Some facts about Estonian
THE ESTONIAN LANGUAGE
is a language of Estonia.
Population: 953,032 in Estonia out of 963,281 (93%) ethnic group (1989 census). Population total all countries 1,100,000.
Region: Also spoken in Australia, Canada, Finland, Latvia, Russia (Europe), Sweden, United Kingdom, USA.
Alternate names: EESTI
Dialects: TALLINN (REVAL), TARTU (DORPAT), MULGI, VORU (WERRO), SETO (SETU).
Classification: Uralic, Finno-Ugric, Finno-Permic, Finno-Cheremisic, Finno-Mordvinic, Finno-Lappic, Baltic-Finnic.
Comments: Dialects are grouped into three: Northeastern Coastal Estonian (between Tallinn and Narva), North Estonian (island, western, central, and eastern dialects), and South Estonian (Mulgi, Tartu, Voru). Voru, Setu (a subdialect of Voru), and island are clearly distinct from standard Estonian. All the other dialects are assimilated into standard Estonian. Those over 60 and under 20 speak little Russian. It is spoken less in rural areas and in southern areas. 75% to 80% of the population in the northeast are Russian speakers. Those over 60 know some German. Most in the north speak Finnish for common topics. Estonian has remained the language of education, including universities. Some linguistic influences from Russian, German, Swedish, Latvian, Lithuanian, and Finnish. National language. Dictionary. Grammar. SVO; 14 cases: affixes indicate case of noun phrases; verb affixes mark person and number of subject and agreement (obligatory); genitives, adjectives, numberals before noun heads; question word initial; 1 prefix maximum; 5-6 suffixes maximum; word order distinguishes given and new information; active and passive voice; 4 moods in both voices: indicative, imperative, conditional, oblique; 2 infinitives for all verbs; 4 tenses in both voices and all moods: present, past, perfect, pluperfect; 3 degrees of comparison: positive, comparative, superlative; V, CV, CVC, CVCCC, CVV, CVVC, VC, VCCC, VV, VVC, CCV, CCVV, CCVC, CCVCC, CCVVCC, CCVCCC; nontonal; stress on first syllable; possible secondary stress on third syllable. Literacy rate in second language: North Estonian, central dialect. Roman script used. TV. Christian. Bible 1739-1995.
Also spoken in:
Population: 6,000 in Finland (1993).
Dialects: TALLINN (REVAL, NORTHERN ESTONIAN), TARTU (DORPAT, TATU, SOUTHERN ESTONIAN), SETU, MULY (MULGI), VYRUS (VORU).
Comments: North and South Estonian may be separate languages. The traditional community was assimilated to the Swedish-speaking community. Present speakers are refugees from World War II or recent immigrants. SVO. Roman script used. Christian. Bible 1739-1995.