Other Finnic languages

Other Finnic languages include Ingrian, Votic, Veps and Livonian. Languages that can also be counted as belonging to this group include Meänkieli, which is spoken in Sweden, and Kven, which is spoken in Norway.

Ingrian is a language that evolved into a separate language from Karelian. This means that, historically, Ingrian is a southern Karelian dialect, with some still using the term Ingrian dialects. However, Ingrian has had its own literary language since the 1930s. Today, there are only around 70 speakers of Ingrian (and around 200 ethnic Ingrians).

There are a few thousand Vepsians, and around 3,500 of them speak Veps. It is said that the Vepsians were “discovered” by Finnish researcher of Finno-Ugric and Samoyedic languages A. J. Sjögren during his expedition in the 1820s. In addition to Sjögren, Veps was also studied in the 1800s by scholars including Finnish philologist Elias Lönnrot. The Veps literary language was created in the early 1930s, but its use was discontinued already in 1937. In Finland, the first grammar of Veps in Finnish was published in 2015.

Votic is a Critically Endangered language. According to the official 2010 census, Votic has 64 speakers, but linguists specialising in Votic estimate there are only five native speakers left. Estonian linguist, Professor Heinike Heinsoo organises summer courses in Votic for local residents in Ingria and produces learning material and textbooks of Votic language and culture. The preservation of Votic has also been made difficult by the fact that there has never been an actual literary Votic language. The first Votic language learning book, Vaďďa sõnakopittõja, was published in 2015.

Livonian is a Finnic language that used to be spoken in the area of today’s Latvia. It is said that still in the 1800s there were around 3,000 speakers of Livonian, whereas it is believed that there are no longer any speakers who acquired Livonian as their first language. The last of them, Grizelda Kristina, passed away in 2013, aged 103. Today, Livonian is spoken as a second or third language, as many young people are studying the language and Livonian identity is alive at cultural events, in music and in visual arts.

Due to its speaking area, Livonian has been under a strong Latvian influence and therefore differs quite a lot from the other Finnic languages. Listen to Livonian.⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠

Professor of Finnish and researcher and recorder of Finnish languages Pertti Virtaranta (1918–‍1997) spent a lot of time with Karelian Ludians and Vepsians. To commemorate the centenary of his birth, the Institute for the Languages of Finland has put together an extensive information package based on material collected by him and on his correspondence. See also: Yle Archives Pertti Virtaranta: Kaukaiset tverinkarjalaiset (documentary on Tver Karelians in Finnish).