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The seriously endangered Vod language is spoken by very few people (25 in 1979). The speakers live to the southwest of St. Petersburg in the Russian Federation.

Vod belongs to the Baltic-Finnic or Fennic subbranch of the Finno-Ugric languages, which form a top level constituent of the Uralic language family. Vod is closely related to the other Baltic-Finnic languages, e.g. Finnish, Estonian, Karelian etc.

The language is also known under the name of Votic. The speakers call their language vadjdja čeeli or maačeeli.

Vod is traditionally subdivided into two major dialect groups: Western Vod and Eastern Vod. Both groups formerly presented a continuum of dialects. Additional dialects were the now extinct Kukkuzi Vod and Krevin Vod.

In Western Vod and Eastern Vod the Proto-Balto-Finnic stop *k turned to č before front vowels.

Primary stress always falls on the first syllable of the word, secondary stress is usually found on a following odd-numbered syllable.

The morphology of the Vod language has primarily agglutinative structure, viz morphemes have clear-cut boundaries, grammatical morphemes bear mostly one single meaning, the word stem is not modified by internal inflection like 'umlaut' or 'ablaut'. Nevertheless there exists a considerable amount of morphonological alternation, like consonant gradation and vowel mutation. Thus Vod is not a purely aglutinative language. The Vod morphology exclusively uses suffixes.

Vod nouns and verbs have two numbers: singular and plural.

The Vod noun has no grammatical gender.

The unmarked order of constituents in simple transitive sentences is SVO. Other orders are possible, mainly for pragmatical purposes. Quantifiers, adjectives (including demonstratives and other pronominal adjectives) and genitive attributes precede the head noun. Modifiers in the partitive case follow the head noun.

Bernhard Scheucher

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