||only in beginning of words, 1-2 letters|
|Ь ь||ҫемҫелӗх палли||/ʲ/||ʹ||Placed after a consonant, acts as a "silent front vowel", slightly palatalizes the preceding consonant|
|Э э||э||/e/||e||only first letter|
|Ю ю||ю||/ju/ or /ʲu/||ju|
|Я я||я||/ja/ or /ʲa/||ja|
In 1938, the alphabet underwent significant modification which brought it to its current form.
The most ancient writing system, known as the Old Turkic alphabet, disappeared after the Volga Bulgars converted to Islam. Later, the Arabic script was adopted. After the Mongol invasion, writing degraded. After Peter the Great's reforms Chuvash elites disappeared, blacksmiths and some other crafts were prohibited for non-Russian nations, the Chuvash were educated in Russian, while writing in runes recurred with simple folks.
The consonants are the following (the corresponding Cyrillic letters are in brackets): /p/ (п), /t/ (т), /k/ (к), /tɕ/ (ч), /s/ (с), /ʂ/ (ш), /ɕ/ (ҫ), /χ/ (х), /ʋ/ (в), /m/ (м), /n/ (н), /l/ (л), /r/ (р), /j/ (й). The stops, sibilants and affricates are voiceless and fortes but become lenes (sounding similar to voiced) in intervocalic position and after liquids, nasals and semi-vowels. Аннепе sounds like annebe, but кушакпа sounds like kuzhakpa. However, geminate consonants do not undergo this lenition. Furthermore, the voiced consonants occurring in Russian are used in modern Russian-language loans. Consonants also become palatalized before and after front vowels.
According to Krueger (1961), the Chuvash vowel system is as follows (the precise IPA symbols are chosen based on his description since he uses a different transcription).
|High||i ⟨и⟩||y ⟨ӳ⟩||ɯ ⟨ы⟩||u ⟨у⟩|
|Low||e ⟨е⟩||ø̆ ⟨ӗ⟩||а ⟨а⟩||ŏ ⟨ӑ⟩|
András Róna-Tas (1997) provides a somewhat different description, also with a partly idiosyncratic transcription. The following table is based on his version, with additional information from Petrov (2001). Again, the IPA symbols are not directly taken from the works so they could be inaccurate.
|High||i ⟨и⟩||y ⟨ӳ⟩||ɯ ⟨ы⟩||u ⟨у⟩|
|Close-mid||ӗ ⟨ĕ⟩||ɤ̆ ⟨ӑ⟩|
The vowels ӑ and ӗ are described as reduced, thereby differing in quantity from the rest. In unstressed positions, they often resemble a schwa or tend to be dropped altogether in fast speech. At times, especially when stressed, they may be somewhat rounded and sound similar to /o/ and /ø/.
Additionally, ɔ (о) occurs in loanwords from Russian where the syllable is unstressed in Russian.
There are two dialects of Chuvash:
The literary language is based on both the Lower and Upper dialects. Both Tatar and the neighbouring Uralic languages such as Mari have influenced the Chuvash language, as have Russian, Mongolian, Arabic and Persian, which have all added many words to the Chuvash lexicon.
As characteristic of all Turkic languages, Chuvash is an agglutinative language and as such, has an abundance of suffixes but no native prefixes or prepositions, apart from the partly reduplicative intensive prefix, such as in: шурӑ - white, шап-шурӑ - snow-white, хура - black, хуп-хура - jet black, такӑр - flat, так-такӑр - absolutely flat, тулли - full, тӑп-тулли - chock full (compare to Turkish beyaz - white, bem-beyaz snow-white, kara - black, kap-kara - jet black, düz - flat, dümdüz - absolutely flat, dolu - full, dopdolu - chock full). One word can have many suffixes, which can also be used to create new words like creating a verb from a noun or a noun from a verbal root. See Vocabulary below. It can also indicate the grammatical function of the word.
Chuvash nouns can take endings indicating the person of a possessor. They can take case-endings. There are six noun cases in the Chuvash declension system:
Taking кун (day) as an example:
|Nominative||кун||day, or the day|
|Possessive||кунӑн||of the day|
|Dative-Accusative||куна||to the day|
|Locative||кунта||in the day|
|Ablative||кунтан||of the day, or from the day|
|Instrumental||кунпа||with the day|
Possession is expressed by means of constructions based on verbs meaning "to exist" and "not to exist" ("пур" and "ҫук"). For example, to say, "My cat had no shoes":
which literally translates as "cat-mine-of foot-cover(of)-plural-his non-existent-was."
Chuvash verbs exhibit person and can be made negative or impotential; they can also be made potential. Finally, Chuvash verbs exhibit various distinctions of tense mood, and aspect: a verb can be progressive, necessitative, aorist, future, inferential, present, past, conditional, imperative or optative.
|килме-||not (to) come|
|килейме-||not (to) be able to come|
|килеймен||She (or he) was apparently unable to come.|
|килеймерӗ||She had not been able to come.|
|килеймерӗр||You (plural) had not been able to come.|
|килеймерӗр-и?||Have you (plural) not been able to come?|
Vowel harmony is the principle by which a native Chuvash word generally incorporates either exclusively back or hard vowels (а, ӑ, у, ы) and exclusively front or soft vowels (е, ӗ, ӳ, и). As such, a notation for a Chuvash suffix such as -тен means either -тан or -тен, whichever promotes vowel harmony; a notation such as -тпӗр means either -тпӑр, -тпӗр, again with vowel harmony constituting the deciding factor.
Chuvash has two classes of vowels: front and back (see the table above). Vowel harmony states that words may not contain both front and back vowels. Therefore, most grammatical suffixes come in front and back forms, e.g. Шупашкарта "in Cheboksary" but килте "at home".
Can not to stand next two vowels.
Compound words are considered separate words with respect to vowel harmony: vowels do not have to harmonize between members of the compound (so forms like сӗтелпукан "furniture" are permissible). In addition, vowel harmony does not apply for loanwords and some invariant suffixes (such as -ӗ); there are also a few native Chuvash words that do not follow the rule (such as анне "mother"). In such words suffixes harmonize with the final vowel; thus Аннепе "with the mother".
Word order in Chuvash is generally subject–object–verb.
url=value (help). gks.ru. Russian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
|Chuvash edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia|