Estonian, Standard


A language of Estonia

Alternate Names

1,040,000 in Estonia (European Commission 2012). Population total all countries: 1,132,500.

Language Status

1 (National). Statutory national language (1992, Constitution, Article 52(1)).


Mulgi, Seto, Tallinn (Reval), Tartu (Dorpat). 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). All the other dialects are assimilated into Standard Estonian. Related to Võru [vro], Vod [vot] and Finnish [fin]. A member of macrolanguage Estonian [est].


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.

Language Use

Standard Estonian is the language of education, including universities. 506,000 also use English [eng]. 726,000 also use Russian [rus]. 242,000 also use Standard German [deu]. Also use Finnish [fin].

Language Development
Fully developed. Bible: 1739–1995.

Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

Some linguistic influences from Russian [rus], German [deu], Swedish [swe], Latvian [lav], Lithuanian [lit], and Finnish [fin]. Christian.

Also spoken in:

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