Estonian Language

A language spoken in Estonia, a country in NortheasternEurope?. It is similar to the FinnishLanguage?, so EstonianPeople? can usually understand Finnish.

Estonian is spoken as it is written, using phonemic spelling, except that the length of vowels is not always obvious from the written form. The stress is in most cases on the first syllable of the word.

The Estonian alphabet (using only native Estonian letters; we have fšž in borrowed words): 'abdeghijklmnoprstuvõäöü'.

The last 4 letters in the alphabet which English people probably can't see are oaou with accent marks.
If you're going to try learning Estonian, read this first:
Estonian was almost going to be used for the speech clips in TheSims?, reasoning that it sounded different enough from most other languages (AmericanCulturalAssumption acknowledged) that nobody would make the mistake of trying to put meaning to Sims conversations. But they couldn't find enough Estonian-speaking voice actors, so they made one up instead.

No wonder, there are about 1,000,000 Estonians in the Universe, and most of them live in Estonia ;)

Estonian is spoken exactly as it is written ...

This assumes, that there is a single way of pronouncing a certain letter, indisputable for the whole world. How is an 'A' pronounced? You will get different answers from an Englishman or a German.

A is pronounced like the a in far. Estonian also borrows some words from German, so there are similarities between German and Estonian. But German uses letters like c and the letter that I can't write using an English keyboard :) Estonian doesn't have those letters.

The point was not that it's spoken as written by English phonic rules, but that the spelling of a word tells you exactly how it is pronounced, as opposed to English where it's just a vague hint.

Estonain and Japanese share many similarities even though the languages developed separately from one another. If I had to choose to be from a country other than my own, I would choose Estonia. To paraphrase JFK, mina oleksin tallinlane. (Thanks to JaenSaul for the correct phrase.) -- TobyFarley

LOL, that was funny. And I never thought someone would want to live in Estonia. Although the country has become nicer in the last few years (more technology, Internet, education).

The right way to write that sentence would be mina oleksin tallinlane (I would be a person living in Tallinn). See how everything is shorter in Estonian? Neat. -- JaenSaul

I fell in love with Estonia after a PBS documentary called "A Baltic Requieum" about the Baltic States struggle for independance from the Soviet Union. It had some beautiful music festival footage. The Internet has made it much easier to find out about the country. I would like to visit it one day but my wife just rolls her eyes when I talk about it.

Yeah, the song and dance festival was a major part of our starting independence years. It brought almost 1/3 of our population together on one field! The tradition of singing parties continues, but it's not that glorious, because people have become used to the independence. Everything has a price. Some things were better before our independence, some were worse. But generally it's better. Although we have a lot of asocial people now, most of them are Russians, still talking about the 'good old days'.

You can learn more about that festival at

Thank you for the link! -- TobyFarley

Head aega!

Mina olin tallinlane! :-) ("I was a person living in the city of Tallinn" --> yes, Estonian often says a lot more with less words than English) -- YanekMartinson

Yes, but, the English can be reduced to "I was a Tallinnite." The words person, living, and city are redundant and, I believe, not explicit in the original.

I am a Tallinnite. Never heard the -ite form in English before :) Well if you want to be short, you can just say olin tallinlane. Olin means I was, so if you say Ma olin it's actually I I was, but Estonian say ma (short for mina) anyway, to be clearer. The +lane suffix in tallinlane means that I was part of a group, Tallinn, and since Tallinn is a city, being a part of it means living in it. So the words were not explicit, but there isn't any chance you can understand the sentence any other way.

"I am a Tallinnite." Never heard the -ite form in English before :)

It's one of several suffixes used in English to indicate being from some place. It's not used all the time. For instance, if you're from Manhattan (Island, part of NewYorkCity), you could be called a Manhattanite, but if you're from Boston, you're not a Bostonite, you're a Bostonian. -- MikeSmith

And if you are from Newcastle (at least the Australian one), you are a Novocastrian. English is such a consistent language!

the spelling of a word tells you exactly how it is pronounced

Probably to a much larger extent than in the EnglishLanguage, but AFAIK not perfectly. For instance, "saada" has two pronunciations differing in the length of the "aa" sound, and the meanings are completely different.


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