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Gamyar Chrestomathy


0. - Introduction


0.1 - Translator's Note

The Gamyar people were discovered in 1929 in northeastern Siberia. They live on the coast and on the tundra to the south. It was only in 1997, well after the fall of the Soviet Union, with the declassification of many secret documents, that the origin of these people was discovered. During the time of the USSR, a debate was fomented by NKVD operatives, later continued by the KGB, which was centered around whether Gamyar is a Uralic or an Altaic language, or whether it should be categorised as a Paleosiberian language like Ket and Yukagir. In 1997 August, this debate was silenced with the declassification of certain documents relating to the Gamyar people. It was learned that in October of 1929, Nganasan villagers reported seeing "large, shiny airships" land to the northeast, and later depart. Around the same time, Selkups and Russians in eastern Siberia also reported large, shiny "objects" ("arrows" was the word the Selkups used) flying through the sky at "immeasurable speed".

The Soviet government sent investigators to the area where the Nganasan villagers reported seeing these craft land. They found approximately 600 people of generally Mongoloid appearance, but very tall, averaging about 6'8" to 7'2", and with large, round, pale blue eyes. The NKVD classified all the results of the investigation as State Secrets of the highest degree, and by 1940 the origin of these people had been forgotten.

The Gamyar originally had a writing system of their own, but there are very few examples of it left, as the Soviets promptly sent linguists to study the language, and replaced the native writing system with the Cyrillic script still in use today. They also attempted to russify these people, and were partially succesful. Today, from an ethnic population of about 4000, only 56 % still speak their native language. The language itself has been heavily influenced by Russian. 95 % of the speaking population is trilingual in Russian Nganasan and Gamyar, the remaining Gamyar speakers are monolingual, but these are mostly people over the age of 60. Those ethnic Gamyar who no longer speak their ancestral tongue speak Russian or Nganasan, or both. The Gamyar language was given official literary status in 1946. The following work is an analysis of the Gamyar literary language, with notes about the various dialects where these diverge greatly from the literary language, or where these me otherwise be of interest. On the whole, however, the dialects are fairly uniform and do not diverge greatly from one another.

This chrestomathy is translated in its entirety from the Russian "Гамярская Хрэстоматия (Gamiarskaia Khrestomatia)" published by the USSR Academy of Science in 1963

0.2 - Original Foreword

This Gamyar chrestomathy is meant as a college text for all those institutions of higher learning throughout the USSR where Paleosibirian and Samoyedic languages are taught. The publication of such minimum works was deemed necessary at the Soviet Union Conference of Paleo-Siberian Studies at Stalingrad in 1948. Along with grammars for the Ket and Yukagir languages, the task of compiling a chrestomathy of the Gamyar language was given to the Alma-Ata State University in the Kazakh SSR.

The present work is based on the Gamyar literary language, which is based on the southwestern dialects, especially as spoken in Юнал-Пулкы [Iunal-Pulky], capital of the Gamyar Autonomous Okrug. Where necessary, other dialects have also been taken into consideration.

This Chrestomathy is intended to serve as an introductory text for students wishing to study the Gamyar language.

In the past, the Gamyar language has been dealt with in the following works of research:
Balandin, A. N., Русские элементы в гамярских языках, Leningrad 1959, 183 pp.
Daigle, J.-G., "La phrase nominal en Gamiare", Memoires de la Societe Linguistique du Paris XXIX, 229-241.
Khakimov, I. V., Русско-гамярский словарь, Stalingrad 1939, 114 pp.
Makarova, K. P., Первая грамматика гамярского языка, Alma-Ata 1932, 76 pp.
Moeller, R., Zur Frage des Gamjarisches Ursprache, Dresden 1962, 217 pp.
Siltanen, T., Tutkimus sivistyssanoita kamjarilaisen kielessa, Helsinki 1938, 27pp.
Vakhrusheva, M. P., Гамярский язык, Leningrad 1957, 275 pp.
Vakhrusheva, M. P. and Biakin, T.G., Гамярско-русский словарь, Leningrad 1958, 356 pp.
Vakhrusheva, M. P. and Chernetsova, V. K., Самоучитель гамярского языка, Leningrad 1960, 247 pp.


1. - Phonology


1.0 - Vowels


Gamyar has 6 vowel phonemes:

и = high front illabial
ы = high central illabial
у = high back labial
э = mid front illabial
о = mid back labial
а = low central illabial

When а, э, and у occur word-finally, in the southern and western dialects they are rhotacised.

There are no long vowels in literary Gamyar, likely due to Russian influence. In the more conservative northern dialects, а, и, у, and о can be found half-long.

1.1 - Diphthongs


There are only three diphthongs in Gamyar: иэ, иа and иу. These are represented orthographically by е, я, and ю respectively. In the southern and western dialects, these are articulated as semi-consonants.

1.2 - Consonants


Gamyar has 21 consonant phonemes:

б = voiced bilabial stop
п = unvoiced bilabial stop
м = voiced bilabial nasal
в = voiced labiodental fricative
ф = unvoiced labiodental fricative
d = voiced interdental fricative
д = voiced dental stop
т = unvoiced dental stop
з = voiced alveolar fricative
с = unvoiced alveolar fricative
ц = unvoiced alveolar affricate
н = voiced alveolar nasal
л = voiced alveolar lateral
р = voiced alveolar trill
ж = voiced palato-alveolar fricative
ш = unvoiced palato-alveolar fricative
ч = unvoiced palato-alveolar fricative
г = voiced velar stop
к = unvoiced velar stop
ґ = voiced velar fricative
х = unvoiced velar fricative
нг = voiced velar nasal

A voiced interdental lateral approximant occurs word-initially in the northern dialects. It does not occur in the other dialects, nor in the literary language.

1.2.1. - Consonant Gradation

Gamyar consonants can undergo gradation. Geminated consonants are reduced; clusters become geminates, i.e. the second element of the cluster becomes the same as the first. The following phones, when single, undergo the following shifts:

б ~ в
п ~ ф
д ~ d
к ~ х
г ~ ґ
ц ~ с
ч ~ ш
л ~ р

1.3 - Stress

Stress is always on the first syllable.


2 - Morphology

2.1 - Nouns

Gamyar nouns have two numbers, singular and plural, and 22 cases: nominative, accusative, dative, genitive, partitive, inessive, elative, illative, terminative, superessive, delative, sublative, adessive, ablative, allative, essive, translative, instructive, comitative, causal, excessive and abessive.

2.1.1 - Cases

2.1.1.1 - Nominative

The nominative singular has no special marker, e.g. кунгу "day, sun", жан "tree". The marker of the plural is with vowel stems and -ыг with consonant stems, e.g. кунгуг "days, suns", жаныг "trees". The nominative singular is identical to the stem of the word.

2.1.1.2 - Accusative

The accusative is the direct object case. Its markers in the singular are -нг and -ынг. In the plural these are -гынг and -игынг, e.g. кунгунг "day, sun (acc.)", жанынг "tree (acc.)"; кунгугынг "days, suns (acc.)", жанигынг "trees (acc.)".

2.1.1.3 - Dative

This is the case of the indirect object. In the singular, it is shown by and -та, e.g. кунгута "day, sun (dat.)", жана "tree (dat.)". In the plural, the markers are -га and -ига, e.g. кунгуга "days, suns (dat.)", жанига "trees (dat.)".

To express the verb "to have", Gamyar uses a construction of dative + to be, e.g. вая иножу луґыd [me-DAT is-3ps dog-1px], i.e. "I have a dog".

2.1.1.4 - Genitive

This is the possessive case. The markers of the genitive singular are -жла and -ыжла, e.g. кунгужла "day, sun (gen.)", жаныжла "tree (gen.)". The plural markers are -гыжла and -игыжла, e.g. кунгугыжла "days, suns (gen.)", жанигыжла "trees (gen.)".

2.1.1.5 - Partitive

This case is used to indicate both a partial object and a partial subject. In the singular it is indicated by -да and -ыда, e.g. кунгуда "day, sun (part.)", жаныда "tree (part.)". The plural markers are -гыда and -игыда, e.g. кунгугыда "days, suns (part.)", жанигыда "trees (part.)".

2.1.1.6 - Inessive

The inessive shows location "in" something, e.g. "in a box". In the singular the markers of the inessive are -кат and -ыкат, e.g. кунгукат "day, sun (iness.)", жаныкат "tree (iness.)". The plural markers are -гыкат and -игыкат, e.g. кунгугыкат "days, suns (iness.)", жанигыкат "trees (iness.)".

2.1.1.7 - Elative

This case is used to indicate motion "from within". In the singular it is indicated by -кал and -ыкал, e.g. кунгукал "day, sun (elat.)", жаныкал "tree (elat.)". The plural markers are -гыкал and -игыкал, e.g. кунгугыкал "days, suns (elat.)", жанигыкал "trees (elat.)".

2.1.1.8 - Illative

This case is used to indicate motion "into". In the singular it is indicated by -ка and -ыка, e.g. кунгука "day, sun (ill.)", жаныка "tree (ill.)". The plural markers are -гыка and -игыка, e.g. кунгугыка "days, suns (ill.)", жанигыка "trees (ill.)".

2.1.1.9 - Terminative

This case is used to indicate motion "up to", "until", as well as time "up to", "until". In the singular it is indicated by , e.g. кунгую "day, sun (termin.)", жаныю "tree (termin.)". The plural markers are -гю and -игю, e.g. кунгугю "days, suns (termin.)", жанигю "trees (termin.)".

2.1.1.10 - Superessive

This case is used to indicate location "on", "on top". It is also used to show the number of people, objects, etc., together in a group, etc. In the singular it is indicated by -та and -ыта, e.g. кунгута "day, sun (superess.)", жаныта "tree (superess.)". The plural markers are -гыта and -игыта, e.g. кунгугыта "days, suns (superess.)", жанигыта "trees (superess.)".

2.1.1.11 - Delative

This case is used to indicate motion "from on", "from on top". It is also used to show the topic of speech, writing, etc., e.g. ва ютэм чаятышал "I'm speaking about the girl". In the singular it is indicated by -шал and -ышал, e.g. кунгушал "day, sun (del.)", жанышал "tree (del.)". The plural markers are -гышал and -игышал, e.g. кунгугышал "days, suns (del.)", жанигышал "trees (del.)".

2.1.1.12 - Sublative

This case is used to indicate motion "to on top". In the singular it is indicated by -ша and -ыша, e.g. кунгуша "day, sun (subl.)", жаныша "tree (subl.)". The plural markers are -гыша and -игыша, e.g. кунгугыша "days, suns (subl.)", жанигыша "trees (subl.)".

2.1.1.13 - Adessive

This case is used to indicate location "at" or "by", as well as to show the time when something happens. In the singular it is indicated by -тал and -ытал, e.g. кунгутал "day, sun (adess.)", жанытал "tree (adess.)". The plural markers are -гытал and -игытал, e.g. кунгугытал "days, suns (adess.)", жанигытал "trees (adess.)".

2.1.1.14 - Ablative

This case is used to indicate motion "from at" or "from by". The ablative also indicates the time when something begins to happen. In the singular it is indicated by -вал and -вал, e.g. кунгувал "day, sun (abl.)", жанывал "tree (abl.)". The plural markers are -гывал and -игывал, e.g. кунгугывал "days, suns (abl.)", жанигывал "trees (abl.)".

2.1.1.15 Allative

This case is used to specify motion "to", "to at". In the singular it is indicated by -си and -ысй, e.g. кунгуси "day, sun (all.)", жаныси "tree (all.)". The plural markers are -гыси and -игыси, e.g. кунгугыси "days, suns (all.)", жанигыси "trees (all.)".

2.1.1.16 - Essive

The essive is primarily use to indicate a temporary state, but it is also used to specify the language being spoken. In the singular it is indicated by -dа and -ыdа, e.g. кунгуdа "day, sun (ess.)", жаныdа "tree (ess.)". The plural markers are -гыdа and -игыdа, e.g. кунгугыdа "days, suns (ess.)", жанигыdа "trees (ess.)".

2.1.1.17 - Translative

This case is used to indicate a final state or a final destination. In the singular it is indicated by -ра and -ыра, e.g. кунгура "day, sun (transl.)", жаныра "tree (transl.)". The plural markers are -гыра and -игыра, e.g. кунгугыра "days, suns (transl.)", жанигыра "trees (transl.)".

2.1.1.18 - Instructive

This case is used to express "with". In the singular it is indicated by -рал and -ырал, e.g. кунгурал "day, sun (instruct.)", жанырал "tree (instruct.)". The plural markers are -гырал and -игырал, e.g. кунгугырал "days, suns (instruct.)", жанигырал "trees (instruct.)".

2.1.1.19 - Comitative

This is a rare case. It is used to express "with everything", "with the whole thing", "with all of it", etc. It only occurs in the singular, and its markers are -бва and -ыбва, e.g. кунгубва "day, sun (com.)", жаныбва "tree (com.)".

2.1.1.20 - Causal

This case is used to express the reason for an action. It is also used to espress "for", in the sense of "how much did you pay for the wine?". In the singular it is indicated by -яґ, e.g. кунгуяґ "day, sun (caus.)", жаняґ "tree (caus.)". The plural markers are -гяґ and -игяґ, e.g. кунгугяґ "days, suns (caus.)", жанигяґ "trees (caus.)".

2.1.1.21 - Excessive

The excessive is a very rare case throughout the are of the Gamyar language. It has only been recorded in the singular, and its use is limited primarily to words designating persons or animals. The excessive indicates departure from a sphere of action or a situation, and its marker is -юб, e.g. солдатюб "soldier (excess.)", трактористиюб "tractor operator (excess.)".

2.1.1.22 - Abessive

This case is used to express "without". In the singular it is indicated by -твэ and -ытвэ, e.g. кунгутвэ "day, sun (abess.)", жанытвэ "tree (abess.)". The plural markers are -гытвэ and -игытвэ, e.g. кунгугытвэ "days, suns (abess.)", жанигытвэ "trees (abess.)".

2.2 - Adjectives


II - Gamyar Texts

Hymn of the Soviet Union



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Frank Valoczy