Estonian language resources
Estonian is spoken on a daily basis in: Estonia, Finland
Additional background on
Estonian (eesti keel (help·info); IPA: ['e?s.ti 'ke?l]) is the official language of Estonia, spoken by about 1.1 million people in Estonia and by some ten thousands in various émigré communities. It is a Finno-Ugric language and is closely related to Finnish and distantly to Hungarian. It has been influenced by German — initially Middle Low German, later also standard German, Russian, Swedish and Latvian, though it is not related to them genetically.
One distinctive feature that has caused a great amount of interest in linguists is that Estonian has what is traditionally seen as three degrees of phoneme length: short, long, and "overlong", such that IPA /toto/, /to?to/ and /to??to/ are distinct, as are /toto/, /tot?o/, and /tot??o/. In actuality, the distinction isn't purely in the phoneme length, and the underlying phonological mechanism is still disputed.
Another feature that sets Estonian apart from most languages is the vowel õ ([?]), a close-mid near-back unrounded vowel, which is farther back than the schwa ([?]), but fronter than [o].
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All data is derived from UNESCO.