The ludian society (lüüdilaine siebr)
The Ludian Society in Finland was founded December 1st in 1998 by Ludian linguist and poet Mr. Miikul Pahomov (in Ludian language the nime is Obraman Fed’uun Miikul). The main objective of the Society is to support the threatened Ludian language. The Society is rebuilding also links between educated people in Finland and the local people from the Ludian district with extremely valuable culture.
The activities of the Ludian Society include developing the Ludian language, arranging cultural exchanges happenings between Lüüdiland and Finland, launching the Ludians in Finland and elsewhere, releasing publications and organizing cultural trips.
Currently the president of the Ludian Society is Dr. Herman Hakala and the vice-president is Fr. Veikko Purmonen. Society’s web-site can be found by www.lyydi.net.
The ludians and their language
Where do they live?
Traditionally, the Ludian people lived in an area located in the eastern part of the Aunus Isthmus in the Republic of Karelia in north-western part of Russia. The area is over 200 km long and about 30 km wide. The southern part of the area is located in the village of Kuujärvi Paloniem and the northern part is in Palolamb. Fragmented location and isolation from the other members of the ‘tribe’ meant that the Ludians were not able to form a strong and independent nation. As late as the beginning of the twentieth century (1905), over 10.000 people lived in 79 villages in the historical government of Aunus.
War, repression and migration from communities to state farms, followed by the evacuation of the ‘non-developable’ villages caused population losses in the Ludian villages and mass movements to the new population centres and towns. This and the fact that “Russian nationality statistics have always included the Ludians with the Karelians” (E. V. Ahtia), makes the calculation of the exact number very difficult. In connection with the language material collection in the Ludian villages during the years 1963–1966, there were at most 6,000–7,000 Ludian-speaking people according to the calculation of Mr. Aleksander Barantsev. Nowadays, this number has decreased to some hundreds Ludian-speaking. In their native haunts, the Ludians can be reached particularly in the villages of the three administrative areas (Aunus, Prääsä, Kontupohja) of the republic of Karelia. There are some Ludians living outside Karelia, in other regions of the former USSR, in Finland as well as in Sweden.
The people themselves call the language lüüdikš (in translative), lüüdin kiel’ and lüüdikiel’ which means “Ludian language”. There is no complete agreement about the position of the Ludian language between philologists representing the official science. It is usually said that the Ludian dialects are a mixture of Karelian and Vepsian. As for others, Ludian can to be one of many Karelian dialects.
Ludian literature is taking its first steps; during the last years five books have been published in Ludian. From the point of view of the language, the most significant of these books is the primer ABC-kird’ (‘ABC-book’, 2003), written by Mr. Miikul Pahomov and Mrs. Lidia Potašova. The book is currently used for teaching in Kuujärvi. Two other very interesting books are the first Ludian works of fiction, Tuohuz ikkunas (‘The Candle in the Window’, 1993) and Lüüdiland (2000), both written by Mr. Miikul Pahomov. Now Ludians have also two Orthodox Christian books, the names of which are D’umalan Poig (‘The Son of God’, 1999) and Ehtsluužb (‘Vespers’, 2005). This is the new achievement of the Ludian Society on its long way towards Ludian literary language.
The rescue of the threatened Ludian language needs everybody’s help.