Everything You Need To Learn Estonian
Estonian is a Finno-Ugric language that belongs to the Baltic-Finnic branch of the Uralic languages. There are over a million native speakers of Estonian who live in the country itself, as well as tens of thousands more who live abroad.
Due to its close proximity to Finland, Estonian has similarities with Finnish in both grammar and vocabulary. The two are usually considered somewhat mutually intelligible, though this depends on who you ask.
This means that if you learn Estonian, you’ll get a “language discount” on Finnish, i.e. it’ll be a lot easier to pick up Finnish, should you choose to learn it later.
Estonian is considered to be one of the harder European languages, mostly due to its complex grammar and case system. Things are made even harder for learners, due to the lack of Estonian learning materials available.
Below is a list of the resources we could find. Though the list is small, we believe there’s more than enough here to get you to an advanced level in Estonian.
Estonian Language Learning Books
Using Estonian course books and text books is one of the best and most affordable ways to learn Estonian, especially when in-person or online live courses aren’t available.
Estonian study books will teach you the foundations of the Estonian language by focusing on the basics of Estonian grammar, which is often difficult for non-native speakers to master. You’ll also learn how to read and write in Estonian, as well as build your vocabulary through exercises.
A concise Estonian-English dictionary will be your best friend during your studies, as you’ll constantly need to look up words and word roots to fully grasp the concepts you’re studying.
For those who enjoy word puzzles, we recommend getting an Estonian crossword or word search puzzle book. These books usually contain hundreds of important Estonian words that you’ll more easily memorize if you learn them in this fun, exciting way.
Estonian Children’s Books
Estonian children’s books are great for learners of all ages, and are especially useful for beginners at the start of their language journey. These books will expose beginners to the Estonian language in a fun way, with bright colours and simple stories that use basic words and easy-to-understand language.
Many of the books on our list are great in that they’re bilingual English-Estonian, providing readers with texts in both languages. This eliminates the need to use a dictionary for comprehension, making for a smoother read.
The natural progression from reading Estonian children’s books, Estonian stories written for adult readers is great for those who have some experience reading in Estonian, as it’ll start to expose them to more complex language and concepts.