Monday, 29 June 2020

Tallinn University Study: Why do we speak 'Estonglish'?

Helin Kask, a doctoral student at Tallinn University recently completed a study of the linguistic changes in Estonia. Kask reports that the Estonian language has changed throughout history and had most contact with both the Russian and German languages, but after Estonia regained independence, the language has been busy incorporating more words from the West where the influence of the English language, in particular, has begun to increase. The Internet plays a big role here, Kask states.

In her study Kask found the definition of a word is the main the reason why English words and phrases are used in Estonian. This is mostly because words and expressions with a specific meaning often do not have an exact match in Estonian. 

For example, it is difficult to find a one-word match for the English word "outfit", because in Estonian it is "riietus" (English: clothing) which, unlike the English word, does not include accessories, shoes, etc.

English discourse particles are also trending in Estonia to express emotion. Expressions such  as 'oh my god'  (jumal küll), "anyway" (igatahes), "last but not least" (viimaks), or "whatever" (mida iganes) are becoming more popular. Also, words with a strong emotional connection are often borrowed from English, e.g. "I'm so excited"(erutatud), or "I love it!" (ma armastan seda).

These changes in the Estonian language is a reflection of globalisation, the era in which we live and the ubiquity of the English language. 

Thursday, 25 June 2020

Go Baltic shopping with Nord Haus

I recently found this website and was pleased to discover another Baltic design house in the market. Nord Haus produces a range of homewares including linen and ceramics using Nordic and Baltic designs. Part of the latest range uses designs from Muhu, Poide-Saaremaa and Kolga-Jaani in Estonia, along with prints from Krustpils and Rucava in Latvia.

You can browse the Nord Haus website here.

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Head võidupüha ja head Jaanipäeva!

If you live in Estonia then you are lucky. You have a two-day public holiday. For the rest of us Estonians living abroad, it's work as usual but there's sure to be some celebrations tonight for Jaanipäev. This evening I will have Estonian food on my table, Estonian music playing and the beloved blue, black and white flag on display. Jaanipäev is one of the most important days on the Estonian calendar and Estonians everywhere will be enjoying themselves tonight!

Happy Jaanipäev everyone!

Saturday, 20 June 2020

Where to find War of Independence monuments in Estonia

In honour of Victory Day (Võidupüha) that is celebrated in Estonia on June 23, the Land Board has released a comphrensive list of where to find war monuments. The online portal is easy to use and allows you to zoom in to street view. The map of monuments can be accessed here.

Victory Day marks the decisive battle during the Estonian War of Independence that saw the defeat of German forces in 1919 who sought to re-assert control over the region. Victory Day is a public holiday in Estonia featuring a military parade rotating to different parts of the country each year.

Monday, 15 June 2020

Tallinn is open and awaits you!

Countries in Europe are slowly opening their borders and allowing visitors to enter but we still need to be vigilant regarding the coronavirus. The pandemic is not over yet. Estonia now permits many foreign nationals to enter the country without the need for quarantine. Now is a good time to start thinking about you next trip to Estonia! I sure am!

Sunday, 14 June 2020

‪Today Estonia mourns the victims of the June 1941 mass deportations

On 14 June 1941 the Soviet Union forcibly deported over 10,000 people from Estonia to Siberia. Today we mourn the victims of this horrendous crime. We will never forget.

Monday, 8 June 2020

Johann Anton Beckert: Estonia's first chocolate maker?

One of the joys of researching family history is unearthing long forgotten facts that have either personal or historical significance. This is the case with my fifth great-grandfather Johann Anton Beckert who was a chocolate maker from Bohemia. It is not known when Johann left Czech lands and settled in Estonia but he married his Estonian wife Margaretha Schumann in the Church of the Holy Ghost in Tallinn in 1784. 

Johann and Margaretha Beckert had three sons who were all born in Tallinn. Johann Nicolaus Beckert was born in 1784, followed by Paul Peter Beckert in 1786 and Johann Gottfried Beckert in 1789. On the boys' birth registrations their father's occupation was listed as 'chocolate fabricant' / chocolate maker. If this is true, as the records suggest, then Johann Beckert would have been making chocolate in Tallinn 24 years earlier than Lorenz Caviezel, the man who is credited as being the first chocolate maker in Estonia.

Church record from 1786.

A brief history of chocolate in Estonia.
History books have recorded confectioner Lorenz Caviezel as being the first chocolate maker in Estonia. Caviezel was originally from Riga and opened his confectionery shop in 1806 at Langstrasse 16 in Tallinn (now known as Pikk Tänav 16) where Café Maiasmokk stands today. Caviezel moved back to Riga in 1835 and in 1864 the business was taken over by Georg Johann Stude who founded the Maiasmokk café. Today Kalev, the largest confectionery manufacturer in Estonia, owns the property where it keeps the tradition of chocolate making alive.

Unfortunately, I have been unable to locate further records about Johann Beckert and his chocolate making in Tallinn. Sadly he died young and unexpectly in April 1789 from typhoid fever. He had lost his wife and son Paul the previous month from the same illness. His two remaining sons grew up orphans. It is a tragic end to the man who might have given the residents of Tallinn their first taste of chocolate. I think I know who I got my sweet tooth from!

Monday, 1 June 2020

How Did the Russian Nobility Relax in Estonia?

Aurika Meimre, senior research fellow and associate professor of Russian Culture at the School of Humanities at Tallinn University explains how Tallinn '(formerly Reval) was popular among the Russian nobility in the 19th century. Tallinn, or more specifically Kadriorg, was often visited by Russian blue-bloods and used as a summer residence, a place where they came to rest and heal.