Children’s Workbook of Word-Games in Seto language

Annela Laaneots

Target readers — children — actively participated in content development

Setos are Baltic-Finnic people indigenous to South-Eastern Estonia and Russia’s Pskov Oblast. In Estonia, there are approximately 12,000 Setos, just 2,000 of whom live in traditional Setomaa area. Seto language is a branch of the historical South Estonian language.

Since most Seto children today don’t speak Seto as their first language, they need customized methodologies for learning the language. In particular, they appreciate attractive and engaging «success experiences» such as solving word-games.

16-page children’s workbook with crossword puzzles, riddles and other word-games.

Co-developed and tested by Seto children themselves.

Attractive visual design features Seto cultural heritage.

The workbook of Seto word-games was developed at the initiative of the children and parents of Seto Children’s School in Tallinn and implemented by Annela Laaneots, a Seto civic activist and cultural leader. Children made suggestions and prepared sections of the exercises, e. g., by selecting the appropriate word-game format, looking for Seto-language words and sketching the visual design. After children had made their suggestions, a team of professionals added exercises, edited and designed the workbook.

Children’s Workbook of Word-Games in Seto language

Warm reception from Setomaa to the wider Finno-Ugric world

The youngest person contributing to the content of the workbook was 3 year old boy.

Seto Children School children found this exercise very interesting and cool to do and are already looking forward to additional task.

Of 500 copies, over 50 have been distributed in the Seto Children’s School in Tallinn, 350 among Seto families across Estonia and Setomaa.

As an engaging study aid for children, the workbook contributes to the preservation of Seto language and the learning of Seto language.

The project has received positive media coverage in Estonia’s regional and national media. Novel methodology of the workbook was acknowledged by many Finno-Ugric language activists during the final seminar of the SANA 2019 project held in Petrozavodsk, Karelia.

We hope that this workbook and exercises will encourage children to learn Seto language even more. Initial feedback is positive and we are already thinking about a sequel.

Annela Laaneots, project author