Ilves: Livonian Dictionary Will Bring Something Back From the Brink
Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves (left) with Latvian President Andris Bērziņš
( Photo: Courtesy of the Office of the President )
During a visit to Latvia, President Toomas Hendrik Ilves took part in the release party for a Livonian-Estonian-Latvian dictionary.
“The long-awaited [...] dictionary will bring an end to the boundaries that have stood between the Livonian, Estonian and Latvian languages,” Ilves said at the Estonian Embassy in Riga.
“In the 21st century [the dictionary] confirms that Livonians are carefully preserving their roots, and we can bring something back from the brink.”
Ilves praised the Latvian government for helping to fund the dictionary despite its austere budget.
“This is the obligation of free and democratic societies – to stand up for smaller cultures giving them the courage to survive and develop,” Ilves said.
The dictionary was published with support from Estonia and Latvia, the University of Tartu and the Latvian Language Agency. It was compiled by professor Tiit-Rein Viitso and research specialist Valts Ernštreits, both from the University of Tartu.
“For the Livonian language, this is not just the event of the century; this is a first and an historic turning point,” said Ernštreits.
The collection of the material required for the dictionary began approximately four decades ago, and researchers from Estonia and Latvia started to compile the manuscript in 2003.
This is the first dictionary of the Livonian language to be published in Latvia, as the first two were published in Russia (1861) and Finland (1938).