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Udmurt (удмурт кыл, udmurt kyl) is a Uralic language, part of the Permic subgroup, spoken by the Udmurt natives of the Russian constituent republic of Udmurtia, where it is coofficial with Russian. It is written using a Cyrillic alphabet, including five characters not used in the Russian alphabet: Ӝ/ӝ, Ӟ/ӟ, Ӥ/ӥ, Ӧ/ӧ, and Ӵ/ӵ. Together with Komi and Komi-Permyak languages, it constitutes the Permic grouping. Among outsiders, it has traditionally been referred to by its Russian exonym, Votyak. Udmurt has borrowed vocabulary from the neighboring languages Tatar and Russian.
Ethnologue estimates 550,000 native speakers (77%) in an ethnic population of 750,000 in the former USSR (1989 census).2
2 Silent, but required to distinguish palatalized consonants (/dʲ tʲ zʲ sʲ lʲ n/) from unpalatalized consonants followed by /j/ if followed by a vowel; for example, /zʲo/ and /zjo/ are written -зё- and -зъё-, respectively.
The language does not distinguish between long and short vowels and does not have vowel harmony.
Udmurt is an agglutinating language. It uses affixes to express possession, to specify mode, time, and so on.
Depending on the style, about 10 to 30 percent of the Udmurt lexicon consists of loanwords. Many loanwords are from the Tatar language, which has also strongly influenced Udmurt phonology and syntax. Words related to technology, science and politics have been borrowed from Russian.
A bilingual sign proclaiming "welcome" in Russian "добро пожаловать, dobro pozhalovat" (upper) and Udmurt "гажаса ӧтиськом, gazhasa ötis’kom" (lower). This picture was taken in Izhevsk, the capital of Udmurtia.
Kel'makov, Valentin; Sara Hännikäinen (2008). Udmurtin kielioppia ja harjoituksia (in Finnish) (2nd ed.). Helsinki: Suomalais-Ugrilainen Seura. ISBN978-952-5150-34-6.