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Karelian language

Karelian is a variety closely related to Finnish. It belongs to the Finno-Ugric languages, and is chiefly distinguished from standard Finnish by the lack of influence from modern 19th and 20th century Finnish. The Karelian language does not have a standard written form.

Karelian has three main dialects: Karelian Proper, Olonets and Ludic. The latter is sometimes classified as a dialect of Veps.

The Karelian language is by Finns usually considered a dialect of Finnish, as it is perceived to differ only slightly from standard-Finnish. Others, for instance many foreign linguists and some people in Estonia and Russia, consider the Karelian variety a language of its own (although almost extinct), similarly to how the dialects of Ingria by Finns often are considered dialects of Finnish-proper, but in Estonia often are considered languages of their own; and also similarly to Mešnkieli. As it could also be argued Karelian should be considered separate from Finnish because of its geo-political location within the boundaries of another state, a conclusion might be, that Karelian has a similar relation to Finnish, as has Finland-Swedish to Scandinavian Swedish.

Finnish and Karelian were suppressed and out-lawed during Stalin's Great Purges. Attempts to standardize Karelian with a Cyrillic alphabet were unsuccessful, and today the Karelian republic (of the Russian federation) consider Karelian a dialect of Finnish. Finnish, and not Karelian, was the second official language of Karelia from the Winter War 1940 up until the 1980s[1], when perestroika began. Since the late 1990s there have been moves to pass special language legislation, which would give Karelian an official status. Finnish has also again been proposed as a second official language for the republic, but the proposal has never taken wind.

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