Estonian language in its own space: areal distribution and variation of linguistic phenomena

Languages reflect the speakers’ communication options determined by the facts of settlement history, information dissemination, and mobility. Thus, the common features of different languages and dialects can often be accounted for by geographic closeness promoting the evolution of continuous areas of speech forms and structural features. Areal distribution and variation of linguistic phenomena are of interest to several branches of linguistics, such as historical linguistics, studies of related languages, dialectology (above all to lexical and syntactic studies of dialects), areal and intragenetic typology, while cooperation among the different branches is ardently sought. The current accumulation of corpora creates enhanced opportunities for both qualitative and quantitative studies. The thematic issue at hand provides a meeting place for different approaches to the Estonian language and the space that surrounds and contains it. There are nine articles discussing Estonian in the context of the Circum-Baltic area, of Finnic, Finno-Ugric and Uralic languages, examining the areal distribution of linguistic phenomena in the Estonian language area as well as some translinguistic features. In terms of language structure the studies deal with prosody, morphosyntax, word formation and vocabulary, plus the minor forms of folklore.