WIEDEMANNIST WIEDEMANNINI; pp. 282–289Full article in PDF format
From Wiedemann to Wiedemann
The grammar book of the Estonian language by F. J. Wiedemann was published in 1875. The scientific metalanguage of the publication was German, and it was the last important Estonian grammar book written in a foreign language. The metalanguage of the next description of the Estonian language was already Estonian. Now, 136 years later, Wiedemann’s grammar book was published in Estonian translation. In the story of the Estonian language Wiedemann’s works are of particular significance, and this makes one ask what has happened to the Estonian language and its description during those 136 years. The paper argues that the publication of the Estonian translation of the grammar book does not mean that Estonian is, as a scientific metalanguage, at the present moment in the same position as German was in the 19th century. Today both Estonian and German are losing their importance as scientific metalanguages. Nevertheless, the translation of Wiedemann’s grammar book remains important as a methodologically interesting description and as an inexhaustible source of different sub-dialects of 19th-century Estonian.
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