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suze
534722.  Sat Apr 11, 2009 7:22 pm Reply with quote

Tere tulemast! I don't think we've had an Estonian on these forums before.

Thanks for your answer, it's a question we've discussed a few times over the years. Is there another word meaning "the edge of the ice" that would be used instead of jäääär if it weren't for the four <ä>s and the band?

 
bobwilson
534746.  Sat Apr 11, 2009 9:21 pm Reply with quote

Bloody Estonians - coming over here, nicking our threads..... I've a good mind to write to the Daily Mail about it

 
MartJ
535003.  Sun Apr 12, 2009 10:58 am Reply with quote

No, there isn't another word for it. If there weren't for the 4 ä's, I don't think it would be much used at all and probably didn't exist. There aren't really any other -äär words. I can make some up though!

käeäär - edge of hand
puuäär - edge of tree
sääreäär - edge of leg
ööäär - edge of night

I'm sure most of these haven't ever been used but they do make grammatical sense.

The only Estonia related thing I've seen on QI is that "Estonians believe if you point at a rainbow, your finger will fall off," which I've never heard at all. My dad's hobby is the local folklore and ethnography and he'd never heard it either.

If anyone cares here's how I found out about QI: probably through Jimmy Carr on youtube, who I found through Jonathan Ross on Big Fat Quiz on youtube, who I probably found... through someone on youtube.

 
Starfish13
535030.  Sun Apr 12, 2009 11:17 am Reply with quote

MartJ wrote:
ööäär


Oh why, oh why isn't this the Estonian word for 'west country farmer'?

 
trehvi
611848.  Sat Sep 12, 2009 2:10 pm Reply with quote

Proud to present that Estonia is the least religious country in the world
http://euobserver.com/9/27587

 
Jenny
611881.  Sat Sep 12, 2009 2:57 pm Reply with quote

That's an interesting article trehvi - thank you, and welcome to QI :-)

 
kristint
662182.  Tue Jan 26, 2010 2:41 pm Reply with quote

eggshaped wrote:
The highest point in Estonia is Suur Munamägi - Great Egg Hill

http://www.gsi.ie/Education/European+Landscapes/Estonia.htm


and its only 318 meters high :D -one of the flattest country in Northen Europe


Last edited by kristint on Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:51 pm; edited 1 time in total

 
kristint
662185.  Tue Jan 26, 2010 2:56 pm Reply with quote

MatC wrote:
JumpingJack wrote:
The Estonian unit of currency is the kroon, or EEK for short – as in 100 EEK, 500 EEK notes.


How much does a mouse cost?


about 50EEk

 
kristint
662193.  Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:16 pm Reply with quote

There is one famous saying about estonians: "In evry port of the world there is one drunk estonian" -it was said by Hemingway http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-diel/what-hemingway-said_b_183271.html (there are variations of the exact quote)
and estonians are quite proud of it for some reason!
Also there is a saying that there are only two sailors countries in the world: one is island of Estonia called Saaremaa and the other is England. (The islanders of Saaremaa think of the mainland as an other country.)

The island of Saaremaa is also known by the meteor crater called Kaali. The exact time of the fall of the meteorite is not known, but it is belived that it fell when Saaremaa and mainland of Estonia was already inhabited. There is an old folk song called "Burning of Saaremaa" - it is belived to originate from that time. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaali_crater

 
Zebra57
662338.  Tue Jan 26, 2010 8:55 pm Reply with quote

It is remarkable that Estonian survived for 700 years under pressure from German, Danish, Swedish and Russian.

Would one of our experts please explain where Estonian and its related language Finnish originated as they are very different from the Indo-European languages. Comments on the net appear very confusing.

Was Estonian repressed under Soviet rule?

 
suze
662662.  Wed Jan 27, 2010 1:08 pm Reply with quote

The original home (or urheimat, to use a bit of linguistic jargon) of the Uralic languages (i.e. that group of languages of which the best known are Estonian, Finnish, and Hungarian) was probably actually fairly close to that of the Indo-European languages.

To save a lot of repetition, I'll refer you to post 49745, which addresses the matter in some detail.

As for why it is that Estonian, Finnish, and Hungarian are so different from the languages which surround them, the answers to that are historical and geographical. The Magyars didn't move to the area which is now Hungary until the year 896 - before that they had lived further east, and it is known that there were still some Magyars in what is now Bashkortostan until the Mongol invasion of the thirteenth century.

The Estonians and Finns moved to the Baltic rather earlier than that, but their territories were isolated and so their languages remained more or less intact. Almost nothing is known of Finland before it was invaded by Sweden in around 1250, and not a great deal more about Estonia.


On the second question, there has been a lot written about Soviet language policy. It changed from time to time; initially everyone was to be made to speak Russian, then everyone was to be free to speak their own language as well as Russian, and then everyone could speak their own language so long as they wrote it in the Cyrillic alphabet.

That part never reached the Baltic republics - the main period of enforcement of Cyrillic was in the 1930s, and the Baltic republics had yet to be annexed by the USSR. All the same, everyone had to learn Russian in school, and an inability to speak Russian wasn't good for one's career prospects. (Estonian did have Cyrillic license plates on its cars between 1944 and 1971, but Moscow allowed them to be dropped.)

 
Zebra57
663327.  Thu Jan 28, 2010 7:15 pm Reply with quote

Was the cyrillic alphabet imposed in other ways in the Soviet Union?

 
suze
663355.  Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:23 pm Reply with quote

Yes, in the 1930s. Many of the languages of Soviet Central Asia had traditionally been written in Arabic script. That was largely because the people who spoke them were Muslim; Arabic script was not well suited to the languages and there was no other reason for them to use it.

In the 1920s the Soviets imposed the use of the Roman alphabet for these languages. That was done partly to break the association with Islam, and partly to improve literacy - the Roman alphabet as introduced was more or less phonemic, and hence easier to learn than the Arabic script which had been used before.

But within a decade, Stalin decided that he no longer wanted the alphabet of the capitalists to be used in the USSR, and so the Cyrillic alphabet was imposed on all languages which had used the Roman. Georgian and Armenian were allowed to retain their own alphabets, and the Baltic republics were not as yet under Soviet rule so they were unaffected. But for instance, the Romanian spoken in Moldova had to be written in Cyrillic, the Kildin Sami of Arctic Russia did, and so did Gagauz which until then had used the Greek alphabet on the rare occasions that it was written down at all.

Since the breakup of the USSR, some languages have returned to the Roman alphabet (Azerbaijani, Gagauz, Moldovan Romanian, Turkmen, Uzbek), while others have continued with Cyrillic (Kazakh, Kildin Sami, Kyrgyz, Tajik). There's been some suggestion of adopting Arabic script once again, especially in Kyrgyzstan, but it seems unlikely.

 
Celos
697279.  Thu Apr 15, 2010 10:11 am Reply with quote

kristint wrote:
There is one famous saying about estonians: "In evry port of the world there is one drunk estonian" -it was said by Hemingway http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-diel/what-hemingway-said_b_183271.html (there are variations of the exact quote)
and estonians are quite proud of it for some reason!
Also there is a saying that there are only two sailors countries in the world: one is island of Estonia called Saaremaa and the other is England. (The islanders of Saaremaa think of the mainland as an other country.)

The island of Saaremaa is also known by the meteor crater called Kaali. The exact time of the fall of the meteorite is not known, but it is belived that it fell when Saaremaa and mainland of Estonia was already inhabited. There is an old folk song called "Burning of Saaremaa" - it is belived to originate from that time. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaali_crater


It might be because according to recent research, we're the second most drunk nation in Europe (link).

Keeping with the theme of drinking and alcohol, Taara (or Taarapita) was the name of an ancient god in Estonian mythology, whereas now the word (with a lowercase t) represents empty bottles.

An alternate name for Estonia and Livonia is Terra Mariana (Maarjamaa), The Land of St. Mary (akin to The Land of the Son, Jerusalem), as it was in the epicenter of the Northern Crusades.

--

Almost forgot to mention this: Estonia was free for pretty much one day for the first time in around 800 years in 24th of February 1918. During WWI, there was a power vacuum in Estonia where the Russians were retreating, but the German's hadn't arrived yet. On 23rd of February, independance was declared in Pärnu and on the 24th in the capital Tallinn. The next day the Germans invaded.


Last edited by Celos on Thu Apr 15, 2010 10:27 am; edited 1 time in total

 
Sadurian Mike
697282.  Thu Apr 15, 2010 10:21 am Reply with quote

Sadly Taarapita wasn't the Oh God of hangovers, which would have been awfully apt.

 

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