Your shopping cart is empty.
Log in

N.N. Poppe’s views on the proto-language and ethnic history of the Chuvash

A.K. Salmin
80,00 ₽

UDC 81`2       


Salmin Anton K.,

Doctor of History, Leading Researcher

Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera)

of the Russian Academy of Sciences



Writings of N.N. Poppe, associate member of Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1897–1991) dedicated to the study of the Chuvash language were published in the 20th of the 20th century. The article contains analysis of his seven articles and three brochures in the Russian and the German languages. One article published in 1974 in German is a reproduction of and addition to articles and brochures written earlier. Poppe’s main objectives were to identify the Proto-Chuvash language and determine the role of linguistic parameters in ethnic history. How important and essential are his views from the standpoint of today’s science? The author of the article being published tries to give answers to this question. As it happens, Poppe made no secret of the fact that the source of his ideas was the writings of Finnish linguist Gustaf Ramstedt. However, while Ramstedt attributed the Chuvash language and history to West-Hun branch, Poppe thought that the Chuvash is a bulgar-speaking people. At the same time, Chuvash people as native speakers of r/l language stand in stark contrast to Turkic-speaking peoples which are native speakers of z/sh language. He noted pronouns, stresses, and morphological peculiarities as other signs which make the Chuvash different from Turkic. As regards the existence of a large number of Turkic words in the Chuvash language, this is the result of centuries-old borrowings from the language of Kazan Tatars. In addition, there are few Mongolian loan words. Nevertheless, the Chuvash language “processed” all those borrowings according to its own phonetic laws. While Ramstedt dated the beginning of Turkic-Chuvash language contacts to the 4th–6th centuries, Poppe dated them earlier. On the basis memorials and linguistic relationships, the author takes up the position that such contacts occurred in the 6th century at the earliest.

Keywords: N.N. Poppe, Proto-Chuvash language, ethnic history.



1. Ashmarin N.I. Bolgary i chuvashi. Kazan’: Imp. un-t, 1902. 132 s.

2. Bartold V.V. Sochineniia. T. V. Moscow: Nauka, 1968. 757 s.

3. Vasilyev D.D., Khelimsky E.S. XXIX sessiia Postoiannoi mezhdunarodnoi altaisticheskoi konferentsii // Vestnik Akademii nauk SSSR. 1987. No. 5. S. 72–78.

4. Poppe N.N. Chuvashskii iazyk i ego otnoshenie k mongol’skomu i turetskim iazykam (nachalo) // Izvestiia Rossiiskoi akademii nauk. VI seriia. 1924. T. XVIII. S. 289–314.

5. Poppe N.N. O rodstvennykh otnosheniiakh chuvashskogo i tiurko-tatarskikh iazykov. Cheboksary: Chuvashoblizdat, 1925. 32 s.

6. Poppe N.N. Chuvashi i ikh sosedi. Cheboksary: Obshchestvo izucheniia mestnogo kraia, 1927. 31 s.

7. Poppe N.N. Ukazatel’nye i voprositel’nye mestoimeniia v chuvashskom iazyke // Vestnik nauchnogo obshchestva tatarovedeniia. 1927. No. 7. S. 61–64.

8. Salmin A.K. Istoriia chuvashskogo naroda: analiz osnovnykh versii. St. Petersburg: Nestor-Istoriia, 2017. 464 s.

9. Salmin A.K. Saviry, bulgary i tiurko-mongoly v istorii chuvashei. St. Petersburg: Nestor-Istoriia, 2019. 296 s.

10. Poppe N. Die Tschuassischen Lautgesetze (Besprechung von G.J. Ramstedt Zur Frage nach der Stellung des Tschuassischen. JSFOu XXXVIII, I. Helsinki, 1922–1923) // Asia Major. 1924. Vol. 1, Heft 2. S. 775–782.

11. Poppe N. Türkisch-tschuwassische vergleichende Studien // Islamica. 1925. S. 409–427.

12. Poppe N. Die tschuwassische Sprache in ihrem Verhältnis zu den Türksprachen // Körösi Csoma-Archivum. Budapest, 1926. Bd. 2, Heft 1–2. S. 65–83.

13. Poppe N. Die türkischen Lehnwörter im Tschuwassischen // Ungarische Jahrbücher. Berlin, Leipzig, 1927. Bd. II. S. 151–167.

14. Poppe N. Tatar manual: descriptive grammar and texts with a Tatar-English glossary. Indiana Univ. Publ., 1963. 271 p.

15. Poppe N. Rev.: Kanjukova A.S. Čuvašskaja dialektologija (Kratkie očerki). Čeboksary: Čuvašskoe knižnoe izdatel’stvo, 1965. 148 p. // Ural-Altaische Jahrbücher. Wiesbaden, 1971. Bd. 43. S. 227.

16. Poppe N. Zur Stellung des Tschuwaschischen // Central Asiatic Journal. 1974. Vol. XVIII, No. 2. S. 135–147.

17. Ramstedt G.J. Zur Frage nach der Stellung des Tschuassischen // Journal de la Sociéte Finno-Ougrienne. 1922. Vol. XXXVIII. S. 1–34.

18. Ramstedt G.J. Einführung in die altaische Sprachwissenschaft / ed. and publ. by Pentti Aalto. Helsinki: Suomalais-Ugrilainen Seura, 1952. Vol. 1. 262 s.

19. Yılmaz Emine. Chuvash and Chuvash language // The Turks. Ankara: Yeni Turkiye publications, 2002. Part 6. P. 447–455.