The above map shows 8 of the Finno-Ugric Republics that have common Finnic language roots. Due to isolation from oneanother, however, their languages developed separately and acquired different loan words. For example, the Finns say "terve" (health) "hello," while the Mari say "salam." Interestingly, the further north and west one goes, the closer the language resembles Finnish, while the southern languages, whether in the Baltic or Urals, are more unintelligable. Presumeably, this is due to influence from southern contact, while this is minimized in the north.
The Finnish tribes were often distinguished from their
Slavic neighbors by their cleanliness. The Mari, for example, had a custom of wearing sparkling clean off-white clothes. Slavs moving into the villages brought
hard liquor and were accepted for awhile until their friends and relatives moved in bringing gifts of vodka. Booze and Finns do not mix well, and the Slavs in the village were soon shunned. But their presence was to become more and more permanent as their quest for riches expanded ever further north. It reminds one of the tactics used in the American west, right down to the inevitable scorched earth policies of the invading armies of the Czars. Genocide was widespread, and The Plague was given as the official reason for deaths.
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