Official language is Estonian (ca. 1 million speakers). Many people think that they speak Russian in Estonia. Estonian is totally different language as Russian so don't never think they speak Russian automatically. Like Finnish, Estonian employs the Latin alpabet.
Estonian alphabet contains letters ä, ö, ü, and õ, plus the later additions š and ž. The letters c, q, w, x and y are used in proper names or foreign names, 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. Estonian language has also letter õ, which is difficult to say for everybody who don't speak Estonian as a mother tongue.
At the same time in many urban areas (especially young people) speak English well. Because Finnish is closely related to Estonian and, because of the heavy tourism and TV broadcasts from Finland, it is spoken quite well by many people in Tallinn.
German is also taught at school in Estonia and a large number of people can speak some. There is a large Slavic minority, particularly Russian and Ukrainians (over 25%), so Russian is quite spoken, especially in east. Russian is absolute language at schools for 6 years.
Estonian is very difficult language to learn. It has words from Finnish, Svedish, Germany and Russian. That's why estonians speak very well different language and it is not even so difficult for them.
8 different dialects are spoken all over Estonia. In Saaremaa they speak Saare dialect. In south Estonia, there is spoken Võro dialect. It sounds like totally different language, because it has words from Russian and Latvian.
Useful Estonian phrases
Hello - Tere
Thank you - Aitäh, tänan
Please - Palun
Excuse me - Vabandust
I'm sorry - Andke andeks
Good evening - Tere õhtust
Good morning - Tere hommikust
Good afternoon - Tere päevast
Good night - Head ööd
Goodbye - Nägemist, nägemisini, head aega
How is going - Kuidas läheb
How much this costs - Kui palju see maksab
Where are you from - Kust te pärilt olete
I'm from ... - Mina olen pärilt...
What is your name - Mis su nimi on
Bon appetit - Head isu, jätku leiba
I don't speak estonian - Ma ei räägi eesti keelt
I don't understand - Ma ei saa aru
Please speak slowly - Palun rääkige aeglaselt
Do you speak english - Kas te räägite ingliskeelt
I love you - Ma armastan sind
Help! - Appi!
Call the police! - Helistage politseisse!
Happy Birthday - Palju õnne sünnipäevaks
Indietro: Basic facts