Refereed article in compilation book (A3)

Marin kirjakielten termistön kehitys 1920- ja 1930-luvulla. Elollista luontoa tutkivat tieteet.

List of Authors: Moisio Arto, Sergejev Oleg, Krasnova Nadežda, Luutonen Jorma

Place: Helsinki

Publication year: 2020

Book title *: Marin kirjakielten termistön kehitys 1920- ja 1930-luvulla. Elollista luontoa tutkivat tieteet.

Title of series: Suomalais-Ugrilaisen Seuran Toimituksia

Number in series: 276

Number of pages: 445

ISBN: 978-952-7262-23-8

eISBN: 978-952-7262-24-5

ISSN: 0355-0230


After Russian revolution of
1917, the status of the
Mari language, which belongs
to the Finno-Ugric language group, changed. The language of the Mari linguistic minority
became (at least officially) equal to all other languages used in Russia.
Efforts to develop Mari to a versatile communication tool for the needs of a
new kind of society and different branches of knowledge began. The foundation
of the Eastern literary norm was established by taking the Morki dialect of
Meadow Mari as the basis and also including traits from eastern dialects. In
the 1920s, there were plans to merge the relatively old western (Hill Mari)
literary tradition, which was used to a lesser extent, with the eastern
literary language.

However, despite
of different action programs and language committees, the combination of the
literary traditions was not realized. Reasons for that were mainly non-linguistic:
changes in the language policy of the state in the mid-1930s, and the desire of
the Hill Mari activists to emphasize the uniqueness of their language variety.

In the project Development of the Mari vocabulary in the
1920s and 1930s
funded by the Kone Foundation in 2013–2016, special
vocabulary of different disciplines was studied. Textbooks and educational
booklets were the primary research material. Description of the ways of word
formation was done on the basis of the texts relating to various branches of
knowledge. As an object of more detailed research, the vocabulary of life
sciences (biology, zoology, anatomy, and botany) was selected. This deeper
study was carried out from the viewpoint of onomasiology, i.e. taking concepts
as starting point and finding out how they were named or expressed in Mari

Authors (or
translators) of the analyzed textbooks used both morphological and semantic
means to make new terms. Morphological means included (1) using derivational
suffixes that change or modify the meaning of the base word, (2) combining
words into compound words or phrases, (3) simultaneous use of word combining
and derivational suffixes, and (4), to a small extent, abbreviating expressions
in various ways. When semantic means of making new words is used, the form of
the word does not change, but the word gets new semantic properties; in most
cases, the semantic field covered by the word is widened as the word adopts a
specific terminological meaning in certain contexts. Loaning words from Russian,
or through the mediation of Russian from other languages, was also a major way
of enlarging the lexicon.

Many words and
expressions found in texts from the 1920s and 1930s are no longer used in the
contemporary Mari literary languages, or they only appear as archaisms. The
main reason for the extinction of a large part of the new vocabulary introduced
in these decades was the language reform of 1938. Still, some of the neologisms
of the 1920s and 1930s have survived up to the present, because the language
policy beginning from the 1950s was more favourably disposed towards the
indigenous lexical resources of Mari languages.

Last updated on 2021-24-06 at 11:39