COLLECTION OF AUDIO MATERIAL IN THE NENETS LANGUAGE

The Russian-Nenets Audio Phrasebook

   
Introduction
The Structure of the Phrasebook
How to Use the Phrasebook
The Speakers
Acknowledgments
The Authors

INTRODUCTION

 
The Nenets language belongs to the Northern branch of the Samoyedic group of languages, which in its turn forms the part of the Uralic language family. Nenets are the small people living along Arctic Ocean between Kola Peninsula and the mouth of river Yenisey. In spite of huge territory, original population counted to 35000 persons in 1989. Nenets is the native language for 77,1% of them. Comparing to other small Northern languages of Russia the Nenets one is rather safe. In spite of its comparative safeness no general description of Nenets phonetics, prosody and grammar have been made up to present.
 
Nenets are the small people living along Arctic Ocean between Kola Peninsula and the mouth of river Yenisey. In spite of huge territory, original population counted to 35000 persons in 1989. Nenets is the native language for 77,1% of them. Comparing to other small Northern languages of Russia the Nenets one is rather safe. In spite of its comparative safeness no general description of Nenets phonetics, prosody and grammar have been made up to present.
 

The Nenets languages is registered in the UNESCO Red Book on Endangered Languages and in the Red Book of the Peoples of the Russian Federation.

 
The phrasebook was recorded by three native Nenets speakers, who represent three main dialects of the Nenets language:

Central (Bolshezemelsky)

     

Eastern (Priuralsky)

     

Western (Kaninsky)

     


The main Nenets dialects.
 

THE STRUCTURE OF THE PHRASEBOOK

 
The phrasebook contains about 550 Russian phrases, which were translated and pronounced by three speakers. These phrases relate to the main 21 topics, which reflect rather well the Nenets traditional culture and the way of life:

  1. Acquaintance

  2. Guests

  3. Invitation

  4. Family. Family relations. Age

  5. Home. Household

  6. Rest. Hobbies

  7. Agreement. Disagreement

  8. Gratitude

  9. Parting

  10. Amazement

  11. Approval

  12. Chum

  13. Diseases

  14. Seasons. Weather

  15. Time

  16. Hunt. Fishery. Deer-raising

  17. Flora. Fauna

  18. Departure. Arrival

  19. Shopping

  20. Post. Telegraph. Telephone

  21. Numerals

These topics and the majority of Russian expressions were borrowed from [T.Aaron and A.Momde. The Russian-Nganasan Phrasebook. Dudinka. 1995]. This approach is justified by the fact that Nenets and Nganasan people being geographical neighbors and have many common.

Orthography. The speakers were asked to make translations to each phrase of the phrasebook and then to record all the phrasebook. Creating the database we tried to preserve the original spelling made by the speakers, though frequently one and the same word might be spelt in different ways, because there is not any normative spelling for Nenets now. Moreover, the language is mostly used as a spoken language. In the following two phrases one and the same word "hour" marked by bold font is spelt in two quite different ways:
   When (at what hour) we shall meet?
   Let's meet in two hours.
 

HOW TO USE THE PHRASEBOOK

 
Step 1. On the initial page of the Web-site click "Phrasebook".
Step 2. Select the topic.
 
Technical comments
1. To use this site you do not need neither to install any additional fonts or to customize the settings of your browser, because all Nenets words and phrases are given as the strings of gif-pictures. The drawback of this approach is that HTML-pages become larger and take more time for uploading (up to several minutes).
 
2. To listen to the audio samples you need an MP3-player for the Internet version and any WAV-media player for the off-line version.
 
The structure of the entry

The structure of articles in each topic is the following:
 

 

THE SPEAKERS

 
The phrase-book was recorded by three native Nenets speakers, who represent three main dialects of the Nenets language: central (Bolshezemelsky), eastern (Priuralsky), and western (Kaninsky). All of them were born in tundra, and from their childhood they took part in nomadic reindeer graze. Now they are the students of St. Petersburg State Pedagogical University named after A.A.Herzen, and perfectly speak Russian. It should be mentioned that now it is impossible to find a Nenets speaker, younger than 70 years old, who does not know Russian rather good.

Valentina Taleeva

Central (Bolshezemelsky)

     

Ekaterina Laptander

Eastern (Priuralsky)

     

Anna Latysheva

Western (Kaninsky)

     

Anna Latysheva (right)
in tundra in the national Nenets clothing

Ekaterina Laptander (right)
with the other Nenets students in St. Petersburg State University


 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

 
The Russian-Nenets Audio Phrasebook was created within the framework of the joint project "Writing and teaching Samoyedic", made by the Research Group on Phonetics and Ethnolinguistics, University of Groningen, The Netherland (Project coordinator - Dr. Tjeerd de Graaf), and the Department of Phonetics of St. Petersburg State University, Russia (Project coordinator - Dr. Lija V. Bondarko).
 
The compilers of the phrasebook express their deep gratitude to the speakers - Valentina Taleeva, Anna Latysheva, and Ekaterina Laptander. The studio for recording was provided by the the Department of Phonetics of St. Petersburg State University, Russia.
 
     

For decoration of the Audio Phrasebook the fragments of pictures by Motiumiaku Turdagin were used. The fragment of the map above is borrowed from the School Encyclopedia "Arctica - moi dom".

THE AUTHORS

 
Markus Bergmann (University of Groningen): the head of the project.
Marina Lublinskaya (Institute of Linguistic Researches of the Russian Academy of Science): the phrasebook compilation, audio recordings and segmentation, database inputting.
Tatiana Sherstinova (Department of Phonetics, St. Petersburg State University): the database development, technical support, Web-design and programming.

 

©  All rights reserved.

Last updated October 27, 2002.