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The Finno-Ugrians are a diverse group of peoples related by an ancient common linguistic heritage distinct from that of the Indo-Europeans who surround them. Of the approximately 25 million Finno-Ugrians, the best known are the Estonians and Finns on the Eastern Baltic Littoral and the Hungarians in the Carpathian Basin. But they also include the Sámis (Lapps) in the northern Fenno-Scandian and Kola Peninsulas, the Erzas, Moksas, Maris, Udmurts, and Komis of the northern woodland zone of European Russia and the Khantys and Mansis of Western Siberia. Distantly related to the Finno-Ugrians are the various Samoyed peoples of Siberia, the Nenets, Enets, Nganassans and Selkups.
Finno-Ugric Studies at the University of Toronto is devoted to the languages, literatures and cultures of the three main groups, the Estonians, Finns and Hungarians. These areas are of interest in themselves but also because of their role in shaping the histories and cultures of their respective geographic space. Because of their centuries-long association with the Slavic peoples, in particular the Russians, Finno-Ugric Studies can be of value to students of Slavic studies. The language courses offered by the three Finno-Ugric programs will be of interest to students of general linguistics who desire to acquire knowledge of a non-Indo-European language.
Professor K.A. Lantz, 121 St. Joseph Street, Room 409 (416-926-1300, ext.3286)
Estonian is spoken by approximately one million people in present-day Estonia and some 72,000 in other parts of the world, including 18,000 in Canada. Closely related to Finnish and more distantly to Hungarian, Estonian is one of the few Finno-Ugric languages to exist surrounded by speakers of Indo-European languages.
An ancient people, the Estonians have preserved their language and culture despite centuries of domination by other nations. Not only is their heritage enormously rich in folk epics and songs, but Estonians enjoy a vigorous and diversified literary tradition which continues in Estonia proper and in their adoptive countries.
Estonian studies at the University of Toronto are concerned with the language, literature, and culture of Estonia. The language courses will be of interest to those wishing to improve their language skills, as well as to students of general linguistics who desire to acquire a knowledge of a non-Indo-European language.
A nation of five million people, Finland is situated between West and East, between Sweden and Russia, sharing for thousands of years religious, historical, political, social, and cultural influences and experiences with its neighbours and the different worlds they represent.
Finnish, a Finno-Ugric language related to Estonian and Hungarian, is spoken by 94% of Finland’s population, by 300,000 in Sweden, and by large numbers in Canada, the United States, and other countries. The other constitutionally recognized group, the Finland-Swedes, comprises over six percent of the population. The Finns have a strong commitment to their languages and to their culture. Their national epic, the Kalevala, compiled in the 19th century from old Finnish epic narrative poems and incantations, soon became a national symbol and continues to this day to inspire the growth and development of the country’s creative force. Today the entire world responds to Finnish achievements in music, literature, the arts and architecture, and celebrates the work of such outstanding figures as Jean Sibelius, Alvar Aalto, and Eliel and Eero Saarinen.
Finnish studies at the University of Toronto are presently engaged in teaching the Finnish language - a three-year sequence together with a linguistics course, to be introduced later, that will be of interest to all students of language - and in offering other courses on the literature and culture of Finland.
Hungarian is spoken by ten and a half million inhabitants of present-day Hungary, about three million people in the neighbouring countries, and perhaps as many as an additional two million around the world. These figures make Hungarian, which is related to Finnish, Estonian, and Lappish, but virtually no other language in Europe, by far the largest minority language in a vast sea of Indo-European speakers.
Preserving their national identity by keeping their unique language alive has been a major concern for Hungarians ever since they settled in the Carpathian Basin over a thousand years ago. Yet far from secluding themselves, they have actively engaged in European history and politics and thereby have shaped their country into a highly cultured and, at times, quite powerful and influential nation. Many Hungarians settled abroad and contributed to the civilizations of their adopted countries. Those who achieved fame in recent decades include Bartók, Moholy-Nagy, Ormandy, Szentgyörgyi, Szilárd, and Vasarely.
Hungarian studies at the University of Toronto are concerned with the language, literature, and culture of Hungary and with the international role of the country, including the particular problem of Hungarian immigration to Canada.
Estonian, Finnish and Hungarian ProgramsEnrolment in the Estonian, Finnish, or Hungarian program requires the completion of four courses; no minimum GPA required.
Estonian Studies (Arts program)
Finnish Studies (Arts program)
Consult Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures.
Hungarian Studies (Arts program)
Consult Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures.
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