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On the areal division of Estonia according to dialect and folklore material



The article draws on the author’s web publication Uusi unistusi eesti murde- ja folkloorialade piiritlemise teemal („More dreams on the areal division of Estonia as based on dialect words, riddles and proverbs”, http://www.folklore.ee/~kriku/TRANSPORT/Geotypo.pdf), which studies the corpora of Estonian dialect words, riddles and proverbs seeking for arguments to support the following assumption:

The peripheral/central position of geographic units, the rare/common character of the material and agglomeration/dispersal of groups formed of the geographic units are, essentially, dimensions of the same thing.

Our analysis of the Estonian data of three domains reveals two well-defined areas of language and culture and one less salient: 

(1) South-Eastern Estonia in abroad sense (Se+Võ+TaL) together with the less concentrated Mulgi region;

(2) the West-Estonian Islands together with the less concentrated Western and North-Western Estonia;

(3) the Northern and North-Eastern Coast of Estonia.

For the central part of Northern Estonia, the closer the more similar is also the general rule, without revealing, however, any well-defined areal groups. The material similarity of the geographic units is measured by average standardized coefficients of colligation (λ-coefficients). Graphic identification of the dialect and folklore areas relies on the descending λ-rankings of the strength of relationships between pairs of parishes, complemented by some elements of  factor and cluster analysis.

The article is introduced by a brief overview of the frequency distributions of cultural versus geographic units, relationships between λ-coefficients, correlation coefficients, and euclidean distances and the distances between geographic units, as well as of the geographical distribution of rare versus common material.