A Tribute to Elizaveta Ubryatova: Scholarly Life and Personal Destiny


  • Natalya Shirobokova Institute of Philology Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences




In Russia, the name of prominent turkologist Elizaveta Ivanovna Ubryatova, at present is known mostly to specialists who study the languages spoken by the Northern peoples of the country. However, the essence of scientific research of a linguist of such a calibre includes naturally attentive and concerned attitude to the fate of the peoples residing in the North of Russia, which was especially important in the conditions of the Soviet era. Survival of the Northern peoples and their languages became for Ubryatova not only a scientific problem but also a mission of vital importance.

Ubryatova’s scientific interests were not restricted to linguistic problems, she also purposefully studied the important monuments of folk literature and ethnography of indigenous peoples. This was due to her scientific breadth, social responsibility, and commitment to a supreme mastery of the research object. That is why she became the founder of the original linguistic and cultural school in the study of the history and structures of languages spoken by peoples living in the North of Russia.

The scale of her bright personality, combined with her intelligence, patience, and feminine care about colleagues and students, made her a center of attraction for researchers in this field. She launched an extensive project of publishing works devoted to folklore of the peoples who inhabited the Northern territories of Russia, and whose traditional culture became a part of the world culture as a result.

The languages of the Dolgans and Yakuts became the main topics of her research. In this article, we outline the major ideas proposed by Ubryatova in her works, viz., those concerning the origin of the Turkic languages, Dolgan and Yakut in particular, and principles of the organization of the Yakut syntax.

In her works, devoted to syntactic problems, Ubryatova determined the fundamental characteristic features of systemic organization of Turkic languages, Yakut in particular, as the ability of these languages to link language units of different levels between each other by using the same grammatical means. In Turkic languages, almost all syntactic relations between clauses can be expressed grammatically, and this linguistic phenomenon entails the existence of a diverse and advanced system of non-finite verbal forms. These important findings can be successfully generalised to embrace all Altaic languages.

 Addressing a linguistic problem, Ubryatova combined her deep intuition with intensive field work and systematic theoretic investigation.

Monographs and textbooks written by Ubryatova belong to the gold reserve of Turkology and cultural linguistics.

Author Biography

Natalya Shirobokova, Institute of Philology Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences



Dolgikh, B. O. (1963). Proishozhdenie dolgan [Origin of the Dolgans]. In Sibirskij e′tnograficheskij sbornik (Vol. 5). 233 p. Moscow, AN SSSR.
Drevnetyurkskij slovar′ [Dictionary of the Old Turkic Language]. (1969). 676 p. Leningrad, Nauka.
Grönbech, K. (1942). Komanisches Wöhrterbuch. 341 S. Kopenhagen, Einar Muntfsgaard.
Fazy′lov, E′. I. & Ziyaeva, M. T. (1978). Izy′skanny′j dar tyurkskomu yazy′ku [Exquisite Gift for the Turkic Language]. 450 p. Tashkent, Fan.
Habichev, M. A. (1961). Mestoimenie v karachaevo-balkarskom yazy′ke [The Pronoun in Karachai-Balkar Language]. 216 p. Cherkessk, Karachaevsko-Cherkesskoe knizhnoe izd-vo.
Petrov, N. E. (1978). Chasticy′ v yakutskom yazy′ke [The Particles in the Yakut Language]. 298 p. Yakutsk, Yakutskoe knizhnoe izdatel′stvo.
Rassadin, V. I. (1980). Mongolo-buryatskie zaimstvovaniya v sibirskih tyurkskih yazy′kah [Mongolian-Buryat Borrowing in the Siberian Turkic Languages]. 114 p. Moscow, Nauka.
Ubryatova, E. I. (1976). Issledovaniya po sintaksisu yakutskogo yazy′ka [Studies in the Syntax of the Yakut Language]. (Part II. Slozhnoe predlozhenie. Books 1–2). 214 p., 160 p. Novosibirsk, Nauka SO.
Ubryatova, E. I. (1985b). Istoricheskaya grammatika yakutskogo yazy′ka [Historical Grammar of the Yakut Language]. 60 p. Yakutsk, Izd-vo YaGU.
Ubryatova, E. I. (1960a). Opy′t sravnitel′nogo izucheniya foneticheskih osobennostej yazy′ka naseleniya nekotory′h rajonov yakutskoj ASSR [The Comparative Study of the Phonetic Features of the Language of the Population in Some Areas of the Yakut ASSR]. 151 p. Moscow, AN SSSR.
Ubryatova, E. I. (1966). O yazy′ke dolgan [About the Language of the Dolgans]. In Yazy′ki i fol′klor narodov Severa (pp. 41–69). Moscow, Leningrad, Nauka.
Ubryatova, E. I. (1985a). Yazy′k noril′skih dolgan [The Language of the Norilsk Dolgans]. 216 p. Novosibirsk, Nauka.
Ubryatova, E. I. (1960b). Yakutskij yazy′k v ego otnoshenii k drugim tyurkskim yazy′kam, a takzhe k yazy′kam mongol′skim i tunguso-man′chzhurskim [The Yakut Language in Its Relation to Other Turkic Languages, as Well as to the Mongolian and Tungus-Manchu Languages]. 13 p. Moscow, AN SSSR.



How to Cite

Shirobokova, N. (2015). A Tribute to Elizaveta Ubryatova: Scholarly Life and Personal Destiny. Quaestio Rossica, (4), 251–264. https://doi.org/10.15826/qr.2015.4.136



Vox redactoris