LSM: Learn Livonian language online

Signs in Latvian and Livonian at Latvia's Livonian coast. Source: kikos64/ Wikimedia Commons

A series of short films is being published online providing an introduction to the Livonian language, indigenous to a few remaining parts of Latvia and considered one of the most endangered languages in the world.

The videos have been created by researchers at The University of Latvia's Livonian Institute and will introduce Livonian language and culture.

The Institute plans to publish seven videos dedicated to the Livonian language on its YouTube channel, Latvia's national broadcaster LSM reported.

The Livonians are a Finnic people indigenous to Latvia and Livonian is a Finno-Ugric language, related to Estonian and Finnish. The language is listed in the UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger as a critically endangered language. The Livonians have also had great significance in the development of the modern Latvian language and culture. 

In the 19th century, there were approximately 3,000 Livonian speakers, which had fallen to 1,5000 by the middle of the 20th century. Today there may be at best 30 people in the world who can communicate in Livonian, website writes.

In the first video of the series, Valts Ernštreits, director of the Livonian Institute, and researcher Gunta Klava introduce the Livonian language and present the most important words and phrases in Livonian and Latvian. English subtitles are included.

Part one can be watched below: 

And so can part two:

The rest of the videos can be watched on the LI Livõd Institut's YouTube page and the institute's Facebook page can be viewed here.

Livonians mostly live in Latvia, Source: Wikimedia Commons.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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