b>The Finno-Ugric language family
Komi language is included into the Finno-Ugric language family and forms a
Permic group of the Finno-Ugric languages with the Udmurt language, which
is the closest to Komi. Totally 16 languages are included into Finno-Ugric
family, which were developed from the united basic language in the deepest
antiquity: Hungarian, Mansi, Khanty (The Group of the Ugric languages),
Komi, Udmurt (Permic group), Mari, two Mordvin languages - Erzya and
Moksha, Balto-Finnic languages - Finnish, Karelian, Izhora, Veps, Vod,
Estonian, Liv languages. The Saami language takes a special place in the
Finno-Ugric language family, it's very different from other cognate
The Finno-Ugric and Samoyedic languages form the Uralic language family.
Nenets, Enets, Nganasan, Selkup, Kamas are related to the Samoyedic
languages. The people speaking these languages habit in the western
Siberia, except the Nenets, living in the European North.
The scientists are interested in the question of the forehomeland of the
old Finno-Ugrians very long time. They searched the old forehomelandin the
Altai region, in Upper Ob, Irtysh and Jenisei, and in the coast of the
Arctic Ocean. The modern scientists came to the conclusion on the base of
their researches in the area of the Finno-Ugric vocabulary related to the
flora, that the forehomeland of the Finno-Ugrianswas located in the region
of the rivers Volga and Kama on the both sides of Urals. Later Finno-Ugric
tribes and languages separated, got apart and the ancestors of the present
Finno-Ugric peoples left the old forehomeland. The first annalistic
records about the Finno-Ugric peoples already catch them on the places of
their present habitation.
Hungarians moved to the territory surrounded by Karpats more than one
thousand years ago. Own name for themselves of the Hungarians "Modjor" is
known since V century A.D. The scripture appeared in the end of XII
century A.D. The Hungarians have the rich literature. Totally there are
about 17 millions Hungarians. In the addition to Hungary they habit in
Czech, Slovak, Romania, Austria, Ukraine and the countries of the former
Mansi (Voguls) habit in the Khanty-Mansi district of the Tjumen oblast.
The Russian annals called them Jugra together with Khanty. The Mansi use
scripture on the base of Cyrillic graphic and have own schools. Totally
there are more than 7000 Mansi, but only a half of them consider Mansi as
their natal language.
Khanty (Ostjaks) habit in the Jamal Peninsula, Upper and Middle Ob. The
scripture in Khanty appeared in the thirties of XX century, but the
dialects of the Khanty language are so different, that the intelligibility
between the representatives of the different dialects is often difficult.
A lot of the borrowings from Komi language penetrated into Khanty and
Mansi languages. Totally there are 21000 Khanty. Traditional occupation of
the Ob' Ugrians - reindeer, hunting, fishing.
Udmurts moved from the territory of the Finno-Ugric forehomeland in the
minimal degree. They habit in Lower Kama, Vjatka and live in the addition
to the Udmurt Republic in Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, the Republic Mari-El
and Kirov oblast, too. In 1989 there are 713696 Udmurts totally. The
scripture appeared in XVIII century. The capital of the Udmurt Republic is
Mari habit on the left bank of Volga. In the Republic Mari-El there are
about a half of the Mari, the others habit in Bashkortostan, Tatarstan and
the Udmurt Republic. The scripture of Mari appeared in XVIII century,
there are two variants of the Mari language - Mari-Hills (Mari-High) and
Mari-Woods (Mari-Low). They have differences mostly in phonetic. Totally
there are 621961 Mari (1989). The capital of the Republic Mari-El is
Erzia and moksha (Mordvins) take the third place in the total number
among the Finno-Ugric peoples. There are more than 1200000 habitants, but
they live very widely and scattered. It's possible to find their more
compact groups on the banks of the rivers Moksha and Sura in the Mordvin
Republic, in Pensa, Samara, Orenburg, Uljanovsk, N.Novgorod oblasts. There
are two very close Mordvin languages: Erzya and Moksha, but
representatives of these languages speak to each other in Russian.
scripture in the Mordvin languages appeared in XIX century. The capital of
the Mordvin Republic is Saransk.
Balto-Finnic languages and peoples are so closed, that speakers in these
languages can talk to each other without a translator.
Among the languages of the Balto-Finnic group Finnish is the most
widespread, about 5000000 persons speak Finnish. The own name for
themselves of the Finns is Suomi. In the addition to Finland the Finns
habit in St. Petersburg oblast of Russia. The scripture appeared in XVI
century, the period of the modern Finnish has been started since 1870. The
epic poem "Kalevala" sounds in Finnish, the rich literature was created.
About 77000 Finns habit in Russia.
Estonians habit in the East Coast of the Baltic Sea. The number of the
Estonians was 1027255 habitants in 1989. The scripture exists since XVI
century, two literary languages had developed by XIX century - these were
North-Estonian and South-Estonian. These two languages converged on the
base of the Middle-Estonian dialects in XIX century.
Karelians habit in Karelia and Tver oblast of Russia. There are 138429
Karelians (1989) totally, a bit more than a half of them considers
Karelian as a native language. Karelian consists of many dialects. In
Karelia the Karelians study and use the Finnish literary language. The
oldest samples of the Karelian scripture relate to XIII century, this is
the second script of age (after Hungarian).
Izhora language has no scripture, about 1500 persons speak Izhora. The
Izhora habit in the South - East Coast of the Finnish Gulf, along the
river Izhora, which is a tributary of Neva. It's admitted to distinguish
the independent Izhora language, although the Izhora call themselves the
Veps habit on the territory of 3 administrative units: Vologda,
St.Petersburg oblasts and Karelia. There had been about 30000 Veps in
thirties, in 1970 there were 8300 persons. The Veps language differs very
much from other Balto-Finnic languages, because of the heavy influence of
The Vod language is on the verge of disappearance, because not more than
30 speakers remained only. The Vod habit in several villages, which are
located between the North - East part of Estonia and St. Petersburg
oblast. Vod has no scripture.
Liv habit in several seaside fishermen' villages in the North of Latvia.
Their number reduced very much because of the devastation during the World
War II. Now the number of the Liv speakers is about 150 persons only. The
scripture has been developed since XIX century, but nowadays the Liv turn
Saami language forms the separate group of the Finno-Ugric languages,
because there are many specific features in its grammar and vocabulary.
The Saami habit in the northern regions of Norway, Sweden and Finland and
in the Kola Peninsula, too. There are 40000 Saami totally, including about
2000 in Russia. The Saami language has many common features with the
Balto-Finnic languages. The Saami scripture develops on the base of
different dialects using Latin and Cyrillic graphic system.
The modern Finno-Ugric languages differ from each other so much, that they
seem absolutely unbound with each other on the face of it. However, more
careful study of sounds, grammars and vocabulary shows, that these
languages have a lot of common features, which prove the former common
origin of the Finno-Ugric languages from the same old pre-language.