ERR's Vikerraadio took in close to 11,000 entries to Tuesday's annual Native Language Day e-dictation contest and, while getting around all of these would be a challenge, ERR was able to catch up with participants in the 2023 Youth Song and Dance Festival (XIII noorte laulu- ja tantsupidu), an event which inspired this year's text.
While the e-dictation text was on their favorite topic this year, the song festival itself, those taking part still had plenty to think about, drilling down to every hyphen and capital or lower-case letter.
Kersti Seitam the XIII Youth Song Festival organizer, while in the process of writing up the text, noted that: "The song and dance festival in still has a lowercase letter in this sentence."
This turned out to be a debatable issue, since Lydia Rahula, conductor of the combined choirs at the festival, said: "I used to write it with a capital letter myself, but I no longer do."
"Linda kivi (a large rock in Ülemiste järv in Tallinn, one which has folk tale significance) should also be written with a capital letter," opined, Aarne Saluveer, head of the girl choir of the XIII Youth Song Festival, while Juhan Uppin, general manager of the folk music festival, disagreed.
While the XIII Youth Song Festival artistic director Pärt Uusberg, was first to complete the e-recital, but not because it was easy, this didn't mean he found it easy, he said. "No, actually it wasn't. It just came in such a fashion that I wanted to get it sent off quickly. When I listened back to it later, I also found I had made some mistakes."
A lack of hyphenation in a compound, Võrtsjärve-äärses, meaning in the vicinity of Võrtsjärv, a lake, tripped up many people.
Of the total 10,900 number of entries, close to 1,000 contained one more mistakes, meaning 8,432 were actually flawless.
The overall winner, ie. who wrote up a mistake-free text and submitted it more quickly than anyone else, was Martin Leis, Vikerraadio announced.
Hundreds of schools as well as companies, organizations and institutions, plus private individuals, take part in the Native Language Day each year.
This year, the text was inspired by the Youth Song and Dance Festival, the 2023 Year of Movement and poet Artur Alliksaar, while participants were also encouraged to share photos of their taking part (see galleries).
The day falls on the birthday of Kristjan Jaak Peterson (1801-1822), regarded as the father of modern Estonian poetry.
The XIII Youth Song and Dance Festival takes place on July 2 this year.
Editor: Andrew Whyte