Mansi is a Finno-Ugric language that is spoken in Russia in Khanty-Mansi territory. There are approximately 3,180 people who can speak this language. Mansi has 4 main dialects, which are not mutually intelligible. These are the eastern, western, southern and northern dialects. Some of these dialects are now extinct. It is mainly the northerners and the easterners who have preserved the Mansi language and culture. Obsolete spellings of the language are Man’si or the Man’si. In the past, the language was known as Vogul. Mansi is closely related to the Khanty language, especially western Khanty dialects. Mansi has had contact with the Komi language. As a result of this, Mansi has loan words from the Komi language. Russian words that were absorbed into the Mansi language took place via the Komi language. The Mansi also borrowed words relating to Reindeer-breeding from the Nenet people. Traces of Turkic and Iranian can also be found in the language.
A writing system for the Mansi language was first developed in 19th century. Grigory Popov translated the Gospel of Matthew into Mansi in 1868 in London. In 1903, Bishop Nikanor wrote the first ABC book to aid in the teaching of children. The Latin alphabet was first used before switching to the Cyrillic alphabet. Currently, the Mansi language is considered to be one of the most well worked out and having a graphical presentation on a Cyrillic basis. The Mansi alphabet has 17 consonants and 12 vowels. Literary works have been written using the Sos’va dialect as well as the Konda dialect. The first linguist to have visited the Mansi people and studied their language as well as culture was the Hungarian scholar Antaly Reguly.
The Mansi language is mainly used at home, among friends and relatives. This is especially by elderly people. Small groups that still lead a more traditional way of live and are in involved in hunting and fishing also use this language when they are gathered. Mansi is taught in some primary schools and even universities in Russia. Radio broadcasts can be occasionally heard in Mansi. Some newspaper columns are also written in Mansi. Mansi is recognized as a minority language in Russia.