Ingrian language

Ingrian (also called Izhorian) is a nearly extinct Finnic language spoken by the (mainly Orthodox) Izhorians of Ingria. It has approximately 142 native speakers left, most of whom are aged. It should not be confused with the Southeastern dialects of the Finnish language that became the majority language of Ingria in the 17th century with the influx of Lutheran Finnish immigrants (whose descendants, Ingrian Finns, are often referred to as Ingrians). The immigration of Lutheran Finns was promoted by Swedish authorities (who gained the area in 1617 from Russia), as the local population was (and remained) Orthodox. In total the language has 360 - 500 speakers.[3][4]

ižoran keel
Native toRussia
Ethnicity820 Izhorians (1989 census)[1]
Native speakers
142 (379 in total) (2010 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3izh
Izhorian language.png


In 1932–1937, a Latin-based orthography for the Ingrian language existed, taught in schools of the Soikino Peninsula and the area around the mouth of the Luga River.[5] Several textbooks were published, including, in 1936, a grammar of the language. However, in 1937 the Izhorian written language was abolished and mass repressions of the peasantry began.[5]

Alphabet (1932)Edit

A a Ä ä B в D d E e F f G g H h
I i J j K k L l M m N n Ö ö P p
R r S s T t U u V v Y y

Alphabet (1936)Edit

The order of the 1936 alphabet is similar to the Russian Cyrillic alphabet.

A a Ä ä B в V v G g D d E e Ƶ ƶ
Z z I i J j K k L l M m N n O o
Ö ö P p R r S s T t U u Y y F f
H h C c Ç ç Ş ş ь

Alphabet (2005–present)Edit

The order of the current alphabet matches the Finnish alphabet.

A a B b C c D d E e F f G g H h
I i J j K k L l M m N n O o P p
R r S s Š š T t U u V v Y y Z z
Ž ž Ä ä Ö ö


Four dialects groups of Ingrian have been attested, two of which are probably extinct by now:[6][7]

A fifth dialect may have once been spoken on the Karelian Isthmus in northernmost Ingria, and may have been a substrate of local dialects of southwestern Finnish.[6]


Like other Uralic languages, Ingrian is a highly agglutinative language.







The Ingrian language has 8 vowels:

Front Back
unrounded rounded unrounded rounded
Close i /i/ y /y/ u /u/
Mid e /e/ ö /ø/ o /o/
Open ä /æ/ a /a/

Furthermore, each vowel may occur long. Long vowels are doubled in writing. (e.g. <aa> being /aː/}}. To split two vowels, the grapheme <'> is used (e.g. <a'a> being /a.a/ ~ /aʔa/)


Ingrian has at least 24 diphthongs:

Diphthongs Ending with /i/ Ending with /e/ Ending with /u/ Ending with /y/ Ending with /o/
Starting with /a/ ai [ai̯] ae [ae̯] au [au̯] ao [ao̯]
Starting with /æ/ äi [æi̯] äe [æe̯] äy [æy̯]
Starting with /o/ oi [oi̯] oe [oe̯] ou [ou̯]
Starting with /e/ ei [ei̯] eu [eu̯] ey [ey̯]
Starting with /ø/ öi [øi̯] öy [øy̯]
Starting with /u/ ui [ui̯] ue [ue̯] uo [uo̯]
Starting with /i/ ie [ie̯] iu [iu̯] iy [iy̯]
Starting with /y/ yi [yi̯] ye [ye̯]

The diphthongs can, too, be long. This is shown by duplicating the second vowel. (e.g. <aii> /aːi̯/).


The Ingrian language has 22 consonant sounds:

Bilabial Labio-
Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosive voiceless p /p/ t /t/ k /k/
voiced b /b/ d /d/ g /ɡ/
Affricate ts /t͡s/ c /t͡ʃ/
Fricative voiceless f /f/ s /s/ š /ʃ/ h /x/, /h/
voiced v /ʋ/ z /z/ ž /ʒ/
Nasal m /m/ n /n/ nk /ŋk/
Lateral l /l/
Rhotic r /r/
Approximant j /j/
  • The consonant <h> is realized as /h/ when short and as /xː/ when long.
  • The consonant <n> is realized as /ŋ/ when followed by the phoneme /k/.

Ingrian consonants can appear both short and long. Long consonants are doubled in writing. (e.g. tt /tː/). The long variant of <ts> is written as <tts> (/t͡sː/).


  1. ^ a b Ingrian at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Ingrian". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ a b Kurs, Ott (1994). Ingria: The broken landbridge between Estonia and Finland. GeoJournal 33.1, 107–113.
  6. ^ a b Viitso, Tiit-Rein (1998). "Fennic". In Abondolo, Daniel (ed.). Uralic languages. Routledge. pp. 98–99.
  7. ^ Kuznetsova, Natalia; Markus, Elena; Mulinov, Mehmed (2015), "Finnic minorities of Ingria: The current sociolinguistic situation and its background", in Marten, H.; Rießler, M.; Saarikivi, J.; et al. (eds.), Cultural and linguistic minorities in the Russian Federation and the European Union, Multilingual Education, 13, Berlin: Springer, pp. 151–152, ISBN 978-3-319-10454-6, retrieved 25 March 2015


  • Paul Ariste 1981. Keelekontaktid. Tallinn: Valgus. [pt. 2.6. Kolme läänemere keele hääbumine lk. 76 – 82] (in Estonian)
  • A. Laanest. 1993. Ižorskij Jazyk. In V. N. Jartseva (ed.), Jazyki Mira: Ural'skie Jazyki, 55-63. Moskva: Nauka.
  • V. Chernyavskij. 2005. Ižorskij Jazyk (Samuchitel'). Ms. 300pp.

External linksEdit