Monday, 1 August 2011

Estonian Greetings and Useful Estonian Vocabulary

One thing I've discovered from learning my Estonian vocabulary from my father is that languages definitely evolve over the generations. Some of the expressions my father taught me are no longer in use in modern Estonian but I wasn't to know unless someone pointed it out to me. My father only speaks the Estonian his parents taught him and as they left Estonia in 1940 he has not been kept up to date with the changes to the language. Not so long ago a friend teased me when I used the word "prosit" to say "cheers" instead of "tervist". He light heartedly said that's something his great grandfather would have said.  In 2003 when my family went to Estonia we visited the National Museum of Estonia in Tartu.  I remember my father chatting away in Estonian to one of the women who worked there who interrupted him, saying "I haven't heard Estonian like that in a very long time - that's how Estonian used to be spoken etc."  She thought it sounded cute. My father may speak 'old Estonian' and I may get the occasional chuckle when I say the wrong word but it's all a learning experience.  

Here is a list of useful words and phrases to get you by in Estonia.

Hello - tere
Goodbye - head aega
Yes - jah
No - ei
Please - palun
Thank you - tänan or aitah
How are you? - kuidas läheb?
I don't understand - ma ei saa aru
My name is - mina nimi on
Excuse me - vabandust
I would like - ma sooviksin
How much does it cost? -  kui palju see maksab?
May I have the bill please – ma sooviksin arvet or bill please - arve palun
Bon appetit - head isu
Cheers - tervist
You're welocme - palun
I’m sorry – mul on kahju
Good evening - tere õhtust 
Good morning - tere homikust, or simply "morning" - hommik

Happy birthday - palju õnne sünnipäevaks
Happy Easter - häid lihavõttepühi
Merry Christmas - haid jõulud
Happy New Year – Head uut aastat
Congratulations – soovin
Good luck - Palju edu
I love you - ma armastan sind

Bread - leib                      Honey - mesi
Milk - piim                       Ice-cream - jäätis
Butter - või                      Cake – tort
Cheese - juust                  Pie – pirukas
Cream – koor                    Biscuits – küpsised
Eggs - muna                     Jam – keedis
Water - vesi                     Salt – sool
Coffee - kohv                   Pepper – pipar
Beer - õlu                         Orange juice - apelsimimahl
Wine - Vein

Town centre – kesklinn     Today – tana                    Week – nädal
Airport – lennujaam          Tomorrow – homme          Month – kuu
Shop - pood                      Yesterday – eile               Year – aasta
Money – raha                    Hour – tund                      Day – päev
House - maja                      

Mother - ema                   Uncle – onu                      Man - mees
Father - isa                      Aunt - tädi                      Woman - naine       
Parents – vanemad           Cousin - tädipoeg             Boy- poiss
Son – poeg                       Neice – vennatütar           Girl - tütarlaps
Daughter – tütar               Nephew - vennapoeg        Child - laps
Sister – õde                      Brother – vend                 Baby - beebi

Other useful words
big / small  –  suur / väike
hot / cold  –  kuum / külm 
good / bad  –  hea / halb
new / old  –  uus / vana
expensive / cheap  –  kallis / odav
quick / slow  –  kiire / aeglane
easy / difficult  –  kerge / raske
clean / dirty  –  puhas / must
thick / thin  –  paks / õhuke
young / old  –  noor / vana
open / closed  –  avatud / suletud

Summer - Suvi, Autumn - Sügis, Winter - Talv, Spring - Kevad