Võro language

Võro language

nativename="võro kiil"
region=Southern Estonia
fam5=South Estonian
agency=Võro Institute (semi-official)
lc1=est|ld1=Estonian|ll1=Estonian language

The Võro language ("võro kiil") [ [http://www.iub.edu/~bafsa/articles.html#Voro Võro language by Kara D. Brown, Phd at] Indiana University] is a language belonging to the Baltic-Finnic branch of the Finno-Ugric languages. Traditionally it is considered a dialect of South Estonian or Estonian, but it has its own literary language and is in search of official recognition as an regional language of Estonia. Võro has about 70,000 speakers (Võros) mostly in south-eastern Estonia, in the eight parishes of historical Võru County: Karula, Harglõ, Urvastõ, Rõugõ, Kanepi, Põlva, Räpinä, and Vahtsõliina. These parishes are currently centered (due to redistricting) in Võru and Põlva Counties with parts extending into Valga and Tartu counties. Speakers can also be found in the towns of Tallinn, Tartu and the rest of Estonia.


Võro is a descendant of the old South Estonian tribal language and is the least influenced by Standard Estonian (based on Northern Estonian dialects). Võro was once spoken further south and east of historical Võromaa in what is now Latvia and Russia. In addition to Võro, other contemporary variants of South Estonian include the Mulgi, Tartu and Seto language or dialect.

One of the earliest written evidences of South Estonian is a translation of the New Testament ("Wastne Testament") published in 1686. Although the status of South Estonian began to diminish after the 1880s, the language began to undergo a revival in the late 1980s.

Present situation

Today, Võro is used in the works of some of Estonia's most well known playwrights, poets, and authors. Võro is taught once a week in 26 schools. The only Võro newspaper, "Uma Leht", comes out twice a month. Estonia's contribution to the Eurovision Song Contest 2004 was the song "Tii", which was performed by Neiokõsõ in Võro. The language is seriously endangered by standard Estonian due to the lack of the government's legal commitment to protect the language.

Writing system

Võro employs the Latin alphabet, like Estonian and Finnish.

In Võro there is vowel harmony, typical of many Finno-Ugric languages but lacking in modern standard Estonian.


Among the Finnic languages, such double verb conjugation can be found only in the South Estonian and Karelian languages.

* Võro has a negative particle that is appended to the end of the verb, whereas standard Estonian has a negative verb, which precedes the verb. In standard Estonian, the negative verb "ei" is used in both present and past negation, whereas in Võro the same is expressed by different particles:

* Differences in vocabulary between Estonian and the Võro language can be clearly seen in everyday speech (yet a common Estonian is able to understand most everyday Võro words, since many of them exist in Standard Estonian as dialectal synonyms for the words given or in literary language):


* Eller, Kalle (1999): Võro-Seto language. Võro Instituut'. Võro.
* Iva, Sulev; Pajusalu, Karl (2004): The Võro Language: Historical Development and Present Situation. In: Language Policy and Sociolinguistics I: "Regional Languages in the New Europe" International Scientific Conference; Rēzeknes Augstskola, Latvija; 20-23 May 2004. Rezekne: Rezekne Augstskolas Izdevnieceba, 2004, 58 - 63.
* Iva, Sulev (2007): Võru kirjakeele sõnamuutmissüsteem (Inflectional Morphology in the Võro Literary Language). Dissertationes Philologiae Estonicae Universitatis Tartuensis 20, Tartu: Tartu Ülikooli Kirjastus (online: http://dspace.utlib.ee/dspace/bitstream/10062/4860/1/iva_sulev.pdf, English summary pp 144-146).
* Jüvä, Sullõv (2002): Võro-eesti synaraamat (Võro-Estonian dictionary). Publications of Võro Institute 12. Tarto-Võro.
* Keem, Hella (1997): Võru keel (Võro language). Võro Instituut ja Eesti teaduste akadeemia Emakeele selts. Tallinn.

ee also

*South Estonian language
*Baltic-Finnic languages
*Võro Institute
*Uma Leht, newspaper in the Võro language

External links

* [http://www.omniglot.com/writing/voro.htm Võro language and alphabet] at Omniglot
*fiu-vro icon [http://www.folklore.ee/Synaraamat/ Võro-Estonian dictionary (Võro Institute)]
*fiu-vro icon [http://www.wi.ee Võro Institute]
*fiu-vro icon [http://www.umaleht.ee Võro language newspaper "Uma Leht"]
* [http://haldjas.folklore.ee/tagused/nr2/muina.htm Audio example of Võro language]
* [http://www.estonica.org/eng/lugu.html?menyy_id=61&kateg=38&alam=44&leht=3 "Estonian dialects and layers" on http://www.estonica.org]
*fiu-vro icon [http://math.ut.ee/~vlaan/vtk/vtk.html Homepage of computer programs in Võro]
*fiu-vro icon [http://math.ut.ee/~vlaan/ivps/ivps.html English-Võro dictionary of computer terms]
* [http://www.eurominority.org/version/eng/minority-detail.asp?id_minorities=279 Eurominority]
* [http://www.helsinki.fi/~tasalmin/fu.html Uralic languages (Salminen 2003)]
*fiu-vro icon [http://www.flyordie.com/mangoq.html Online games in Võro language]
*fiu-vro icon [http://www.lastekas.ee/index.php?go=multikaq Collection of cartoons in Võro]


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