|vađđa ceeli, maaceeli|
|Native speakers||20 (or fewer) (date missing)|
|ISO 639-3||vot – inclusive code
zkv – Krevinian
Votic or Votian (vađđa ceeli or maaceeli – also written vaďďa tšeeli, maatšeeli) is the language spoken by the Votes of Ingria. It is closely related to Estonian and belongs to the Finnic branch of the Uralic languages. Votic is spoken only in Krakolye and Luzhitsy, two villages in Kingiseppsky District, and is close to extinction (Language death). In 1989 there were 62 speakers left, the youngest born in 1938. In its 24 December 2005 issue, The Economist wrote that there are only approximately 20 speakers left. Some linguists[who?] have claimed that Votic is actually a dialect of Estonian.
In the 19th century it was already declining in favour of Russian (there were around 1,000 speakers of the language by the start of the World War I), but its decline was accelerated as Joseph Stalin took power. WWII had a devastating effect on the Votic language, with the number of speakers considerably decreased as a result of military offensives, forced migration to Finland under the Nazi regime, and the Stalinist policy of "dispersion" immediately after the war. Since then, the Votes have, as far as possible, concealed their Votic identity, pretending to be Russians in the predominantly Russian environment.
Votic language had four dialects of which the western dialect is still spoken today. The dialects were:
- Western, the areas around the mouth of the Luga River
- Eastern, in villages around Koporye
- Kukkuzi, a mix of Izhoran and Votic, spoken in the village of Kukkuzi
- Kreevin, areas around the city of Bauska, Latvia
In 1848 it was estimated that of a total of 5,298 speakers of Votic, 3,453 (65%) spoke the western dialect, 1,695 (35%) spoke the eastern and 150 (3%) spoke a dialect of Kukkuzi. Kreevin had 12-15 speakers in 1810, the last records of Kreevin speakers are from 1846. The Kreevin dialect was spoken in an enclave in Latvia by descendants of Votic prisoners of war who were brought to the Bauska area of Latvia in the 15th century by the Teutonic order. The last known speaker of the eastern dialect died in 1960, in the village of Itchäpäivä (Itsipino). Some linguists[who?] have claimed that the Kukkuzi dialect is actually a dialect of the Izhoran language.
No official orthography exists for Votic, rather many unofficial orthographies. Some use a modified Cyrillic alphabet, and some Latin. The orthographies based on Latin have many similarities with closely related Finnic languages, such as the use of č for /t͡ʃ/. At the least, a couple of ways exist for indicating short versus long vowels in Votic; firstly to place a macron over the vowel (such as ā), or secondly to double the vowel (aa). Geminate consonants are generally represented with two characters. The representation of central vowels varies, and in some cases the practice is to use the Uralic transcription of e̮, and in other cases the letter õ (which is somewhat similar to the Estonian sound) is used.
Phonetics and phonology
Votic has 10 vowels, which are loosely represented by the following chart. The Votic e̮, however, is known to be a bit higher than the Estonian õ, but the rest of the vowels generally correspond to Estonian.
All of the vowels may occur short or long, however in some central dialects the long mid vowels /eː oː øː/ have been diphthongized to /ie uo yø/. Thus, tee 'road' is pronounced as tie. Votic also has a large inventory of diphthongs.
Votic vowel harmony is rather similar to Finnish, in that most words may only have front or back vowels (while /i e/ are neutral), however there are some exceptions with the behavior of /o ø/. Some suffixes including the vowel /o/ do not harmonize (as the occurrence of /ø/ in non-initial syllables is generally a result of Finnish or Ingrian loan words), and similarly onomatopoetic words and loanwords are not necessarily subject to conforming to rules of vowel harmony.
|Plosive||p, b||t, d||k, ɡ|
|Fricative||f, v||s, z||ʃ, ʒ||ʝ||x||h|
Nearly all Votic consonants may occur as geminates. Also, Votic also has a system of consonant gradation, which is discussed in further detail in the consonant gradation article, although a large amount of alternations involve voicing alternations. Two important differences in Votic phonetics as compared to Estonian and Finnish is that the sounds /ʝ/ and /v/ are actually fully fricatives, unlike Estonian and Finnish, in which they are approximants. Also, one possible allophone of /h/ is [ɸ], ühsi is thus pronounced as IPA: [yɸsi].
The Votic voiced stops /b d g/ may undergo devoicing which are then similar to Estonian voiceless lenis stops.
Historically, features setting Votic apart from the other Baltic-Finnic languages include:
- Loss of initial *h
- Palatalization of *k to /tʃ/ before front vowels. This was a relatively late innovation, not found in Kreevin Votic.
- Lenition of the clusters *ps, *ks to /hs/
- Lenition of the cluster *st to geminate /sː/
Votic also shares a number of features with Estonian and the other southern Baltic-Finnic languages, including:
- Loss of word-final *n
- Shortening of vowels before *h
- Introduction of /ɤ/ from backing of *e before a back vowel
- Development of *o to /ɤ/ in certain words (particularly frequent in Votic)
- In some dialects, loss of /h/ after a sonorant (clusters *lh *nh *rh)
Votic is an agglutinating language much like the closely related Finnic languages. In terms of inflection on nouns, Votic has two numbers (singular, plural), and 16 cases: nominative, genitive, accusative (distinct for pronouns), partitive, illative, inessive, elative, allative, adessive, ablative, translative, essive, excessive, abessive, comitative, terminative.
Unlike Livonian language, which has been influenced to a great extent by Latvian, Votic retained its Finnic characteristics. There are many loan words from Russian, but not a phonological and grammatical influence comparable with the Latvian influence to Livonian.
In terms of verbs, Votic has six tenses and aspects, two of which are basic: present, imperfect; and the rest of which are compound tenses: present perfect, past perfect, future and future perfect. Votic has three moods (conditional, imperative, potential), and two 'voices' (active and passive). Caution however should be used with the term 'passive', with Finnic languages though as a result of the fact that it is more active and 'impersonal' (it has an oblique 3rd person marker, and so is not really 'passive').
- V. Černiavskij. "Vaďďa tšeeli (Izeõpõttaja) / Водский язык (Самоучитель) ("Votic Self-Taught Book")" (PDF) (in Russian). Retrieved 2009-04-17.
- Staff writer (December 24, 2005 – January 6, 2006). "The dying fish swims in water". The Economist. pp. 73–74.
- Paul Ariste: Eesti rahva etnilisest ajaloost. Läänemere keelte kujunemine ja vanem arenemisjärk. Artikkeli kokoelma. Eesti Riiklik Kirjastus, 1956
- The Uralic languages By Daniel Mario Abondolo
- Jokipii, Mauno: "Itämerensuomalaiset, Heimokansojen historiaa ja kohtaloita". Jyväskylä: Atena kustannus Oy, 1995. ISBN 951-9362-80-0 (Finnish)
- Ariste, Paul (1968). A Grammar of the Votic Language. Bloomington: Indiana University. ISBN 978-0-87750-024-7.
- Kettunen, Lauri (1930). Vatjan kielen äännehistoria. Suomalaisen kirjallisuuden seura.
|Votic language test of Wikipedia at Wikimedia Incubator|
|Wikiversity has learning materials about Grammar of Votian dialects|
- Ethnologue report on Votic
- Votian at Indigenous Minority Languages of Russia
- Virtual Votia
- The Red Book of the Peoples of the Russian Empire
- Classification_of_Votian_dialects at wikiversity