ESTONIAN ACADEMY
PUBLISHERS
eesti teaduste
akadeemia kirjastus
The Yearbook of the Estonian Mother Tongue Society cover
The Yearbook of the Estonian Mother Tongue Society

Emakeele Seltsis sündinud sõnaraamat; pp. 277–287

Full article in PDF format | 10.3176/esa65.12

Author
Mari Kendla

Abstract

A dictionary born of the Mother Tongue Society

The year 2019 saw the publication of Fascicle 30 of the Estonian Dialect Dictionary. This meant the completion of Volume 6 and the first half of the lexicographic monument. The dictionary is a unique achievement, covering all Estonian dialects. Each entry word is presented together with its phonetic, morphological and semantic characteristics as well as example sentences. Altogether, the material represents 117 historical parishes. 
The Estonian Dialect Dictionary has a long history. The idea of compiling one was first aired in the circles of the Estonian Literary Society. In 1913 Johannes Aavik published an appeal with instructions for collecting Estonian dialect words, but the attempt was nipped in the bud by the imminent war. In 1920 the Mother Tongue Society was established. Its main mission was collection of dialect material with a view to a comprehensive dictionary of vernacular Estonian. Since 1921, according to an agreement between the Estonian Literary Society and the Mother Tongue Society, all responsibility for collecting and publishing dialect material has been the responsibility of the Mother Tongue Society. Thus, the effort of compiling the comprehensive dialect dictionary has been going on for nearly a century, while its practical execution started at the Mother Tongue Society.
In 1947 the compilation of the dialect dictionary became one of the tasks of the newly founded Institute of Language and Literature (since 1993 the Institute of the Estonian Language).  After decades of material collection, alphabetical compilation of a summary card index, development and formulation of the compilation principles for the dictionary, and creating software for layout and printing, the long-awaited Fascicle One saw light in 1994.
The fascicle currently under preparation (osatlema-pari) carries the number 31. The part of the dictionary completed so far contains about 62,000 entry words, annually supplemented by another 2,000. The recently published online version means a remarkable expansion in access and usage of the dictionary. 


References

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