Uralic languages

Many Uralic languages are minority languages, which makes their research and preservation extremely important. Preserving and documenting languages related to Estonian is one of the main objectives at our institute. In the course of the research, a large amount of linguistic material is collected and documented, on the basis of which the language can be studied even when its speakers no longer exist, as, for example, in the case of the Kamassian language. The researched languages include Pite and Inari Sami, Erzya, Komi, Udmurt, Selkup and Kamassian. Particular attention is paid to languages more closely related to Estonian (see the research field of Baltic Finnish languages). These languages are studied at the Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics from several different aspects, from sounds to text, from vocabulary to morphosyntax. Researchers write descriptive grammars, supplement existing descriptions with new research findings, and seek solutions for synchronic and diachronic puzzles. Language contacts with the neighboring languages of the Uralic languages in Europe, Russia and Siberia play a major role in the research. The research of related languages is also useful when it comes to the research of Estonian.

Researchers related to the field

Gerson Stefan Klumpp
Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics
Department of Finno-Ugric Studies
Head of Department, Professor of Finno-Ugric Languages, Programme Director for Estonian and Finno-Ugric Languages
Jakobi 2-415
+372 737 6537
Gerson Klumpp joined the University of Tartu in 2011 as a professor of Finno-Ugric languages. His research interests include Samoyed languages, in particular the extinct Kamas language, Permic languages, and pragmatics and information structure as motivators of morphosyntactic structures, such as differential object marking in Komi dialects, as well as language change. He is currently leading a project on the grammar of discourse particles in minor Finno-Ugric languages. Gerson loves to work with older text collections and contrast them with contemporary language data. He is also participating in projects dealing with parish court records and other Estonian texts.
Gerson Stefan Klumpp
Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics
Department of Finno-Ugric Studies
Head of Department, Professor of Finno-Ugric Languages, Programme Director for Estonian and Finno-Ugric Languages
Jakobi 2-415
+372 737 6537
Elena Markus
Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics
Department of Finno-Ugric Studies
Associate Professor of Finnic Languages
Jakobi 2-405
Elena Markus is Associate Professor of Finnic Languages at the Department of Finno-Ugric Languages. Her research is mostly concerned with documentation and description of the Votic and Ingrian languages and covers a variety of topics including phonetics, morphophonology, morphology, language contact and convergence. She has done extensive fieldwork in both languages and compiled a large collection of sound and video materials on Votic and Ingrian that are deposited in several language archives. In 2020-2025, she is involved in the project “The grammar of discourse particles in Uralic” led by prof. Gerson Klumpp, where she investigates discourse particles in Ingrian and Votic.
Elena Markus
Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics
Department of Finno-Ugric Studies
Associate Professor of Finnic Languages
Jakobi 2-405
Fedor Rozhanskiy
Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics
Department of Finno-Ugric Studies
Associate Professor of Finno-Ugric Languages
Jakobi 2-410
Fedor Rozhanskiy is Associate Professor of Finno-Ugric Languages at the Department of Finno-Ugric Languages. In the late 1980-s and 1990-s he worked mainly with West African languages (first of all Songhay). Since 2000, he investigates Finno-Ugric languages. His research is focused on description and documentation of Votic and Ingrian, and on some particular topics in other languages of this group (e.g. in Mari and Komi). His research interests include morphophonology, experimental phonetics, morphology, syntax, intragenetic typology, theory and typology of reduplication, ideophones, language contact, borrowings, language variation, endangered languages, and field linguistics.
Fedor Rozhanskiy
Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics
Department of Finno-Ugric Studies
Associate Professor of Finno-Ugric Languages
Jakobi 2-410
Denys Teptiuk
Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics
Department of Finno-Ugric Studies
Research Fellow
Jakobi 2-431
Denys Teptiuk is a research fellow of Mordvin languages. In his research, he focuses on quotative indexes and reported speech and thought in Finno-Ugric languages (Finnish, Estonian, Hungarian, Komi, Udmurt, and Erzya) and beyond (Russian and English) from a typological and functional perspective. Denys also has a strong interest in the related domains of epistemic modality, evidentiality, engagement, and how these categories are realised among Eastern Finno-Ugric languages, especially in contact with dominant Russian. As a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Tartu, Denys works in a project on discourse particles/markers in minor Uralic languages.
Denys Teptiuk
Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics
Department of Finno-Ugric Studies
Research Fellow
Jakobi 2-431
Miina Norvik
Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics
Department of Finno-Ugric Studies
Lecturer in Finnic Languages
Jakobi 2-445
Miina Norvik is a researcher of the Finnic languages at the Department of Finno-Ugric Studies. In her research she has mainly focused on the study of grammatical features in Livonian and other Finnic languages (e.g. Karelian, Veps). First and foremost, she is interested in morphological and syntactic features (e.g. the expression of tense, change-of-state, degrees of comparison), which she has mainly studied from the functional-typological perspective. Since 2018 she has been working more generally with the Uralic languages by developing the typological database of the Uralic languages (UraTyp). This has given her the possibility to participate in international and interdisciplinary research groups (AGL and BEDLAN). Until March 2023 she is also affiliated with the Uppsala University, where she is carrying out her post-doc project Continuity and change in Finnic language structure in the light of language contact. Since 2011 she has been involved in organising the linguistic olympiads to introduce linguistic diversity among school children.
Miina Norvik
Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics
Department of Finno-Ugric Studies
Lecturer in Finnic Languages
Jakobi 2-445
Eva Saar
Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics
Department of Finno-Ugric Studies
Research Fellow in Finnic Languages
Jakobi 2-413

Department of Estonian
Centre for South Estonian Language and Culture Studies
Coordinator (employment contract suspended) 0.3 p
+372 737 5422
Eva Saar is a research fellow in Finnic languages at the Department of Finno-Ugric Studies and the coordinator of the Centre for South-Estonian Language and Cultural Studies. His research focuses mainly on the minor Finnic languages spoken in Russia, but also on South Estonian. Her research interests include language history, phonology, morphology, and morphosyntax of the Finnic languages, as well as personal names and onomastics in general. Since 1997, she has carried out fieldwork in Votic, Ingriani, Lydic, Veps and Karelian language areas in Russia, as well as in the Mulgi, Seto and Võro language areas in Estonia. Since 2018, she is involved in compiling the typological database of Uralic languages (UraTyp). She is currently leading the project "Vepsian way of life and worldview in the 21st century", and manages the compilation of a Seto (South Estonian) dictionary.
Eva Saar
Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics
Department of Finno-Ugric Studies
Research Fellow in Finnic Languages
Jakobi 2-413

Department of Estonian
Centre for South Estonian Language and Culture Studies
Coordinator (employment contract suspended) 0.3 p
+372 737 5422
Nikolay Kuznetsov
Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics
Department of Finno-Ugric Studies
Lecturer in Finno-Ugric Languages 0.8 p
Jakobi 2-421
Nikolay Kuznetsov is a lecturer in Finno-Ugric languages. He teaches Komi and gives lectures on the Komi culture. With his colleagues he teaches courses on introduction to the studies of Finno-Ugric languages and Estonian language. His scientific interests are permian linguistics, especially morfology and morphosyntax of the Komi language, also Komi folklore and culture in general. He wrote his PhD thesis about semantics of Komi locative cases from the viewpoint of cognitive grammar.
Nikolay Kuznetsov
Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics
Department of Finno-Ugric Studies
Lecturer in Finno-Ugric Languages 0.8 p
Jakobi 2-421
Joshua Wilbur
Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics
Centre for Digital Humanities and Information Society, University of Tartu
Lecturer in Digital Linguistics
Jakobi 2-417
Joshua Wilbur is Lecturer in Digital Humanities at the Center for Digital Humanities and Information Society and associated with the Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics. He holds a PhD in General Linguistics, and has a research focus on documentary linguistics, mophophonology, syntax, corpus linguistics, lexicography and language technology, especially concerning Pite Saami, a critically endangered Uralic language of Sweden.
Joshua Wilbur
Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics
Centre for Digital Humanities and Information Society, University of Tartu
Lecturer in Digital Linguistics
Jakobi 2-417
Merit Niinemägi
Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics
Department of Finno-Ugric Studies
Junior Research Fellow in Saami Languages 0.6 p
Jakobi 2-418
Merit Niinemägi is a doctoral student in Uralic languages and a Junior Research Fellow in Saami languages whose main research interests include morphosyntax as well as language variation and change. In her PhD project, she investigates morphosyntactic variation and change in an endangered and revitalized minority language, Aanaar (Inari) Saami. Merit also participates in the project on Aanaar Saami prosody and morphology.
Merit Niinemägi
Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics
Department of Finno-Ugric Studies
Junior Research Fellow in Saami Languages 0.6 p
Jakobi 2-418
Eda-Riin Tuuling
Junior Research Fellow in Komi Language 0.5 p
Eda-Riin Tuuling is a doctoral student of Uralic languages and a junior research fellow of the Komi language. Her PhD thesis focuses on Komi demonstrative pronouns, their pragmatic use and variation. As a junior research fellow she is involved with "The Grammar of Discourse Particles in Uralic" project (led by Gerson Klumpp).
Eda-Riin Tuuling
Junior Research Fellow in Komi Language 0.5 p
Marili Tomingas
Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics
Department of Finno-Ugric Studies
Research Fellow in Livonian
Jakobi 2-418
Marili Tomingas is a doctoral student in Finnic Languages and a Junior Research Fellow in Livonian language. Her PhD project is about the use of Livonian personal pronouns and demonstratives in spoken language. In addition, she is participating at the project „The grammar of discourse particles in Uralic“, where she is investigating Livonian discourse particles. Her research interests are Finno-Ugric languages, syntax, morphology, semantics and spoken language. She has also taught Finnish for beginners at the University of Tartu.
Marili Tomingas
Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics
Department of Finno-Ugric Studies
Research Fellow in Livonian
Jakobi 2-418
Iuliia Zubova
Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics
Department of Finno-Ugric Studies
Junior Research Fellow in Finno-Ugric Studies
Jakobi 2-418
Iuliia Zubova is a junior researcher working with the Udmurt language. She is a team member in the project «Grammar of discourse particles in Uralic languages» led by Gerson Klumpp. She has a background in theoretical linguistics and studies grammatical features of Finno-Ugric languages from the typological perspective. She investigates semantics and syntax of focus and discourse particles and related phenomena in Udmurt. Iuliia has been a part of the project on description of grammar and vocabulary of Beserman Udmurt since 2013. She has participated in about 10 fieldtrips to Northern Udmurtia. In her work, she uses methods of elicitation, corpus analysis, and linguistic experiments.
Iuliia Zubova
Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics
Department of Finno-Ugric Studies
Junior Research Fellow in Finno-Ugric Studies
Jakobi 2-418
Triin Todesk
Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics
Department of Estonian
Research Fellow in South Estonian Varieties
Jakobi 2-430
Triin Todesk is a research fellow in South Estonian varieties and works with languages like Seto and Mulgi, she has field-work experience with South Estonian speakers both in Estonia and Russia. In Liina Lindström's project "Interdisciplinary corpus of Seto", Triin co-ordinates the transcribing of Seto recordings and takes part in recording new spoken material. Based on these recordings of Seto, she studies the use of discourse particles in Seto for the project „The Grammar of Discourse Particles in Uralic Languages“, led by Gerson Klumpp. With Mulgi, Triin researches its noun declension system and has created the noun declension classes which will be used in the Mulgi dictionary to appear as collaborative work of the University of Tartu, Institute of the Estonian Language, and the Institute of Mulgi Culture. In addition to South Estonian, Triin also works with Komi, for example in her dissertation, she investigated the use of the multi-based Komi clitic džyk with verbs.
Triin Todesk
Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics
Department of Estonian
Research Fellow in South Estonian Varieties
Jakobi 2-430