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Native Language Day e-dictation exercise to be held this Friday

Estonian troops participating in Vikerraadio's e-dictation exercise. March 14, 2019.
Estonian troops participating in Vikerraadio's e-dictation exercise. March 14, 2019. Source: Estonian Defense Forces

Vikerraadio is inviting everyone interested in the Estonian language to put their skills to the test with its 13th nationwide Native Language Day e-dictation exercise, which this year will be taking place on Friday morning, a day early. This year's text will pay homage to Estonian writer Jaan Kross, but also the 100th anniversary of the Estonian Constitution.

The e-dictation exercise, which is traditionally held on Native Language Day itself, is being nudged forward a day this year, as the holiday falls on a Saturday. Over the years, the number of schools, organizations and teams who have made a tradition of participating in the exercise has grown, and by holding the exercise on a weekday, this tradition will have the chance to continue.

Last year, a record 7,969 submissions were received, smashing the previous year's already record participation by more than 1,500. A total of 224 schools and educational establishments from kindergartens to universities took part, as did many organizations.

The text of this year's e-dictation exercise will be recited live on Vikerraadio this Friday, March 13 beginning at 10:30 a.m. The exercise entry form will be available on the Vikerraadio homepage (link in Estonian) beginning at 10:00 a.m. that day. The text will be recited on air several times, and submissions will be accepted through 11:00 a.m.

Winners of the exercise will be announced the same day on "Uudis+," which begins at 12:15 p.m.

Winners in several categories

The e-dictation exercise is open to people of all ages. Winners of the contest, who are the fastest in each category to submit the most correct text, will be declared in five categories: students, adults, Estonian philologists and Estonian language teachers, non-native speakers, and Estonians living or studying abroad. A special prize will also be awarded to the fastest and most correct entry submitted via smart device, and other prizes will also be awarded by drawing among all participants, regardless of their results.

Since 2018, the e-dictation exercise has also been made accessible to those with hearing impairments via video for lipreading.

The text for this year's e-dictation exercise was inspired by Estonian writer Jaan Kross, the 100th anniversary of whose birth was celebrated in February. The authors of the text will also include a nod to the centennial of the Estonian Constitution.

This year's text is being compiled by a working group including Joosep Susi, Merilin Aruvee, Peeter Päll, Maire Raadik, Triin Toome-Hosman and Sirli Zupping.

Native Language Day tradition

Native Language Day is celebrated in Estonia on March 14, marking the birthday of Estonian poet Kristjan Jaak Peterson, a key figure in the emergence of Estonian national literature and regarded as the father of modern Estonian poetry, who died in 1822 at the age of 21.  

Vikerraadio's first e-dictation exercise was held in 2008. What was initially meant to be a one-off event has since grown into one of the most significant Native Language Day events in Estonia.

The e-dictation exercise is organized by Vikerraadio, the Association of Estonian Language Teachers and the Institute of the Estonian Language.  

Vikerraadio is calling all participants in the e-dictation exercise on Friday to share their photos of the event. Photos can be emailed to [email protected], or include the hashtag #vikerraadioetteütlus on social media.

Click here (link in Estonian) to test your written Estonian skills ahead of Friday's e-dictation exercise!


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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