Friday, June 22, 2007

An article on Livs/Livonians

In comments to my previous post, reader Ed points to an interesting Deutsche Welle article on Livs/Livonians, the nearly extinct indigenous ethnic group in Western Latvia.

The article says that the number of native speakers of Livonian is less than a dozen (even less than what I said in my previous post). But the younger people of Liv descent are trying to learn the language and keep it alive. I hope they succeed!

As a side note, I find it amusing that English uses the word "Livonian" for two entirely different things:
  1. The indigenous ethnic group of Latvia;
  2. The German knights who conquered the land of Livs/Livonians in the 13th century.
In Latvian, we distinguish the two by calling the first Livs and the second Livonians. In English, both the local people and their conquerors are Livonians! I was really surprised when I first saw that in Wikipedia three years ago.

1 comment:

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