Linguistic activity

There of plenty of people concerned for the existence and maintenance of Estonian, and for some it is actually a job. The Language Inspectorate checks that language use fulfils the norms set by legislative acts. The Language Office at the Ministry of Education and Science plans Estonia's language policy and helps to make the language better known abroad. The ministry's advisory council on language has compiled a strategy for developing the Estonian language.

Research on Estonian is done at the Institute of the Estonian Language, the Institute of Cybernetics, the University of Tartu and the Tallinn University. The fruits of the labours of those linguists are grammars, dictionaries, teaching materials, scientific articles, popular science writings and other things. Scientific articles on language are published in conference proceedings, university papers, the Yearbook of the Mother Tongue Society and in journals.

In addition, there are non-profit associations with an interest in language operating at the research centre, in the editorial office, in schools and elsewhere, the best-known of which is the Estonian Mother Tongue Society (Emakeele Selts), the Mother Tongue Teachers' Society, the Estonian Terminology Association and the Estonian Association for Structural Linguistics. These associations bring together interested people from the same field, and arrange lecture meetings and excursions.

Besides their everyday work, language scholars, editors, teachers and other interested people have the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas on Language Days, at seminars and conferences. For some years now the following events for linguists have been running: in the autumn, the "Mother Tongue and Other Tongues" conference, and the conference held by the Võru Institute; in winter the legal language day and the text day; in spring the conference on structural linguistics; Mother Tongue Day on 14 March, and the language conference to mark Voldemar Veski Day on 27 June . Veski (1873-1968) was a prominent linguist who introduced many words into the language. In 1919 Estonian became the language of teaching at the major university of Tartu, and 1920- 30 the vocabulary was standardised under Veski’s direction.

Apart from linguists, when people think at any length about language, it is mostly because they doubt the spelling or meaning of some word. These people have been met half-way: in addition to the paper sources on orthography, one can read the electronic Estonian Language Handbook, look up web-based glossaries, and ask for linguistic advice from the Estonian Language Institute on weekdays.

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