Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ok, so I have Asperger's... sue me

I realized that my ability to "suck in" vocabulary might not be something everyone has. Polyglottally seemed to be quite happy with "21 items"... 21? (It's also extremely English list. Our English teachers were using hours just to explain the difference of "excuse me", "I'm sorry" and "pardon". In Finnish? "anteeksi". You really cannot translate sentences like that. But what ever.) Take the Swadesh list in stead. The longer one. (Okay, then, take Omniglot's list too... Or never mind. Take any list of phrases that you feel is enough. After all, who am I to tell you what you should do, what you can manage in a week and so on.)

Learn the numbers - all of them. Come on! In most languages that means learning something like ten words. TEN WORDS!!! (Even if they'd use more words, these words are logically related and easy to learn, like in French: 5 cinq (sank) - 15 quinze (cans) - 50 cinquante (sank-aunt)
In Estonian you'll know all the numbers to 1.000.000 by knowing 15 words. (üks, kaks, kolm, neli, viis, kuus, seitse, kaheksa, üheksa, kymme, teist, kümmend, sada, tuhat and miljon)
It's REALLY easy, and a great way of learning the correct pronunciation.

So - Estonian - spoken by about a million people mainly in Estonia or by Estonian people living outside Estonia or their descendants. A surprisingly big amount of Finns have chosen to learn Estonian as well, and it does have some use in Finland, being very closely related.
Culture? What does that even mean? Yes, they write books, poems, newspapers and songs in Estonian, and practically anything else you can think of. It's used in calligraphy, in public signs, advertisements and... I mean. What?
Of course there's formal and informal language, of course there are some other stuff like that, but it's pretty much irrelevant when it comes to learning to know a language.
I'm also quite uninterested in the political significance of the language.
Who cares about whether EU or UN operates in Estonian, or what is the ISO code for it. It doesn't say anything about the language.
It's more interesting to know that Estonian is not Indo-European language, it's closest relative is Finnish, but it's also related to Sami and Hungarian, and the dozens of tiny Finno-Ugric languages that are being spoken (or killed) in Russia.
Estonian is a SVO language, no gender, some 14 cases, uses postpositional suffixes, bla bla bla. Very much like Finnish.
They use Latin alphabet.
Actually, 101 languages gives just enough information about... well... 101 languages :-D Estonian is there.

Õun on punane.
See on Johni õun.
Ma annan õuna Johnile.
Me anname õuna talle.
Ta annab selle Johnile. (She and he is the same word - e, perhaps?)
Ma pean selle talle andma.
Ma tahan selle talle anda.

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