Nenets love poem
Ювэй, сидянгхана надьвар –
Саць сава падвын то” олха.
Паромбю”, надимданавар’ юнгу,
→ French poem ←
Nenets (Yurak Samoyed, Nentse, Tundra Yurak, Nenec, Forest Yurak, Yurak, Nenetsy, Autonym : ненэцяʼ вада, nyenetsya’ wada), here of the tundra, one of the two Samoyed dialects (is closely related to Nganasan and Enets) of the Nenets (Nenetz), who live near the polar circle.
Nenets is spoken in the northernmost Russia, in an area extending from the White sea to the Yenisei river. This Uralic language, which belongs to the Samoyed group of the Uralic language family, is divided into two dialects, that of the forest and that of the tundra, and has around 30,000 speakers. It is the most widely spoken Samoyed language.
It should be noted that in the 19th century there was still a third variety of Nenets whose speakers lived between Yenisei and Taz.
The tundra and forest Nenets, belong to a branch of the Samoyed languages of the Uralian family. Tundra Nenets is the most spoken, forest Nenets has only 1500 speakers, around Agan, Pur, Lyamin, Nadym.
These two variations of the nenets are so different that a mutual understanding is almost impossible; so some consider them to be separate languages.
The majority of Nenets speak Russian and less and less transmit their language to their children. This means that these two Nenets are threatened. Of this family of languages, there remains only selkup and nganasan. Mator, yourats and kamas, are already extinct.
The Nenets, where they are still found, live with a certain density, and continue to convey an oral literature, rich in songs, tales and different stories. The Nenets language, although poorly spoken and without an official status, has been well studied, especially as regards that of the tundra.
The Nenets use their language daily within the family and for their cultural and traditional activities (hunting, breeding, fishing).
If the first attempts to write Nenets date from Orthodox priests in the 19th century, we really started to make Tundra Nenets a literary language, based on the dialect of Bolshaya Zemlya and then of Yamal, after 1930, with a press and edited books. For that of the forest, it was not until 1990 that dictionaries and textbooks were published.
We find the Nenets (Nenetz, Yurak-Samoyeds, Yuraks) near the Arctic Circle, on the side of the Yamal peninsula. Originally, Samoyeds moved further north to the Arctic to mingle with the local populations.
For those who did not migrate to the cities due to oil and gas research, their way of life could not be more traditional.
They are nomads, live by fishing, hunting and reindeer herding, and lead a life that has not changed for a millennium. The reindeer is at the heart of their culture: clothing, food, leisure (reindeer races). Reindeer is really an animal that is totally associated with them and allows them to roam large frozen spaces.
It is so necessary and emblematic that its importance goes even to the sacred! Their nomadic life, being very difficult, many of them flee this nomadism and are assimilated by Russian society.