The journalist spoke with five Udmurts living in Germany. Some of them are losing their language with the passing of generations, but others have found ways to keep the language going. Perhaps the most interesting of the give is Olga Ignatyeva, an Udmurt married to a Hungarian and living in Nurnberg who maintains an Udmurt language blog, kepics.tumblr.com/.
She grew up in Udmurtia, graduated from the Finno-Ugric division of the Udmurt State University, and then did graduate work in Hungary where she defended her dissertation I 2011. A year earlier, she moved to Germany with her Hungarian husband. She has two daughters, aged six and seven.
Olga decided to start her blog to tell her relatives in Udmurtia about her children and to link her children into the Udmurt world. She and her family members speak Hungarian at home primarily, then German and only then Udmurt. Udmurt is suffering lexically, she says, but it remains important for her and her children – and her husband understands but doesn’t speak it.
She says that her children “are beginning to understand that Udmurt is our own secret language” and that when it is used in an argument, things are becoming serious. This is reinforced by the numerous visits she and her children have made to Udmurtia where they can see that many people speak Udmurt.
But the children’s visits there have another impact: they see Russian on television and then ask why they aren’t learning that language too. They have become more insistent about that because of the large number of Russian speakers now living in their neighborhood. But Olga continues to speak Udmurt – and the children are retaining it as well.