The first Mari language grammar book (Sochineniya) was published in Saint-Petersburg in 1775. There is no noted author straight in the book but some researchers suppose that the metropolitan Veniamin Putsek-Grigorovich who was a missionary in the region of Kazan and studied local minority nations at least partly took part in the creation of this book.
The grammar book is the monument of the written Mari and Mari language literature. At the times of 1770, the Mari people were called with Russian language name Cheremis. Mari language has two variants Hill and Meadow Mari each of them could be divided into two other dialects Eastern and North-Western.
The 1770s was the era of Catherine the Great, who ordered that 300 grammar book had to be published and Veniamin Putsek-Grigorovich sent them to the Empress. The book contains a word list in old Mari dialects. Many words are extinct or changed greatly. This grammar book had big significance and impact on the development of the Mari orthography. The later research of the 19th and the 20th century has been based on the claims of the first grammar book in Mari.
In Fenno-Ugrica collection, one may find a good deal of materials in both Hill and Meadow Mari languages. Currently, Fenno-Ugrica contains 346 monographs and newspapers in Meadow Mari and 165 publications in Hill Mari. The present Mari collection of Fenno-Ugrica consists of the materials of different subjects: politics, propaganda, school books, children’s literature, translated fiction books, medicine, rural economy and farming, industry and many others.
There will be something more to be added onto collection in near the future. As the result of the collaboration with the Chavain National Library, the Fenno-Ugrica will be improved with regional newspapers in Hill Mari. The Mari language has also been an interesting subject of research and you may read the interview with Hill Mari researcher Julia Kuprina here.
The day (the 10th of December) of the publishing of the first grammar is being celebrated also as the National Day of Republic of Mari El.
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