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Castrén, M.A.
Ed. Paula Kokkonen and Jack Rueter
Suomalais-Ugrilainen Seura
Manuscripta Castreniana
Tampere 2022, 277 pp.
Matthias Alexander Castrén (1813-1852) was by far the most significant Finnish linguist of the 19th century. Not only was he a linguist but also a multidisciplinary scholar, equally versatile in the fields of ethnography, folklore, mythology, archaeology, history, and human geography.

M.A. Castrén collected a huge corpus of field data during his prolonged expeditions to Karelia, Lapland, Arctic Russia, and Siberia between 1838 and 1849. His aim was to find the original homeland of the Finns, and he approached this question with the help of linguistics, comparative mythology, archaeology, and history. During his brief tenure in academia, Castrén had little opportunity to synthesize his collections, a situation aggravated by his rapidly progressing and ultimately fatal illness. Therefore, a major part of his scholarly legacy remained unpublished at the time of his death.

The Komi grammar is one of the few materials Castrén was able to publish himself. He collected the material during his third expedition in 1843 – he spent a period of five months near the Arctic Circle in what is today known as the Komi Republic, but which at that time belonged to the Governorateof Arxangel'sk. The actual content of the grammar took shape in Ižma and nearby villages, and the Latin manuscript was completed in Kolva. Elementa grammatices Syrjaenae is, despite its name, not a grammar of the entire Zyrian language but one singular dialect, the Ižma dialect. This was the first of the published grammars by Castrén. The book consists of a grammar and a vocabulary of about 1,100 words with a sample dialect text: four chapters of the Gospel of St. Matthew, translated into the Ižma dialect.

In only five weeks after returning to Helsinki in May 1844, Castrén defended his licentiate (doctor's) dissertation at the Imperial Alexander University in Helsinki and was awarded his doctorate in philosophy. The 22-page dissertation De nominum declínatione in lingua Syrjaena is included with minimal editing in the grammar published in the autumn of 1844 (III Nominals, A. Nouns, § 24-31).

Syrjaenica is a critical edition of Elementa grammatices Syrjaenae and seven wedding laments collected by Castrén, translated into English with editors' comments.
Mer information
ISBN 978-952-7262-39-9
Förläggare Suomalais-Ugrilainen Seura
Publikationsserie Manuscripta Castreniana
Tryckt (år) 2022
Publikationens omslag Hård pärm
Bandtyp Inbunden
Språk engelska, flerspråkig, övriga
Vetenskapsgrenar Språkforskning
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