The Veps language (also known as Vepsian, natively as vepsan kel’), spoken by the Vepsians (also known as Veps), belongs to the Baltic-Finnic group of the Finno-Ugric languages. Closely related to Finnish and Karelian, Veps is also written using Latin script.
According to Soviet statistics, 12 500 people were self-designated ethnic Veps at the end of 1989.
According to the location of the people, the language is divided into three main dialects: Northern Veps (at Lake Onega to the south of Petrozavodsk, to the north of the river Svir, including the former Veps National Volost), Central Veps (in the Saint Petersburg region and Vologda Oblast), and Southern Veps (in the Saint Petersburg region). The Northern dialect seems the most distinct of the three; however, it is still possible for speakers of one dialect group to understand those of another. Speakers of the Northern dialect call themselves “Ludi” (lüdikad), or lüdilaižed.