Erzya Language Day, April 16th

Today we are celebrating the Erzya language day. Erzya is one of the Uralic languages and it is spoken in the Republic of Mordovia in Russia.

During the Digitization Project of Kindred Languages, we have paid a special attention to the materials published in Mordvinic languages, Erzya, Moksha, Shoksha. Erzya was converted into a medium of popular education, enlightenment and dissemination of information pertinent to the developing political agenda of the Soviet state.

The deluge of popular Erzya literature in the 1920s-1930s suddenly challenged the lexical orthographic norms of the limited ecclesiastical publications from the 1880s. Newspapers were written in orthographies and in word forms that the locals would understand. Textbooks were written to address the separate needs of both the adults and children. New concepts were introduced in the language. This was the beginning of a renaissance and period of enlightenment for the Erzya language.

Therefore the written material in Erzya from this period is a true gold mine. Historians, social scientists and laymen with interests in specific local publications can now find text materials pertinent to their interests. The linguistically oriented population can find writings to their delight, for instance lexical items specific to a given publication, and orthographically documented specifics of phonetics. For historians, regardless of residence, the newspapers in Erzya offer a great resource to explore the past of the Mordvinic people.

For further reading on Erzya language and its status and development, we would like to suggest you to read the lecture of Jack Rueter, which took place in Paris two years’ ago.

We wish you a happy Erzya Language Day!


Yours &c.,




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