Language & linguistics news from around the world • Updated daily • Relevant stories, selected by humans (not computers)

Share this site!

Language: Estonian

  • Apr 09, 2012
  • 02:36 PM

Prisoners' Interest in Learning Estonian on the Increase

Kristopher Rikken / ERR
The ministry said teaching the official language to prisoners is an important part of rehabilitation as it increases the chance of a law-abiding lifestyle in liberty. "About 700 study places are planned for Estonian at various levels. Prisoners gladly take the opportunity to take the Estonian proficiency examination in prison so that when they are released they have better possibilities of finding work," ...
  • Mar 26, 2012
  • 08:08 PM

Does This Language Make Me Look Fat?

Daisy Sindelar / RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
One of the first things Regiina Nohova had to learn when she moved to the Czech Republic was how to open her mouth wider when she spoke. As a native-born Estonian, she simply wasn't in the habit. "In Estonia, we speak slowly," she said. "We almost don't open our mouths when we speak. We don't have to articulate the words. It's our nature. It's colder there, and people spend more time inside, and that's why we're like this.
  • Mar 15, 2012
  • 12:57 AM

Former Peasant Language Celebrated at Schools Around the World

Kristopher Rikken / ERR
Mother Tongue Day is being celebrated today not only at home but everywhere Estonian is spoken. In Riga, students studying Estonian at the University of Latvia will read poetry at the city's monument to Kristjan Jaak Peterson, the Keats contemporary who laid a foundation for Estonian poetry before his death in his early twenties.
  • Mar 14, 2012
  • 11:21 PM

Smartphone App Wins Language Initiative Award

Ott Tammik / ERR
A speech recognition application for smartphones was picked out as the best Estonian language initiative of 2011. The Ministry of Education and Research held an awards ceremony at a Haapsalu grade school on Wednesday, which is Mother Tongue Day. Eight other initiatives were also given honors.
  • Mar 14, 2012
  • 10:27 PM

Estonian Language Celebrated All Around the World on Mother Tongue Day
Today, on Mother Tongue Day, the Estonian language is being celebrated not only at home but everywhere Estonian is spoken. Kristjan Jaak Petersons statue in TartuKristjan Jaak Petersons statue in TartuIn Riga, students studying Estonian at the University of Latvia will read poetry at the city's monument to Kristjan Jaak Peterson, the Keats contemporary who laid a foundation for Estonian poetry before his death in his early twenties.
  • Mar 14, 2012
  • 10:19 PM

Happy Estonian Language Day!

Today, March 14, is Estonia's Native Language Day (Emakeelepäev). The date was established as a national holiday in 1999, on the anniversary of the birth of poet Kristjan Jaak Peterson.

Estonian is spoken by a little over 1 million people, and unlike most European languages, is a member of the Uralic language family: It is related to languages like Finnish, Livonian, Veps, Karelian, and more distantly to Hungarian, Khanty, Mansi, the Sami languages, and the Samoyedic languages. Estonian's southern dialect Võro is considered by many to be a distinct language.

  • Mar 14, 2012
  • 12:04 PM

A Dialect is Preserved on Mother Tongue Day

Ott Tammik / ERR
As the country marks Mother Tongue Day, most are celebrating standard Estonian, but other dialects are held dear as well. When an ERR radio station recently discontinued a news program produced in the Kihnu dialect - the language of a small island off the southwestern coast - two grade school students took over.
  • Feb 28, 2012
  • 02:10 PM

Russian-Speaking Students Call for Changes in Estonian Teaching Methods

Kristopher Rikken / ERR
Russian-speaking grade school students participating in forums in five Estonian cities said more conversational practice must be included in their studies for speakers of Estonian as a second language.
  • Jan 09, 2012
  • 03:22 PM

Competition for Estonian-Latvian and Latvian-Estonian translation prize declared open

Juhan Tere / The Baltic Course
For the third time already, the Estonian minister of foreign affairs Urmas Paet and his Latvian colleague Edgars Rinkevics will announce a contest for the Estonian-Latvian and Latvian-Estonian translation prize, reports the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia.
  • Dec 01, 2011
  • 01:38 PM

Language inquisition: Estonia gets tough on Russian speakers

In a bid to escape its Soviet past, Estonia is forcing people to speak the local native language or risk losing their jobs. But the law, aimed at establishing a national identity, threatens to silence the Baltic state’s large Russian minority. ­The social ad on a TV urges the Russian minority in Estonia to learn Estonian – in a rather amusing fashion.
  • Nov 23, 2011
  • 09:50 PM

Narva City Council Fails Language Review

Ingrid Teesalu / ERR
Although the nation’s official language is Estonian, the Narva City Council is holding most of its meetings in Russian, which according to the Language Inspectorate violates the law.
  • Nov 17, 2011
  • 05:29 PM

Younger Estonians' Language Skills Declining, Specialists Say

Ott Tammik / ERR
Language specialists are worried that the quality of the Estonian language is deteriorating among the youth, including those with higher education, and say that grade schools should enforce stricter standards.
  • Jul 15, 2011
  • 12:55 AM

EU, State Breathe New Life into Citizenship and Language Courses

Kristopher Rikken / ERR News
The Integratsion and Migration Foundation Our People (MISA) has announced a call for projects designed to address a situation where only 15 percent of Russian speakers in Estonia are completely fluent in the official language.
  • Apr 27, 2011
  • 01:30 AM

70% of Interviewed Teachers Found Fluent in Estonian

The Language Inspectorate has directed 368 teachers of Tallinn upper and lower secondary schools to take an Estonian language exam since 2006.
  • Apr 18, 2011
  • 12:51 AM

Misinformation about Russian schools in Estonia being spread in Europe

Laas Leivat / Eesti elu
The Russian School Association in Estonia, in a letter sent to the European Council and to the OSCE, accused Estonia of violating human rights in its program of reforming the Russian language school system.
  • Apr 08, 2011
  • 12:14 AM

Estonia aims for Estonian at all schools

Baltic Review
Estonian is gradually being introduced as the language of instruction in Estonia’s Russian-language secondary schools. The daily Postimees approves of the process but sees room for improvement.