The Izhma Komi dialect

The Izhma dialect is one of the dialects of the Komi language, which, together with the Vym, the Udora and the Lower Vychegda dialects, is included in the group of northwestern dialects.

The beginning of the formation of the Izhma dialect dates back to the 16th century. The Izhma dialect was formed on the basis of the Vym and the Udora dialects of the Komi language, the Russian and the Nenets languages. The main basis of the Izhma dialect was the Vym dialect, which was formed in the 14-17 centuries. By the end of the 18th century, the Izhma dialect developed the features that made it different from other Komi dialects. They are: 

1) in the non-first syllable of the word, as well as in the particles, there is no sound ӧ (in its place, the sound e (э) is used: ӧбессэ «door», колэ «need», сюмед «birch bark», нинэмен «with nothing» instead of literary ӧдзӧссӧ, колӧ, сюмӧд, нинӧмӧн; 

2) the long vowels о, у, ы, ӧ, а are used to differentiate various meanings: тыы «seine» (compare with ты «lake»), пуу «lingonberry» (пу «tree»), лоо «soul» (ло «be»);

3) wider than in other dialects, the sounds х, ф, ц, atypical for Komi dialects, are used: картафель «potato», камфет «candy», хрест «cross», нахедитны «resemble smbd», рӧсход «consumption», больница «hospital», венец «crown»;

4) in Russian loanwords тш is often pronounced in the place of ч: пӧлутшитны «receive», петшат «print/stamp», тшетьверг «Thursday»; 

5) verbs of the second past tense in all three persons in the singular have the ending -а and in the plural -аэсь и аась: ме сiя аддзылэма «I saw him», тэ мунэма «you turned out to be gone», сыа мунэма «he turned out to be gone»; ми дыр кеже унмосьлэмаэсь «it turns out we slept for a long time»; тi воомаась «it turns out you have arrived»; ныа абу мунэмаэсь «it turns out they didn’t go away».

In the vocabulary of the Izhma dialect, along with common words, there are specific words present as well: мудас «hole», ичай «stepfather», нярас «crumpled potatoes», чегас «small fold», кӧчрасьны «to look around», ёскыны «to stare», шывыы «thin, bad, liquid», чезласьны «to crack», etc.

The study of the Izhma dialect began in the 19th century. Its first researcher was M. A. Castren. The linguistic data of the dialect was used by him to compile the Komi grammar (Elementa grammatices Syrjaenae, Helsingforsiae, 1844). Later, Izhma texts and words were collected by F. I. Videman, Yu. J. Vikhman, T. E. Uotila, A. Shrenk. Information about the Izhma dialect was contained in M. F. Istomin’s article «On the etymological forms of the Izhma-Zyryan language» (1857) and in P. Mikhailov’s work «A practical guide to the study of the Izhma-Zyryan language» (1873).

In the 20th century, interest in the Izhma dialect increased. The rich factual material collected in different years (since 1944) by researchers of the Komi branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences in different dialect regions made it possible to publish the Comparative Dictionary of Komi-Zyryan Dialects (1961), which also included the vocabulary of the Izhma dialect. A complete systematic description of the Izhma dialect – its phonetics, morphological structure, vocabulary features – was made by M. A. Sakharova and N. N. Selkov. The Ob and Kola Komi dialects are also described.

You can read more about the Izhma Komi dialect here:

Beznosikova, L. M. The Izhma Komi dialect. The Komi language. The Encyclopeadia. Moscow, 1997 (1st part; 2nd part).

Sakharova, M. A., Selkov, N. N. The Izhma Komi dialect of the Komi language. Syktyvkar, 1976.