Tungusic languages

The Tungusic languages /tʊŋˈɡʊsɪk/ (also known as Manchu-Tungus and Tungus) form a language family spoken in Eastern Siberia and Manchuria by Tungusic peoples. Many Tungusic languages are endangered, and the long-term future of the family is uncertain. There are approximately 75,000 native speakers of the dozen living languages of the Tungusic language family. Some linguists consider Tungusic to be part of the controversial Altaic language family, along with Turkic, Mongolic, and sometimes Koreanic and Japonic.

The term "Tungusic" is from an exonym for the Evenk people used by the Yakuts ("tongus") and the Siberian Tatars in the 17th century meaning "pig". It was borrowed into Russian as "тунгус", and ultimately into English as "Tungus". It became a broad term for speakers of the whole family, "Tungusic". Use of "Tungus" is now discouraged; the Russian government now uses the endonym "Evenks" officially.

EthnicityTungusic peoples
Siberia, Manchuria
Linguistic classificationOne of the world's primary language families
  • Northern
  • Southern
ISO 639-5tuw
Linguistic map of the Tungusic languages (en)
Geographic distribution


Linguists working on Tungusic have proposed a number of different classifications based on different criteria, including morphological, lexical, and phonological characteristics. Some scholars have criticized the tree-based model of Tungusic classification, arguing the long history of contact among the Tungusic languages makes them better treated as a dialect continuum.[2]

The main classification is into a northern branch and a southern branch (Georg 2004), although the two branches have no clear division and the classification of intermediate groups is debatable; Four mid-level subgroups are recognized by Hölzl (2018),[3] namely Ewenic, Udegheic, Nanaic, and Jurchenic.

Population distribution of total speakers of Tungusic languages, by speaker

  Xibe (55%)
  Evenki (28.97%)
  Even (10.45%)
  Others (5.58%)

Alexander Vovin[4] notes that Manchu and Jurchen are aberrant languages within South Tungusic but nevertheless still belong in it, and that this aberrancy is perhaps due to influences from the Para-Mongolic Khitan language, from Old Korean, and perhaps also from Chukotko-Kamchatkan and unknown languages of uncertain linguistic affiliation.

Despite some similarities between the Tungusic and Koreanic languages, Alexander Vovin (2013)[5] considers Tungusic and Koreanic to be separate, unrelated language groups that share areal rather than genetic commonalities.

Southern Tungusic (Jurchenic-Nanaic)
  • Jurchenic (Southwestern Tungusic) ("Manchu group")
  • Nanaic (Southeastern Tungusic) ("Nanai group" / "Amur group")
    • Nanai (Gold, Goldi, Hezhen) (Akani, Birar, Samagir)
      • Upper Amur
        • Right-bank Amur
        • Sungari
        • Bikin (Ussuri)
      • Central Amur
        • Sakachi-Alyan
        • Naykhin (basis of standard Nanai but not identical)
        • Dzhuen
      • Lower Amur
        • Bolon
        • Ekon
        • Gorin
    • Orok (Uilta)
      • Northern (East Sakhalin)
      • Southern (South Sakhalin, Poronaysky)
    • Ulch / Olcha
Transitional Southern-Northern Tungus (Udegheic)
  • Udegheic (Oroch–Udege; strongly influenced by Southern Tungusic)
Northern Tungusic (Ewenic)
  • Ewenic
    • Even (Lamut) (in eastern Siberia)
      • Arman
      • Indigirka
      • Kamchatka
      • Kolyma-Omolon
      • Okhotsk
      • Ola
      • Tompon
      • Upper Kolyma
      • Sakkyryr
      • Lamunkhin
    • Evenki
      • Evenki (obsolete: Tungus), spoken by Evenks in central Siberia and Manchuria
        • Solon (Solon Ewenki)
          • Hihue/Hoy (basis of the standard, but not identical)
          • Haila’er
          • Aoluguya (Olguya)
          • Chenba’erhu (Old Bargu)
          • Morigele (Mergel)
        • Siberian Ewenki / Ewenki of Siberia
          • Northern (spirant)
            • Ilimpeya (subdialects: Ilimpeya, Agata and Bol'shoi, Porog, Tura, Tutonchany, Dudinka/Khantai)
            • Yerbogachen (subdialects: Yerbogachen, Nakanno)
          • Southern (sibilant)
            • Hushing
              • Sym (subdialects: Tokma/Upper Nepa, Upper Lena/Kachug, Angara)
              • Northern Baikal (subdialects: Northern Baikal, Upper Lena)
            • Hissing
              • Stony Tunguska (subdialects: Vanavara, Kuyumba, Poligus, Surinda, Taimura/Chirinda, Uchami, Chemdal'sk)
              • Nepa (subdialects: Nepa, Kirensk)
              • Vitim-Nercha/Baunt-Talocha (subdialects: Baunt, Talocha, Tungukochan, Nercha)
          • Eastern (sibilant-spirant)
            • Vitim-Olyokma (subdialects: Barguzin, Vitim/Kalar, Olyokma, Tungir, Tokko)
            • Upper Aldan (subdialects: Aldan, Upper Amur, Amga, Dzheltulak, Timpton, Tommot, Khingan, Chul'man, Chul'man-Gilyui)
            • Uchur-Zeya (subdialects: Uchur, Zeya)
            • Selemdzha-Bureya-Urmi (subdialects: Selemdzha, Bureya, Urmi)
            • Ayan-Mai (subdialects: Ayan, Aim, Mai, Nel'kan, Totti)
            • Tugur-Chumikan (subdialects: Tugur, Chumikan)
            • Sakhalin (no subdialects)
      • Negidal
        • Lower Negidal (close to Evenki) (extinct)
        • Upper Negidal
      • Oroqen
        • Gankui (basis of standard Oroqen but not identical)
        • Heilongjiang (Heihe)
      • Kili (traditionally considered Nanai) (Kur-Urmi or Hezhen - probably not Nanai or even Southern Tungusic but a northern Tungusic language)



Some linguists estimate the divergence of the Tungusic languages from a common ancestor spoken somewhere in Manchuria around 500 BC to 500 AD. (Janhunen 2012, Pevnov 2012)[7] Other theories favor a homeland closer to Lake Baikal. (Menges 1968, Khelimskii 1985)[8] While the general form of the protolanguage is clear from the similarities in the daughter languages, there is no consensus on detailed reconstructions. As of 2012, scholars are still trying to establish a shared vocabulary to do such a reconstruction.[7]

There are some proposed sound correspondences for Tungusic languages. For example, Norman (1977) supports a Proto-Tungusic *t > Manchu s when followed by *j in the same stem, with any exceptions arising from loanwords.[9] Some linguists believe there are connections between the vowel harmony of Proto-Tungusic and some of the neighboring non-Tungusic languages. For example, there are proposals for an areal or genetic correspondence between the vowel harmonies of Proto-Korean, Proto-Mongolian, and Proto-Tungusic based on an original RTR harmony.[10] This is one of several competing proposals, and on the other hand, some reconstruct Proto-Tungusic without RTR harmony.[10]

Some sources describe the Donghu people of 7th century BC to 2nd century BC Manchuria as Proto-Tungusic.[11] Other sources sharply criticize this as a random similarity in pronunciation with "Tungus" that has no real basis in fact.[12]

The historical records of the Korean kingdoms of Baekje and Silla note battles with the Mohe (Chinese: 靺鞨) in Manchuria during the 1st and 2nd centuries. Some scholars suggest these Mohe are closely connected to the later Jurchens, but this is controversial.

Alexander Vovin (2015)[13] notes that Northern Tungusic languages have Eskimo-Aleut loanwords that are not found in Southern Tungusic, implying that Eskimo-Aleut was once much more widely spoken in eastern Siberia. Vovin (2015) estimates that the Eskimo-Aleut loanwords in Northern Tungusic had been borrowed no more than 2,000 years ago, which was when Tungusic was spreading up north from its homeland in the middle reaches of the Amur River.

Jurchen-Manchu language

The earliest written attestation of the language family is in the Jurchen language, which was spoken by the rulers of the Jin dynasty (1115–1234).[14] The Jurchens invented a Jurchen script to write their language based on the Khitan scripts. During this time, several stelae were put up in Manchuria and Korea. One of these, among the most important extant texts in Jurchen, is the inscription on the back of "the Jin Victory Memorial Stele" (Da Jin deshengtuo songbei), which was erected in 1185, during the Dading period (1161–1189). It is apparently an abbreviated translation of the Chinese text on the front of the stele.[15] The last known example of the Jurchen script was written in 1526.

The Tungusic languages appear in the historical record again after the unification of the Jurchen tribes under Nurhaci (Manchu: ᠨᡠᡵᡤᠠᠴᡳ) who ruled 1616-1626. He commissioned a new Manchu alphabet based on the Mongolian alphabet, and his successors went on to found the Qing dynasty. In 1636, Emperor Hong Taiji decreed that the ethnonym "Manchu" would replace "Jurchen". Modern scholarship usually treats Jurchen and Manchu as different stages of the same language.

Currently, Manchu proper is a dying language spoken by a dozen or so elderly people in Qiqihar province, China. However, the closely related Xibe language spoken in Xinjiang, which historically was treated as a divergent dialect of Jurchen-Manchu, maintains the literary tradition of the script, and has around 30,000 speakers. As the only language in the Tungustic family with a long written tradition, Jurchen-Manchu is a very important language for the reconstruction of Proto-Tungusic.

Other Tungusic languages

Other Tungusic languages have relatively short or no written traditions. Since around the 20th century, some of these other languages can be written in a Russian-based Cyrillic script, but the languages remain primarily spoken languages only.

Tungusic research

The earliest Western accounts of Tungusic languages came from the Dutch traveler Nicolaas Witsen, who published in the Dutch language a book titled Noord en Oost Tartarye, (literally "North and East Tartary") which described a variety of peoples in the far east and included some brief word lists for many languages. Following his travel to Russia, he published his collected findings in three editions, 1692, 1705, and 1785.[16] The book includes some words and sentences from the Evenki language, (then called "Tungus").

The German linguist Wilhelm Grube (1855-1908) published an early dictionary of the Nanai language (Gold language) in 1900, as well as deciphering the Jurchen language for modern audiences using a Chinese source.

Common characteristics

The Tungusic languages are of an agglutinative morphological type, and some of them have complex case systems and elaborate patterns of tense and aspect marking.

The normal word order for all of the languages is subject–object–verb.[17]


Tungusic languages exhibit a complex pattern of vowel harmony, based on two parameters: vowel roundedness and vowel tenseness. Tense and lax vowels do not occur in the same word; all vowels in a word, including suffixes, are either one or the other. Rounded vowels in the root of a word cause all the following vowels in the word to become rounded, but not those before the rounded vowel. Those rules are not absolute, and there are many individual exceptions.[17]

Vowel length is phonemic, with many words distinguished based on the distinction between short vowel and long vowel.[17]

Tungusic words have simple word codas, and usually have simple word onsets, with consonant clusters forbidden at the end of words and rare at the beginning.[17]

Relationships with other languages

Tungusic is today considered a primary language family. Especially in the past, some linguists have linked Tungusic with Turkic and Mongolic languages in the Altaic language family. However, a genetic, as opposed to an areal, link remains unproven. Others have suggested that the Tungusic languages may be related (perhaps as a paraphyletic outgroup) to the Koreanic, Japonic, or Ainu languages as well.

In 2017, Tungusic was again linked to Turkic and Mongolic languages by Robbeets in her "Transeurasian family" (another name for Macro-Altaic). According to Robbeets Tungusic is closest to Mongolic languages.[18]

The language of the Avars in Europe which created the Avar Khaganate is believed by some scholars to be of Tungusic origin.[19]

See also



  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Tungusic". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ Lindsay J. Whaley, Lenore A. Grenoble and Fengxiang Li (June 1999). "Revisiting Tungusic Classification from the Bottom up: A Comparison of Evenki and Oroqen". Language. 75 (2): 286–321. JSTOR 417262.
  3. ^ Hölzl, Andreas. 2018. The Tungusic language family through the ages: Interdisciplinary perspectives: Introduction. International Workshop at the 51st Annual Meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea (SLE). 29 August – 1st September 2018, Tallinn University, Estonia.
  4. ^ Vovin, Alexander. Why Manchu and Jurchen Look so Un-Tungusic?
  5. ^ Vovin, Alexander. 2013. Why Koreanic is not demonstrably related to Tungusic?. Proceedings of the conference Comparison of Korean with Other Altaic Languages: Methodologies and Case Studies, November 15, 2013, Gachon University, Seongnam, Republic of Korea.
  6. ^ a b c Mu, Yejun 穆晔骏. 1987: Balayu 巴拉语. Manyu yanjiu 满语研究 2. 2‒31, 128.
  7. ^ a b Martine Robbeets. "Book Reviews 161 Andrej L. Malchukov and Lindsay J. Whaley (eds.), Recent advances in Tungusic linguistics (Turcologica 89). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2012. vi + 277 pages, ISBN 978-3-447-06532-0, EUR 68" (PDF). Retrieved 25 Nov 2016.
  8. ^ Immanuel Ness (29 Aug 2014). The Global Prehistory of Human Migration. p. 200. ISBN 9781118970584.
  9. ^ JERRY NORMAN (1977). "THE EVOLUTION OF PROTO-TUNGUSIC *t TO MANCHU s". Central Asiatic Journal. 21 (3/4): 229–233. JSTOR 41927199.
  10. ^ a b Seongyeon Ko, Andrew Joseph, John Whitman (2014). "Paradigm Change: In the Transeurasian languages and beyond (Ch. 7)" (PDF).CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  11. ^ Barbara A. West (19 May 2010). Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Asia and Oceania. p. 891. ISBN 9781438119137. Retrieved 26 Nov 2016.
  12. ^ Pulleyblank, Edwin G. (1983). "The Chinese and Their Neighbors in Prehistoric and Early Historic China," in The Origins of Chinese Civilization, University of California Press, pp. 411–466.
  13. ^ Vovin, Alexander. 2015. Eskimo Loanwords in Northern Tungusic. Iran and the Caucasus 19 (2015), 87-95. Leiden: Brill.
  14. ^ Lindsay J. Whaley (18 Jun 2007). "Manchu-Tungus languages". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 25 Nov 2016.
  15. ^ Tillman, Hoyt Cleveland, and Stephen H. West. China Under Jurchen Rule: Essays on Chin Intellectual and Cultural History. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995, pp. 228–229. ISBN 0-7914-2274-7. Partial text on Google Books.
  16. ^ Nicolaas Witsen (1785). "Noord en oost Tartaryen".
  17. ^ a b c d The Tungusic Research Group at Dartmouth College. "Basic Typological Features of Tungusic Languages". Retrieved 25 Nov 2016.
  18. ^ "(PDF) Austronesian influence and Transeurasian ancestry in Japanese: A case of farming/language dispersal". ResearchGate. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  19. ^ Helimski, E (2004). "Die Sprache(n) der Awaren: Die mandschu-tungusische Alternative". Proceedings of the First International Conference on Manchu-Tungus Studies, Vol. II: 59–72.


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Further reading

  • Aixinjueluo Yingsheng 􀀆􀀃􀀉􀀈􀀅􀀇. 2014. Manyu kouyu yindian 􀀄􀀊􀀂􀀊􀀋􀀁. Peking: Huayi chubanshe.
  • Apatóczky, Ákos Bertalan; Kempf, Béla (2017). "Recent developments on the decipherment of the Khitan small script. Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarum Hung. 70(2). 109–133.". Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae. 70. pp. 109–133. doi:10.1556/062.2017.70.2.1..
  • Alonso de la Fuente, José Andrés. 2015. Tungusic historical linguistics and the Buyla (a.k.a. Nagyszentmiklós) inscription. Studia Etymologica Cracoviensia 20. 17-46.
  • Alonso de la Fuente, José Andrés. 2017a. An Oroch word-list lost and rediscovered: A critical edition of Tronson's 1859 pseudo- Nivkh vocabulary. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 80(1). 97-117.
  • Alonso de la Fuente, José Andrés. 2017b. From converb to classifier? On the etymology of Literary Manchu nofi. In Michał Né meth, Barbara Podolak & Mateusz Urban (eds.), Essays in the history of languages and linguistics. Dedicated to Marek Stachowski on the occasion of his 60th birthday, 57-80. Cracow: Księgarnia Akademicka.
  • Alonso de la Fuente, José Andrés. 2018. Past tenses, diminutives and expressive palatalization: Typology and the limits of internal reconstruction in Tungusic. In Bela Kempf, Ákos Bertalan Apatóczky & Christopher P. Atwood (eds.), Philology of the Grasslands: Essays in Mongolic, Turkic, and Tungusic Studies, 112-137. Leiden: Brill.
  • Aralova, Natalia. 2015. Vowel harmony in two Even dialects: Production and perception. Utrecht: LOT.
  • Baek, Sangyub. 2014. Verbal suffix -du in Udihe. Altai Hakpo 24. 1-22.
  • Baek, Sangyub. 2016. Tungusic from the perspective of areal linguistics: Focusing on the Bikin dialect of Udihe. Saporo:Graduate Scholof Leters, Hokkaidō University. (Doctoral dissertation.)
  • Baek, Sangyub. 2017. Grammatical peculiarities of Oroqen Evenki from the perspective of genetic and areal linguistics. Linguistic Typology of the North, vol. 4. 13-32.
  • Baek, Sangyub 􀀖􀀐􀀕. 2018. Chiiki gengo-gaku-teki kanten kara mita tsungūsu shogo no hojo dōshi 􀀓􀀊􀀎􀀏􀀋􀀔􀀌􀀕􀀂􀀅􀀍􀀃 􀀈􀀉􀀆􀀁􀀇􀀑􀀏􀀄􀀗􀀒􀀖􀀐. Hoppō gengo kenkyū 􀀌􀀒􀀚􀀜􀀗􀀘 8. 59-79.
  • Bogunov, Y. V., O. V. Maltseva, A. A. Bogunova & E. V. Balanovskaya 2015. The Nanai clan Samar: The structure of gene pool based on Ychromosome markers. Archaeology Ethnology and Anthropology of Eurasia 43(2). 146-152.
  • Bulatova, Nadezhda. 2014. Phonetic correspondences in the languages of the Ewenki of Russia and China. Altai Hakpo 24. 23-38.
  • Chaoke 􀁄􀀏 D. O. 2014a. Man tonggusiyuzu yuyan cihui bijiao 􀁖􀁳􀀞􀀼􀁮􀀾􀁮􀁨􀁬􀁎􀁌􀁲. Peking: Zhongguo shehui kexue chubanshe.
  • Chaoke 􀁄􀀏 D. O. 2014a. Man tonggusiyuzu yuyan ciyuan yanjiu 􀁖􀁳􀀞􀀼􀁮􀀾􀁮􀁨􀁬􀁬􀁕􀁝􀁡. Peking: Zhongguo shehui kexue chubanshe.
  • Chaoke 􀁄􀀏 D. O. 2014c. Xiboyu 366 ju huihuaju. Peking: Shehui kexue wenxian chubanshe.
  • Chaoke 􀁄􀀏 D. O. 2014d. Manyu 366 ju huihuaju. Peking: Shehui kexue wenxian chubanshe.
  • Chaoke 􀁄􀀏 D. O. 2016a. Ewenke yu jiaocheng 􀁵􀁔􀀏􀁮􀀹􀁟. Peking: Shehui kexue wenxian chubanshe.
  • Chaoke 􀁄􀀏 D. O. 2016b. Suolun ewenke yu jiben cihui 􀁥􀀍􀁵􀁔􀀏􀁮􀀧􀁆􀁬􀁎. Peking: Shehui kexue wenxian chubanshe.
  • Chaoke 􀁄􀀏 D. O. 2017. Ewenke zu san da fangyan cihui bijiao 􀁵􀁔􀀏􀀾􀀁􀀩􀀽􀁨􀁬􀁎􀁌􀁲. Peking: Shehui kexue wenxian chubanshe.
  • Chaoke 􀁄􀀏 D. O. & Kajia 􀀚􀀎 2016a. Suolun ewenke yu huihua 􀁥􀀍􀁵􀁔􀀏􀁮􀀌􀁭. Peking: Shehui kexue wenxian chubanshe.
  • Chaoke 􀁄􀀏 D. O. & Kajia 􀀚􀀎 2016b. Tonggusi ewenke yu huihua 􀁳􀀞􀀼􀁵􀁔􀀏􀁮􀀌􀁭. Peking: Shehui kexue wenxian chubanshe.
  • Chaoke 􀁄􀀏 D. O. & Kajia 􀀚􀀎. 2017. Nehe ewenke yu jiben cihui 􀁪􀁐􀁵􀁔􀀏􀁮􀀧􀁆􀁬􀁎. Peking: Shehui kexue wenxian chubanshe.
  • Chaoke 􀁄􀀏 D. O. & Kalina 􀀚􀀇􀀪. 2016. Ewenkezu yanyu 􀁵􀁔􀀏􀀾􀁰􀁮. Peking: Shehui kexue wenxian chubanshe.
  • Chaoke 􀁄􀀏 D. O. & Kalina 􀀚􀀇􀀪. 2017. Arong ewenke yu 􀁺􀁧􀁵􀁔􀀏􀁮. Peking: Shehui kexue wenxian chubanshe.
  • Chaoke 􀁄􀀏 D. O. & Sirenbatu 􀀼􀀋􀀰􀀤. 2016. Aoluguya ewenke yu huihua 􀀸􀁿􀀞􀁻􀁵􀁔􀀏􀁮􀀌􀁭. Peking: Shehui kexue wenxian chubanshe.
  • Chaoke 􀁄􀀏 D. O. & Wang Lizhen 􀁏􀁢􀁛. 2016. Ewenkezu minge geci 􀁵􀁔􀀏􀀾􀁍􀁋􀁋􀁬. Peking: Shehui kexue wenxian chubanshe.
  • Chao Youfeng 􀁄􀁃􀀯 & Meng Shuxian 􀀬􀁒􀁱. 2014. Zhongguo elunchunyu fangyan yanjiu 􀀅􀀣􀁵􀀍􀁀􀁮􀀽􀁨􀁝􀁡. Guoli minzuxue bowuguan diaocha baogao 􀀣􀁢􀁍􀀾􀀭􀀙􀁗􀁽􀁯􀁇􀀵􀀠 116. 1-113.
  • Corff, Oliver et al. 2013. Auf kaiserlichen Befehl erstelltes Wörterbuch des Manjurischen in fünf Sprachen: „Fünfsprachenspiegel“. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.
  • Crossley, Pamela K. 2015. Questions about ni- and nikan. Central Asiatic Journal 58(1-2). 49-57.
  • Do, Jeong-up. 2015. A comparative study of Manchu sentences in Manwen Laodang and Manzhou Shilu. Altai Hakpo 25. 1-35.
  • Doerfer, Gerhard & Michael Knüppel. 2013. Armanisches Wörterbuch. Nordhausen: Verlag Traugott Bautz.
  • Dong Xingye 􀀙􀀂􀀁. 2016. Hezheyu 􀀞􀀎􀀄. Harbin: Heilongjiang renmin chubanshe.
  • Duggan, Ana T. 2013. Investigating the prehistory of Tungusic peoples of Siberia and the Amur-Ussuri region with complete mtDNA genome sequences and Y-chromosomal markers. PlosOne 8(12). e83570.
  • Duo Limei 􀀨􀀇􀁉 & Chaoke 􀁄􀀏 D. O. 2016. Tonggusi ewenke yu yanjiu 􀁳􀀞􀀼􀁵􀁔􀀏􀁮􀁝􀁡. Peking: Shehui kexue wenxian chubanshe.
  • Grenoble, Lenore A. 2013. The syntax and pragmatics of Tungusic revisited. In Balthasar Bickel, Lenore A. Grenoble, David A. Peterson and Alan Timberlake (eds.), Language typology and historical contingency. In honor of Johanna Nichols, 357-382. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
  • Grenoble, Lenore A. 2014. Spatial semantics, case and relator nouns in Evenki. In Pirkko Suihkonen & Lindsay J. Whaley (eds.), On diversity and complexity of languages spoken in Europe and North and Central Asia,111-131. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
  • Gusev, Valentin. 2016. Figura etymologica in Uilta. Hoppō jinbun kenkyū 􀀘􀀽􀀊􀀻􀁝􀁡 9. 59-74.
  • Hasibate’er 􀀡􀀼􀀰􀁘􀀮. 2016. Aoluguya fangyan yanjiu 􀀸􀁿􀀞􀁻􀀽􀁨􀁝􀁡. Peking: Minzu chubanshe.
  • Hölzl, Andreas. 2017a. Kilen: Synchronic and diachronic profile of a mixed language. Paper presented at the 24th LIPP Symposium, June 21st - 23rd, 2017, Munich.
  • Hölzl, Andreas. 2017b. New evidence on Para-Mongolic numerals. Journal de la Société Finno-Ougrienne 96. 97-113.
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In theoretical linguistics, a converb (abbreviated cvb) is a nonfinite verb form that serves to express adverbial subordination: notions like 'when', 'because', 'after' and 'while'.


On being elected president, he moved with his family to the capital.

He walks the streets eating cakes.Converbs are differentiated from coverbs, verbs in complex predicates in languages that have the serial verb construction.

Converbs can be observed in Turkic languages, Mongolian languages (especially Mongolian), and Tungusic languages.

En with hook

En with hook (Ӈ ӈ; italics: Ӈ ӈ) is a letter of the Cyrillic script. Its form is derived from the Cyrillic letter En (Н н) by adding a hook to the right leg.

En with hook commonly represents the velar nasal /ŋ/, like the pronunciation of ⟨ng⟩ in "sing".

Even language

The Even language , also known as Lamut, Ewen, Eben, Orich, Ilqan (Russian: Эве́нский язы́к, earlier also Ламутский язы́к), is a Tungusic language spoken by the Evens in Siberia. It is spoken by widely scattered communities of reindeer herders from Kamchatka and the Sea of Okhotsk in the east to the River Lena in the west, and from the Arctic coast in the north to the River Aldan in the south. Even is an endangered language, with only some 5,700 speakers (Russian census, 2010). These speakers are specifically from the Magadan region, the Chukot region and the Koryak region. Dialects are Arman, Indigirka, Kamchatka, Kolyma-Omolon, Okhotsk, Ola, Tompon, Upper Kolyma, Sakkyryr, Lamunkhin.In these regions where the Evens primarily reside, the Even language is generally implemented in pre-school and elementary school, alongside the national language, Russian. Where Even functioned primarily as an oral language communicated between reindeer herding brigades, textbooks began circulating throughout these educational institutions from around 1925 to 1995. The syntax of the Even language follows the nominative case and SOV (subject-object-verb) word order, with the attribute preceding the dependent member.

Evenki language

Evenki , formerly known as Tungus or Solon, is the largest member of the northern group of Tungusic languages, a group which also includes Even, Negidal, and (the more closely related) Oroqen language. The name is sometimes wrongly given as "Evenks". It is spoken by Evenks in Russia and China.

In certain areas the influences of the Yakut and the Buryat languages are particularly strong. The influence of Russian in general is overwhelming (in 1979, 75.2% of the Evenkis spoke Russian, rising to 92.7% in 2002). Evenki children were forced to learn Russian at Soviet residential schools, and returned with a “poor ability to speak their mother tongue...". The Evenki language varies considerably among its dialects which are divided into three large groups: the northern, the southern and the eastern dialects. These are further divided into minor dialects. A written language was created for Evenkis in the Soviet Union in 1931, first using a Latin alphabet, and from 1937 a Cyrillic one. In China, Evenki is written experimentally in the Mongolian script. The language is generally considered endangered.


The Evens (эвэн; pl. эвэсэл, evesel, in Even and эвены, evëny in Russian; formerly called Lamuts) are a people in Siberia and the Russian Far East. They live in some of the regions of the Magadan Oblast and Kamchatka Krai and northern parts of Sakha east of the Lena River. According to the 2002 census, there were 19,071 Evens in Russia. According to the 2010 census, there were 22,383 Evens in Russia. They speak their own language called Even language, one of the Tungusic languages. The Evens are close to the Evenks by their origins and culture. Officially, they were considered to be of Orthodox faith since the 19th century, but the Evens managed to preserve different forms of non-Christian beliefs, such as shamanism. Traditional Even life is centred upon nomadic pastoralism of domesticated reindeer, supplemented with hunting, fishing and animal-trapping. There were 104 Evens in Ukraine, 19 of whom speaking Even. (Ukr. Cen. 2001)

Jurchen language

Jurchen language (Chinese: 女真語; pinyin: Nǚzhēn Yǔ) is the Tungusic language of the Jurchen people of eastern Manchuria, the founders of the Jin Empire in northeastern China of the 12th–13th centuries. It is ancestral to Manchu. In 1635 Hong Taiji renamed the Jurchen people and Jurchen language, "Manchu".

Kili language

Kili (Kirin, Kila), known as Hezhe or more specifically Qileen (奇勒恩 Qílè'ēn) in Chinese and also as the Kur-Urmi dialect of Nanai, is a Tungusic language of Russia and China. Nanai is a Southern Tungusic language, and Kili has traditionally been considered one of the diverse dialects of Nanai, but it "likely belongs to the northern group".

Mohe people

The Mohe, Malgal, or Mogher, maybe a mispronunciation of the word Mojie, were a Tungusic people who lived primarily in modern Northeast Asia. The two most powerful Mohe groups were known as the Heishui Mohe, located along the Amur River, and the Sumo Mohe, named after the Songhua River.The Mohe constituted a major part of the population in the kingdom of Balhae, which lasted from the late 7th century to early 10th century. After the fall of Balhae, few historical traces of the Mohe can be found, though they are considered to be the primary ethnic group from whom the Jurchen people descended. The Heishui Mohe in particular are considered to be the direct ancestors of the Jurchens, from whom the 17th century Manchu people originated. The Mohe practiced a sedentary agrarian lifestyle and were predominantly farmers who grew soybean, wheat, millet, and rice, supplemented by pig raising and hunting for meat. The Mohe were also known to have worn pig and dog skin coats.

Nanai language

The Nanai language (also called Gold, Goldi, or Hezhen) is spoken by the Nanai people in Siberia, and to a much smaller extent in China's Heilongjiang province, where it is known as Hezhe. The language has about 1,400 speakers out of 17,000 ethnic Nanai, but most (especially the younger generations) are also fluent in Russian or Chinese, and mostly use one of those languages for communication.

Negidal language

Negidal (also spelled Neghidal) is a language of the Tungusic family spoken in the Russian Far East, mostly in Khabarovskij Kraj, along the lower reaches of the Amur River. Negidal belongs to the Northern branch of Tungusic, together with Evenki and Even. It is particularly close to Evenki, to the extent that it is occasionally referred to as a dialect of Evenki.

Oroch language

The Oroch language is spoken by the Oroch people in Siberia. It is a member of the southern group of the Tungusic languages and is closely related to the Nanai language and Udege language. It is spoken in the Khabarovsk Krai (Komsomolsky, Sovetskaya Gavan, and Ulchsky districts). The language is split into three dialects: Tumninsky, Khadinsky, and Hungarisky. At the beginning of the 21st century, a written form of the language was created.

Oroch people

Orochs (Russian О́рочи), Orochons, or Orochis (self-designation: Nani) are a people of Russia that speak the Oroch (Orochon) language of the Southern group of Tungusic languages. According to the 2002 census there were 686 Orochs in Russia. According to the 2010 census there were 596 Orochs in Russia.

Orochs traditionally settled in the southern part of the Khabarovsk Krai, Russia and on the Amur and Kopp rivers. In the 19th century, some of them migrated to Sakhalin. In the early 1930s, the Orochi National District was created, but was cancelled shortly thereafter "due to lack of native population".

Because the people never had a written language, they were educated in the Russian language. Their language, Oroch, is on the verge of extinction. They follow Shamanism, the Russian Orthodox Church, and Buddhism.

Orok language

Orok is the Russian name for the language known by its speakers as Uilta, Ulta, or Ujlta. Similarly, the people are called Oroks or Ulta. It is a Tungusic language. The language is spoken in the Poronaysky and Nogliksky Administrative Divisions of Sakhalin Oblast, in the Russian Federation.

According to the 2002 Russian census there were 346 Oroks living in Russia, of whom 64 were competent in Orok. By the 2010 census, that number had dropped to 47. Oroks also live on the island of Hokkaido in Japan, but the number of speakers is uncertain, and certainly small.There are two dialects of Orok: northern (east Sakhalin) and southern (poronaysky). The variety of the language spoken on the island of Hokkaido belongs to the southern dialect.

Orok is used conversationally in everyday situations by the members of the older generation. It is also the language of oral folk literature. Oroks also speak Russian.

An alphabetic script, based on Cyrillic, was introduced in 2007. A primer has been published, and the language is taught in one school on the island of Sakhalin.

Oroqen language

Oroqen (also known as Orochon, Oronchon, Olunchun, Elunchun, Ulunchun) is a Northern Tungusic language spoken in the People's Republic of China. Dialects are Gankui and Heilongjiang. Gankui is the standard dialect. It is spoken by the Oroqen people of Inner Mongolia (predominantly the Oroqin Autonomous Banner) and Heilongjiang in Northeast China.

Currently, the Oroqen language is still unwritten. However, the majority of the Oroqen are capable of reading and writing Chinese and some can also speak the Daur language.

Oroqen people

The Oroqen people (simplified Chinese: 鄂伦春族; traditional Chinese: 鄂倫春族; pinyin: Èlúnchūn zú; Mongolian: Orčun; also spelt Orochen or Orochon) are an ethnic group in northern China. They form one of the 56 ethnic groups officially recognized by the People's Republic of China. As of the 2000 Census, 44.54% of the Oroqen lived in Inner Mongolia and 51.52% along the Heilongjiang River (Amur) in the province of Heilongjiang. The Oroqen Autonomous Banner is also located in Inner Mongolia.

The Oroqens are mainly hunters, and customarily use animal fur and skins for clothing. Many of them have given up hunting and adhered to laws that aimed to protect wildlife in the People's Republic of China. The government is said to have provided modern dwellings for those who have left behind the traditional way of life. The Oroqen are represented in the People's Congress by their own delegate and are a recognized ethnic minority.

Taz language

The Taz language (Russian: Тазкий язы́к or Tazkiy yazik) is a Sino-Tibetan language (according to some designations - a dialect) spoken by the Taz people, an ethnic group of mixed Sino-Manchu-Nanai-Udege origin living mainly in the Russian Far East.

The language is based primarily on the Northeastern dialect of Mandarin Chinese with some influences from local Tungusic languages such as Nanai and Udege.The 2010 Russian Census counted 274 Taz people living in Russia; however, the overwhelming majority of fluent speakers of Taz are elderly and Russian tends to be the primary language of the group in contemporary times.

Udege language

The Udege language (also Udihe language, Udekhe language, Udeghe language) is the language of the Udege people. It is a member of the Tungusic family. A few older letters that were used in this language: Ж ж, З з, Љ љ, Ц ц, Ш ш, Щ щ, Ъ ъ, Ы ы, ‘Ы ‘ы, Ы̄ ы̄, Ы̂ ы̂, Ю ю, ‘Ю ‘ю, Ю̄ ю̄, Ю̂ ю̂, Я я, ‘Я ‘я, Я̄ я̄, Я̂ я̂

Ulch language

The Ulch language, or Olcha, is a Tungusic language spoken by the paleo-asian Ulch people in North East Asia.

Xibe language

The Xibe language (Xibe: ᠰᡳᠪᡝ ᡤᡳᠰᡠᠨ, romanized: sibe gisun, also Sibo, Sibe, Xibo language) is a Tungusic language spoken by members of the Xibe minority of China.

Xibe is the language most widely spoken among the Xibo of Xinjiang, in Northwest China.

Tungusic languages
and Asia
New Guinea
and the Pacific
See also

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