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, Esthonian
the official language of Estonia: belongs to the Finno-Ugric family



the language of the Estonians, who live in the Estonian SSR, in Leningrad, Pskov, Omsk, and other oblasts of the RSFSR, in the Latvian and Ukrainian SSR’s, and in the Abkhazian ASSR, as well as in Sweden, the USA, and Canada. There are 1,007,400 speakers of Estonian in the USSR (1970 census). Belonging to the Balto-Finnic group of the Finno-Ugric languages, Estonian has three main dialects: the northeastern coastal dialect, the north Estonian dialect, and the south Estonian dialect. Two literary languages, based on the north and south Estonian dialects, coexisted from the 16th century. The Estonian language was standardized in the first half of the 20th century.

Estonian has nine vowels, 16 consonants, and an abundance of diphthongs. Both vowels and consonants are characterized by three degrees of length. The primary stress falls on the first syllable of a word. The morphological structure is of the inflectionalagglutinative type. Nouns are inflected for number and case; grammatical gender is absent. The verb has conjugated and non-conjugated forms. The syntactic relations of words are expressed mainly through the grammatical forms of individual words and through auxiliary (syntactic) words. The number of prepositions is small, but postpositions are well developed. The word order is relatively free.

The vocabulary includes ancient Finno-Ugric, Balto-Finnic, and purely Estonian words, as well as many old Baltic, Germanic, and Slavic loanwords. There are also later borrowings from German, Russian, and other languages. The Estonian writing system is based on the Latin alphabet.


Kask, A. “Estonskii iazyk.” In Iazyki narodov SSSR, vol. 3. Moscow, 1966. (With bibliography.)
Osnovy finno ugorskogo iazykoznaniia: Pribaltiisko-finskie, saamskii i mordovskie iazyki. Moscow, 1975.
Ariste, P. Eesti keele foneetika, 2nd ed. Tartu, 1966.
Tamm,J. Eesti-vene sōnaraamat. Tallinn, 1961.


References in periodicals archive ?
Estonian tourism agencies hired charter flights and there were direct charter flights, which were regular and weekly, from Estonia to Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh.
Estonian Air is aiming to provide Estonia with reliable and regular double daily connections to destinations of strategic importance and of substantial demand.
Although the Estonian society considers the so-called third nations as the Russian population with the single identity, the studies show the prevalence of certain personal choices in relation to the identity (Vihalemm 2007).
On the other (not too distant) corner of the economic rationale lies a cluster of explanations that can be said to have only one reference point--the somewhat ethereal notion of a good Estonian and what constitutes such a person.
Head of Division of Informatics and Engineering at the Estonian Academy of Sciences
In her presentation, Musical Sources in Estonian Collections, she gave an overview of the historical development and the collection of music manuscripts, publications and music books (before 1850) of the biggest and oldest Estonian music collections: Tartu University Library, Tallinn University Academic Library, and the National Library of Estonia.
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the Estonian words luba, kade and lugu and the Finnish words lupa, kate and luku, a difference such that in Estonian the medial plosive is pronounced more loosely and with a weaker explosion burst than in Finnish.
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