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Estonian (eesti keel)

Estonian is an Finnic language closely related to Finnish spoken by about 1.1 million people in Estonia. The main difference between Estonian and Finnish is that Finnish has a lot of loan words from Swedish, while Estonian contains many words of German origin, plus some words from Russian, Latin, Greek and English. There is considerable mutual intelligibility between Estonian and Finnish.

The oldest examples of written Estonian are names, words, and phrases found in early 13th century chronicles. The earliest surviving longer text dates from the 16th century. An Estonian textbook first appeared in 1637. Ferdinand Johann Wiedemann published the comprehensive Estonian-German dictionary in 1869, and a grammar describing the Estonian language in 1875.

Estonian alphabet (eesti keele tähestik)

Estonian alphabet

Estonian pronunciation

Estonian pronunciation


Information about the Estonian alphabet and pronunciation compiled by Wolfram Siegel, with corrections by Allan Kiisk, and some details from:

Sample text in Estonian

Kõik inimesed sünnivad vabadena ja võrdsetena oma väärikuselt ja õigustelt. Neile on antud mõistus ja südametunnistus ja nende suhtumist üksteisesse peab kandma vendluse vaim.

A recording of this text by Ülle Hahndorf


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)

Information about Estonian | Estonian phrases | Numbers in Estonian | Proverbs in Estonian | Tower of Babel in Estonian | Estonian learning materials


Information about the Estonian language

Online Estonian lessons

Learn Estonian with Glossika Mass Sentences

Estonian phrases

Online Estonian dictionaries

Estonian Electronic talking dictionaries

Online Estonian radio

Online Estonian news

Finnic languages

Estonian, Finnish, Karelian, Kven, Livonian, Veps, Võro, Votic

Other languages written with the Latin alphabet