Veps (vepsän kel’)
Veps is a Finnic language spoken in Russia in the Republic of
Karelia and the Vologda Oblast by about 6,000 people. It is closely
related to Karelian and Finnish.
There are three main Veps dialects: Northern or Äänis-Veps, which
is spoken at Lake Onega; Central Veps, which is spoken around
St Petersburg and the Vologda Oblast; and Southern Veps, which
is spoken in the St Petersburg region. These dialects are more
or less mutally intelligible. The Veps call themselves vepslaine,
bepslaane, lüdinik or lüdilaine.
At the beginning of the 20th century schools for Veps were set up,
and a written version of Veps, based on the Central-Veps dialect,
was devised by the Department of Minorities in the Leningrad District
Council. The first book in Veps, a primer, was published in 1932,
and about 30 other books, mainly textbooks for schools, were published.
From 1937 however, a policy 'assimilating the minorities in
the Soviet Union, including the Veps, started and schools teaching
in minority languages were closed, textbooks were burned and teachers
were thrown in prison. This lead to many Veps abandoning their
villages and moving to towns, where they were surrounded by
Russian speakers and started speaking Russian in favour of
Since 1989 efforts have been made to revive the Veps
language and culture, with only limited success so far.
- Q, W, X & Y are only used in names and loanwords
Information about Veps pronunciation compiled by Wolfram Siegel
Sample text in Veps
Kaik mehed sünduba joudajin i kohtaižin, ühtejiččin
ičeze arvokahudes i oiktusiš. Heile om anttud mel’ i huiktusentund
i heile tariž kožuda toine toiženke kut vel’l’kundad.
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)
Numbers in Veps
Information about the Veps language
Other languages written with the Latin alphabet