Estonian vs Finnish. Will I sound ridiculous?

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giustino
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Estonian in Estonia

Postby giustino » 2006-11-30, 1:17

Maxcrylov,

Using foreign languages in Estonia depends on where you are and the age of the person you are speaking with.

From my experience, people that are 65+ are so, actually prefer to speak German with foreigners. I am an English speaker (from New York) and on several occasions older people decided that English and German were related so they could converse in German with me (I know no German, although after listening to it for awhile some started to make sense).

People that are maybe 25 - 65 know *some* Russian, depending on where they grew up. If they grew up in Tallinn, then I am pretty sure they can speak Russian. Throughout the country, men that are older than 35 or so probably know Russian from serving in the Soviet army.

Most Russian-speakers in Estonia live in Tallinn and the cities of Ida-Virumaa County. So for the rest of the country those that once used Russian (in school) have probably forgotten their skills.

People younger than 25 have diminishing Russian skills or have absolutely no understanding of the language. Especially outside of Tallinn, people younger than, say, 30 are likely to speak poorly.

My wife is an Estonian, and as far as I know her younger siblings and cousins do not know Russian at all. They do know some English.

Most young Russian Estonians I have met in Tallinn speak Estonian, but those that don't usually speak in English with their Estonian-speaking friends.

So as you can see, it is very much up to who you meet.

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Loiks
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Postby Loiks » 2006-11-30, 19:38

maxcrylov wrote:
By the way, I still ain't sure about the way Tallinn must be written in Russian. Таллинн или Таллин? In Soviet times it was Таллин only. Though it's a mistake. One "n" I mean.


AFAIK, after the collapse of SU some native names of former SSRs were made official in Russian. Tallinn was one of them, I can remember also Kyrgyzstan*. Then in some point a law was accepted in Russia that the old Russianised forms were taken back into use: Tallin and Kirgizija for example. Maybe you can find out if it really was so, I remember being heard about this in the news, maybe it was done when Putin was elected first time. In Russian speaking media in Estonia, however, they use Tallinn I've seen.

*writing in the right alphabet is too difficult on my computer, so please accept the transliteration

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Postby maxcrylov » 2006-12-01, 11:07

Exactly what I expected, giustino. Actually, it depends on whom you're talking with almost everywhere. In some way or another. Thanks :wink:

Loiks, you're right, the problem of names isn't that easy in Russian. I don't mind writing Таллин with one н since Estonians say Venemaa and not Rossija. These are specific rules of every single language.
However, it must be put in the framework of some rule and made consistent. Just a few examples:

1.Yet again - why not writing Таллинн with double н on the end since there are such names as Канн (historic place in Italia where Hannibal beat Romanians) and Бонн?
2. Okay, Kyrgyzstan maybe a hard word for everyone except for Turks (I'm half Tatar so I don't have any troubles with pronouncing it - in fact, it's rather Qyrghyzstan if one is to follow the phonematic principle). On the same grounds Russians do not call one of the regions of the country Bashkortostan (again rather Bashqortostan) - they use Bashkiria instead. But what's wrong with Tatarstan and Turkmenistan? I'm getting mad everytime someone says Tataria :evil: And if we're so consistent in erasing -stans, why not Kazakhia, Uzbekia and Tajikia (instead of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan) and even Afghania? Hopefully I won't hear these...
3. If we'll go on renaming, then Lithuanian cities won't be Kaunas or Vilnius anymore, but pre-1918 Kovno and Vilno :D
4. And finally - I was fascinated by Americans's attempt to rename Kiev after it's Ukranian pronounsation Kyiv. What's the point in it? Then rename Damascus in English, converting it into Dimashq (and why not even Sham - a Syrian name for it?). Italians left Lybia in the middle of the 20th century - then again, why Tripoli and not Tarablus or Tarablus Gharb to avoid mess with Lebanese Tarablus (why French Lebanon - Lubnan!).
You see, that's endless.

And, by the way, Riga is an awful Soviet times relict - please, Mr.Bush, it's Riiga, double "i"!

Have fun :D
If you really want to hear about it...

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Postby giustino » 2006-12-03, 4:37

maxcrylov wrote:4. And finally - I was fascinated by Americans's attempt to rename Kiev after it's Ukranian pronounsation Kyiv. What's the point in it?


That's because the limeys (English) gave us these handed down named for things. For example, in America we can easily say "Torino." Why should we say "Turin" instead?

It's the Brits that have a hard time with words. I mean they call pasta "päästa."

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Postby Loiks » 2006-12-03, 9:50

maxcrylov wrote:
Kaunas or Vilnius anymore, but pre-1918 Kovno and Vilno :D


Tallinn - Revel', Tartu - Jur'jev

maxcrylov wrote:And, by the way, Riga is an awful Soviet times relict - please, Mr.Bush, it's Riiga, double "i"!


Actually Rīga in Latvian. The double i is used when it's impossible to use any diacritics (e-mail, SMS etc). By the way, in Estonian it's Riia (in genitive, as all the Estonian placenames except Tallinn). And the now almost extinct Livonians said Rīgõ.

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Postby Loiks » 2006-12-03, 11:01

I have heard some funny things about "Estonian Russian". For instance: to pay: maksat'/maksovat'; Estonian: maksma; pokupat' po skidkam - pokupat' po soodusam; Estonian: soodusmüük - skidka (the Finnish loanword 'ale' is also used). Then the city council is linnavalitsus; Estonian Russian pronounciation [lʲin:a'va:lʲitsus], Estonian ['lin:avalitsus]; the parliament: Riigikogu, EST-RU [rʲi:jgi'ko:gu]; EST ['ri:GiGoGu] (G is unvoiced short k, used in Finno-Ugric phonetical transcription, it appears in Estonian, Votic, Ingrian and Livonian).

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maxcrylov
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Postby maxcrylov » 2006-12-04, 6:40

Loiks wrote:
Tallinn - Revel', Tartu - Jur'jev



Yeah, indeed, I forgot.
Actually, Tartu will be Derpt if we take pre-1918 names. It used to be Jur'jev before 1583 if I'm not mistaken, i.e. before Livonian war.
If you really want to hear about it...



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maxcrylov
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Postby maxcrylov » 2006-12-04, 6:44

Estonian Russian? :D

Something like Yiddish, in a way. Maksovat' 8) I like the verb!
If you really want to hear about it...



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