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Lettris is a curious tetris-clone game where all the bricks have the same square shape but different content. Each square carries a letter. To make squares disappear and save space for other squares you have to assemble English words (left, right, up, down) from the falling squares.
Boggle gives you 3 minutes to find as many words (3 letters or more) as you can in a grid of 16 letters. You can also try the grid of 16 letters. Letters must be adjacent and longer words score better. See if you can get into the grid Hall of Fame !
Change the target language to find translations.
Tips: browse the semantic fields (see From ideas to words) in two languages to learn more.
|Spoken in|| Estonia
Estonian immigrant communities (see Estonians)
|Native speakers||1.05 million (1989)|
|Writing system||Latin (Estonian alphabet)|
|Official language in|| Estonia
|Regulated by||Institute of the Estonian Language / Eesti Keele Instituut, Emakeele Selts (semi-official)|
|ISO 639-3||est – inclusive code
ekk – Standard Estonian
vro – Võro
Estonian (eesti keel; pronounced [ˈeːsti ˈkeːl] ( listen)) is the official language of Estonia, spoken by about 1.1 million people in Estonia and tens of thousands in various émigré communities. It is a Uralic language and is closely related to Finnish.
One distinctive feature that has caused a great amount of interest among linguists is what is traditionally seen as three degrees of phoneme length: short, long, and "overlong", such that /toto/, /toˑto/ and /toːto/ are distinct. In actuality, the distinction is not purely in the phoneme length, and the underlying phonological mechanism is still disputed.
Kas siis selle maa keel
Laulutuules ei või
Taevani tõustes üles
Igavikku omale otsida?
Cannot the language of this land
In the wind of incantation
Rising up to the heavens
Seek for eternity?
Those lines have been interpreted as a claim to reestablish the birthright of the Estonian language. Kristjan Jaak Peterson (1801–22), the first student at the then German-language University of Tartu to acknowledge his Estonian origin, is commonly regarded as a herald of Estonian national literature and considered the founder of modern Estonian poetry. His birthday on March 14 is celebrated in Estonia as the Mother Tongue Day.
The domination of Estonia after the Northern Crusades, from the 13th century to 1918 by Denmark, Germany, Sweden, and Russia, resulted in few early written literary works in the Estonian language. Writings in Estonian became significant only in the 19th century with the spread of the ideas of the Age of Enlightenment, during the Estophile Enlightenment Period (1750–1840). Although Baltic Germans at large regarded the future of Estonians as being a fusion with themselves, the Estophile educated class admired the ancient culture of the Estonians and their era of freedom before the conquests by Danes and Germans in the 13th century.
After the Estonian War of Independence, the Estonian language became the state language of the newly independent country. When Estonia was invaded and occupied by the Soviet Union in World War II, the status of the Estonian language changed to the first of two official languages (Russian being the other one). In the second half of the 1970s, the pressure of bilingualism intensified, resulting in widespread knowledge of Russian throughout the country. The Russian language was termed as ‘the language of friendship of nations’ and was taught to Estonian children, sometimes as early as in kindergarten. Although teaching Estonian to non-Estonians in schools was compulsory, in practice learning the language was often considered unnecessary. During the Perestroika era, The Law on the Status of the Estonian Language was adopted in January 1989. The collapse of the Soviet Union led to the restoration of Republic of Estonia's independence. Estonian went back to being the only state language in Estonia.
The oldest records of written Estonian date from the 13th century. Originates Livoniae in Chronicle of Henry of Livonia contains Estonian place names, words and fragments of sentences. The earliest extant samples of connected Estonian are the so-called Kullamaa prayers dating from 1524 and 1528. In 1525 the first book published in the Estonian language was printed. The book was a Lutheran manuscript, which never reached the reader and was destroyed immediately after publication. The first extant Estonian book is a bilingual German-Estonian translation of the Lutheran catechism by S. Wanradt and J. Koell dating to 1535, during the Protestant Reformation period. An Estonian grammar book to be used by priests was printed in German in 1637. The New Testament was translated into southern Estonian in 1686 (northern Estonian, 1715). The two dialects were united based on northern Estonian by Anton Thor Helle. Writings in Estonian became more significant in the 19th century during the Estophile Enlightenment Period (1750–1840).
The birth of native Estonian literature was in 1810 to 1820 when the patriotic and philosophical poems by Kristjan Jaak Peterson were published. From 1525 to 1917 14 503 titles were published in Estonia, as opposed to the 23 868 titles which were published between 1918 and 1940.
Estonian belongs to the Finnic branch of the Uralic languages, along with Finnish, Karelian, and other nearby languages. The Uralic languages do not belong to the Indo-European languages. Estonian is distantly related to Hungarian.
Like Finnish and Hungarian, Estonian is a somewhat agglutinative language, but unlike them, it has lost the vowel harmony of the hypothetical Proto-Uralic language, although in older texts the vowel harmony can still be recognized. Furthermore, the apocope of word-final sounds is extensive and has contributed to a shift from a purely agglutinative to a fusional language. The basic word order is subject–verb–object.
The Estonian dialects are divided into two groups – the northern and southern dialects, usually associated with the cities of Tallinn in the north and Tartu in the south, in addition to a distinct kirderanniku dialect, that of the northeastern coast of Estonia.
The northern group consists of the keskmurre or middle dialect that is also the basis for the standard language, the läänemurre or western dialect, roughly corresponding to Läänemaa and Pärnumaa, the saarte murre (islands') dialect of Saaremaa and Hiiumaa and the idamurre or eastern dialect on the northwestern shore of Lake Peipsi.
The southern group consists of the Tartu, Mulgi, Võru (Võro) and Setu (Seto) dialects. These are sometimes considered either variants of a South Estonian language, or separate languages altogether. Also, Seto is not usually considered a dialect of Estonian, but rather a variant of Võro.
Like Finnish, Estonian employs the Latin script as the basis for its alphabet, which 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, and f, z, š, and ž appear in loanwords and foreign names only. Ö and ü are pronounced similarly to their equivalents in Swedish and German. Unlike in standard German but like Finnish and Swedish (when followed by 'r'), Ä is pronounced [æ], as in English mat. The vowels Ä, Ö and Ü are clearly separate phonemes and inherent in Estonian, although the letter shapes come from German. The letter õ denotes /ɤ/, unrounded /o/, or a close-mid back unrounded vowel. It is almost identical to the Bulgarian ъ /ɤ̞/ and the Vietnamese ơ, and is used to transcribe the Russian ы.
Although the Estonian orthography is generally guided by phonemic principles, with each grapheme corresponding to one phoneme, there are some historical and morphological deviations from this: for example the initial letter 'h' in words, preservation of the morpheme in declension of the word (writing b, g, d in places where p, k, t is pronounced) and in the use of 'i' and 'j'. Where it is very impractical or impossible to type š and ž, they are substituted with sh and zh in some written texts, although this is considered incorrect. Otherwise, the h in sh represents a voiceless glottal fricative, as in Pasha (pas-'ha); this also applies to some foreign names.
Modern Estonian orthography is based on the Newer Orthography created by Eduard Ahrens in the second half of the 19th century based on Finnish Orthography. The Older Orthography it replaced was created in the 17th century by Bengt Gottfried Forselius and Johann Hornung based on standard German orthography. Earlier writing in Estonian had by and large used an ad hoc orthography based on Latin and Middle Low German orthography. Some influences of the standard German orthography — for example, writing 'W'/'w' instead of 'V'/'v' persisted well into the 1930s.
It should be noted that Estonian words and names quoted in international publications from Soviet sources are often back-transliterations from the Russian transliteration. Examples are the use of "ya" for "ä" (e.g. Pyarnu instead of Pärnu), "y" instead of "õ" (e.g., Pylva instead of Põlva) and "yu" instead of "ü" (e.g., Pyussi instead of Püssi). Even in the Encyclopædia Britannica one can find "ostrov Khiuma", where "ostrov" means "island" in Russian and "Khiuma" is back-transliteration from Russian instead of "Hiiumaa" (Hiiumaa>Хийума(а)>Khiuma).
Because short vowels have similar formant values, long vowels are considered sequences of short values rather than separate phonemes (e.g. vere [vereˑ] 'blood [gen.sg.]' vs. veere [veːreˑ] 'edge [gen.sg.]' vs. veere [veːːre] 'roll [imp. 2nd sg.]'). There are nine phonemic monophthongs, with three phonetic lengths. Of these, simple and long are segmentally phonemic,[clarification needed] and the third length level is suprasegmentally phonemic and aided by a distinctive tonal contour. The script distinguishes only short and long, marked by vowel doubling, e.g. öö "night".
There are 36 diphthongs (26 of which are native to Estonian); all nine vowels can appear as the first component of a diphthong, but only [ɑ e i o u] occur as the second component.
There are very few instances of vowel allophony: /æ/ may have pronunciations [æ] and [ɛ], and long /y/ is pronounced as the diphthong [yi].
/p t tʲ k/ may become voiced between vowels (e.g. kabi 'hoof' [kɑpiˑ~kɑbiˑ]). These plosives, as well as the fricatives /f s sʲ ʃ/, may occur in both short and long forms (e.g. maste 'mast [part. pl.]' [mɑsʲːte]).
There is one series of stops, unvoiced unaspirated, with three phonemic lengths, written ⟨b d g⟩, ⟨p t k⟩ and ⟨pp tt kk⟩. Other consonants also have distinctive length, but only short and long are distinguished in writing. As with vowels, two segmental length levels are phonemic, and the third level is suprasegmentally phonemic. For example, for /n/, short /n/ in lina ('sheet'), half-long /n/ in linna ('town' gen. sg.), and over-long /n/ in linna ('to the town'). The latter addition of length is traceable to a grammatical marker *-han that has elided, with compensatory lengthening.
Consonants may be palatalized; but this is not written in the orthography, as palatalization generally occurs before front vowels (also in the final consonant in the nominative case of nouns if such vowel follows in the genitive). About 0.15% of the vocabulary features fully phonemic palatalization, where palatalization occurs without the front vowel. The process is similar to that found in Eastern Finnish dialects, where word-final /i/ is elided, leaving the palatalization on the consonant. Thus, palatalization does not necessarily need a front vowel, and palatalized vs. plain continuants can be articulated.
Proto-Finnic, the ancestor of the Estonian language, may have lost palatalization, in which case Estonian is one of the languages which later reacquired it, possibly as a result of Slavic influence. However, unlike in Russian, where palatalization causes some affrication and necessarily features a palatal approximant/fricative offglide, in Estonian language the consonant is otherwise unaffected.
Quantitative changes (strong grade : weak grade)
Qualitative changes (strong grade : weak grade)
Partition of grades in declension
Partition of grades in conjugation
The stress in Estonian is usually on the first syllable. There are a few exceptions with the stress on the second syllable: aitäh "thanks", sõbranna "female friend". In loanwords, the original stress can be borrowed as well: ideaal "ideal", professor "professor". The stress is weak, and as length levels already control an aspect of "articulation intensity", most words appear evenly stressed.
Typologically, Estonian represents a transitional form from an agglutinating language to a fusional language. Over the course of Estonian history, German has exercised a strong influence on Estonian, both in vocabulary and syntax. The canonical word order is SVO (subject–verb–object).
In Estonian nouns and pronouns do not have grammatical gender, but nouns and adjectives decline in fourteen cases: nominative, genitive, partitive, illative, inessive, elative, allative, adessive, ablative, translative, terminative, essive, abessive, and comitative, with the case and number of the adjective(s) always agreeing with that of the noun (except in the terminative, essive, abessive and comitative, where there is agreement only for the number, the adjective being in the genitive form). Thus the illative for kollane maja ("a yellow house") is kollasesse majja ("into a yellow house"), but the terminative is kollase majani ("as far as a yellow house"). With respect to the Proto-Finnic language, elision has occurred; thus, the actual case marker may be absent, but the stem is changed, cf. maja – majja and Pohjanmaa dialect of Finnish maja – majahan.
The direct object of the verb appears either in the accusative (for total objects) or in the partitive (for partial objects). The accusative coincides with the genitive in the singular and with nominative in the plural. Accusative vs. partitive case opposition of object used with transitive verbs creates a telicity contrast, just as in Finnish. This is a rough equivalent of the perfect vs. imperfect aspect opposition.
The verbal system lacks a distinctive future tense (the present tense serves here) and features special forms to express an action performed by an undetermined subject (the "impersonal").
Although the Estonian and Germanic languages are of very different origins, one can identify many similar words in Estonian and English, for example. This is primarily because the Estonian language has borrowed nearly one third of its vocabulary from Germanic languages, mainly from Low Saxon (Middle Low German) during the period of German rule, and High German (including standard German). The percentage of Low Saxon and High German loanwords can be estimated at 22–25 percent, with Low Saxon making up about 15 percent.
Often 'b' & 'p' are interchangeable, for example 'baggage' becomes 'pagas', 'lob' (to throw) becomes 'loopima'. Initial letter 's' is often dropped, for example 'skool' becomes 'kool', 'stool' becomes 'tool'.
As many of the early Germanic loanwords into Estonian were Saxon, their cognates can be found in Anglo-Saxon English, for example, 'nurk' (corner) is found as 'nook' in English and 'koer' (dog) is 'cur' in English.
The most famous reformer of Estonian, Johannes Aavik (1880–1973), used creations ex nihilo (cf. ‘free constructions’, Tauli 1977), along with other sources of lexical enrichment such as derivations, compositions and loanwords (often from Finnish; cf. Saareste and Raun 1965: 76). In Aavik’s dictionary (1921), which lists approximately 4000 words, there are many words which were (allegedly) created ex nihilo, many of which are in common use today. Examples are
Many of the coinages that have been considered (often by Aavik himself) as words concocted ex nihilo could well have been influenced by foreign lexical items, for example words from Russian, German, French, Finnish, English and Swedish. Aavik had a broad classical education and knew Ancient Greek, Latin and French. Consider roim ‘crime’ versus English crime or taunima ‘to condemn, disapprove’ versus Finnish tuomita ‘to condemn, to judge’ (these Aavikisms appear in Aavik’s 1921 dictionary). These words might be better regarded as a peculiar manifestation of morpho-phonemic adaptation of a foreign lexical item.
Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 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.
(All people are born free and equal in their dignity and rights. They are given reason and conscience and they shall create their relationships to one another according to the spirit of brotherhood.)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Estonian language|
|Estonian language edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia|
|Estonian edition of Wikisource, the free library|