Uralic (Finno-Ugrian) languages

Classification of the Uralic (Finno-Ugrian) languages, with present numbers of speakers and areas of distribution (last updated 2 July 2009)

© Tapani Salminen <tasalmin@cc.helsinki.fi> 1994–2012

Saami South Saami ? 500 Norway, Sweden
Ume Saami ? 20 Norway (extinct), Sweden
Pite Saami ? 20 Norway (extinct), Sweden
Lule Saami ? 2,000 Norway, Sweden
North Saami 30,000 Norway, Sweden, Finland
Inari Saami 400 Finland
Kemi Saami extinct since 1800s Finland, Russia
Skolt Saami 300 Finland, Russia
Akkala (Babino) Saami extinct since 2003 Russia
Kildin Saami 800 Russia
Ter Saami 10 Russia
Finnic Livonian 1 Latvia
Vőro-Seto 50,000 Estonia, Russia
Estonian 1,000,000 Estonia and adjacent areas
Vote 20 Russia
Finnish 5,000,000 Finland and adjacent areas
Ingrian 200 Russia
Karelian 30,000 Finland, Russia
Olonetsian (Livvi) 25,000 Finland (evacuees), Russia
Lude ? 3,000 Russia
Veps 5,000 Russia
Mordvin Erzya 400,000 Russia
Moksha 200,000 Russia
Mari Western (Hill) Mari 30,000 Russia
Eastern (Meadow) Mari 470,000 Russia
Permian Udmurt 450,000 Russia
Komi Permyak
+ Yazva Komi
80,000
? 100
Russia
Russia
Komi (proper) 220,000 Russia
Hungarian
+ Csángó Hungarian
14,000,000
? 20,000
Hungary and adjacent areas
Romania
Mansi Northern Mansi 2,500 Siberia
Eastern Mansi ? 10 Siberia
Western Mansi extinct since 1900s Siberia
Southern Mansi extinct since 1900s Russia, Siberia
Khanty Northern Khanty ? 10,000 Siberia
Eastern Khanty ? 3,000 Siberia
Southern Khanty extinct since 1900s Siberia
Samoyed Nganasan 500 Siberia
Enets Tundra Enets ? 20 Siberia
Forest Enets ? 30 Siberia
Yurats extinct since 1800s Siberia
Nenets Tundra Nenets 25,000 Russia, Siberia
Forest Nenets ? 1,500 Siberia
Selkup Northern Selkup 1,000 Siberia
Central Selkup ? 50 Siberia
Southern Selkup ? 50 Siberia
Kamas extinct since 1989 Siberia
Mator extinct since 1800s Siberia

The map Geographical Distribution of the Uralic Languages (Finno-Ugrian Society, Helsinki 1993) is distributed by the Bookstore Tiedekirja. Price 3 euros +p&p.

The original version of the table, prepared at the Department of Finno-Ugrian Studies of the University of Helsinki, was included in the map legend and sent to the Linguist List in September 1993. It was later found out that especially the numbers of speakers of eastern Saami languages had been grossly overestimated (cf. especially Ter Saami: formerly 500, now 10). Furthermore, the languages with a very low number of speakers have been assigned a definite figure (instead of “very few”). The figures for many languages are still not quite reliable, and it must be remembered that many of the alleged speakers actually prefer some other language(s) in their daily life.

Other changes are that Vőro-Seto and Estonian, Karelian and Olonetsian as well as Komi and Permyak are listed separately, and the idioms subsumed under Mari, Mansi, Khanty, Enets, Nenets, and Selkup are included in the list, as they are correctly regarded as separate languages rather than “major dialects”. Also mentioned for the first time are the outlying dialects Yazva Komi and Csángó Hungarian, marked with a + sign.

The table only includes the modern names recommended for current usage. Here is a checklist of old and new names: Cheremis → Mari; Lappish (or Lapp) → Saami (or Sámi, both pronounced sah-mee); Ostyak → Khanty; Ostyak Samoyed → Selkup; Tavgi (or Tavgi Samoyed) → Nganasan; Vogul → Mansi; Votyak → Udmurt; Yenisey Samoyed → Enets; Yurak (or Yurak Samoyed) → Nenets; Zyryan → Komi (in the narrow sense excluding Permyak).

Please also notice that Finnic (rather than “Baltic-Finnic” or the like) is the name of the group of closely related languages including Finnish, and that the practice of referring to “Finno-Permian”, i.e. all Uralic languages except Hungarian, Mansi, Khanty and Samoyed, as Finnic should be regarded as obsolete. Finno-Ugrian can also be spelled as Finno-Ugric, and both variants are currently used in literature.