The Livonian, or Liv, language (Livonian randa keÛl ‘coast language’) is a member of the Baltic-Finnic subgroup within Finno-Ugric. It was until recently spoken in twelve costal villages of Kurzeme province in Latvia. At the beginning of the twentieth century it had over two thousand speakers, but the dispersal of the population during two world wars and subsequently during the Soviet period has meant that the language has not been passed on to younger generations so that at present only about ten elderly first-language speakers remain alive.
However, since the independence of Latvia in 1991, teaching of the language has been resumed and other cultural activities to foster the language have provoded an opportunity for the belated revival of the language. Livonian is a written language, but the orthography has varied somewhat during the period of just over a century since it was first committed to writing.
ISBN 9783895861581. Languages of the World/Materials 144. 120pp. 2002.