Estonian is an Finnic language closely related to Finnish
spoken by about 1.1 million people in Estonia. The main difference between
Estonian and Finnish is that Finnish has a lot of loan words from Swedish,
while Estonian contains many words of German origin, plus some words
from Russian, Latin, Greek and English. There is considerable mutual
intelligibility between Estonian and Finnish.
The oldest examples of written Estonian are names, words, and phrases
found in early 13th century chronicles. The earliest surviving longer
text dates from the 16th century. An Estonian textbook first appeared
in 1637. Ferdinand Johann Wiedemann published the comprehensive Estonian-German
dictionary in 1869, and a grammar describing the Estonian language in
Estonian alphabet (eesti keele tähestik)
Stress almost always falls on the first syllable of words. but quite a few words
of foreign origin and a few native Estonian words, such as aitäh, don't follow
Vowels and consonants can be short (written with one letter), long or extra long
(written with two or three letters).
The letter y is also called igrek.
The letters f, š, z and ž are only used in words of
The letters c, q, w, x and y are used in personal names, placenames
and foreign words.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They
are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another
in a spirit of brotherhood. (Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)