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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.)

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

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

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.

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 (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.

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.

697286.  Thu Apr 15, 2010 10:29 am Reply with quote

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

I thought it funny in conjunction with trehvi's post.

893575.  Wed Mar 14, 2012 4:43 am Reply with quote

From my "little book of misery" (kept while I researched the life of Estonian street children):

According to reports made by the Swedish government up to 25% of Estonian children live in families whose income in below the poverty line.

and while we are at 25%... according to an Estonian Government report 25% of the app. 1.000 sex workers in Tallinn are under 18 years old. Some being as young as 13.

In a 2002 UN debate about child poverty, the estimates on the number of street children in Estonia ranged from 200 to 10.000. Neither of these being correct if you ask Estonian social workers or the Children's Support Center in Tartu. But no official number exists.

893692.  Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:01 am Reply with quote

kristint wrote:
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.

The meteor that created the Kaali crater is quite a prevalent feature in the mythology of Estonia, Finland and the rest of the region, including the Kalevala and Comet in Moominland.

1062002.  Fri Mar 07, 2014 6:04 pm Reply with quote

Since the Russia invasion of Crimea, attention has switched to Estonia where "Vulnerable Russians" make up 25% of the population. Significantly a NATO member, a Crimea style "solution" in North-East Estonia on the part of Russia would almost certainly cause all out war.

1066338.  Fri Mar 28, 2014 8:12 pm Reply with quote

The case of Narva is interesting. A town sitting on the Russian border with a large Russian majority.

1066348.  Sat Mar 29, 2014 2:31 am Reply with quote

The case of Narva is interesting

Protecting the Russian majority was just an excuse. The area was more important than the people. In a way the people were abused (democraticly justifying Russia's power) instead of protected.


"could". It's clear the author didn't read or fully understand NATO's article 5.

Ian Dunn
1212266.  Sat Nov 19, 2016 6:00 am Reply with quote

Outside of Japan, the country that consumes the most pornographic manga is Estonia.

I learned this in my job as a manga critic. The company that publishes the most pornographic manga or "Hentai" (Japanese for "Perverted", but in Japan they call it "Ecchi", their pronunciation of the letter "H") in English, Project Hentai (owned by Digital Manga Publishing), issued a press release contain this information.

The email contains an infographic listing several pieces of information. One of which is "Which country spends the most time enjoying hentai?" and top five are Estonia, Ireland, Slovenia, the USA and Denmark. The US state that consumes the most hentai is Wyoming, followed by Wisconsin, Hawaii, New York and Missouri.

I would display the infographic but I'm not sure if I'm allowed. There are no rude pictures on it, I'm just worried that it might be considered a bit off limits - mind you, so might this post.

1212274.  Sat Nov 19, 2016 6:33 am Reply with quote

Of course not. We've seen much worse. :-)

Ian Dunn
1212299.  Sat Nov 19, 2016 9:51 am Reply with quote

In that case, here's the infographic.

Just to explain some of the jargon:

* Waifu: A fictional character, such as one from an anime or manga, that you are attracted to or even love like a real-life partner.
* Oppai: Breasts.
* Paizuri: Breast-fucking.
* Netroare: Cuckold.

Source: Project Hentai Twitter feed (NSFW)
1387407.  Thu Aug 12, 2021 2:27 pm Reply with quote

Estonia is unique in that it has several capitals that change throughout the year:

Tallinn is the official capital.

Tartu is the cultural capital.

Otepaa is the winter capital.

Parnu is the summer capital.

Turi is the spring capital.

Narva is the autumn capital.

Additionally, Kuressaare is the capital of weddings and sunshine, Jogeva is the capital of frost and Saku is the capital of beer.[/i]


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