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Spoken in Western Siberia, Khanty (also: Khanti, Xanti) forms the eastern half of the Ob-Ugric languages. In several ways it appears more distant from Hungarian than Mansi does, possibly due to influence from neighboring Samoyedic languages. It has usually been treated as a single language divided in many dialects, tho a division into a small family of 3 languages (Eastern Khanty, Southern Khanty, Northern Khanty) may be more appropriate. The dialectal developments tend to be shared with adjacent Mansi or Selkup dialects.

The historical phonology of Khanty has been problematic in Uralistics. Among the Uralic languages Eastern Khanty is particularly notorious for several "ablaut" vowel alternations (probably from Proto-Khanty, though only small traces of this are found in Southern and Northern).

Dialect division

Eastern Khanty
  • Far Eastern
    • Vakh
    • Vasjugan
  • Central Eastern
    • Tremjugan
    • Pim
    • Jugan
Western Khanty
  • Southern (Irtysh) Khanty
    • Upper Demjanka
    • Lower Demjanka
    • Konda
    • Krasnoyarsk
  • Northern Khanty
    • Sherkal
    • Kazym
    • Synja
    • Nizjam
    • Atlym
    • Obdorsk (Salekhard)


Consonants common to all Khanty dialects are the basic stops /p t k/, the nasals /m n ń ŋ/, the plain sibilant /s/, and the resonants /w r j/. All also have a palatal(ized) stop /ť/ and the plain lateral /l/, though of varying origin.

  • *ć is reflected as *ś [ɕ] in Northern Khanty (as in Core Mansi), *ť [tʲ] in Eastern and Southern Khanty.
  • *č remains in East, but is deaffricated to *š in North (as in all of Mansi), as well as / V_# in South. It is further fronted to merge with /s/ in the Obdorsk dialect (as in Northern Mansi).
    The phonetic values are characteristically somewhat retroflexed [ʈʂ], [ʂ] rathern than neutral postalveolar [ṯʃ], [ʃ].
  • As in Mansi, original medial *w *k *x all have become *ɣ in *ə-stems. Velars occurring after a coronal (*ɬk *ɬɣ *rɣ *rk) are metathesized.
  • *ɣ consistently remains only in East, shifting to /w/ in West — with the exception of words with a labial initial.
  • Eastern /ɣ/ also results from lenition of postvocalic /k/ in back-vocalic words.
  • Far Eastern furthermore lenites postvocalic /p/ to /w/.
  • Next to original back vowels, *k yields *x (probably via → *q → *χ) in Western Khanty. (This is phonemicized by the fronting of *ɯɯ and further cemented by the Northern backing of *ææ.)
  • Central East Khanty (Tremjugan-Jugan) has innovated labialized velars, /kʷ ŋʷ ɣʷ/, via loss of front rounded vowels (as in Core Mansi) and other cheshirization changes.
  • Original PU *s and *š have developed into *ɬ unconditionally, while *ś has depalatalized to *s (common Ugric-Samoyedic developments).
  • *ɬ has assimilated to *s if the word contains another *s as well (*sükśɜ → #ɬüɣs → *söɣəs "autumn", *sopśə → #ɬåps → *saapəs "net needle"; Ugr. #ɬås → *soˑs- "to dry").
    (*ć has no effect, in #saŋśɜ- → *ɬɯɯnć- "to stand"; #śosra → *ćorəs "1000" might be a later loan)
  • In all dialects but that of Vasjugan (where initial *ɬ → /j/), *ɬ merges with *l (including that from *ð). The Southern and transitional Northern dialects' reflex is /t/ (as in Mansi and Samoyedic); Central-East and Kazym retain /ɬ/; the Far East and Obdorsk 'lects have /l/. *-ɬ- and *-l- probably still contrasted in Proto-Khanty, but the contrast is irrecoverable. The cover symbol *-L- can be used.
  • *d₂ has become /j/ (as in Samoyedic), possibly thru an intermediate *ĺ (as in Mansi and Permic). Regardless, an apparent separate *ĺ is also found, emerging from who knows where. This is treated the same as *l, modulo palatalization.

Retroflex *ɭ *ɳ sometimes appear for PU *l *n (the former, interestingly, not for PU *ð). The conditioning is not entirely clear but at least the presence of the pre-existing retroflex *č triggers this (*nč → *ɳč), possibly also that of a following velar (*nəɣ > *ɳəɣ).

Of note is that (unlike *l and *ĺ) *ɭ does not fortite; rather, in the dialects where *l → ɬ/t, this becomes a new /l/. *ɳ is retained in all Eastern dialects as well as in the Kazym and Berzovo dialects of the Northern group (i.e. somewhat wider than *ɭ).


Khanty dialects generally have a distinction between full and overshort vowels. This correlates with the long-short distinction of Mansi, and is transcribed here as geminate vs. single.

Long back vowels develop in Southern Khanty differently near to velar consonant, which is mark'd by <Vˠ>. Some dialects trigger labialization in following velars, markd by <Vʷ>.

Several paradigmatic vowel alternations (generally in height or length, such as *ɑɑ ~ *uu, or *e ~ *ee) occur in some varieties, that are generally thought to result from umlaut at a stage when there was a richer system of non-initial syllable vowels.

East South North vs. Mansi Notes
Vax-Vasjugan Tremjugan-Jugan Demj-Konda Nizjam Kazym Obdorsk
*uu₁ uu yy, uuˠ u uu *uu ([oo]?)
*ɯɯ ɯɯ ii, eeˠ i ii *ɤɤ, *a
*ii₁ ii ii *ii ([ee]?)
*yy yy iiʷ Mainly from ii₁ / _ɣ, sometimes *k_
*oo oo o, a uu, ooˠ uu (w)oo oo *aa, *a, *å Živlov: *a
*uu₂ uu Živlov: *oo
*ɔɔ ɔɔ oo
*ɑɑ ɑɑ ɒɒ oo, ɑɑˠ ɔɔ ɑɑ *ɤɤ, *ɑɑ might have to be *ɤɤ to make space for *a → VVj & West *oo
*ee ee, øøˠ aa ee ee ee *ää, *ä Živlov: *ä
*ii₂ ii Živlov: *ii; N&K (j)ee
*øø øø aa, ø Živlov: Split from *ee₁
*ææ ææ aa aa ɑɑ aa *ii Sammallahti: TJ /ɒɒ/ ? (typo å for ȧ?)
*ɶɶ œœ eeʷ Živlov: Konda & O. /oo/ / _k
*o o ɑ o ɑ *a, *å
ɑ *aa Živlov: *ï (?! better *ë maybe)
*e e e ɑ a *i
ø ɵ, eʷ ɵ u uu

There is an interesting anomaly in the treatment of the Proto-Uralic close vowels:

  • *i → *ee₁; possibly *e before a cluster (barely any examples of the latter though)
  • *u → *oo₁; *o before a cluster
  • but: *ü → *ɵ uniformly (never **øø)


This article is one of quite a few pages about Natlangs.

Indo-european natlangs:

Balto-Slavic Natlangs: Czech * Russian
Celtic Natlangs: Revived Middle Cornish * Pictish
Germanic Natlangs:
North Germanic Natlangs: Norwegian
West Germanic Natlangs: Anglo-Saxon * Dutch * English (Old English * Middle English * Modern English * Scots) * German (High German * Low German)
Indo-Iranian Natlangs: Pahlavi
Italic Natlangs: French * Italian * Latin * Spanish
Debated: Cimmerian

Uralic Natlangs: Finnish * Khanty * Mansi * Mordvinic * Proto-Uralic
Altaic (controversial): Japanese
Sino-Tibetan Natlangs:
Uto-Aztecan Natlangs: Nahuatl


Isolate Natlangs: Basque * *
Hypothetical/debated Natlangs and Natlang families: Danubian * Europic (obsolete)