[aka Dialekt von Võru, Võro kiil, Werro]

Classification: Uralic



Language metadata

Dialekt von Võru, Võro kiil, Werro, Voro, Võru, Voru, Vôru

Uralic, Finnic

ISO 639-3


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North and South Estonian are genetically deeply different from each other (one could claim that they are farther away from each other than North/Standard Estonian and Finnish). As the modern Estonian ethno-national identity came into being in the 19th century, the Northern variety began to be used as the standard written language of the emerging modern nation, and the Southern literary traditions which had existed until then fell out of use, while the Southern varieties came to be perceived as "dialects of Estonian". New activism in the written use of the Southern varieties arose in the 1980s, and new written standards for Võru (Võro is the traditional Southern form) and Setu (Seto) were developed. Originally the idea was to create a common Võro-Seto written standard, but the speakers themselves often objected. Although the differences between Võru and Setu are minimal (details of pronunciation such as the more "Russian-type" palatalization in Seto, stronger Russian influences in the Seto lexicon, the inessive case ending (*hnA >) Seto -h vs. Võro -n, etc.), the identities of the speakers are clearly different. Võru speakers regard themselves as Estonians, Setu speakers today often have a dual identity (Setu AND Estonian); until 1917, the Setu belonged to Russia, to the Russian cultural area and the Orthodox church, and culturally, they see themselves as a clearly distinct group. Today, Võru and Setu are used in writing to some extent but there are debates around the orthographies, and the general opinion among the speakers seems to be that they are two different languages.

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