N. G. Zaitseva (Petrozavodsk, Russia). Dialects of the Vepsian language in the context of linguistic geography

Dialects of the Vepsian language in the context of linguistic geography

Zaitseva Nina G.,
Doctor of Philology, Head of the Linguistics Sector, Institute of Language, Literature and History Karelia Research Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences
(Petrozavodsk, Russia), zng@ro.ru

Introduction. The Vepsian language is a language of a minority nation, which has been in a focus of quite successful process of revitalization. Since 2012 a work on “Vepsian linguistic atlas” has been carried out aiming at elucidation of an issue of Finnic protolanguage fonectec, grammatic and lexical reflexes, an innovative Vepsian material, results of language contacts and finally of the problems of Vepsian dialect area forming.
Materials and Methods. Within linguistic geography method the research material is a Vepsian dialect material collected by means of a special questionnaire of “Vepsian linguistic atlas” as well as from various archives and published materials with a clear record system and determined locations of the dialect material.
Results and Discussion. The article presents research study of Vepsian dialects and dialect history. It describes some principles of “Vepsian linguistic atlas” based on three linguistic maps (Vepsian names for ‘soft’, ‘garret’, ‘snake’), which show the etymology of Vepsian lexical reflects of the Finnic protolanguage or Finno-Ugric languages, its innovative character and borrowings.
Conclusion. The presented materials allow to observe the development of Vepsian central areas, which often demonstrate ancient reflexes of Finnic protolanguage together with formation of various innovations. From the other side, peripheral territories (Vepsian Eastern dialects of Babayevo district of Vologda region), located on the border of Vepsian language area, currently demonstrate a strong will to save own language system and lexicon, a heritage of the Vepsian ancient language. Vepsian substrate, which is said to be partially lost in the border territories, appear in lexemes almost forgotten in some even central dialects, influencing Vepsian dialect area’s formation. This supports an idea of a special longing of the border territories to preserve own identity, own characteristics in comparison with the population around.

Key words: Vepsian language; linguistic geography; language areas; etymology.

For citation: Zaitseva NG. Dialekty vepsskogo iazyka v kontekste lingvisticheskoi geografii [Dialects of the Vepsian language in the context of linguistic geography]. Finno-ugorskii mir = Finno-Ugric World. 2017; 3: 6–22. (In Russian)

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