Erzya is spoken by about 500,000 people in the northern and eastern and north-western parts of the Republic of Mordovia and adjacent regions of Nizhniy Novgorod, Chuvashia, Penza, Samara, Saratov, Orenburg, Ulyanovsk, Tatarstan and Bashkortostan in Russia. A diaspora can also be found in Armenia, Estonia, Kazakhstan and the other newly independent states of Central Asia. Erzya is currently written using the Cyrillic alphabet with no modifications to the variant used by the Russian language. In Mordovia, Erzya is co-official with the Moksha and Russian.
The language belongs to the Mordvinic branch of Finno-Volgaic languages a sub-branch of the Finno-Ugric languages. Erzya is closely related to Moksha, but is distinct in its phonetics, morphology and vocabulary.

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