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Votic language belongs to the Baltic branch of Finno-Ugric language family. According to one of the classifications, Votic, together with Estonian and Livs, belong to the southern sub-branch of the Baltic languages. There are a few local dialects of Votic, which are usually divided into western and eastern ones. Among the western dialects is the one spoken in the village of Krokolje, which bears similarities to the dialects of Luutsa and Liivcyla, as well as those spoken around the villages of Mati and Kattila and to the south of the latter. The western dialects could be found in the Kabrio region, including the ones spoken in the villages of Icapaiva and Mahu. There isn't much difference between western and eastern dilaects.
There are, however, two more dialects of Votic that are considerably different from the dilalects mentioned above. One of them is the dialect spoken by the Krevings, the decendants of Votic prisoners of war, who were re-settled in the Bauski region by the knights of the Livonian Order in the mid-15th century; the other one is the dialect of Kukkuzi village, a local Votic dilact heavily influenced by Izhorian.
Votic background can be seen not only in Kukkuzi dialect, but also in other Izhorian dialects of the Lower Luga. While Votic influence is quite strong in the dialects of Kotko, Mannakka, Teesuu, Haavikko and Dalnyaya Polyana, it is a bit weaker in the villages on the other side of the Roson river.
Paul Ariste argues that Votic influence can also be seen in some north-eastern Estonian dialects, such as Vayvere village dialect as well as in some dialects spoken around the Chud lake.
In addition to this, Finnish dilaects of Western Ingermanland also seen to have been influenced, especially on the Kurgolov pennisula, in the village of Suakyla and in the Lutheran parishes of Kattlia and Novoselkka. Some other experts mention the existence of a Finno-Baltic language around Gdov, in Dobruchin region.

The first Votic grammar has been created as early as 19th century (Alkvist). At the beginning of 20th century Dmitry Tsvetkov from Karakolje wrote the first ever Vadya grammar in his native language. In the 1930s, when the scripts were being created for the minority languages, Votic didn't get its own script, so education in schools was conducted in Izhorian.
During Stalin's regime and the WW2 Votic people suffered considerable damage. After the war not all Votic people were able to come back to their native villages. Besides, the schools in those times were predominantly Russian-medium and people were discouraged from speaking Votic even in their private conversations. As a result, the area where Votic was spoken shrinked dramatically by the end of the 20th century. However, in the 1990s Votic revival movement started and by the 1994, Votic language courses were organised in St.Petersburg. This was followed by first ever Votic classes in a secondary school in Krakolje. At present, various Votic study materials are being developed.

Mehmet Muslimov


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Votic language lessons [1], [2], [3], [4], [5]

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