Publishing children’s literature in Kihnu island dialect

Project author: SA Kihnu Kultuuriruum (Kihnu Cultural Space Foundation)

Kihnu-language versions of Estonian children’s monthly magazine have proven popular

Kihnu versions of popular children’s monthly magazine Täheke.

Children’s poems in Kihnu language.

Kihnu is a small island in the Gulf of Livonia with just 500 inhabitants. However, its distinctive cultural space — which includes an indigenous dialect of Estonian — is listed in the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

To preserve the Kihnu language and to teach it to children, Kihnu Cultural Space Foundation has twice published Kihnu-language versions of the popular Estonian children’s monthly magazine Täheke, in collaboration with its publisher Kultuurileht Foundation.

In addition, a book of children’s poems in Kihnu language Kihnu laps tiäb mielest has been published and has proven popular among Kihnu children on the island and children with Kihnu roots living on the mainland.

Kihnu children are among the magazine’s authors

The idea to develop a Kihnu version of Täheke came after the publishing of this children’s magazine in Võro language.

A free copy of Kihnu-language Täheke was given to all Kihnu children.

The first Kihnu-language Täheke included best stories from Kihnu children’s story-writing contest. There are stories about breadmaking, violin playing, a crossword puzzle and a comic. In addition to young authors, there are poems in Kihnu language by well-known Estonian authors like Joel Sang and Harri Jõgisalu.

Popularizing a local dialect among small children helps preserve the language.

Mare Mätas, Kihnu Cultural Space Foundation