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Northeastern coastal Estonian

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Title: Northeastern coastal Estonian  
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Subject: Estonian language, Meadow Mari language, Hill Mari language, Ingrian language, Kemi Sami language
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Northeastern coastal Estonian

The Northeastern coastal dialect (Estonian: kirderannikumurre) is a dialect (or dialect group) of the Estonian language.

The coastal dialects of the Estonian language were spoken on the coastal strip of Estonia from Tallinn to river Narva. It has very few speakers left nowadays. According to some authors, the coastal dialects form one of the three dialect groups of the Estonian language (the other two being North Estonian dialect group and the South Estonian dialect group).[1]

The specific features of the dialect group are mostly common with the Northern group of the Finnic languages. According to some authors, the 'Finnish-like' features (lack of syncope and apocope) of the coastal Estonian dialects are part of ancient heritage, rather than Finnish or Ingrian influence.[2]

There are remnants of vowel harmony (räbälä, cf Standard Estonian räbala, 'rag' (genitive case)), there is no palatalization, short plosives are stronger than in other dialects of Estonian (mägi, cf. Finnish mäki). Similarly, more recent quantitative changes are absent ([silːm]-[silːmɑd̥, ], cf. Standard Estonian [silːm] - [silmɑd̥, ], 'eye' - 'eyes'). Words expressing negation are finite: (en, et, ei, emma, etta, evad; cf. Standard Estonian 'ei' for all persons sg/pl), as in Finnish. In contrast to North Estonian dialects, where de plural and si preterite are usual, the coastal dialects have i plural (puhti käsiga, cf. Standard Estonian 'puhaste kätega', 'with clean hands') and i preterite.

Unlike all other Estonian dialects, the coastal dialects have inflected -nud participle as in Finnish: ('juobune piaga', cf. Standard Estonian 'joobnud peaga', literally 'with drunk head', '[saab] surne sõnumi', Standard Estonian '[saab] surnu sõnumi' '[gets] the dead man's message').

The Northeastern coastal dialect of Estonian is nowadays alternatively split into two dialects: Coastal dialect and Alutaguse dialect, the former being more closely related with Southern Finnish dialects (note the non-presence of õ [ɤ]), Izhor and Votic languages, whereas the latter has also been influenced by the central dialect of the Northern Estonian dialects (treating Northeastern coastal dialect as a single unit dates back to Arnold Kask's classification of Estonian dialects from the year 1956).[3]

See also


  1. ^ Such a division is used in Eesti nõukogude entsüklopeedia, 2. kd, as well as by Mari Must On Eastern Viru languages (Estonian). Other sources may group the coastal dialects as subdivision of Northern Estonian dialects or just as one of the dialect groups of the Estonian language, without notions Northern/Southern Estonian ([1], [2])
  2. ^ as reported in e.g.
  3. ^ Karl Pajusalu, Tiit Hennoste, Ellen Niit, Peeter Päll, Jüri Viikberg "Eesti murded ja kohanimed", Tallinn 2002, lk 53


  • Lexical characteristics of the Estonian North Eastern coastal dialect. by Tiina Soderman — Uppsala : Uppsala Univ., 1996. — 184 p.
  • Kirderannikumurre: häälikuline ja grammatiline ülevaade by Mari Must. 406 pages Tallinn: "Valgus" (1987)
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