Samoyedic is the easternmost branch of Uralic spoken mainly in Siberia. It includes Tundra Nenets, Forest Nenets, Nganasan, Tundra Enets, Forest Enets, †Yurak, Northern Selkup, Southern and Central Selkup, †Kamas, †Mator.

Speakers of Samoyedic had split off the first from the Proto-Uralic community in Southern Siberia ca. 5000 years ago, and most of them spread further North since then, reaching the Arctic ocean, and later even the Northern Europe in the west. They met and absorbed other languages on their way, making modern linguists puzzled by their substrate features. Samoyedic languages are highly inflectional with complex morphophonology, numerous cases, tense-aspect-modality categories, and non-finite subordination. Typologically, they are known, among other interesting features, for complex systems of possessivity marking; special forms for marking future possessors; cross-categorial suffixes inserted inside verbal and nominal forms; different systems of subject/object agreement on the verb depending of the topic-focus status of the object, and many others. Sociolinguistically, speakers of Samoyedic were characterised by multilingualism and dialect/language continua with their Samoyedic neighbours, where numerous innovations spread not only vertically (by inheritance), but also horizontally (by contact).

Today, more and more corpora of Samoyedic languages appear online (e.g. the Hamburg corpora for Selkup, Nganasan, or Kamas), meaning that research on these languages is not restricted by a linguist’s geographical location anymore. However, there are no textbooks on Samoyedic and it can be hard to make sense of publications that rarely explain the basics, in particular, given the morphophonological complexity of these languages. So one of the ultimate aims of the Summer School is to increase the informed use of Samoyedic data in typology and to involve more linguists into Samoyedic studies. Note that the classes of the School will actively assist the latter by pointing to under-researched areas in Samoyedic.

Start by attending our Summer School and probably find yourself later writing a PhD on Samoyedic at the University of Helsinki! 🙂