The Estonian language is not an easy one to grasp, that’s for sure. But, if you’re interested in impressing your Estonian friends, you have to give it a go.
Even though it is a known fact that Estonians can be a little cold and distant, once you get to know them, they are the friendliest people out there. So what can you do to earn their trust?
From my experience, saying a couple of words in Estonian is the most effective ice breaker. Not only that, but the reaction you’ll get from Estonians is definitely worth your time trying to learn how to pronounce “Kuidas läheb?” (How are you?).
Being able to say a few key words in their language, shows the locals that you care about their values and you respect their country. Estonians speak English quite well, so in reality there’s no need to learn the Estonian language perfectly. Most of them also speak Russian, Finnish or German, which is quite impressive, but showing them that you’re trying to learn a few basic phrases will definitely help you form bonds easier. The reason why Estonians are so happy to hear a foreigner say something in their language is related to the fact that they are very proud of their country and even though there are so few people speaking the Estonian language, they managed to keep it alive!
To help you get started with the Estonian language, I out together some key expressions that I use on a regular basis:
- “Tere!” – “Hello!”
- “Meeldiv tutvuda!” – “Nice to meet you!”
- “Kuidas läheb?” – “How are you?”
- “Minu nimi on…” – “My name is…”
- “Mis kell on?” – “What time is it?”
- “Aitäh!” – “Thank you!”
- “Nägemist!” – “See you!”
- “Palun.” – “Please.”
- “Palju õnne!” – “Congratulations”
That’s basically all you need to make a nice impression! I’m trying to learn more and more everyday and I hope one day, I’ll be able to have a proper conversation in Estonian.
What’s you experience with the Estonian language? Do you find it difficult to learn?