Not to be confused with the Votic languages of Central America. This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Votic is one of numerous Finnic varieties known from Ingria, and the vowels of the Russian language for children considered the oldest of these.
Votic shares some similarities with and has acquired loanwords from the adjacent Ingrian language, but also has deep-reaching similarities with Estonian to the west, which is considered its closest relative. This was a relatively late innovation, not found in Kreevin Votic or Kukkuzi Votic. Of these, only the Lower Luga dialect is still spoken. Kreevin had 12-15 speakers in 1810, the last records of Kreevin speakers are from 1846. A fourth dialect of Votic has often been claimed as well: the traditional language variety of the village of Kukkuzi. It shows a mix of features of Votic and neighboring Ingrian, and some linguists have claimed that it is actually rather a dialect of Ingrian.
In the 1920s, the Votic linguist Dmitri Tsvetkov wrote a Votic grammar using a modified Cyrillic alphabet. In linguistic works, one may find different transcriptions of Votic. Some use a modified Cyrillic alphabet, and some Latin. Geminate consonants are generally represented with two characters. The representation of central vowels varies. Votic has 10 vowels, which are loosely represented by the following chart.
The Votic õ, however, is known to be a bit higher than the Estonian õ, but the rest of the vowels generally correspond to Estonian. Thus, tee ‘road’ is pronounced as tie. Votic also has a large inventory of diphthongs. Votic has a system of vowel harmony, rather similar to Finnish in its overall behavior: the vowels are divided in three groups, front-harmonic, back-harmonic and neutral. However, there are some exceptions with the behavior of o ö.
In other environments they are almost entirely found in loanwords, primarily from Russian. Nearly all Votic consonants may occur as geminates. Also, Votic also has a system of consonant gradation, which is discussed in further detail in the consonant gradation article, although a large amount of alternations involve voicing alternations. Estonian and Finnish, in which they are approximants.
Votic is an agglutinating language much like the other Finnic languages. Unlike Livonian, which has been influenced to a great extent by Latvian, Votic retained its Finnic characteristics. There are many loan words from Russian, but not a phonological and grammatical influence comparable with the Latvian influence to Livonian. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. The dying fish swims in water”. Paul Ariste: Eesti rahva etnilisest ajaloost.
Läänemere keelte kujunemine ja vanem arenemisjärk. Finnic minorities of Ingria: The current sociolinguistic situation and its background”, in Marten, H. Neo-renaissance and revitalization of Votic — who cares? Jokipii, Mauno: “Itämerensuomalaiset, Heimokansojen historiaa ja kohtaloita”. A Grammar of the Votic Language.