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The Institute of the Estonian Language is a national Research and Development institution whose goal is to contribute to the long-term survival of the Estonian language. The Institute researches modern Estonian, the history of the Estonian language, Estonian dialects and Finno-Ugric cognate languages.

The task of the Institute is to guarantee the norms of the Estonian standard language, which pursuant to law are established by the most recent version of the Dictionary of Standard Estonian (Rules for the application of the norms of the Estonian standard language, RT I, 2011, 3).

The Institute has the status of the Office of Onomastic Expertise (RTL 2004, 87, 1376RTL 2005, 28, 397), whose function is to give expert opinions regarding names and to organise targeted research on place names. 

The Institute performs a number of public functions:

  • compilation and upgrading dictionaries and databases essential for the country and national culture (dictionaries of contemporary Estonian, dictionaries of Estonian dialects and cognate languages, bilingual dictionaries
  • free public language advice (incl. advice on names and terminology)
  • language care and language planning
  • coordination of nationwide terminological work, services for people with special needs (speech technology, dictionaries of sign language), e-services for language learners (learner’s dictionaries for different levels of language proficiency), and the collection and development of language archives
  • coordination of terminology work
  • archives of Estonian dialects and of Finno-Ugric languages 
  • development of speech synthesis for Estonian
  • online services for language learners (learners’ dictionaries)
  • services for people with special needs: speech technology, dictionaries of sign language.

The electronic resources and applications of the Institute are available to the public for free.