Merya

Facts

  • Language: Merya
  • Alternate names: merja
  • Language code:
  • Language family: Uralic, Finno-Volgaic
  • Number of speakers: Extinct
  • Script:

Introduction

Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a4/Muromian-map.png
An approximative map of the non-Varangian cultures in European Russia, in the 9th century.
The Meryan area is shown in purple

Meryan was an Uralic language spoken by the Merya tribe, which lived in what is today the Yaroslavl region north-east of Moscow (near Rostov Veliky and Pereslavl-Zalessky). Very little is known about the language except for a few lexical and toponymic items identified as possibly being of Merya origin. It probably became extinct during the Middle Ages around 1000 AD, as the Meryas were assimilated by the Slavs.

Merya language was probably related to the other Volga-Finnic languages of the adjacent region, although its exact position within the Finno-Ugric language group remains debatable. Originally it was believed that Merya was closely related to Mari?, but this view has recently been challenged and an affiliation with the Northwestern Finnic languages, including Balto-Finnic and Saamic, has been explained as more likely.