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A language of Estonia

ISO 639-3est

Population  953,000 in Estonia (1989 census). Population total all countries: 1,048,660. Ethnic population: 963,281 (1989 census).
Region  Also in Australia, Canada, Finland, Latvia, Russian Federation (Europe), Sweden, United Kingdom, United States.
Alternate names   Eesti, Viro
Dialects  Tallinn (Reval), Tartu (Dorpat), Mulgi, Vôru (Werro), Seto (Setu). Dialects are grouped into three: Northeastern Coastal Estonian (between Tallinn and Narva), North Estonian (island, western, central, and eastern dialects), and South Estonian (Mulgi, Tartu, Vôru). Vôru, Setu (a subdialect of Vôru), and Island are clearly distinct from standard Estonian. All the other dialects are assimilated into standard Estonian. North and South Estonian may be separate languages.
Classification  Uralic, Finnic
Language use  Official language. Estonian has remained the language of education, including universities. Those over 60 and under 20 speak little Russian [rus]. It is spoken less in rural areas and in southern areas. 75% to– 80% of the population in the northeast are Russian speakers. Those over 60 know some German [deu]. Most in the north speak Finnish [fin] for common topics.
Language development  Fully developed. Bible: 1739–1995.
Writing system  Latin script.
Comments  Some linguistic influences from Russian [rus], German [deu], Swedish [swe], Latvian [lav], Lithuanian [lit], and Finnish [fin]. SVO; 14 cases: affixes indicate case of noun phrases; verb affixes mark person, number of subject, and agreement (obligatory); genitives, adjectives, numerals before noun heads; question word initial; 1 prefix maximum; 5–6 suffixes maximum; word order distinguishes given and new information; active and passive voice; 4 moods in both voices: indicative, imperative, conditional, oblique; 2 infinitives for all verbs; 4 tenses in both voices and all moods: present, past, perfect, pluperfect; 3 degrees of comparison: positive, comparative, superlative; V, CV, CVC, CVCCC, CVV, CVVC, VC, VCCC, VV, VVC, CCV, CCVV, CCVC, CCVCC, CCVVCC, CCVCCC; stress on first syllable; possible secondary stress on third syllable; nontonal. Christian.

Also spoken in:


Language name   Estonian
Population  6,000 in Finland (1993).
Region  South coast.
Alternate names  Eesti, Viro
Dialects  Tallinn (Reval, Northern Estonian), Tartu (Dorpat, Tatu, Southern Estonian), Setu, Muly (Mulgi), Vyrus (Voru).
Language use  The traditional community was assimilated to the Swedish-speaking community.
Comments  Present speakers are refugees from World War II or recent immigrants. Christian.
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