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Common Roots of the Latvian and Estonian Literary Languages

Kristiina Ross and Peteris Vanags

Estonian and Latvian are members of different language families. Estonian is a Finno-Ugric language, while Latvian belongs to the Baltic branch of the Indo-European languages. The cultural and socio-political developments of Estonia and Latvia, however, have been remarkably similar since the Christianisation of the two peoples in the 13 th century. The Estonian and Latvian cultures were both moulded to form part of Christian Europe by German-speaking mediators who worked hard from the 16 th to 18 th centuries in order to create the Estonian and Latvian literary languages by translating ecclesiastical texts. The authors assume that similarities in the cultural history must have left some similar traces in the structures of the two languages as well. This book represents a collection of papers on certain common developments in the Estonian and Latvian cultural history, which are obviously related to the formation of the two literary languages.
Contents: Kristiina Ross/Pēteris Vanags: Common roots of the Latvian and Estonian literary languages - Preface – Toomas Paul: Map of Livonia: Beschryvinghe van Lyflandt, ca 1630. Cultural context of the formation of written (literary) Estonian – Jānis Krēsliņš: Early modern textuality: A Baltic perspective – Aivar Põldvee: Peasant schools in Estland and Livland during the last quarter of the 17th century – Māra Grudule: Latvian poetry in Livland and Courland in the 17th century and beginning of the 18th – Kristi Viiding: The literary background of early Estonian secular writing: the current situation and future perspectives in research – Liina Lukas: Baltic-German literature and Estonian literary studies – Pēteris Vanags: Latvian texts in the 16th and 17th centuries: beginnings and development – Heli Laanekask/ Kristiina Ross: The language of Tartu and Tallinn in 17th-century Livonia – Lidija Leikuma: The beginnings of written Latgalian – Kristiina Ross: Estonian Bible translations – Everita Andronova: Research on the earliest (16th-17th c.) Latvian texts: the past twenty years (1985-2005) – Külli Habicht: Estonian studies of old literary Estonian.