Estonia Languages

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Estonia Wiki Topics
Flag of Estonia.svg.png
Beginning Research
Record Types
Estonia Background
Local Research Resources

Description[edit | edit source]

Estonian is the official language of Estonia, spoken natively by about 1.1 million people; 922,000 people in Estonia and 160,000 outside Estonia.

Estonian belongs to the Finnic branch of the Uralic language family. It is one of the four official languages of European Union that is not of an Indo-European origin. Despite some overlaps in the vocabulary due to borrowings, in terms of its origin, Estonian and Finnish are not related to their nearest geographical neighbors, Swedish, Latvian, and Russian (which are all Indo-European languages), however they are related to the nearby minority Karelian and Livonian languages. [1]

  • the Estonian language has borrowed nearly one third of its vocabulary from Germanic languages.
  • South Estonian languages are spoken by 100,000 people and include the dialects of Võro and Seto.
  • Russian is by far the most spoken minority language in the country. Russian is spoken as a secondary language by forty- to seventy-year-old ethnic Estonians. Russian was the unofficial language of the Estonian SSR from 1944 to 1991 and taught as a compulsory second language during the Soviet era.
  • From the 13th to the 20th century, there were Swedish-speaking communities in Estonia, particularly in the coastal areas and on the islands. [2]

The most common foreign languages learned by Estonian students are English, Russian, German and French. Other popular languages include Finnish, Spanish, and Swedish. [3]

Historical records are written mostly in German but also in Russian, Swedish, Estonian, and Latin.

More details on the Minority languages in Estonia

Word List(s)[edit | edit source]

For word lists and help researching in Estonian records, see:

Alphabet and Pronunciation[edit | edit source]

Estonian employs the Latin script as the basis for its alphabet,

and adds the letters ä, ö, ü, and õ, plus the later additions š and ž.
The letters c, q, w, x and y are limited to proper names of foreign origin
f, z, š, and ž appear in loanwords and foreign names only. [4]

Language Aids and Dictionaries[edit | edit source]

Language Aids

Dictionaries

Additional Resources[edit | edit source]

Estonian Language Resources[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Estonian language," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estonian_language, accessed 15 March 2021.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Estonia," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estonia#Languages, accessed 15 March 2021.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Estonia," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estonia#Languages, accessed 15 March 2021.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Estonian language," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estonian_language#Alphabet, accessed 15 March 2021.