Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Elu on väärt elamist [notes on Estonian]

Elu on väärt elamist - Life is Worth Living
How much time have you spent thinking about Estonian? 

Let me tell you, Estonian is quite an amazing language. Funny and beautiful at the same time. My boyfriend thinks it's like a more cheerful version of Finnish :)

Finnish and Estonia belong to the same Finno-Ugric language group, but they are not mutually intelligible. As a Finnish-speaker I can understand some things, but most of the time I'm out in the blue, all puzzled about what is going on around me.

Take for instance the following sentences:

  • How are you? Estonian: kuidas sinul läheb? Finnish: Mitä sinulle kuuluu? 

  • I don't understand. Estonian: ma ei saa aru. Finnish: minä en ymmärrä. 
  • Thank you very much. Estonian: tänan väga. Finnish: kiitos paljon. 
  • Life is worth living. Estonian: elu on väärt elamist. Finnish: elämä on elämisen arvoinen. 

In general, I must admit that I know shamelessly little about both the Estonian language and culture. For a country that is so close, its history, culture, language and literature are surprisingly far away. I will definitely try to improve my knowledge in the area.

A tip for you who are unfamiliar with Finnish and Estonian literature: the Finnish writer Sofi Oksanen (her mother is Estonian) has written a couple of internationally acknowledged novels, which pay attention to issues relating to Estonia. 

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