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Latvian-Estonian language award goes to Estonian linguist

On 4 September 2021, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, Edgars Rinkēvičs, as part of his working visit to Estonia, had a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia, Eva-Maria Liimets. The Ministers presented the annual Languages Award bestowed by the Foreign Ministries of Latvia and Estonia. This year, the Languages Award went to the Estonian linguist, Lembit Vaba.

Foreign Minister Rinkēvičs said, that this year’s award holder, Lembit Vaba, is one of the Estonian linguists best known in Latvia. He is one of the most outstanding contemporary researchers in contacts between the Baltic and the Baltic-Finnic languages, the only one in fact, who has studied on a broader scale the impacts of Latvian on the Estonian language. 

Lembit Vaba is an Estonian linguist who has devoted a good part of his professional life to exploring the interaction and translation of borrowings between Estonian and Latvian resulting into two extensive research studies. Lembit Vaba has also highlighted the theoretical issues of langue contacts: the phonetic, morphological and semantic adaptation of borrowings from Latvian into Estonian, pointing to the correspondence of sounds and regularities of change.

Lembit Vaba’s book, “Sõna sisse minek” (Insight into Word), addressing linguistic contacts between Finnic and Baltic languages, the Estonian and Latvian languages in particular, was published in 2015. In 2019, Lembit Vaba was awarded the Cross of Recognition of the Republic of Latvia.

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