Appendix:Ingrian orthographic variants

Ingrian, or Izhorian, is a severely endangered Finnic language, spoken in the Leningrad Oblast in Russia. The language has remained a primarily spoken one throughout its history, but multiple attempts to create a literary standard for Ingrian have been made. This appendix explains the differences between these in detail.

Junus' first attempt


In the early 1930s, V. I. Junus attempted to create a literary language to be taught in schools. This language was based on his native Soikkola dialect, written in a Latin alphabet based on the Finnish. However, the language was poorly understood by the other dialects, especially the Lower Luga dialect.

In these years, multiple authors published original books in Ingrian designed for primary and secondary schools. These include Junus himself, V. S. Duubof and J. J. Lensu. Some books were translated from Russian by N. I. Molotsova.

Junus' second attempt


In 1936, having learned from his early mistakes, Junus published the book Iƶoran Keelen Grammatikka ("The grammar of the Ingrian language"), written in an all-new literary language, created by merging the two main dialects (Soikkola and Lower Luga). The grammar described the basic rules of morphology and spelling for both the would-be teachers in the Ingrian schools and the basic enthusiast.

The writing system deployed for this variant of the language was expanded with the new letters <ş> (/ʃ/), <ƶ> (/ʒ/), <ç> (/t͡s/, used only in the beginning of a word) and <ь> (/ɨ/, "Russian ы"). These letters were similar to that of Yañalif alphabet.

Another wave of published schoolbooks followed, written by Junus and his colleagues at the Leningrad University, including N. A. Iljin and D. I. Efimov (also spelled Jefimov), as well as new and revised translations of some Russian schoolbooks. However, in 1937, following the Soviet Union's new strategy on minority languages, the written language was abolished.

Any following scientific literature concerning the Ingrian language (including a grammatical sketch by A. H. Laanest and a large dictionary by R. Nirvi) was written using the Uralic Phonetic Alphabet (UPA).

Chernyavskij's teach-yourself


In 2005, practicing physician V. Chernyavskij attempted to revive the Ingrian language by creating a teach-yourself, based largely on Nirvi's dictionary and Junus' works. For the base of the language, Chernyavskij took the Soikkola and the (now probably extinct) Hevaha dialects. Chernyavskij made significant adjustments to both the grammar and the orthography of the standard language, for example changing the inessive and adessive endings from -(V)s and -(V)l to -Vz and -Vl respectively. A major change was the introduction of the commonly used <z> for earlier <s> in various positions, the elongation of some vowels and consonants, and the dropping of vowels in the end of some words. Follows a few examples of these changes:

Junus (1936) Chernyavskij (2005) English
hiiri hiir "mouse"
vesi vezi "water"
viis viiz "five"
veitsi veittsi "knife"

The teach-yourself was never published in a paper format, but was shared on the internet, whereafter it received a significant amount of attention among the language's enthusiasts. However, Chernyavskij has been accused of wrongfully merging different dialects or borrowing words from standard Finnish, resulting in non-existent words. In a lecture about the Votic language hosted by the MAFUN academy, Tat'yana Agranat claimed that Chernyavskij has done no field work for either Ingrian or Votic, and wilfully created protologisms for his textbooks. As such, Chernyavskij's orthography is not handled on Wiktionary unless attested in other sources.

For a thorough review of this Izhorian teach-yourself see M. Z. Muslimov (2023) “Рецензия на: Чернявский В. Ižoran keel (Ittseopastaja) / Ижорский язык (Самоучитель). [Review of: Chernyavskiy V. Ižoran keel (Ittseopastaja) / A teach-yourself guide to the Ingrian language.]”, in Родной язык: Лингвистический журнал [Rodnoy Yazyk: Linguistic Journal], number 2, →DOI, pages 193-223.

One new feature of Chernyavskij's language that did receive wide support was the replacement of Junus' <ş>, <ƶ>, and <ç> by <š>, <ž>, and <ts> respectively, and the straight-out deletion of the letter <ь> as unused outside Russian loanwords.

Konkova's teach-yourself


Linguist O. I. Konkova published another teach-yourself in 2014, co-authored by N. A. Djachkov, basing her new literary standard on the Soikkola dialect, but taking a great deal of spellings from Junus' language. Compared to Junus' alphabet, <ş>, <ƶ> and <ç> are replaced with <š>, <ž> and <ts>, with no <ь> in use.

Further Reading

  • V. I. Junus (1936) Iƶoran Keelen Grammatikka[1], Leningrad: Riikin Ucebno-pedagogiceskoi Izdateljstva
  • Arvo H. Laanest (1966) “Ижорский язык [Ingrian language]”, in Языки народов СССР [The languages of the peoples of USSR], volume 3
  • Ruben E. Nirvi (1971) Inkeroismurteiden Sanakirja, Helsinki: Suomalais-Ugrilainen Seura
  • Olga I. Konkova, Nikita A. Dyachkov (2014) Inkeroin Keel: Пособие по Ижорскому Языку[2], →ISBN