Komi language

Komi language

Коми кыв
Native to Russia
Region Komi Republic, Perm Krai (Komi-Permyak Okrug, Krasnovishersky Raion)
Ethnicity Komis
Native speakers
220,000  (2010 census)[1]
Official status
Official language in
 Komi (Russia)
Language codes
ISO 639-1 kv
ISO 639-2 kom
ISO 639-3 kominclusive code
Individual codes:
koi – Komi-Permyak
kpv – Komi-Zyrian
Glottolog komi1267[2]

The Komi language (in Komi: Коми кыв, transliteration: Komi kyv [komi kɨv]) is a Uralic language spoken by the Komi peoples in the northeastern European part of Russia. Komi may be considered a single language with several dialects, or a group of closely related languages,[3] making up one of the two branches of the Permic branch of the family. The other Permic language is Udmurt, to which Komi is closely related.

Of the several Komi dialects or languages, two major varieties are recognized, closely related to one another: Komi-Zyrian, the largest group, serves as the literary basis within the Komi Republic; and Komi-Yodzyak, spoken by a small, isolated group of Komi to the north-west of Perm Krai and south of the Komi Republic. Permyak (also called Komi-Permyak) is spoken in Komi-Permyak Okrug, where it has literary status.


  • Writing system 1
  • Grammar 2
  • Notes 3
  • Bibliography 4
  • External links 5

Writing system

A sample of the Komi language words. Upper "Улица Коммунистическая" is in Russian, lower "Коммунистическöй улича" is in Komi. Both mean "Communist street". This picture was taken in Syktyvkar, the capital of Komi Republic
Trilingual (Russian, Zyrian and English) sign in a hotel in Ukhta, Komi Republic

The first writing system, the Old Permic script, was invented in the 14th century by the missionary Stepan Khrap, apparently of a Komi mother in Veliky Ustyug. The alphabet shows some similarity to medieval Greek and Cyrillic. In the 16th century this alphabet was replaced by the Russian alphabet with certain modifications for affricates. In the 1920s, the language was written in Molodtsov alphabet, also derived from Cyrillic. In the 1930s it was switched to Latin. Since the 1940s the Komi alphabet was simply changed to the Russian alphabet, albeit with the addition of І, і and Ӧ, ӧ.

Letters particular to the Molodtsov alphabet include ԁ, ԃ, ԅ, ԇ, ԉ, ԋ, ԍ, ԏ, most of which represent palatalized consonants.

The Molodtsov alphabet
А а Б б В в Г г Ԁ ԁ Ԃ ԃ Е е Ж ж Җ җ З з Ԅ ԅ
Ԇ ԇ І і Ј ј К к Л л Ԉ ԉ М м Н н Ԋ ԋ О о Ӧ ӧ
П п Р р С с Ԍ ԍ Т т Ԏ ԏ У у Ч ч Ш ш Щ щ Ы ы

In addition, the letters Ф ф, Х х, and Ц ц might be used for words borrowed from Russian.


For a closer presentation, see Komi grammar

Komi has seven vowels, upper i, ɨ, u, mid e, ɘ, o and low a. It has 17 cases, with a rich inventory of local cases. Like other Uralic languages, Komi has no gender. Verbs agree with subjects in person and number (sg/pl). Negation is expressed with an auxiliary verb, which is inflected for person, number and tense.

Komi is an agglutinative language and adheres to a subject–object–verb order.[4]


  1. ^ Komi at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    [1]Komi-Permyak] at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    [http://www.ethnologue.com/language/kpv Komi-Zyrian] at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Komi". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ Saunders, Robert A.; Strukov, Vlad (2010). Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. Scarecrow Press. p. 724.  
  4. ^ [2]


  • Bartens, Raija (2000). Permiläisten kielten rakenne ja kehitys (in Finnish). Helsinki: Suomalais-Ugrilainen Seura.  
  • Fed'un'ova, G.V. Önija komi kyv ('The Modern Komi Language'). Morfologia/Das’töma filologijasa kandidat G.V.Fed'un'ova kipod ulyn. Syktyvkar: Komi n’ebög ledzanin, 2000. 544 pp. ISBN 5-7555-0689-2.

External links

  • Finno-Ugric Electronic Library by the Finno-Ugric Information Center in Syktyvkar, Komi Republic (interface in Russian and English, texts in Mari, Komi, Udmurt, Erzya and Moksha languages): http://library.finugor.ru/
  • Komi-Russian dictionary