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Khanty is a Uralic language, a member of the Ob-Ugric family of the Ugric group of languages. It has 63,000 speakers and is an official language of the Union of Khantyland and Mansiland, a member republic of Russia. There are three major dialects, Northern, with 45,000 speakers, Eastern, with 15,000, and Southern, with 3,000; the standard language used in print, radio and newspapers is based on the Northern dialect. Native speakers seldom speak the standard language, but all understand it, and it is this which is taught in schools and to students of Khanty as a foreign language. Intelligibilty between geographically distant dialects is difficult.