Livonian is a member of the Finnic subgroup of the Finno-Ugrian language family. Finno-Ugrian, along with the Samoyedic languages, forms the Uralic language family. Presently, Livonian has no remaining fluent native speakers. The last known fluent native speaker was Grizelda Kristiņa (19.3.1910 Vaid, Latvia — 2.6.2013 Ontario, Canada). Presently there are several fluent and partially fluent speakers of Livonian along with many individuals possessing a basic level of Livonian proficiency. The Livonian ethnic identity continues to exist and language revitalization efforts are ongoing. In the 2011 Latvian State Census, 250 individuals identified Livonian as their ethnicity. The majority of Livonians have not lived on the Livonian Coast since the years following WWII. After this region had been militarized during the Soviet occupation of Latvia, it became difficult for civilians to live in this area. Most Livonians migrated to Rīga and Latvia’s other cities. Others that had fled Latvia during WWII (including Grizelda Kristiņa herself) became part of the Latvian refugee community abroad.
Livonians are few in number, but have been visible in Latvia’s cultural and also political life. Well-known Livonians include poet, artist, and linguist Valts Ernštreits also known for his design company and bookstore NicePlace; the members of the Stalte family who form the folk singing group Skandinieki (Dainis and Helmī Stalte have been members of the Rīga City Council, Dāvis Stalts is involved in Latvian politics and has been a member of the Latvian parliament [the Saeima], Julgī Stalte is a well-known musician in her own right and has been the originator of a number of musical ventures including her group Tuļļi Lum.); sports journalist Dāvids Ernštreits who has been a fixture of Latvian Television (LTV) for many years; and others.
Presently Livonian is not used as a language of daily interaction and fluent, partially fluent, and potential speakers of Livonian do not live together in a single place as a single contiguous community; however, efforts continue to be made to teach Livonian and enthusiasm continues to be high among students. Summer activities also include the Livonian Summer University (an opportunity for both beginning and advanced students to spend a week on the Livonian Coast studying Livonian language and culture) and the Livonian children’s and youth summer camp “Mierlinkizt”.
Livonian is used to some extent online by enthusiasts and speakers. The Livonian web portal livones.lv contains a full Livonian version of the site and other sites contain other kinds of information on Livonian, including the Kolka website, which gives a Livonian word of the day on its front page. An active resource for Livonian students, speakers, and enthusiasts is the Līvõ kēļ facebook page, which gives a Livonian word each day along with occasional information on useful phrases, grammar, and suggestions for daily use of Livonian.