Linguist Lembit Vaba has been awarded the Latvian and Estonian Language Promotion Award for 2021, as recognition of his efforts to bring the two, very different, but neighboring, languages and their related cultures closer together. Vaba received his award from the foreign ministers of the two countries, Eva-Maria Liimets (Estonia) and Edgars Rinkēvičs (Latvia) in Tallinn Saturday.
Foreign minister Liimets said: "This year's winner of the Languages Award, Lembit Vaba, has consistently worked as a teacher and researcher to bring the Estonian and Latvian languages and cultures closer."
"I hope his committed work serves as an example and inspiration to enthusiasts of language, literature and culture in Estonian and Latvian in particular," Liimets went on, according to a ministry press release.
The award aims to enhance knowledge of the Latvian and Estonian languages and to recognize the achievements of linguists, teachers and others working in the field, from both countries.
The jury was made up of experts and representatives of the Latvian and Estonian foreign ministries.
Lembit Vaba has been active in Finland and Latvia, as well as his home country, as a researcher and lecturer, and has also been awarded the Baltic Assembly Prizes for Science for his research on the linguistic contacts of Baltic-Finnic languages, and the history of the vocabulary of languages.
He is a long-time senior researcher at the Institute of Estonian Language, an honorary member of Estonian Mother Tongue Society and a member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences, the foreign ministry says.
The award was presented for the 12th time this year.
Latvian belongs to the Baltic family of languages and is closely related to Lithuanian. Estonian is in the Finno-Ugric family, and Finnish is one of its closest relatives.
Small numbers of native speakers of the Livonian language, a Finno-Ugric tongue, remain in Latvia.
Editor: Andrew Whyte