Tungusic languages: Past and present

Andreas Hölzl   Thomas E. Payne  


Tungusic is a small family of languages, many of which are endangered. It encompasses approximately twenty languages located in Siberia and northern China. These languages are distributed over an enormous area that ranges from the Yenisey River and Xinjiang in the west to the Kamchatka Peninsula and Sakhalin in the east. They extend as far north as the Taimyr Peninsula and, for a brief period, could even be found in parts of Central and Southern China.

This book is an attempt to bring researchers from different backgrounds together to provide an open-access publication in English that is freely available to all scholars in the field. The contributions cover all branches of Tungusic and a wide range of linguistic features. Topics include synchronic descriptions, typological comparisons, dialectology, language contact, and diachronic reconstruction. Some of the contributions are based on first-hand data collected during fieldwork, in some cases from the last speakers of a given language.


  • Introduction
    Andreas Hölzl, Thomas E. Payne
  • The causal-noncausal alternation in the Northern Tungusic languages of Russia
    Natalia Aralova, Brigitte Pakendorf
  • Tense and insubordination in Uilta (Orok)
    Patryk Czerwinski
  • ‘What’s your name?’ in Tungusic and beyond
    Andreas Hölzl
  • On some shared and distinguishing features of Nercha and Khamnigan Ewenki dialects
    Bayarma Khabtagaeva
  • Functions of placeholder words in Evenki
    Elena Klyachko
  • From consonant to tone
    Laryngealized and pharyngealized vowels in Udihe
    Elena Perekhvalskaya
  • Proto-Tungusic in time and space
    Martine Robbeets, Sofia Oskolskaya
  • Historical language contact between Sibe and Khorchin
    Veronika Zikmundová



Andreas Hölzl

Dr. Andreas Hölzl is a postdoctoral researcher in linguistics at the CRC Limits of Variability in Language (SFB 1287) at the University of Potsdam, Germany. His research interests include the languages of Asia, language typology, linguistic reconstruction, and areal linguistics. He has published his doctoral dissertation on a typology of questions in Northeast Asian languages with Language Science Press in 2018. He is currently part of a project on comparative syntax that investigates systematic differences between languages with OV and VO order. At the same time, he is working on his habilitation project on languages in Southwest China and is writing a grammar of Longjia, a Sino-Tibetan language of Guizhou. As a contributor to the Linguistic Bibliography (Brill), he is responsible for the Tungusic languages.

Thomas E. Payne

Dr. Thomas E. Payne is a Senior Linguistics Consultant for SIL International, and Research Associate for the University of Oregon, USA. His areas of professional interest include language typology and grammatical description, with an emphasis on the verb-final languages of Asia, and verb-initial languages of the Philippines. In addition to many articles and presentations, he has published two introductory textbooks on morphology and syntax, and a field manual for descriptive linguists. Current research projects include reference grammars of Waray and Kagayanen, Austronesian languages spoken in the Philippines, and Xibe (Sibe) a Tungusic language spoken in Northwestern China.

book cover


October 5, 2022
LaTeX source on GitHub
Cite as
Hölzl, Andreas & Payne, Thomas E. (eds.). 2022. Tungusic languages: Past and present. (Studies in Diversity Linguistics 32). Berlin: Language Science Press. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.7025328


Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Details about the available publication format: PDF


ISBN-13 (15)




Details about the available publication format: Hardcover


ISBN-13 (15)


Physical Dimensions

180mm x 245mm