The first contacts of Russians with Mansi refer to 15-16th centuries, since this time in Russian documents there appeared Mansi proper names. One of the first ethnographic descriptions concerning Mansi is «The brief description of the Ostyak people» written by G.I. Novitsky (1715). The Mansi language belongs to such languages of small peoples of the North of the Russian Federation that are investigated well enough. Sound structure the Mansi language is not well studied, there is lack of experimental - phonetic researches, there are only some articles. Lexicon is also insufficiently investigated.
The official name of the language – the Mansi language (an obsolete spelling of the name used in the second half of 1930s – Man’si, the Man’si). In the beginning of 1930s at total revision and change of names of small peoples of Russia there was an attempt to legalize the name of people “Voguls” and the name of the language “The Vogul language”. For some time Khanty - Mansi Autonomous territory was officially called Ostyak-Vogul, but new names didn’t get accustomed and soon went out of the use.
The official status of Mansi is the language of aboriginal small peoples of the Russian Federation. However in autonomous region itself because of the small number of Mansi people in comparison with Khanty the Mansi language occupies more modest position in all spheres of use of languages of aboriginal ethnoses. In Mansi some materials were published on the pages of a district national newspaper.
Nowadays Mansi is used mainly family household communication by the people of the senior generation, it is used also in small collectives that lead traditional way of life and occupied in hunting, fishery or reindeer breeding. In Mansi language can be heard in radio broadcasting, now twice a month in Mansi two columns in a newspaper are published. Mansi is taught in primary school, in Khanty-Mansiysk Pedagogical School, in the Ugra State University (Khanty-Mansiysk), in Institute of Peoples of the North of Russian State Pedagogical University named after A.I. Hertzen (Saint Petersburg), and periodically in Novosibirsk State University.