Seto (seto kiil')

Seto is spoken mainly in the Setomaa region of southeast Estonia. It is classified as a dialect of South Estonian, or as a dialect of Eastern Võro, however the Seto people (Setokõsõq) consider themselves culturally distinct from the Võro people (Võrokõsõq). In 2011 there were about 12,500 speakers of Seto, most of whom are older people. Younger people are more likely to speak Estonian.

People started writing Seto during the early 21st century. There is no standard way to do so, and each writer has their own spelling system. Some spelling systems are based on Estonian, others are based on Võro.

There is a weekly news program on the radio in Seto, and the language is used to some extent in newspapers and books. There is also a strong tradition of singing in Seto, particularly of choral singing, which is known as leelo.

Seto alphabet

Seto alphabet

Download an alphabet chart for Seto (Excel)

Sample text in Seto

Kõik inemiseq sünnüseq avvo ja õiguisi poolõst ütesugumaidsist. Näile om annõt mudsu ja süämetun'stus ja nä piät ütstõõsõga vele muudu läbi kjauma.


All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Sample videos in Seto


Information about the Seto language and people

Seto Instituut

Finnic languages

Estonian, Finnish, Karelian, Kven, Livvi-Karelian, Livonian, Ludic, Meänkieli, Seto, Veps, Võro, Votic

Languages written with the Latin alphabet

Page last modified: 01.08.23


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