Chief Researcher, Department of Ural-Altaic Languages
Oleg Mudrak was born on January 14,1962, in the city of Rubtsovsk in Altai Krai. In 1978, he finished secondary school №4, where he studied in a physico-mathematical class. After winning in an All-Union linguistics and mathematics competition (held by the Department of Structural and Applied Linguistics of the Faculty of Philology at MSU) by solving all three versions of the tasks, he was enrolled in the MSU Department. He was in a language group that studied Japanese.
During his studies, he was making the Eskimo reconstruction and collecting materials for an etymological dictionary of the Eskimo language. Part of his coursework on Proto-Eskimo reconstruction was later published in a collection 'Paleoasian languages'. In the later years of his studies, he was engaged in collecting data for a Mongolian etymological dictionary, as well as studying paintings of Mongolian arabographic monuments. Working on a Sino-Mongolian medieval dictionary 'Hua-i i-yu', he established Early Mandarin readings of transcriptional hieroglyphs with the help of works of Chinese studies and materials on the square script. His thesis paper 'Reconstruction of Proto-Mongolian system of vowels' was based on Nothern Mongolian and written Mongolian language that had not been taken into account in comparative-historical Mongolian studies of South Mongolian languages and critical transcription of medieval monuments. In 1979, he started taking part in a nostratic research seminar named after Vladislav Illich-Svitych and presenting a series of reports based on the reconstructions. He also took part in preparing the third edition of the 'Nostratic dictionary' written by Vladislav Illich-Svitych.
After graduating from university in 1984, he worked by distribution at the Department of Language of the Research Institute of Language, Literature, History, and Economics at the council of ministers of the Chuvash Republic in the city of Cheboksary. He participated in collecting materials for the etymological dictionary of the Chuvash language and finished doing the Eskaleut reconstruction. After finishing work on Chinese transcription of the Jurchen-Chinese dictionary, he deciphered Jurchen writing system while taking into account the frequency of occurrence and contextual tactics of the signs, as well as using the materials of Manchu-Tungus correspondences and etymologies. It was at that time that he also made the first version of Chukotko-Kamchatkan reconstruction.
In 1986, he was enrolled in the postgraduate courses at the Institute of Linguistics of the Academy of Sciences of the Soviet Union and started working on a PhD thesis on correspondences of Chuvash and Common Turkic phonetics. At the same time he was working on Chukotko-Kamchatkan languages and participating in linguistic expeditions to Ukraine. Having developed a special form together with Sergey Nikolaev, he prepared a full description of morphology of inflections for more than a dozen localities in Western Ukraine and Zakarpatye.
He took part in the international conferences 'Language and Culture of the Ancient East' (Moscow, 1984), 'Linguistic reconstruction and ancient history of the East' (Moscow, 1989). In 1988, he went to the USA with a group of leading specialists of comparative-historical linguistics from Moscow. He presented his findings on external relations of the Eskimo and Chukotko-Kamchatkan languages and their reconstruction during the conference 'Language and Prehistory' (Ann Arbor). There, together with Sergey Nikolaev, they also presented a report on connections between two groups of languages: Nivkh and Chukotko-Kamchatkan languages, and Algic, Salishan, and Wakashan languages of Northern America. In two years, he and Sergey Starostin were invited to work in the USA again.
Since 1991, he was working in the Department of Languages at the Institute of Oriental Studies at RAS. He finished working on his PhD thesis and defended it in 1994 at RAS. He also started working on compiling an etymological dictionary of Altaic languages in collaboration with Sergey Starostin and Anna Dybo. In 2003, this dictionary was printed. In 1993, he published a monograph 'Historical correspondences of Chuvash and Turkic vowels. Reconstruction and interpretation'. In 2000, he published one more monograph 'Etymological dictionary of Chukotko-Kamchatkan languages'.
From 1995 until 2018, he was working at the Russian State University for the Humanities and was giving series of lectures 'Languages of the world', 'Phonology', 'Paleoasian languages', 'Eskimo languages', 'Middle Mongolian language', 'Old Turkic language'. Took part in writing the 4th volume of the monograph 'Comparative-historical grammar of Turkic languages. Vocabulary'.
At the same time, he started compiling corpora of Yukaghir and Nivch languages. Preliminary lexical similarities, indicating that Yukaghir and Nivch languages are kindred, were published in 2000. Later, he took part in writing the 5th and the 6th volumes of 'Comparative-historical grammar of Turkic languages'.
He published the reading and philological analysis of Old Bulgar inscriptions, of previously unread Old Turkic inscription, and a description of essential characteristics of the Old Chuvash language of the 18th century. He published an article on specifying Proto-Altaic phonetics, an article on language situation in North-East Asia, and on unique kinship of the Proto-Altaic and Eskimo languages (“Kamchukchee and Eskimo Glottochronology and some Altaic Etymologies Found in the Swadesh List”). Two monographs were published, 'Svod kamčadal'skoj leksiki po pamjatnikam XVIII veka' [Kamchadal vocabulary based on literary works of the 18th century] (Moscow, 2008), and 'Klassifikacija tyurkskix dialektov c pomošč'ju metodov glottoxronologii na osnove voprosov po morfologii i istoričeskoj fonetike' [Classification of Turkic dialects with the use of glottochronology methods based on morphology and historical phonetics questions] (Moscow, 2009).
In 2011, he published an etymological dictionary Èskimosskij ètimologikon [Etymologicon of the Eskimo language] that revealed external connections between Eskimo languages and singled out loanwords from Paleoasian languages. In 2015, he succeeded in deciphering East-European runic script and published all of the known literary works with their interpretation in an article.
Within the framework of the research dedicated to North Caucasian languages, three etymological dictionaries were compiled and printed ('Basics of Dargin languages', 'Basics of the Avar language', 'Basics of the Andi language'). The work on etymological databases of Caucasian languages is still in the process, and some research has been published in articles (e.g. 'Parallel Evolution of Genes and Languages in the Caucasus Region'). In a linguistic journal 'Native language', a series of 4 articles was published and it covered lexical units of Caucasian origin in Ossetian language (semantic fields of plants, livestock, weapon, mountains and mining, clothing, body, people, and others were described). The following works on Caucasian studies are currently in print: etymological dictionary 'Basics of the Andi language' (more than 1300 pages), etymological dictionary 'Basics of the Avar language' (more than 1100 pages).
By 2021, the following computer databases were compiled: etymological databases of Paleosiberian (about 1700 etymologies) and Yukaghir languages (about 1900 etymologies), etymological database of the Nivch language (2600 etymologies), etymological database of the Avar language (more than 3800 etymologies), etymological database of Andic languages (more than 3100 etymologies), etymological database of the Archi language (more than 1800 etymologies), etymological database of Dargin languages (more than 3300 etymologies), etymological database of West Caucasian languages (more than 3800 etymologies), etymological database of Kartvelian languages (more than 1700 etymologies), etymological database of the Lak language (more than 2600 etymologies), etymological database of Lezgin languages (more than 3300 etymologies), etymological database of Nakh languages (more than 3000 etymologies), etymological database of the North Caucasian language (more than 3100 etymologies), etymological database of Tsezic and Didoic languages (about 2300 etymologies).
In 2018, a monograph called 'Kipchak languages of the Ural-Volga Region' was published. Currently, describing Turkic dialects and making programs for collecting materials on Turkic dialectology is a work in progress. Moreover, the questionnaires for collecting material on Chuvash, Kipchak, and Oghuz languages were written.
- Andijckie osnovy. Ètimologičeskij slovar' [Basics of the Andi language. Etymological dictionary]. ISBN 978-5-6044023-9-9, Moscow. 2020, 1164 p.
- Avarskie osnovy. Ètimologičeskij slovar' [Basics of the Avar language. Etymological dictionary]. ISBN 978-5-6044023-4-4. Moscow. 2019, 1313 p.
- Oleg Mudrak, Firdaus Hisamitdinova. Kypčakskie jazyki Uralo-Povolž'ja [Kipchak languages of the Ural-Volga Region]. ISBN 978-601-7793-76-0, Astana. 2018, 163 p.
- Darginskie osnovy. Etimologičeskij slovar' t.I [Basics of Dargin languages. Etymological dictionary, part 1]. ISBN 978-5-9909120-1-4. Moscow. 2016, 728 p.
- Darginskie osnovy. Ètimologičeskij slovar' t.II [Basics of Dargin languages. Etymological dictionary, part 2]. ISBN 978-5-9909120-2-1. Moscow. 2016, 700 p.
- Èskimosskij ètimologikon [Etymologicon of the Eskimo lamguage]. ISBN 978-5-98421-132-1. Moscow. 2011, 1322 p.
- Klassifikacija Tjurkskix jazykov i dialektov c pomošč'ju metodov glottoxronologii na osnove voprosov po morfologii i istoričeskoj fonetike [Classification of Turkic languages and dialects with the use of glottochronology methods based on morphology and historical phonetics questions]. ISBN 978-5-7281-1056-9. Moscow. 2009, 187 p.