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Member of the Finno-Ugric branch of the Uralic language family, spoken in Karelia republic of northwestern Russia and by emigrants in neighbouring Finland. There are two dialects of Karelian--Karelian proper and Olonets. Ludic, a minor group of dialects spoken to the southeast of Karelia, is considered to be a blend of Karelian and Veps, a related Finno-Ugric language spoken to the south of Karelia. A four-line fragment written in Karelian dates from the 13th century. In the 16th and 17th centuries Karelian translations of poetry and Russian-Karelian lexicographic lists appeared. P.S. Pallesa's Comparative Dictionary of All Languages and Dialects (1786) contains up to 300 Karelian words. 

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In 1957 while being excavations the birch-bark document on Karelian was discovered in Novgorod.
The document's text was written on Cyrillic alphabet and represents a pagan incantation for lighting
This document dates from the XIII th century. It is the oldest text on Karelian remained for us.



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