Talk:South Estonian language

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South Estonian language!? Its a dialect not a language.[edit]

Anybody opposed to a move? --Alexia Death the Grey 07:44, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

Guess not.--Alexia Death the Grey 16:14, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

This article needs a lot of work. It needs to be rewritten as an umbrella article for Tartu dialect and Seto and Võro languages. Unfortunately I'm not a linguist... --Alexia Death the Grey 16:25, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

Agree, just that you missed out the Mulgi (or Viljandimaa) dialect--Termer (talk) 10:45, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

South Estonian isn't just a dialect group. The issue is much more complex. Linguistically there are two different Estonian languages: Estonian (or North Estonian) and South Estonian. The latter isn't linguistically and historically a dialect of (North) Estonian. South Estonian includes two very close languages (Võro and Seto) and two dialects (Tartu and Mulgi) that are very close to Võro but are also quite mixed with Estonian. Mulgi and Tartu can be observed as transition dialects from Võro to Estonian. But it's clear that they are dialects of South Estonian not (North) Estonian. South Estonian has also its own historical written language (so called Tartu or South Estonian literary language) which was used in Tartu and Võro linguistic areas (and it can not be named "old Tartu dialect"!!!). So the issue of South Estonian is quite complex but surely this language isn't merely a dialect group (of Estonian) as it was called in traditional Estonian dialectology. Many linguists (Sammallahti, Kallio etc) have refferred to South Estonian as to very ancient independent Baltic Finnic language (maybe even the oldest one) which has later become more similar to Estonian due to contacts. I agree that it would be nice to rewrite the article more clearly. But renaming the article "South Estonian language" to "South Estonian dialect group" is too radical solution and it doesn't reflect the real situation. I would compare rather South Estonian with Saami, Norwegian, Mari, Mordovian or Frisian languages which all are ingluding two or more (standardized or non-standardized) variants but still they can be named languages, not just dialect/language groups. That's whay I say that the renaming was'nt good idea and why I think the name of the article should be again "South Estonian language" as it was previously. --Võrolang (talk) 01:04, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

As I explained, I oppose move. The article should be moved back to the previous name. --Võrolang (talk) 15:37, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

Edited and moved back to the "South Estonian language". --Võrolang (talk) 22:39, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

  • Oppose move. South Estonian isn't just a dialect group, as I have already explained when the first attepmt was made to move the article. The issue is much more complex. Linguistically there are two different Estonian languages: Estonian (or North Estonian) and South Estonian. The latter isn't linguistically and historically a dialect of (North) Estonian. South Estonian includes two very close languages - Võro and Seto - and two dialects (Tartu and Mulgi) that are very close to Võro but are also quite mixed with Estonian. The Võro language is regognized by ISO as an individual language (code vro). Mulgi and Tartu can be observed as transition dialects from Võro to Estonian. But it's clear that they are dialects of South Estonian not (North) Estonian. South Estonian has also its own historical written language (so called Tartu or South Estonian literary language) which was used in Tartu and Võro linguistic areas (and it can not be named "old Tartu dialect"!!!). So the issue of South Estonian is quite complex but surely this language isn't merely a dialect group (of Estonian) as it was called in traditional Estonian dialectology. Many linguists (Sammallahti, Kallio etc) have refferred to South Estonian as to very ancient independent Baltic Finnic language (maybe even the oldest one) which has later become more similar to Estonian due to contacts. I agree that it would be nice to rewrite the article more clearly. But renaming the article "South Estonian language" to "South Estonian dialect group" is too radical solution and it doesn't reflect the real situation. I would compare rather South Estonian with Saami, Norwegian, Mari, Mordovian or Frisian languages which all are including two or more (standardized or non-standardized) variants but still they can be named languages, not just dialect/language groups. That's whay I say that the renaming was'nt good idea and name of the article should stay "South Estonian language". So, I strongly oppose the move--Võrok (talk) 23:15, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
Exactly. What user Võrok is doing here, is plain and simple original research. The academic consensus is, that there's no separate Fenno-ugric language called South Estonian and a Võro activist can't change it by creating a WP:SELFPUB article on South Estonian “language″.--Miacek and his crime-fighting dogM. se fâche(woof!) 09:56, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
Where do you take that there is an academic consensus on the subject? The main problem is that there isn't - which is clear from looking at different sources:
  • Võro language by Kara D. Brown: "One question revolves around whether Voro is a language or a dialect. Many Estonians I talked with, even ones from Voru county, posit that it is an Estonian dialect. Other Estonians, mostly native speakers, argue that it is a language, which has more in common with Finnish than Estonian."
  • Dialects and layers of the Estonian language: "The Võro language is historically a dialect of the South Estonian language."
You have cherry picked this quote from the article, but if you read the intro: "Besides North Estonian another tribal language spoken in prehistoric Estonia was Southern Estonian - the ancestral language for the other main dialect group of Estonian". Martintg (talk) 23:26, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
  • South Estonian Written Standard and Actual Spoken Language: "Furthermore, unlike in other areas of Estonia the old local dialects of South Estonian are not levelling to Standard Estonian but to the Common South Estonian language ..."
  • in google and google scholar results for both variants (language/dialect) of South Estonian and Võro are roughly in the same proportion
K731 (talk) 13:03, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, but just looking a number of google hits, you can 'prove' whatever things, e.g. that Hungarian language derives from Sumerian and so on. What helps us distinguish between established facts is the usage we find in reference works. I am familiar with Estonian reference works, and I can assure you all such dialects have been since early 20th century, continuing in Soviet times and are generally nowadays too covered as dialects of Estonian, not independent Fenno-Ugric languages. The best argument is that no encyclopedia be it Eesti Entsüklopeedia, Britannica or Encarta treats Võru dialects as a separate Fenno-Ugric language (see also: [1]). It is User:Võrok's theory that there are separate Seto, Võro, Mulgi or Tartu languages. Wikipedia is not a place for original research or propaganda. Wikipedia just reflects existing conventions and scholarly consensus. Võru language, Tartu language, Seto language or say, Petseri language have no official recognition, as stated in Estonian wiki, and the Institute of the Estonian Language considers all such variants (nowadays mostly rapidly disappearing, anyway) as dialects of the Estonian language [2]. There are other opinions, true, but they are (still?) minority POV both in Estonia and abroad. --Miacek and his crime-fighting dog (woof!) 14:47, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

The number of google hits wasn't my main point, as I presume you understood. (in addition to your 'see also':[3])

I agree that Lõunaeesti and the related /things/ are most of the times accepted as dialects, but concerning for example Võru, clearly we can't talk about a scholarly consensus whether its a dialect or language. Estonian wiki's discussion page on Võru keel reflects the same notion - whether it is something like a regional language or simply a dialect of Estonian. This article's introduction also clearly states: "Since the late 1980s a regionalist movement supported by many linguists has promoted the view that South Estonian (including Võro(-Seto)), is a separate language belonging to the Baltic-Finnic branch of the Finno-Ugric languages." So, I'd emphasize on more time that in my opinion there is no scholarly of whatsoever consensus and especially in the case of Võru the POV which sees it as a separate language has (already?) considerable support (as opposed to, I don't know, established customs or majority POV). K731 (talk) 15:35, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

BTW, the Institute of the Estonian Language is pretty clear on that issue. Note also, that User:Võrok is actually one of the architects of the Estonian wiki article of “Võru keel
;-) Regards, --Miacek and his crime-fighting dog (woof!) 16:04, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Support move based on Martin's and Miacek arguments above. Võrok: aga usutavasti leiad Sa, et tegemist on lihtsalt ärapanemisega sellepärast, et Sa üleval võro keelt päriskeeleks ja mulgi keelt üleminekudialektiks tembeldad ;-)

In the real life, language is fluid; there are no strict boundaries -- just like with species. The language borders are drawn by humans, for human convenience. Once upon a time, when Estonia was full of swamps and forests, when transportation was slow and culture exchange slower, there were significant differences between how people of various regions spoke. But over time, many forests were cut down, roads were built through swamps -- and the regional dialects melted together, becoming a language of people of a bigger region. Perhaps, three-four-five centuries ago, Võro was distinct enough to qualify as a language of its own, but that time has long passed. (Hence, the scholarly consensus.) ΔιγουρενΕμπρος! 22:05, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

  • Fun fact: ISO does not "recognise" languages by handing them codes. Instead, the ISO 639 registry -- the Library of Congress -- maintains the language coding system, paying most careful attention to printed books. Since in recent years, a number of people have been printing books in Võro, the intent to precisely codify the linguistic standard now merits a separate language code -- but this does not mean any sort of royal assent over the linguistic entity's status as a language or dialect.

If starting tomorrow, a hundred people would take it unto themselves to write and print new books based on the writing system found in the Voynich Manuscript, pretty soon it would have its own ISO code. Nobody will care if it's a language -- if the books are there, they need to be coded. ΔιγουρενΕμπρος! 22:32, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Comment, the situation with Estonian languages is comparable with the example of the Dutch language, nobody claims Flemish is a separate language, it is a dialect group of Dutch containing West Flemish, East Flemish, Limburgish, and Brabantian. It's the same with South Estonian. Martintg (talk) 23:17, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

The situation with South Estonian is comparable with Limburgian etc. but not the same. In some aspects South Estonian is rather comparable with Frisian. I don't know what anybody says about Limburgish etc. but many people really do claim that Võro or South Estonian is a separate language. Regarding ISO, it classifies Võro as a living individual language. Of course, ISO isn't Estonian Government nor Institute of the Estonian Language, but its recognition is a recognition, too. And the Estonian governmental institution which regulates Võro language - Võro Institute has always been pretty clear on the issue.--Võrok (talk) 00:08, 12 February 2009 (UTC)
The general discourse in published literature (for example here) is that these are dialects of Estonian. No doubt you could find a few papers that support your contrary argument, but then to have the article titled as South Estonian language rather than South Estonian dialect group would constitute WP:UNDUE if not WP:OR, because it is the minority view and so must be given less weight. Wikipedia is not to be used as a platform for promoting the particular political agenda of Võro activists, but must reflect the view in published sources according to due weight. The best solution is to rename this article South Estonian dialect group and then to have a section within the article that mentions the minority view that holds it to be a distinct language. Martintg (talk) 00:48, 12 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Note that Flemish also has an ISO code "vls", even though it is acknowledged as a dialect of Dutch. Martintg (talk) 02:31, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

Comment I'm afraid things are not as straight forward with this as perhaps suggested above. The South Estonian language is a valid subject in historical context, it was a literary language spoken in Swedish Livonia, later in the Governorate of Livonia. In fact the New Testament was first printed in South Estonian Language in 1686, and only later in North Estonian 1715. [4]. The decline of South Estonian language started after the burning down of Tartu and deportations of the people to Russia during the Great Northern War, and by the end of 19th century, the south Estonian literary language had practically become extinct. see -> [5]. Now, what to do with the article? I think the subject South Estonian language deserves an article, it just needs to be rewritten according to facts. And the modern surviving Estonian dialects (some also refereed to as languages like Seto and Voro) should have a separate article, and in that respect South Estonian dialect group for such an article would be fine. Last but not least, haven't come across anybody suggesting that a revival of South Estonian language in general is happening anywhere. The revival of Võro however, is another story and also a separate chapter that should belong to appropriate article -> Võro language. And that's the bottom line, the problem with this article in previous state mostly was that it kind of suggested like the Voru language is the South Estonian language that is getting revived. Which in fact are 2 separate subjects -> The historic South Estonian language with it's center in Tartu and the modern revival of Voru also Seto language should be simply kept apart and that should solve the questions raised above.--Termer (talk) 05:54, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

PS.It is perhaps an interesting fact that the South-Estonian language has survived due to their isolation in villages situated near the Siberian taiga founded in the end of the last century by emigrants....--Termer (talk) 06:06, 12 February 2009 (UTC)
PPS. Also, perhaps following facts should be considered relevant regards South Estonian language. According to Kara D. Brown @ World congress on language policies Finnish and Võro are believed to be more closely related to each other than Võro with standard Estonian + after the Livonian War when the Southern Estonia (Livnia at the time) became part of Swedish empire, but the territories were practically empty, there was nobody left to farm the land. At the time there was migration from Finland (also part of Sweden) to Southern Estonia. The exact numbers of Finnish farmers settling in Southern Estonia (Livonia) to acquire empty farm lands are available in Eesti rahva ajalugu. 4 by Juhan Libe in case anybody want's to look further into it.--Termer (talk) 06:21, 12 February 2009 (UTC)
Dear Martintg, you shouldn't roughly change the basics of the article replacing notion language with notion dialect(s) in the text and replacing existing language infobox. Deleting the language infobox and replacing it with a new empty infobox for Estonian dialects - it is not nice and constructive editing. If you want to have series about Estonian dialects (I think the Võro language shouldn't belong to such series) you should first start the series, writing articles about Estonian dialects not to put empty and misleading infoboxes on the top of the existing and long developed articles. Now you have changed all the meaning of the article with some harsh replacements. Do you think it is good and constructive way to develope the article? What I must do now, should I undo these attack-like replacements? Maybe you would do it yourself?--Võrok (talk) 08:26, 12 February 2009 (UTC)
No, Martin has no reason to undo his changes since he sought to make your creation conform to majority POV and academic consensus.--Miacek and his crime-fighting dog (woof!) 11:20, 12 February 2009 (UTC)
Võrok, there are 117 google book hits for "south estonian dialect" and only 11 google book hits for "south estonian language". What should we conclude from this? Martintg (talk) 12:04, 12 February 2009 (UTC)
Google book 117 hits for South Estonian dialect reflect quite well the point of wiew, which is valid mainly in the context of the traditional Estonian linguistics, particularly in dialectology. However, considering and naming it a language is not exeptional or rare, morover, in many contexts (language and culture politics, liteary language, historical etc.) it is at least regular if not traditional. And it is growing trend. Addition to google book 11 hits for "south estonian language" there is more 11 hits for "south estonian literary language", 5 hits for "south estonian written language" 2 for "southern estonian language", 2 for southern estonian literary language, altogether 31 hits. One should also remember that in English, language names are written most often in short form, without word language. It means that quite big number of 488 hits for "south estonian" and 267 hits for "southern estonian" are also meant as south estonian language. In addition, as said above K731: in google and google scholar results for both variants (language/dialect) of South Estonian are roughly in the same proportion. But, of course we can not only look at hits on Google searching tools (with words of one of my oponents: "just looking a number of google hits, you can 'prove' whatever things").--Võrok (talk) 23:58, 12 February 2009 (UTC)
I would like you to clarify your position. Let say, for argument sake, that I agree Võro is a distinct language, you are arguing that Mulgi and Tartu are distinct languages from Võro, not dialects of Võro, is this correct? You are saying in effect that South Estonian language is similar to Germanic language in that it is a group that contains a family of distinct languages. On the other hand, if your position is that Mulgi and Tartu are dialects of Võro and "South Estonian" is English shorthand for "South Estonian language" or even a synonym for "Võro", then South Estonian dialect group is not incompatible with that view, is it not? Martintg (talk) 00:22, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
I hope nobody doesn't mind if I'll explain partly repeating myself and partly clarifying some aspects closer.
South Estonian includes two very close languages - Võro and Seto. Linguistically, academically etc. Seto is definitely a dialect of Võro, extremely close to other eastern dialects of Võro (especially to the Vahtsõliina (sub)dialect) and also very close to the written standard of Võro (Võro literary language). However, most Setos and Võros themselves believe due to different cultural and religious identity that Võro and Seto are languages distinct from each other. Linguistically it is nonsense and I as a linguist personally don't think so but I and many others appreciate the peoples' will and selfconciousness - that's why we speak mostly on the Estonian local arena also about Seto language.
In addition to Võro (with Seto) there are two dialects - Tartu and Mulgi - that are very close to Võro but are also quite mixed with Estonian. Of course Mulgi and Tartu have also their own history and very interesting linguistic features but linguistically they can be generally observed as transition dialects between Võro and Estonian (already one of the most known Estonian linguists J. F. Wiedemann stated it in his Võro grammar from 1864). Some local people in Mulgi region also consider Mulgi as a distinct language, but this point of view has very weak support. The weakest part of the contemporary South Estonian (without strong regional identity and revitalization-normalisation process) is Tartu, which was the main ground for the old South Estonian (or Tartu) literary language. But it's clear that Mulgi and Tartu are dialects of South Estonian not (North) Estonian. On the same time Mulgi and Tarto are generally not observed as dialects of Võro but as distinct South Estonian dialects. That is because cultural and linguistic tradition, different local identity, a bit bigger linguistic differences between Võro and Tarto-Mulgi. Võro language (with Seto) is itself an (eastern) variant of South Estonian with its own modern literary language, literature, ISO code, institute, school materials, media etc which serve and cover in some extent also needs of the neigbouring Seto linguistic community but generally do not intend to do it for very weakly and separately revitalized (and farer in the west situated) Mulgi and absolutely nonrevitalized and almost extinct Tarto.
South Estonian has had also its own historical written language (Tartu or South Estonian literary language) which was used in Tartu and Võro linguistic areas as a main local litearary and administrative language (churhes, courts, schools etc.).
So, yes, South Estonian can be considered a (southernmost) subbranch of the Finnic branch of the Finno-Ugric languages (comparable with some Germanic languages' subbranch, say Frisian). This subbranch is generally called the South Estonian language (or South(ern) Estonian dialect group) and includes the Võro language (with Seto) and Mulgi and Tarto dialects (transitional between Võro and Estonian).
I hope my explanations were clear enaough, but questions are already welcome. Regards,--Võrok (talk) 15:09, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
If it is so concise and clear, I wonder why Eesti Keele Instituut, which officially regulates the Estonian language, still treats those subjects as dialects of the Estonian language and why such reliable reference works as Britannica do the same... --Miacek and his crime-fighting dog (woof!) 17:42, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, but you didn't directly answer my main question: is the proposed article title South Estonian dialect group compatible with your view? I get the impression that it is since you say both Mulgi and Tartu are South Estonian dialects that are very close to Võro, while Seto is even closer. We can have an article about the Frisian language because it describes three individual ISO defined languages, where as this article South Estonian language only describes one ISO defined language and three related dialects, therefore the title South Estonian dialect group would be more suitable, given as you say in English "South Estonian" could be shorthand for "South Estonian language". I hope you agree this is a good compromise. Martintg (talk) 18:44, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
As for me, I agree with the title Martintg suggested. --Miacek and his crime-fighting dog (woof!) 19:04, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
To say directly - no, I don't think that South Estonian dialect group is the right name for the branch. Inside South Estonian branch there are at least two linguistic entities that are mostly or often considered languages (the Võro language and the old South Estonian literary language) - that is one of the reasons why I and some other people would prefer in the name the word language (which is anyway more neutral than dialect, in my opinion). On the other hand at least two South Estonian linguistic entities are mostly considered dialects (Mulgi, Tartu). So it is understandable that some people want to name it dialect or dialect group. To choose one or another of these words is a choice of one or another part of people but not a compromise, because another part does not consider it right.
The fair compromise could be: not to use these words and rename the article to just South Estonian. We can find this solution for example in the article Low German, which also includes both entities with and without individual ISO language code. I'm sure one can find more examples of such solution. So, what about this compromise? Of course then some compromise must be found also in using the words inside the article. For example we could use language/dialect group in some contexts and just language or just dialect or just South Estonian in others.--Võrok (talk) 21:00, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
I am sorry that you seem unable to come to a compromise and instead edited the article according to your POV. It seems to be intellectually dishonest to not acknowledge that many linguists disagree with your viewpoint, that significant institutions like the Eesti Keele Instituut disagree with your viewpoint and a significant body of literature disagrees with your viewpoint, yet you persist in pushing your POV as if it is "the truth". Wikipedia is not a platform to promote your view at the expense of others. I have reverted your changes until we can resolve it here on the talk page first. Martintg (talk) 22:20, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
I am trying to clarify things and find a copromise. After long explanations I just proposed a real compromise but unfortunately this is left without attention. In article I did not reverted anything. I restored the infobox deleted by Martintg and tried to rewrite some places with more neutral words giving both notions (dialect/language) or not using them at all. see changes here. That all was considered as very negative actions and reverted to another recent changes (deleting infobox and substituting words language with words dialect.) also done on the time of the discussion. Does the compromise really mean just to agree with some active opponents who are quite brutally reverting and deleting all the changes they dislike, repeadetly naming their opponent point of wiew pusher etc.--Võrok (talk) 23:33, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
Negatiivne on üks asi, jama on teine asi. Kui tahad minu toetust lõbusas seltskonnamängus, tahan mina kõigepealt teada, mis värk on ja kuidas toda mängu mängitakse. If you want my support at encyclopædia-building, you know what to do. ΔιγουρενΕμπρος! 14:44, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
Regarding my individual point of view, my dear two opponents, how don't you notice, that I'm not the only one who considers Võro and South Estonian something more than merely a dialects. There are institutions, documents, articles and many people supporting the same point of view. Also in this discussion above. Didn't you really notice them?--Võrok (talk) 23:56, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
And do you not notice there are also institutions, documents, articles and many people who do not support your view. There must be a balance. The language info box is not appropriate and has been removed because "South Estonian (language/dialect)" is a notional grouping or umbrella term, not a distinct language in of itself. At best there may have been an ancient "south Estonian language" from which these modern linguistic entities were derived from, but there is not even an ISO code for this supposed ancient language. So please stop adding back this info box as it constitutes original research. Martintg (talk) 00:11, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
Yes, of course I do notice them and I try to find a balance and compromise. Deleting a work of other people whatever justifications, rules etc. you find to it, isn't fair and good act. The infobox has been there for long time, it surely was not so extremely dangerous and criminal, that it should been this way immediately deleted. What exactly in this infobox is the original research?
Still more facts. Regarding the Institute of the Estonian language, many linguists, institutions and Estonian Encyclopedy mentioned above: I'm sure that the institute, and many linguists were involved in compiling of the big Estonian Encyclopedy "Eesti entsüklopeedia" (ENE/EE). The encyclopedy's 12. volume "Eesti A-Ü" (2003) has articles Võru kirjakeel (Võro literary language) and Võru kirjandus (Võro literature). Encyclopedy's 2. volume "Cera-Fill" (1987, composed a bit before starting the emancipation of Võro) already speaks about lõunaeesti kirjakeel (South Estonian literary language) and lõunaeesti keel (South Estonian language) in different parts of the article Eesti keel (Estonian Language). I think also position of the Võro Institute (state institute dealing with Võro) deserves attention, as well as position of the Tartu University and it's South Estonian Centre. There are teached subjects Lõunaeesti keel (South Estonian language), Lõunaeesti kirjakeele ajalugu (History of the South Estonian literatury language), Kaasaegne lõunaeesti kirjandus (Contemporary South Estonian literature), Lõunaeesti folkloor (South Estonian folklore). All the South Estonian studies can be seen in the curricula of the Estonian and Finno-Ugric Linguistics (click at Bachelor studies Estonian and Finno-Ugric Linguistics and search Lõunaeesti keel or in the listings of the South Estonian Studies given from the study info of the university. Aren't these clear and simple facts? Is the mentioning of them for proving existence of the languages really a pushing of point of view? I hope it isn't. Of course I do acknowledge that many linguists and sources still regard these linguistic entities as a dialects. But shouldn't I show that there are also many people and sources regarding them languages. I did not produce the sources myself, you see, they are existing. The truth is somewhere between different point of views of the people, of mine and of yours, of different institutes (Eesti Keele Instituut and Võro Insituut etc.) and sources. That's why I try to expain and give facts, that's why I proposed the compromise and tried to show how it would work, but unfortunately it was just ignored and reverted as something negative. But I still hope to reach a compromise. Best wishes,--Võrok (talk) 02:27, 14 February 2009 (UTC)

[outdent] The language infobox is for individual languages, but "South Estonian" is no more than an umbrella term covering a collection of related linguistic entities, even Sulev Iva (who is as you know a native Võro speaker and researcher from the Võro institute) states this is an umbrella notion in his submission to ISO. As for the "South Estonian literary language", this 19th century artifact was based upon the Tartu dialect, which is now largely extinct (in fact the north/south Estonian literary language phenomenon arose out of the fact that the country was divided into two administrative regions prior to independence in 1918). I don't know why you find the term "dialect" objectionable here, Sulev Iva seems quite accepting of the term when he states: "The South-Estonian dialects differ from Standard Estonian more than any other Estonian dialect.". Note that I am not arguing against the article Võro language, but I think we need to be clear on what this article South Estonian language is really about. I think it is about, what Sulev Iva states, the dialects of Southern Estonia. Martintg (talk) 11:33, 14 February 2009 (UTC)

I oppose move and support Võrok's arguments. Let me add that since 2000 there exists a state programme "Lõunaeesti keel ja kultuur" ("South Estonian language and culture", see [6]) which supports financially language and culture of Võro, Seto, Tarto and Mulgi speaking regions. I think that this may be regarded as a kind of official (governmental) recognition. The documents of this programme use consistently the term lõunaeesti keel (South Estonian language). I would suggest to use the term "South Estonian language" in the sense that appears in the documents of this programme. --LaanValdis (talk) 12:15, 14 February 2009 (UTC)

Note that this is obvious meatpuppet, probably meatpuppet # 2.--Miacek and his crime-fighting dog (woof!) 13:10, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
I'm a real person, Valdis Laan is my real name and I express my own views. --LaanValdis (talk) 15:36, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I know that, as well as User:Võrok's identity. You're not his sock puppet. However, I find it very implausible, that you found that discussion here without a suggestion by someone ;-). --Miacek and his crime-fighting dog (woof!) 17:33, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
I can confirm from personal experience -- or WP:OR -- that Valdis Laan exists. But I believe he's a mathematician, not a linguist. ΔιγουρενΕμπρος! 15:04, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
As for further arguments presented. There are also all kinds of 'interesting' courses in colleges these days, e.g. there are 'gender studies'. And the fact that there's “state programme” for promoting 'Lõunaeesti keel' doesn't change the fact that, as pointed out by various users, general reference works, the regulators of the Estonian language and most scholars treat the subjects as dialects of Estonian and that's a fact. --Miacek and his crime-fighting dog (woof!) 17:39, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
  • The penny has just dropped and I understand who User:Võrok is. Given Võrok's association with institutions that advocate Võro, this could possibly be construed as a conflict of interest here. Someone of Võrok's stature should understand Wikipedia's requirement for WP:NPOV and WP:OR, and particularly when there is a substantial body of opinion that may contradict his own, that he be especially careful not to introduce bias into his edits. As an example of neutral editing, Võrok could identify those linguists who view these linguistic entities as dialects and point to papers that support their view, and how his views evolved from theirs, he is certainly in a position to do this. NPOV means that Wikipedia should be like a road map to the various views on a particular topic, and at present Võrok is only writing half the story. Martintg (talk) 19:15, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
Yes, referring to one's own research results is OK, but using a free encyclopedia to promote those and to add in the articles an undue weight to your own research is unacceptable. --Miacek and his crime-fighting dog (woof!) 20:20, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
I don't understand the reference to "interesting" gender studies. There is an article about gender studies in Wikipedia. Also, the regulators of Estonian language do not regulate South Estonian language. The fact is also that the term "lõunaeesti keel" (South Estonian language) is not just an invention of some linguists used in scientific research, but it is right now in use in official state documents (the program that I referred to), in many articles that have appeared in press, and even in Estonian Encyclopedia, although not as a title of an article. --LaanValdis (talk) 16:39, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia's article on 'Gender studies' begins with a quotation by de Beauvoir who said: “One is not born a woman, one becomes one.” Theories nowadays furthered under the umbrella term 'gender studies' are strikingly similar to this assumption by B. and thus obvious pseudoscience. I agree that Võro theories cannot be just refuted as 'pseudoscience', though they are not scholarly mainstream either. Besides that I guess at least 95% of 'South Estonians' identify themselves as 'Estonians' and the language they speak as Estonian. There are some enthusiasts, yes, but there are some people here on wiki, too, who claim their native tongue is Latin. --Miacek and his crime-fighting dog (woof!) 18:05, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
As you may suppose, my guess is different (unfortunately I have no data). I think that if you ask a person who speaks a version of South Estonian, what language he/she speaks, then the usual answer is either Seto, Võro or Mulgi language. Also I guess that if you would ask an average person in Estonia if he/she has ever heard the term "South Estonian language" or "South Estonian dialect group" then there are significantly more those who have heard the first than those who have heard the second. Concerning enthusiasm: I think that last summer's festival of songs in Võro language (Uma pido) with more than 5000 participants shows quite well that this language is not just a hobby of a small group of enthusiasts. --LaanValdis (talk) 19:08, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
Ha! “I think that if you ask a person who speaks a version of South Estonian, what language he/she speaks, then the usual answer is either Seto, Võro or Mulgi language” in this context, 'kiil' is not an equivalent of 'language' as the term is used in linguistics. Rather, 'kiil' denotes 'speech', i.e. also 'diealect'. Most of native Mulgi speakers, usually older peasants (there aren't many left) would agree that their 'kiil' still belongs to the Estonian language, and that they are Estonians (and not Mulgi people). As for a party with 5,000 participants, yeah, why not!? But this doesn't change the fact that scholarly consensus still treats the subjects as Estonian dialects (which people have already demonstrated ad nauseam). Besides that Flat Earth Society also once had quite a many supporters. --Miacek and his crime-fighting dog (woof!) 19:39, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
Miacek is making a very good point. It's important to realise that the word kiil, as used here is not a term of the technical precision as language and dialect are in linguistics. It would probably be best to translate "Võro kiil" as Võro speech, to convey this inherent ambiguity of the folksy, non-precise word. ΔιγουρενΕμπρος! 14:40, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

Dear Wikipedians interested in this article! I wrote the article years ago with my personal skills, knowledge, interests and inspiration. Later it has been edited also by other users. The article could be written much better, it could be more deep, neutral etc. and you are welcome to make it better. Probably I'm not going to try change there much by myself. Maybe I'm indeed too involved and too much interested in saving and promoting my endangered mother tongue. Too much to be absolutely neutral as it is required here. Anyway I have not much time and energy to write here in my bad English, it is too hard and tiring. Also the suspicious, anonyme, sometimes even ironic and unfriendly atmosphere dominating here do not encourage or inspire much. I have put a lot of time and energy into this discussion. Probably too much. I'm too tired to continue it but maybe at least some information, explanations and the copromise I proposed - naming the article just South Estonian, restoring deleted infobox or at least map etc., see above - maybe it will help at least a bit in improving the article. Good luck! --Võrok (talk) 12:56, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

According to Kara D. Brown PhD., someone who has studied the subject, she is pretty clear about it what is going on: The legacy of Soviet period shapes attitudes toward Voro..Many teachers explained that even though they were fluent in Voro, it would be "too strange" to teach a language that they had not been able to use in school for many decades... there was a ban on the instruction and speaking of Voro in schools during Soviet occupation...Since 1994 the Estonian government has begun to voice an interest in the protection and development of Estonia's regional languages like Voro and Seto. pp.116 Civil Society Or Shadow State? Regional Language Policy, the European Union, the Estonian Government, and the Voro Institute in Estonia by Kara D. Brown. ISBN 1593112017.
So perhaps I'm missing something but it seems that there are still some around who'd like to see a revival of the Soviet (language) policies on Wikipedia?--Termer (talk) 06:57, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

<arbitrary break>[edit]

PS. Sorry for almost forgetting:

I think you are missing something. Nobody is talking about "banning" languages. What ever this article is called on English wikipedia has no effect language policies in Estonia. What needs to happen is to cut the political cruft getting in the way of a potentially good article. It is more Soviet minded to pretend one thing is something else while ignoring certain facts in order to fit some political agenda. IMO, as an outside observer, it appears there is some kind of regionalist political agenda driving this dialect/language debate to some degree. There are some 28 dialects within the South Estonian area, this article (in my view) should be discussing them, rather than present selected information to support some political platform. Martintg (talk) 19:28, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
RE:Martintg Nobody is talking about "banning" languages? The sources do. Instead of explaining your views, please take your time and get familiar with the subject. After all that was the reason I've left some sources, especially the ones representing outside observers on this talk page. the most comprehensive overview, also on what political platforms exactly the South Estonian in general got banned in history is available on 24 pages in the chapter written by Kara D. Brown PhD. , and again the link to the book where the full story is printed in plain English by an outside observer who made with it her doctorate degree is listed above.--Termer (talk) 07:53, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Martin's suggestions. An article entitled South Estonian dialects would be a fair compromise. Then one could start North Estonian dialects and why not a separate article on the revived/artificial/whatchamacallit 'Võro kiil' of our days. --Miacek and his crime-fighting dog (woof!) 10:28, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

BTW. North Estonian language [7] [8] is a valid subject in historical context exactly like the current subject. at the time when North Estonian dialects is a separate subject that covers dialects spoken in Northern Estonia.--Termer (talk) 15:06, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

Yes, we really need a separate article entitled South Estonian dialects to cover 28 dialects spoken in Southern Estonia, just like we need an article North Estonian dialects to cover the many dialects spoken in Northern Estonia, while South Estonian language should really be a redirect to Võro language (this article already has the historical context), just like North Estonian language should be a redirect to a history section in Estonian language. Martintg (talk) 19:01, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
I also agree with the last suggestions of Martintg here and here. So, if I understood right we should have articles:
Estonian language
Võro language
North Estonian dialects
South Estonian dialects
South Estonian literary language or Tartu literary language (one of them could be a redirect to another)
South Estonian - a disambiguation page to the articles South Estonian dialects, South Estonian literary language or Tartu literary language, Võro language
South Estonian language - redirect page to a history section of the article Võro language
North Estonian language - redirect page to a history section of the article Estonian language
Maybe also North Estonian - a disambig. page to a history section of the article Estonian language and North Estonian dialects
Maybe also Võro literary language - an article or a redirect to a section of the article Võro language.
Martintg, is this correct or something is missing or misunderstood?--Võrok (talk) 23:22, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
Yes, why not. There will probably also be a need for some kind of über page to tie together both North and South Estonian together too. There are subtle differences in the meaning of the terms and concepts, some are concerned with the historical aspect, some with contemporary aspects and some dealing with the linguistic aspects. This aspect oriented approach will make it more clear for readers interested in this rich topic area. Martintg (talk) 00:43, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

South Estonian language should not be a redirect to Võro language. If I need to keep repeating this, no problem. Again South Estonian language was a literary language in Swedish Livonia and Governorate of Livonia. At the time when the North Estonian language was a literary language in Swedish Estonia and Governorate of Estonia.--Termer (talk) 03:15, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
PS. If anything, a chapter called "the revival of South Estonian language" can be connected to Võro language and Seto language articles.--Termer (talk) 03:20, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

We have the proposed South Estonian literary language for this historical aspect, while South Estonian language is more an umbrella term or notion that includes either South Estonian literary language or Võro language, etc, depending upon the usage context, so if not a redirect to Võro language, then a disambig page to both. Please note that if you look at the history of this article (which is a bit tricky because of the cut and paste moves), it was originally created as "South Estonia dialects" back in April 2006. We are talking about moving it back to that title and focusing this article on the 28 dialects of that region.
North Estonian language is also an umbrella notion that can mean different things depending upon the context of the literature it is used in, it could be discussing dialects in the region of North Estonia, it could be discussing the historical Tallinn literary language, etc, etc. These umbrella terms have been part of the problem here, I can do a Google search on "North Estonian language" and find it in reference to northern dialects, you could do a similar search and find references to the historical literary language, etc. I could argue my search proves it means dialects, you can argue your search proves it means historical literary language for eternity. We are both correct; what it proves is that North Estonian language should really be a disambiguation page. Martintg (talk) 03:51, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

There is no difference between South Estonian literary language and South Estonian language in that respect like you seem to think there is. the South Estonian (literary) language was there and now there is a revival of it. Please see Attempts to revive the South Estonian literary language can be observed at the present time. Also, there is no difference between North Estonian language and/or Tallinn literary language (German: Revalestnisch)

here is a source that nails this."writing in Estonian took place in two literary languages, North Estonian (Revalestnisch) and South Estonian (Dorptestnisch), differing from each other about as much as High and Low German Later, around 1900, South Estonian suffered the same fate as Low German had done in the early seventeenth century: both died out as literary languages"
the bottom line, all this should not be confused with South Estonian dialects and/or North Estonian dialects etc.--Termer (talk) 04:33, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
I don't see how you can claim I suggested there was a difference between South Estonian literary language and South Estonian language, when I suggested that South Estonian language could be a disambiguation page linking to South Estonian literary language, mutatis mutandis in the case of North Estonian language and Tallinn literary language. Please read my comments more carefully, do I need to explain to you the purpose of a disambiguation page? Here is a source that discusses the dialects of North and South Estonian: "Mulgi, Tartu, Võro and Seto dialects in the South Estonian language area can be clearly distinguished. The North Estonian language area includes the northeast coastal, eastern, central, western and insular dialects.". Martintg (talk) 05:11, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
that's exactly what I said that there is no reason for a disambiguation page if both terms South Estonian literary language and/or South Estonian language mean exactly the same thing unlike you suggested that South Estonian language could be an umbrella term. The same goes for North Estonian language=Tallinn literary language. And I have no idea why do you cite completely irrelevant text that speaks about North and South language areas that define areal dialects in Estonia.--Termer (talk) 07:00, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
other than that, the source should be pretty clear about everything. Just that you keep mixing up what is considered a dialect vs what are South - and Northern Estonian language. I can't put t better myself than estonica, the reason why for example South Estonian language shouldn't be redirected to Võro language: The Võro language is historically a dialect of the South Estonian language.--Termer (talk) 07:08, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
Well the original proposal was to redirect South Estonian language to the history section of the article Võro language, but you objected to this. What are you suggesting, to redirect South Estonian language to History of language in Estonia? Martintg (talk) 20:53, 21 February 2009 (UTC)
Maybe South Estonian language could be a redirect to South Estonian, which could be a disambiguation page to the articles (1) South Estonian literary language, (2) South Estonian dialect group and (3) Võro language.--Võrok (talk) 00:30, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
Sorry Martintg but how would make it sense to redirect South Estonian language to the history section of Võro language once South Estonian language was founded on Tartu dialect? And I suggested pretty much from the beginning keep South Estonian language as historically valid subject and have a chapter: 'the modern revival', and only that would be relevant to Võro language (historically a dialect of the South Estonian language, Võro that has by now been standardized etc).--Termer (talk) 06:58, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
I also think that an article such as South Estonian dialect group dosn't make any sense at this time. At first Estonian dialects should be created and once the article is expanded so that it's asking for spinn-offs then sure why not to make an article about every dialect group in Estonia.--Termer (talk) 06:58, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
Creating an Estonian dialects article first then spinning off South Estonian dialects and North Estonian dialects later when there is sufficient material makes sense. Also since you say South Estonian language is really about the historical side, it would also make sense to have an article History of Estonian language, which would cover both North and South Estonian languages, until we had enough material to spinoff separate articles. Martintg (talk) 20:11, 22 February 2009 (UTC)

History of Estonian language is pretty much covered with Estonian literature, just that it surely needs chapters about the historical North and South Estonian languages. And unlike South Estonian language, actually I don't think that North Estonian language would need a separate article. After all, Estonian language is the language that was once known as North Estonian.--Termer (talk) 05:49, 24 February 2009 (UTC)

Okay, I have reviewed what you have said: "Again South Estonian language was a literary language in Swedish Livonia and Governorate of Livonia". Then you state "There is no difference between South Estonian literary language and South Estonian language" and then "that's exactly what I said that there is no reason for a disambiguation page if both terms South Estonian literary language and/or South Estonian language mean exactly the same thing". It seems clear to me now that South Estonian language should be a redirect to South Estonian literary language (or even Tartu literary language). Martintg (talk) 11:04, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
I completely missed it why should South Estonian language be redirected to South Estonian literary language and/or Tartu literary language once in historical sense all 3 mean exactly the same thing? And again, there has been a revival of South Estonian language since 1990's this time founded on Võru dialect unlike the historical one that was based on tartu dialect. The source yourself provided, estonica was very clear about it. There is one more source here that perhaps is more clear about the whole thing. Language Policy in Estonia by Mart Rannut: The forefathers of the current Estonian nation moved into the Estonian territory at least from two different directions in different waves (cf. Viitso 2001), both groups speaking similar, however considerably differing Balto-Finnic vernaculars. This laid the basis for two different Estonian languages, North and South Estonian, in use during medieval times, even in print (both became literary languages in the 17th century). The role of the South Estonian literary language began to wane in the 18th century in conjunction with the publication in 1739 of the Bible in North Estonian and with the introduction of compulsory reading skills in 1729, based on North Estonian. In the 19th century South Estonian was devalued to a low variety vernacular without accepted literary norms; however it has been in continuous oral usage in Southern Estonia. The revival of Southern Estonian took place in 1990s, when a modernised literary form was created. On this language form two ethnic groups, the Võro and Seto base their ethnic identity.--Termer (talk) 06:58, 25 February 2009 (UTC)
Okay, what I am reading here is that South Estonian language is two things:
  1. The historical literary language of the 17th/18th centuries based on the Tartu dialect
  2. The revived language of the 1990's based on the Võru dialect.
Therefore it is clear that South Estonian language should be a disambiguation page directing to both Tartu literary language and Võro language. Thanks for clarifying this! Martintg (talk) 11:05, 25 February 2009 (UTC)

once again there is no need for a disambiguation page since sources clearly speak about both periods within the same subject and article space. Therefore there is no need for WP:CFORKs here. And therefore the historic aspect + modern revival can live happily together in the same article.
Also "Tartu literary language" has [3 returns vs. 'South Estonian language' 10 at google books therefore the latter is clearly more common name used in English. "South Estonian literary language" with 11 returns could be an alternative option but it's not really necessary since none of the WP language articles have been named so. And it should be self explanatory anyway that once an article is about a language, it's about a literary language vs. for example dialect groups and dialect/dialects that refer to spoken communication forms not standardized literary language... --Termer (talk) 14:57, 25 February 2009 (UTC)

Are you suggesting merging Võro language into South Estonian language? Why duplicate content across multiple articles, this is what WP:CFORK means. Clearly South Estonian language is ambiguous, it could mean either the historical language or the modern revival language. What is the connection between the two, apart from the geographical location (even the geographical location is not exactly the same)? Since we already have Võro language, it is pointless duplicating that content here. So therefore this article will mostly be about the historical language. All we need to do is to rename this article to South Estonian literary language (since it is more common term than Tartu literary language), and have a disambiguation page pointing to both articles. Martintg (talk) 20:32, 25 February 2009 (UTC)
merging Võro language into South Estonian language would be about the same as merging Estonian language into Baltic Finnic languages. Why duplicate content across multiple articles since Baltic Finnic languages already speaks about Estonian? (And Estonian, both northern and southern once historically surely were just Baltic-Finnic dialects). Is that what you're after? According to the source you provided, estonica, both tartu and voro were historically dialects of South Estonian language. The only difference, the historical South Estonian literary standardized language was based on one dialect, the modern revival on another. And there is the connection.
No source really speaks about the historical and the modern revival of South Estonian separately, so why should Wikipedia? Therefore again I don't see any reasons for a disambiguation page. Although I agree that this article should be mostly about the historical language. And only briefly mention the revival of Võro and Seto, historically dialects of the South Estonian language.--Termer (talk) 06:19, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
Fixed some small mistakes in the Termer's text and added a sentence about the area, where the old literary standard of South Estonian were used, because it was never used in the Seto and Mulgi area.--Võrok (talk) 16:42, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
Added a linguistic map of the contemporary South Estonian.--Võrok (talk) 10:35, 3 March 2009 (UTC)