Estonian: basic words/phrases

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jonquiliser

Senior Member
Svediż tal-Finlandja
As I saw some other threads with this heading, I was hoping it would be allowed.

So, I'd like to know a few basics of Estonian:

Hi, hello
Bye
Thank you
Don't mention it
Yes
No
I agree/disagree
[I'm] right/wrong
Ok
I think/don't think so
(I'm) sorry

Ok, I think that will do for starters :). Thank you!
 
  • Sock

    New Member
    Estonian
    Here goes:

    Hi, hello = tere
    Bye = head aega, nägemist
    Thank you = aitäh, tänan
    Don't mention it = pole tänu väärt
    Yes = Ja
    No = ei
    I agree/disagree = ma olen nõus/ei ole nõus
    right/wrong = õige/vale
    I'm right/wrong = mul on õigus/ei ole õigus
    Ok = ok
    I think/don't think so = ma arvan/ei arva
    (I'm) sorry = vabandust

    Do you also need the pronunciation? :p
     

    jonquiliser

    Senior Member
    Svediż tal-Finlandja
    Yay! Aitäh vastusest (?)! Now I just have to get used to the differences and false friends with Finnish (tänan for example sounds so much like "today" [tänään] to me!). Nägemist! :)
     

    halfminded

    Member
    Estonian, Estonia
    Yay! Aitäh vastusest (?)! Now I just have to get used to the differences and false friends with Finnish (tänan for example sounds so much like "today" [tänään] to me!). Nägemist! :)
    Actually it is "aitäh vastuste eest!". And "today" in Estonian is "täna", so even in Estonian these two words are similar:D
    And as I am already writting a reply, I can aswell give my versions (for diversity):
    ok= (beside ok, what in Estonian is written "okei") olgu or olgu peale
    hi=
    Estonians (especially younger ones) use "tsau" (comes from italian "ciao") and it is used as goodbye too.

    I have to stop now as something really urgent came up....Jeerum!:eek:

     

    Joannes

    Senior Member
    Belgian Dutch
    Do you also need the pronunciation? :p
    Yes please. I thought Estonian 'yes' was written <jah>. Do you pronounce the <h>? Sometimes? Always? How is it pronounced? (I know IPA, but you can also compare to sounds in other languages.)

    This is (or used to be) a negative verb, right? Is it inflected (conjugated) for 'no'? And as a sentence negator?

    Thanks for your answers!
     

    halfminded

    Member
    Estonian, Estonia
    Yes please. I thought Estonian 'yes' was written <jah>. Do you pronounce the <h>? Sometimes? Always? How is it pronounced? (I know IPA, but you can also compare to sounds in other languages.)
    I looked it up and "yes" is "jah" or/and "jaa" (with only one "a" it means "and" - atleast according to ÕS 2006). "Jah" is more formal and more used in written Estonian. But when it comes to speaking, then you can actually never be sure if people say "jah" or "jaa" as "h" isn`t so strong in Estonian.:D
    About pronounciation? I`ll leave that part for Sock:)


    This is (or used to be) a negative verb, right? Is it inflected (conjugated) for 'no'? And as a sentence negator?
    As much as I understood from your questions..yes, "ei" is a sentence negator. For example:
    Mari läks koju- Mari went home
    Mari ei läinud koju- Mari didn`t go home


    I am not sure if I didn´t misunderstood your question though...:(
     

    jonquiliser

    Senior Member
    Svediż tal-Finlandja
    Actually it is "aitäh vastuste eest!". And "today" in Estonian is "täna", so even in Estonian these two words are similar:D
    Oh really? Phew, not making things easier! :p


    And as I am already writting a reply, I can aswell give my versions (for diversity):
    ok= (beside ok, what in Estonian is written "okei") olgu or olgu peale
    hi=
    Estonians (especially younger ones) use "tsau" (comes from italian "ciao") and it is used as goodbye too.
    Goodgood, thanks a lot!

    Here goes:

    Hi, hello = tere
    Bye = head aega, nägemist
    Another thing: are there other words in Estonian for this, that would distinguish between whether you'll see a person, talk to her or read (a letter, email) from her? (Cf Finnish näkemiin - "see you", kuulemiin - "we'll talk")

    This is (or used to be) a negative verb, right? Is it inflected (conjugated) for 'no'? And as a sentence negator?
    As much as I understood from your questions..yes, "ei" is a sentence negator. For example:
    Mari läks koju- Mari went home
    Mari ei läinud koju- Mari didn`t go home


    I am not sure if I didn´t misunderstood your question though...:(
    Perhaps also whether you inflect the negation word, as in Finnish: ei - general, third-person and impersonal; the others are en (I don't..), et (you don't), emme (we don't), ette (pl. you don't), eivät (they don't). For example, I didn't go home: en lähtenyt/mennyt kotiin vs. Mari didn't go home: Mari ei lähtenyt/mennyt kotiin.

    Thanks for answering! :)
     

    Joannes

    Senior Member
    Belgian Dutch
    Thank you halfminded for your answers!

    Perhaps also whether you inflect the negation word, as in Finnish: ei - general, third-person and impersonal; the others are en (I don't..), et (you don't), emme (we don't), ette (pl. you don't), eivät (they don't). For example, I didn't go home: en lähtenyt/mennyt kotiin vs. Mari didn't go home: Mari ei lähtenyt/mennyt kotiin.
    Yes exactly, thanks jonquiliser. Does the form of ei change with person and number when negating sentences?

    But also: does it do that when meaning simply 'no' too?
    (In other words: if you want to reply 'no' to a question "Do you have a cat?", would that be different from the answer 'no' to a question "Does he have a cat?" e.g.?)

    Hope I did succeed in making myself clear this time.
     

    halfminded

    Member
    Estonian, Estonia
    Another thing: are there other words in Estonian for this, that would distinguish between whether you'll see a person, talk to her or read (a letter, email) from her? (Cf Finnish näkemiin - "see you", kuulemiin - "we'll talk")
    Now that you mention it... :eek: näkemiin= nägemiseni and kuulemiin= kuulmiseni . Estonian and Finnish are (sometimes) very similar:D


    Perhaps also whether you inflect the negation word, as in Finnish: ei - general, third-person and impersonal; the others are en (I don't..), et (you don't), emme (we don't), ette (pl. you don't), eivät (they don't). For example, I didn't go home: en lähtenyt/mennyt kotiin vs. Mari didn't go home: Mari ei lähtenyt/mennyt kotiin.
    "ei" never changes in Estonian... so using your examples:
    Ma ei läinud koju- I didn`t go home
    Mari ei läinud koju- Mari didn`t go home
    Me ei läinud koju- We didn`t go home
    Te ei läinud koju- You (as in plural) didn´t go home
    Nad ei läinud koju- They didn`t go home

    I quess this means that Finnish and Estonian can sometimes be different too:D
     

    halfminded

    Member
    Estonian, Estonia
    But also: does it do that when meaning simply 'no' too?
    (In other words: if you want to reply 'no' to a question "Do you have a cat?", would that be different from the answer 'no' to a question "Does he have a cat?" e.g.?)

    Hope I did succeed in making myself clear this time.
    ei always stays ei...:) So...
    Do you have a cat? (kas sul on kass?)- ei, mul ei ole kassi (no, I don`t have a cat)....though I actually do have a cat:D
    Does he have a cat? (kas tal on kass?)- ei, tal ei ole kassi (no he doesn`t have a cat)
     

    Sock

    New Member
    Estonian
    I found a nice site for phrases and pronunciation in Estonian, but I can´t add it as I haven´t posted 30 replies yet... :p But if uou are interested then check "estonian pronunciation" from Google and then the Claremont page.

    Yeah, there are a lot of similarities between Estonian and Finnish languages and also because of that a lot of "false friends"! For example:
    raiskama - to spend, to waste in Estonian, and to rape in Finnish
    kummi täti - (tädi) rubber aunt in Estonian and god-mother in Finnish (correct me if I´m wrong).
    kortsu - (kortsus) wrinkled in Estonian and condom in Finnish
    There is actually a whole book of them!

    I have heard from my Finnish acquaintances that generally it is easyer for the Estonians to understand them better than vice verca. Could that be true? They said that we speak too fast and because of that is hard to distinguish the words. And of course, our advantage is growing up with Finnish TV... and also that if we can´t remember a word in Finnish we can think how the word would be in old Estonian and derive it from there (hunt ("modern" Estonian for wolf) = susi (Finnish and old Estonian) ).
     

    jonquiliser

    Senior Member
    Svediż tal-Finlandja
    Good tips, Sock, about the pronounciation guide - thanks!

    There certainly are a number of false friend between Estonian and Finnish - making it a bit tricky on the one hand, but very amusing on the other :D. (The verb is raiskata in Finnish, and kummitäti is in one word, but essentially you're right).

    In this thread we discussed the two languages a little (you're more than welcome to add your view!) and many people seemed to think Estonians were better at understanding Finnish than Finns at understanding Estonian - perhaps because the first came more into contact with Finnish, through TV or otherwise, and made actual efforts to understand it. :)
     
    What does the "eest" mean or what is its function?
    Never studied Estonian, so I might be wrong, but as a Finn it sounds like that Aitäh vastuse eest could be compared to Finnish Kiitos vastauksen edestä, i.e. for the answer. Even though this is not actually correct, it gives the idea.

    Those similarities are sometimes amusing. Like "to hug" in Estonian is kallistama, whereas in Finnish kallistaa means "to lean" or "to bend". It's sometimes rather funny listening to Estonian spoken on TV.
     

    halfminded

    Member
    Estonian, Estonia
    Never studied Estonian, so I might be wrong, but as a Finn it sounds like that Aitäh vastuse eest could be compared to Finnish Kiitos vastauksen edestä, i.e. for the answer. Even though this is not actually correct, it gives the idea.
    Yup, you are right dr. Watson:). In this context "eest" means "for"...

    It's sometimes rather funny listening to Estonian spoken on TV.
    I always find it funny hearing finnish.. It is like someone is speaking Estonian in a really strange way and with a really strange pronunciation:D


    BTW, I have heard that the Finnish understand Estonian better than vice versa. Maybe I and Sock live in different parts of Estonia and that is why our opinions are opposite:idea:. I have never watched Finnish tv-programmes and I know noone who has (some have watched German channels though).
     
    BTW, I have heard that the Finnish understand Estonian better than vice versa.
    I can't say for sure, but in my opinion it's a bit hard to understand Estonian. I find that it's spoken faster than Finnish. It's easier when e.g. in the news there are Finnish subtitles of the spoken Estonian, so one can check if one understood correctly.

    Generally, I think Estonian resembles the southern dialects of Finnish. They're both spoken quite quickly and it sometimes sounds like words are shortened compared to the equivalents in written Finnish. For example, the Estonian word eest is in Finnish edestä. Finnish has kept the middle D and the Ä in the end. However, in many dialects edestä is shortened to eestä.
     

    Sock

    New Member
    Estonian
    I think the Finnish channels can only be seen at the coast (Tallinn and nearby), so we can´t be that far :p. But I think it depends more of the age and background - when I was born then there were no German channels yet, only Finnish or ours (ETV and a russian channel). And of course, from the Finnish channels there were always nicer shows to watch - "Pikku Kakkonen", "Rölli", the clown programme (the one with the famous phrase: "Nasse setä on hyvin vihainen") and all the nice cartoons. With that I just got used to following more the Finnish channels... and the same with the people I know.
     

    Joannes

    Senior Member
    Belgian Dutch
    "ei" never changes in Estonian... so using your examples:
    Ma ei läinud koju- I didn`t go home
    Mari ei läinud koju- Mari didn`t go home
    Me ei läinud koju- We didn`t go home
    Te ei läinud koju- You (as in plural) didn´t go home
    Nad ei läinud koju- They didn`t go home
    ei always stays ei...:) So...
    Do you have a cat? (kas sul on kass?)- ei, mul ei ole kassi (no, I don`t have a cat)....though I actually do have a cat:D
    Does he have a cat? (kas tal on kass?)- ei, tal ei ole kassi (no he doesn`t have a cat)
    Thank you very much, halfminded! Enlightening.

    I found a nice site for phrases and pronunciation in Estonian, but I can´t add it as I haven´t posted 30 replies yet... :p But if uou are interested then check "estonian pronunciation" from Google and then the Claremont page.
    So, this one: http://www.cusd.claremont.edu/~tkroll/EastEur/est-pron.html :cool:
    As for jah, that website doesn't really clarify things for me because the <h> is not in the beginning of the word, nor followed by a vowel or a consonant.

    But I found this BBC website and there it sounds like the <h> followed by a consonant, so unless you disagree, I'm perfectly capable of saying 'yes' / 'no' in Estonian now. :D

    Thanks for your help!
     

    Kassikakk

    Member
    Estonia, Estonian
    This Claremont page is a little funny in that it stresses a number of foreign characters like c,q,ž,š,w,x,y,z,f that are used in foreign words only and hence their pronunciation may sometimes vary. Also, I'm not sure if anybody can get a correct idea of the 'õ' sound based on the explanation given (e in 'get'). I have always had an impression that something like o in 'row' or 'show' could be a better parallel, although this is probably also not entirely correct.
    The BBC website has good pronunciations (apparently read by a native speaker), so you can rely on it. As to 'yes', as described here earlier, both 'jah' (short and 'h'-terminated) and 'jaa' (long 'a', no termination) are acceptable in the spoken language, and you can also hear many versions in between. There may be certain contextual differences as to when to prefer one over the other, but these are rather hard to define. In the written language, be sure not to use 'ja' which strictly only means 'and'. For some reason many Estonians often make that mistake, be better than that. Generally, stick with 'jah' in both cases and you'll be fine.
     

    jonquiliser

    Senior Member
    Svediż tal-Finlandja
    Never studied Estonian, so I might be wrong, but as a Finn it sounds like that Aitäh vastuse eest could be compared to Finnish Kiitos vastauksen edestä, i.e. for the answer. Even though this is not actually correct, it gives the idea.
    Yup, you are right dr. Watson:). In this context "eest" means "for"...
    Aha, so in what case is "vastuse"? And what does the word look like in the nominative case?

    Thanks a lot for all the answers, aitäh! :cool:
     

    Kassikakk

    Member
    Estonia, Estonian
    My guess is that vastuse is genitive. In nominative case (according to an online dictionary) it's vastus.
    This is correct, Nom. vastus, Gen. vastuse, Part. vastust.

    Eest in a postposition function like this requires genitive (Mille eest?).
     

    thaliafan

    Banned
    CI, english
    Hi. I'm a singer and I'm going to be performing in Estonia next week. Could anyone tell me the following words and phrases in Estonian, and how to say them phonetically?

    Hello.
    How are you?
    Is everyone okay?
    Thanks
    Good night

    Thank you
     

    suslik

    Senior Member
    Estonia, estonian
    wow..where are you going to sing? In which town? In Tallinn?

    Hello - Tere
    How are you? - kuidas sul läheb?
    Is everything okay? (I think you ment everything, right?) - Kas kõik on OK? / Kas kõik on hästi?
    Thanks - aitäh
    Good night - head ööd

    I was just thinking, that it's hard to explain how to say them phonetically...especially such letters like Õõ, Ää, Öö, Üü.
    Maybe somebody else have idea how to explain it just by writing here.
     
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