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Baltic-Finnic Peoples

Baltic-Finnic peoples speak Baltic-Finnic languages of the Finno-Ugric language family. Baltic-Finnic languages are further divided into two groups based on their geography and language features.

Southern group of Baltic-Finnic languages

This group includes Estonian, Votian and Livonian languages. According to some viewpoints this group also includes the South-Estonian language which in turn includes Seto and Võro languages that traditionally have been considered dialects of the Estonian language.

Northern group of Baltic-Finnic languages

This group includes Finnish, Izhorian, Karelian and Vepsian languages.

Dialects or Not?

Often Livvi Karelian and Ludic Karelian are considered separate Baltic-Finnic languages. In Sweden, Meänkieli – a type of Finnish spoken in Northern Sweden – has been recognized as a minority language since 2002. Norway has also recognized since 2005 the Kven language (kainun kieli) as an official minority language, having previously considered it a dialect of Finnish.

Written languages

Estonian and Finnish have the status of national languages. Of other Baltic-Finnic languages, Livonian, Vepsian, Karelian, Livvi Karelian and Võro have written languages. Publications are also issued in Meänkieli, Kven, Seto and Votian languages but comprehensive written language standards have not been developed for these languages.