About the Estonian language

Estonian language

Estonian (eesti, eesti keel) is spoken today by more than a million people the majority of whom live in the Republic of Estonia (Eesti Vabariik).
The remaining speakers of Estonian live in countries like Russia, Canada, Sweden, Finland or Australia.
The Estonian language is written with the Roman alphabet.

If you have no previous understanding of Estonian you will find it very difficult to understand even the odd word as it has very little connection with other languages.
However when you start to speak with Estonian speakers or read Estonian language newspapers you will notice that Estonian has taken a few words from Russian and German.

Estonian – a Finno-Ugric language

Estonian belongs to the Uralic group of languages which includes the Finno-Ugric languages and Ugric languages.
East Finnish belongs to the Finnic-Ugric group and includes Finnish, Karelian and Estonian.
Uralic languages are spoken today by about 25 million people worldwide.
This may not seem a lot, for example the Germanic languages are spoken by about 700 million people worldwide.
But what could be nicer than to see the look of pleasure from an Estonian on hearing his language spoken.

The dialects of Estonian

Estonian, like most other languages has a number of dialects.
There are three main dialects: Northeastcoast dialect, Northern Estonian and Southern Estonian.
However many linguists suggest there are only two main dialects. Certainly many dialects have only a few speakers and are threatened with extinction.

Estonian dialects

Useful links for learning Estonian

We are delighted that you are interested in learning Estonian.
We are also delighted to show you a few interesting links:

  1. Wikipedia offers the following article about Estonian.
  2. Would you like to learn how to say “Hello” in Estonian?
    Here you will find the fifty most important words from Estonian.
  3. With the Estonian Beginner's Course from 17 Minute Languages you will learn more than 1,300 words and many important phrases.