Eesti Elu
The cutest letters of all
Kultuur 22 Mar 2013  Eesti Elu
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Riina Kindlam

 - pics/2013/03/38980_001_t.jpg
Disregard the mean looking röövik (caterpillar / larva) on the cover of this letter-specific alphabet book; Estonian's four täpi/tähed , literally "dot letters" are what make the language special. They add spice and depth of sound. What could be more mysterious than the word öö (night) and more spectacularly edgy than jää/äär (the edge of the ice)? The 53-page hardcover "Täpitähe aabits" by Kerli Altmart with illustrations by Kirke Kangro was published by Tänapäev in 2010. It contains 25 short stories packed with great polka dotted and "wormy" words.

So we all know the Estonian language has 4 special dotted letters (täpi/tähed), that lie obediently in wait at the very tail end of the alphabet (tähestik). More precisely, they are topped with diacritical marks or diacritics (diakriitiline märk ehk diakriitik). But do you know what order they are in? Logic might say that they should mirror the order of the same letters without diacritics; in other words perhaps Ä, Ö, Õ, Ü? NO. They way I finally managed to remember the order is to acknowledge the particular uniqueness of the letter Õ. It definitely deserves to be the first täpitäht in the parade. (Loe edasi Eesti Elu 22. märtsi paberlehest.)
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