Mari at the Finno-Ugric Winter School

The 2nd International Winter School of Finno-Ugrian Studies has come and gone.

Students at the Finno-Ugric Winter School

36 of the best and brightest young Finno-Ugric scholars gathered in Szeged, Hungary in the last two weeks of January to deepen and widen their skills and knowledge. Participants came from Austria (Vienna), Germany (Hamburg, Munich), Finland (Helsinki), Estonia (Tartu), and Hungary (Szeged). During the first week, the students got to take part in a crash course of Nenets, and got to see some gurus in action (see here). Week two was Mari week.

Mari Teachers

Team Mari: Yuliya Kuprina (Helsinki), Jeremy Bradley (Vienna), Tatyana Yefremova (Budapest)

Five days is hardly a lot of time if your aim is to teach a language. But, we worked under the assumption that our students would survive whatever breakneck speed we teach at, and as it turns out, we were right to do so.

Tanya introducting vowel harmony

Jeremy talking about verbal government

Some of our students came with a working knowledge of (Meadow) Mari. Advanced students had the opportunity to acquaint themselves with Hill Mari, the second Mari literary standard.

Yuliya talks about teaching Hill Mari for the first time (in Hill Mari)

On Wednesday, we got to organize a Mari evening, full of song, dance, and riddles.

Tanya and Yuliya sing a Hill Mari traditional (Hill Mari subtitles available!)

We had the good fortune to have Jürgen Dengo in our group – a student of Finno-Ugric languages from Estonia that, as it happens, is also a skilled accordion player.

Learning to dance

A circle dance

Tanya shows how it’s done

We encouraged our students to participate in the upcoming Summer School of Mari Language and Culture in Mari El and Bashkortostan. Logistics permitting, there will be delegations from Vienna and Helsinki travelling to Yoshkar-Ola and beyond. If you want to join us, it’s not too late – just get in touch with me, or one of my colleagues in Helsinki.

See you on the other side of the Volga!