Learning Seto Language Through Children’s Songs

Obinitsa Naisselts MIITSIRK (Obinitsa Women’s Society MIITSIRK)

Creative assignment of 15-year old Seto youth becomes a book

Teenager’s creative assignment turns into a valuable language learning tool .

Even a middle school student can be language activist and cultural leaders!

Triinu-Liis Tarros, an 8th grade student in Setomaa decided to collect traditional Seto childrens’ songs for a school creative assignment. For this, she searched the archives of Estonia’s Literature museum, past repertories of Seto choirs and other sources. Then, she reviewed the texts with a Seto language editor, made some corrections and drew illustrations for every song. The school committee that assessed creative assignments then suggested her to publish her work as a book.

The team then developed notation for each song and managed to publish the book. The result is not just a book of Seto children’s songs, but an ideal study aid for learning Seto language.

Learning Seto Language Through Children’s Songs

Book of Seto children’s songs widely disseminated in the community

The published book was gifted to all kindergartens, schools, museums and libraries of Setomaa, as well as to all 1st grade children of Setomaa. Today, Setomaa’s Mikitamäe and Meremäe schools are using this book as a study aid..

This book has motivated children and youth to sing Seto songs, but also to learn the language.

Triinu-Liis Tarros, project author