Livonian is Finnic language that was spoken along the Livonian Coast on the Gulf of Livonia in northern Latvia. Inter-generational transmission of the language broke down during the early 20th century, and the last fluent native speaker, Grizelda Kristiņa, died in 2013 at the age of 103.
The Livonian Cultural Centre (Līvõ Kultūr Sidām) promotes Livonian as a living language, and it is recognised as a minority language in Latvia. In 2011 several hundred people were learning Livonian. The language is also taught at universities in Lativa, Estonia and Finland.
Livonian is closely related to Estonian and Finnish. Its orthography combines elements from both Estonian and Latvian spelling.
The first book in Livonian, a translation of the Gospel of Matthew, was published in 1863. More books in Livonian were published during the early 20th century, and after Lativan became independent in 1991.
Min izāmō, min sindimō,
ūod ārmaz rānda sa,
kus rāndanaigās kazābõd
vel vanād, vizād piedāgõd.
Min ārmaz īlmas ūod set sa,
min tõurõz izāmō!
part of Min izāmō (My Fatherland), the national anthem of Livonians http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Min_izāmō
Amād rovzt attõ sindõnd brīd ja īdlizt eņtš vǟrtitõks ja õigiztõks. Näntõn um andtõd mūoštõks ja sidāmtundimi, ja näntõn um īdtuoisõ tuoimõmõst veļkub vaimsõ.
Text and recording provided by Jurģis Šuba
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They
are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another
in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
Information about the Livonian language and people
Page last modified: 23.04.21
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