The joke goes that a “Estonian has no sex and no future,” referring to the fact that the Estonian language has no genders and no future tense. However, once you get started, it’s gorgeous to listen to, intriguingly different, and tremendously enjoyable to use. In a linguistic beauty contest, an Estonian phrase (sida tasa üle silla – meaning “go gently over the bridge,” maybe more of a traffic sign than a romantic utterance) placed second only to Italian.
Many students study the language because of the fascination and challenge it provides, and once they have mastered the fundamentals, notably pronunciation, they make rapid progress.
People can be found all around Estonia.eager and able to communicate with you in a range of languages, the most popular being English, Finnish, or Russian, with many individuals also being able to communicate in French, German, or Swedish.
Learning Estonian is not technically necessary in a country where the majority of people speak at least two languages fluently, but it can surely help you gain a better understanding of the country.
According to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, Estonian language instruction is classified into levels ranging from A1 (beginning) to C2 (fluent in business and professional language). The levels give you get a sense of how challenging courses can be, and they’re frequently used in job ads to represent the required level of language proficiency. If you want to become an Estonian citizen, you must have a B1 level.
- estonian language phrases
Learn these useful (or not so useful) phrases and show off your skills.
jah – yes
ei – no
palun – please; you’re welcome
aitäh – thanks
tere – hi, hello
nägemist! – bye, see you!
vabandust – sorry
pole viga – no problem
kas te räägite inglise keelt? – do you speak English? (polite)
ma ei räägi eesti keelt – I don’t speak Estonian
ma saan aru – I understand
ma ei saa aru – I don’t understand
ma tean – I know
ma ei tea – I don’t know
palun aidake! – please help!
ma olen eksinud – I’m lost
kas teiega on kõik korras? – are you OK? (polite)
kuidas läheb – how’s it going?
tänan, hästi – I’m fine, thanks
normaalselt – I’m OK
läheb – it’s going OK
halvasti – bad
mis su nimi on? – what’s your name? (familiar)
minu nimi on … – my name is …
ma olen … – I’m …
tore sinuga tuttavaks saada – good to meet you (familiar)
mis tööd sa teed? – what do you do? (familiar)
ma olen … – I’m a …
õpetaja – teacher
üliõpilane – (university) student
ajakirjanik – journalist
veebidisainer – web designer
arst – doctor
Now you’re just showing off….!
Habemeajaja ajas asjaajaja ja teerajaja habet.
“The barber was cutting the beard of the secretary and the pioneer” – a phrase apparently used to check sobriety. Let’s face it, it’s not going to come up in conversation very much, is it?
“The hatch at the end of the tunnel, where the bullet is flying.” Not only a tongue twister, but also a palindrome
Kummikutes kummitus kummitas kummutis.
It may sound like the declension of a noun, but no – “A ghost with rubber boots is haunting the chest of drawers.”
Kuuuurija istus töööös jäääärel.
Enough vowels for you? “The lunar scientist worked during the night by the edge of the ice.
- group and private classes
Once in Estonia, you can obtain Estonian instruction in either a group class or with an individual tutor. In the bigger cities and towns, there are several respected and established private language schools, and as an open university student, you may be able to enrol in a language class at one of the institutions. This option is restricted due to the calendar and levels of classes available, which are tailored to the student body as a whole and tend to become more difficult as the academic year progresses. In September, inquire about beginner’s classes at your selected university.
Because language schools’ schedules change and the availability of private teachers varies, the best place to start is with an Internet search. Inquire within the expat community.For recommendations, join one of the active Facebook groups, or try advertising (or responding to an advertisement) for a language practise swap, which are regularly promoted in universities.
Another common option is to attend one of the Tallinn or Tartu Universities’ winter or summer schools. These intense courses, which often last three or four weeks, are reasonably priced, include cultural activities and trips, and are taught in English or Finnish. They draw people from all over the world (and from all walks of life), and they can be a great way to get your learning started.
- language practice
- online learning
There are numerous resources available to study Estonian online or through language training books and CDs. Because most foreigners struggle with pronunciation, having a guide with audio content is crucial — these may be found on YouTube, private web-based language schools, and online courses. Try pronouncing kuuuurija (moon adventurer) or jääär (ice edge) without a dictionary.
Try Lingvist’s Essential Estonian to brush up on the essentials. The Estonian business, which utilises artificial intelligence to make learning faster and more effective, has created a free app that has a short course of 100 fundamental phrases in Estonian.
Keeleklikk, which teaches Estonian to A2 level, is a popular and well-regarded complete Estonian course.It features courses on culture and history and may be used with either English or Russian as a base language.
- language learning consultation at the international house of estonia
Consultations on Social and Cultural Adaptation are available through the International House of Estonia. During this session, sponsored by the Integration Foundation, you will receive important information about Estonian language learning opportunities as well as themes relating to your adaptation to Estonian society.