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Estonian Language Course

Created October 1998; Last updated May 16/2000.

kalev.bmp (51304 bytes)

Update May 2 2008: I've decided to upload this to in order to make it
available to the public (up to now it's just been on my computer and on Google
Docs). If you have any questions, contact me on my Wikipedia user page here:
Everything below this line is as it was back in May 2000 when I last looked at it.

As far as I know this is the first Estonian language course to be found on the web, and
should fill a large void in internet-based Estonian language resources. It is strange that I
have created this, though, for my Estonian is most definately not perfect. My experiences
consist of three months of study, and then living for a month in Tallinn. Nevertheless, I
consider myself a good teacher, and can convey what I know. I have written this page up
with the help of a few grammatical books I own, and so as far as I know this page is mostly
There are no sound files here, but one may find them at (select foreign
languages for travellers, and then click on the Estonian flag.) Travlang has pages with basic
phrases for a large number of languages, but no resources for forming one's own sentences,
which is what this page is for. I really can't recommend learning Estonian without hearing it
as well, and hopefully this should help.
Also, some of the individual vocabulary here may be lacking in an explanation; if unsure as
to the meaning of a word, try the On-line English-Estonian-English Dictionary by The
Institue of Baltic Studies.

Besides my experiences in Estonia, I have used a book called Colloquial Estonian to learn
what I know.
The whole course is contained on this one page. In this format it can easily be saved and
printed out in its entirety.
Lastly, even after completion I may make changes and improvements to this page. As well,
since I am not a native speaker there will be a few (or perhaps more) errors to the Estonian
on this page, so if you are one I urge you to mail me and help me out. In this regard, many
thanks to Andrus Varnik and also Madis Remmik for their corrections, ideas and suggestions
which have improved the accuracy of this course dramatically. Many others have
contributed as well, and I have included many of their comments. In most cases I have
integrated them into the course, but at times their comments seem to stand on their own,
in which case I have differentiated them from the rest of the course by converting them to
fixed width fonts, inside a block quote.
"To give you an example of what the comments from others look like
- they appear in this form. This is a fixed width font inside a
block quote."

1. Basics
• About Estonian
• Pronunciation
• Basic Phrases
2. Grammar
• Pronouns
• Numbers
• Verb Conjugation
• Noun Cases
• Adjectives
About Estonian
Estonian, as some know, is a Finno-Ugric tongue with close ties to Finnish, both outside the
better known Indo-European language family. Finnish is the main language on the Finno
side, while Hungarian is the main language on the Ugric side. It may be assumed then that
learning Estonian will give on some knowledge of Hungarian. Unfortunately, this is not true
(but it is with Finnish - more on that in a bit). Apparently Hungarian is similar to Estonian
only in its grammatical structure, such as the usage of noun cases on the ends of words,
and so on. However, the two languages barely sound alike at all. Finnish and Estonian,
however, sound very much alike and one usually has to listen to the words to learn which is
actually being spoken or sung.
Finnish, however, is another story. Many words in Finnish are similar or identical to those in
Estonian. The difference lies in the fact that Finland has had more of a Swedish influence on
its language, while Estonia's influences have been linked more closely to German and
Russian. The Estonian ü is pronounced the same as the Finnish y, and Finnish has no letter
õ. Also, Finnish words tend to be much longer than Estonian ones. Here are a few

English Estonian Finnish

forest mets metsä
school kool koulu
god jumal jumala
sea meri meri
purple purpurne purppuranpunainen
December detsember joulukuu
The last example is a slightly hidden similarity. There is an Estonian word, jõulu, which
means Christmas, and the word kuu means month or moon. Therefore the Finnish word
joulukuu would look somewhat like 'Christmas Month' to an Estonian.
But some words are not at all alike:

English Estonian Finnish

wise tark viisas
misery õnnetus kurjuus
...and so on. But sometimes seemingly identical words can have drastically different
meanings. The Finnish word hallitus (government), is the exact same as the Estonian word
hallitus (mould). One should not make assumptions.
And then there are the possibilities for gross misunderstandings: The Estonian word for
tercel (hawk) is kull, which is also a fairly common family name in Estonia. In Finnish,
however, it is slang for testicle(s).
So, in short: 1) Most Finns and Estonians are unable to understand each other (but may
with some effort), and 2) They easily could with a few months of study. But this does not
seem to be the case. However, Estonians do tend to be more inclined to know Finnish than
vice versa, as Estonia receives a few Finnish TV channels. During the Soviet occupation
Finnish TV provided a window to the West and the western lifestyle, which motivated the
Estonians to learn Finnish. Also, it gave the people a chance to hear the Finnish national
anthem, the same music as that of free Estonia’s. Finland does not receive Estonian TV
though, and so have less opportunity to learn Estonian. There is quite a bit of interchange
between the two, however. Finns often go to Tallinn for a day or two to enjoy the lower
prices, as well as to drink (and also enjoy marginally warmer weather?), and Estonians
commonly go to Helsinki to see shows or cultural exhibits, (Helsinki is about 20% larger
than Tallinn).
Lastly, Estonian has no similarity to the Indo-European languages of the other countries it
borders on. Though it has had some Russian influence, Russian is a Slavic language, not a
Finno-Ugric tongue, and is quite different. Estonian also has no similarity to Latvian (Latvian
is similar to Lithuanian, though).
Although Estonian as a language has existed for a long time, the language was not codified
(i.e., the rules of grammar and spelling established) until the late 19th century. Many
regional dialects still survive.
Once again, I urge you to find a way to hear spoken Estonian as well, such as Travlang's
page above.
Also, to hear Estonian radio you may also click here. This is the news section of an Estonian
radio station, called (I believe) simply Eesti raadio. For beginners of course it's quite fast
but nevertheless it gives a good idea of how Estonian is actually spoken.
There are others as well, and it is not too difficult to find. But I will also add specifics here,
and tips on pronouncing that may go unnoticed by the casual listener.
Estonian vowels, in general, are not changed by doubling like in English. A doubled o
sounds like the o in tone, while the short o sounds like the o in moment. It is somewhat
subtle, but all too important.
As with vowels, the doubling of consonants is noticeable. For example, the double s of the
word sissevedu (import), is pronounced more like as in 'Miss something' than as in
'Mystery'. Say it as if it were two words, but do not pause.
In general, the stress in Estonian is always on the first syllable of a word and thus words
usually begin with a hard consonant (p, t, k) as opposed to a soft consonant (b, d, g). This
does not carry over into syllabication, but has some impact in pronunciation; e.g., Jaakobi is
pronounced as if it were written Jaakopi.
The Estonian letters
a. Pronounced like the a in father.
ä. Pronounced like the a in hat.
o. Pronounced like the o in moment.
ö. Pronounced somewhat like in cook.
õ. This is the most difficult Estonian letter. Somewhere in between ö and o, it seems, but it
really needs to be heard to be understood.
u. Pronounced like cool.
ü. This letter is more difficult to explain. If you already know the German ü or the French
u, then it should be no problem. It is said with more of a rounding of the lips than u. It also
sounds a little more distinct.
i. Pronounced like film. When doubled, I think it takes on a sound more like screen. This is
what I have noticed - some books have told me that the i sound is always the same, but I
Basic Phrases
These basic phrases are ones I heard quite frequently while in Tallinn. I will also include
greetings here.
Tere! - 'Hi.' Very brief.
Tere hommikust. - 'Good morning.'
Tere päevast. - 'Good afternoon.'
Tere õhtust. - 'Good evening.'
Head aega. - 'Good bye.' Literally “(Have) a good time.” But, more frequently,
Nägemist. - This is more casual, more like “See ya.” Also used is Nägemiseni - “Until we
see again”. Or even...
Ciao. - I have no idea how Estonians would spell this - there is no 'ch' sound in Estonian.
But this is used quite frequently as well. Obviously acquired directly.
Ma ei tea. - 'I don't know.' Sometimes just 'ei tea.'
Võibolla. - 'Perhaps.' This can be used as the beginning of a sentence, or on its own.
Sometimes it is spelled võib-olla, but I don't want to give the impression that there is any
pause between the two words. There isn't.
Mis sa teed? - 'What are you doing?' This is heard quite frequently on TV.
Mis kurat sa teed? - 'What the hell are you doing?' Another TV word. The word 'kurat'
means devil, and is fequently heard in Estonia. It may also be translated as 'What the devil
are you doing?'

"Word order can alter meaning, too. Mis kurat sa teed? Is closer to
'What the hell are you doing?' whereas Mis sa kurat teed? would be
more like 'What the hell are you doing?' Kurat as a word is
somewhat like the British “bloody.” In usage both carry a stronger
connotation than their literal tanslations. - In the Estonian movie
“City Unplugged” [?], the English subtitles inserted the F-word
everytime kurat was used to add emphasis. Wonder what impression
the non-Estonian speaking audience members took away with them! [In
all honesty, I must admit that the Estonian F-word was used once!]"

Jumalaga. - 'Goodbye.' Nobody says this, in fact; perhaps only members of the clergy. I
have put it here because sometimes a book will state that this is a way to say goodbye in
Estonia, but it really isn't (even though I like it). Literally it means 'with God.' An example of
the Comitative case.
Kohtumiseni- ‘till we meet again’.
Estonian pronouns differ noticeably from those in English. Compared to English, they are
both more, and less specific. As with many other languages, there are two ways of saying
'you' - a formal, and an informal way (more on that below). There are also two forms of
each pronoun - a long, and a short form. The short form is used more frequently, and the
long form is used to emphasize the pronoun. Examples will follow below. Here is the chart of
Estonian pronouns.

Long form Short form Meaning

Mina Ma I
Sina Sa You (Singular, and informal)
Teie Te You (Plural or formal)
Tema Ta He/She/It
Meie Me We
Nemad Nad They
Short and long forms: As stated above, the long form is used for emphasis, as in the
following example: 'Kelle raamat see on?' (Whose book is this?) The answer may be:
'See on meie raamat.' (It is our book.) Or alternatively, 'See raamat on meie.' (The
book is ours.) - a subtle difference.
The underlining will not be present in a translation, of course, but it helps to explain the
point. Or perhaps,
Kõik inimesed on kasutud (Everybody is useless - inimene means person, inimese is the
genitive case) - Kõik asjad on kasutud (Everything is useless - asi means thing, asja is
the genitive case). And then, 'Mina pole kasutu.' (I'm not useless.) And so on. But
generally one should use the short form when speaking. The word pole is the short form of
ei ole, the nagative form of to be (i.e., not).
Demonstrative forms: note also that see = this/that: See siin = this (here), see seal =
that (there). But it can also mean “the” as in “Kas see on see raamat?” - “Is this the book?”
Tema/Ta: This is an interesting word in Estonian. In Estonian, whether the speaker is
talking about he, she, or it will hopefully be evident from the context. As expected then,
Estonians have a difficult time learning of this differentiation in English, as they never need
to specify such things in their native tongue.
Te and Sa: Though sa is listed as the informal pronoun, you may use it to people you have
never met, depending on the circumstances, and young people never call each other te. Te
is reserved for formal or business situations (and the form to use when you are unsure), a
student speaking to a teacher perhaps, and other such occurrences. But generally one will
most frequently use sa, but only among people one is already familiar with.

"In general, te is used among adults unless they switch to sa by

mutual consent (if they find Te awkward - the custom of drinking
to/toasting “sina-sõprust”). Also an older adult can grant a
younger person, or a woman can grant a man, permission to address
him/her as sa. I have noted that foreigners and Estonians who have
grown up abroad are forgiven any transgression in this regard."

Estonian numbers are similar to English in how they are formed.
1 - üks
2 - kaks
3 - kolm
4 - neli
5 - viis
6 - kuus
7 - seitse
8 - kaheksa
9 - üheksa
10 - kümme
11 through 19 are formed by adding the suffix -teist to the number (üksteist, kaksteist,
kolmteist, etc.) Numbers 20 and above are formed by adding the suffix -kümmend to the
number. (Note: many Estonians shorten this to just -kend in daily speech. Twenty, for
example, will be kakskümmend, or just kakskend.)

"The -kend is not good practice and should not be encouraged on this
page! It’s like teaching someone to say “twenny”!"

As somebody commented once. So it's apparently not good practice, but I did hear it quite a
bit while in Estonia, so at the least one should understand it.
Some more examples:
51 - viiskümmend üks (viiskend üks)
73 - seitsekümmend kolm (seitsekend kolm)
And so on.
100 - sada
1 000 - tuhat
10 000 - kümme tuhat
100 000 - sada tuhat
1 000 000 - miljon
1 000 000 000 - miljard
So the Estonian numbers present no difficulty. They only require memorization.
Verb Conjugation
Estonian verbs actually have two infinitive forms, the -da and the -ma infinitive. Don't let
this discourage you, for in most cases the da may be interchanged with the ma with no
adverse effects. But not all the time... for now we will only deal with the -ma infinitive, as it
is the form listed in most dictionaries, and the form we can most easily conjugate from.
Estonian verbs are conjugated as French verbs are - meaning there is a clear difference
between whether it is you, I, they, we, etc. initiating the action. Here is how they are
conjugated, using the verb kirjutama (write) as an example.
Pronoun Conjugation English Past tense English
Ma (Mina) kirjutan I write kirjutasin I wrote
Sa (Sina) kirjutad (inf.) You write kirjutasid (inf.) You wrote
Te (Teie) kirjutate You write kirjutasite You wrote
Ta (Tema) kirjutab He/She/It writes kirjutas He/She/It wrote
Me (Meie) kirjutame We write kirjutasime We wrote
Nad (Nemad) kirjutavad They write kirjutasid They wrote
The verb endings are extremely important to learn, as sometimes Estonians will leave out
the pronoun when wishing to be brief, as the ending specifies who is initiating the verb. The
ending -s is used quite frequently in newspapers and books, specifically when quoting
others. For example, 'Me vihkame tööpuudust,' ütles ta. - 'We hate unemployment,' he
said. (or she or it. We must learn from the context.) Here we have vihkame, a form of the
verb vihkama, to hate. ütlema means to say, and in these cases the word order is
reversed (literally, said he).
Negative forms of verbs
It is very easy to refuse something in Estonian. Just say 'Ma ei...' plus the stem of the verb
(ie, the verb minus the ma. See below for the conjugational form). 'Ma ei taha su vastikut
teed.' -'I don't want some of your disgusting tea.' Here taha is the stem of the verb
tahtma, to want. or: 'Ma ei tule, kui sa seal oled.' -'I won't come if you'll be there.' or,
lastly: 'Ma ei aita sind.' -'I won't help you.
Also, negative forms of verbs to not conjugate according to the person doing the action. ma
ei aita, sa ei aita, meie ei aita, etc.

Giving orders (imperative form)

The way to tell someone to do something is quite simple. If one wishes to be polite, add -ke
or -ge to the stem of the verb. Such as, 'Oodake mind.' -'Wait for me.' or, 'Tulge sisse.'
- “Come in (Enter)” and 'Tulge siia' - 'Come here.' If one wishes to be less polite, just use
the stem of the verb, without an ending, as in 'Istu!' -'Sit!' This is how one commands a
To give a negative command, preface the polite stem with ärge, or the regular stem with
ära. Such as 'Ärge istuge.' -'(please) don't sit.' or, 'Ära tule sisse!' - “Don’t come in!”,
'Ära tule siia!' - 'Don't come here!' But the basic stem can also be used without rudeness if
one is being positive, such as 'Ära muretse.' which means 'Don't worry.'
Some useful verbs
I will provide the verbs here in two forms: the -ma infinitive, and the conjugational form.
The conjugational form indicated the stem of the verb used in conjugation - otherwise, one
could make an important error, as in the following example: The verb minema means 'to
go,' but the conjugational form is lähe. To the end of this we can add the endings n, d, te,
and so on. But most verbs are quite straightforward, so do not worry. Minema is the most
extreme example of this.
-Come - tulema, tule. Such as 'Ma tulen hiljem.' -'I'll come later.' There is no future
tense in Estonian, and the previous sentence literally means 'I come later'.: 'Ma tulen' can
mean right now, later, tomorrow, next year! That's why a clarifier like hiljem is needed.
-Do - tegema, tee. Such as 'Mida sa teed?' -'What are you doing?' or 'Mida sa täna
teha tahad?' -'What do you want to do today?'
-Go - minema, lähe.
"Example: To tell someone to “Go away!” you’d say “Mine ära!” but
the response would be either “[Ma] lähen” or “[Ma] ei lähe,”
although I have heard toddlers say “Ei mine.” And for fun we have
“Ta läks minema” - “He went away.” But this is consistent as we
would say “Ta läheb/läks sööma/ujuma/jalutama.” - “He goes/went to
eat/to swim/for a walk[to walk].”"

-Hate - vihkama, vihka.

-Help - aitama, aita.
-Like - armastama, armasta. Used in such sentences as 'Kas sa armastad...' -'Do you
like...' or 'Ma armastan sind.' -'I love you.'

"If you were to ‘armastama’ your vegetables it would be weird, ‘to

like’ is more ‘meeldima’ -‘kas sul meeldib...’"

-Look - vaatama, vaata.

-Think - arvama, arva. This is a very helpful verb. One will often hear 'Ma arvan et...' - 'I
think that...'
-Think - mõtlema, mõtle. Almost identical to arvama, but arvama has a meaning closer
to 'consider'.
-Want - tahtma, taha. Such as 'Kas sa tahad teed?' -'Do you want (some) tea?'

Noun Cases
Noun cases are extremely important in Estonian. In fact, they are so important that there
are fourteen of them (compared to six in Russian, about the same in Latin, I think...). But
do not despair. The noun cases are quite convenient, and often take the place of
prepositions, so in this way they are easier to use and remember. Also, only the second and
third of the fourteen present any difficulty for the prospective student. First I shall illustrate
the cases in a chart, after which I will deal with them separately, and provide examples and
further help. I will illustrate the cases with the example word meri, 'sea.' Here they are.

"But first an anecdote about Estonian President Lennart Meri: A carful of

politicians are driving along the coast, when one of them gets a whiff of the sea
and exclaims: “Meri haiseb. (The sea smells/stinks.)” Lennart Meri took
exception to the remark!"

Name of noun case Form Meaning

Nominative meri sea
Genitive mere (ends with a vowel) of the sea
Partitive merd some sea
merre (also -sse ending, see
Illative to the sea
Inessive meres at the sea
Elative merest from, about, out of the sea
Allative merele for the sea
Adessive merel on the sea
Ablative merelt from the sea
for, to, by, becoming the
Translative mereks
Terminative mereni up to the sea
Essive merena as the sea
Abessive mereta without the sea
Comitative merega with the sea
There they are. It is an intimidating display, indeed, but do not worry. Learning these cases
will drastically reduce your need for prepositions. The English meanings on the right serve
only as vague meanings of what the cases are actually used for. In any case, I will now
explain further as to what the cases mean.
Nominative (Nimetav, from nimetama = to name)
This case is the standard form of a noun, and can have any ending. It means simply tree,
car, sea, etc. Nothing needs to be changed here, or worried about. This is the standard form
given in a dictionary (although all good dictionaries should have the Genitive and Partitive
form as well, and you'll see why in a bit).
Genitive (Omastav, from omastama = to appropriate)
The genitive form of a noun denotes ownership, and can be translated as 'of' or ''s' in
English. For example, mere tuul is the sea's wind, or the wind of the sea. The genitive form
usually ends with a vowel, but it is difficult to ascertain which one. This is why some
dictionaries provide the Genitive form as well. It is extremely important to learn because all
of the other forms, save the Partitive, consist of mere additions to the Genitive form. This is
why it ends with a vowel, as then additions can be placed without awkwardness. Often
though, when the nominative form ends with a vowel, no change needs to be made to
convert it to the Genitive, such as the word isa, which means father. It can also mean
'father's', or 'of the father,' with no change.
Now I must give the Genitive forms of the pronouns. These are used frequently, are quite
easy to learn, and involve a small or no change. Here they are.
Mina (Ma) - Minu, mu (my)
Sina (Sa) - Sinu, su (your)
Teie (Te) - Teie, te (your)
Meie (Me) - Meie, me (our)
Tema (Ta) - Tema, ta (his/hers/its)
Nemad (Nad) - Nende (their)
Partitive (Osastav, from osastama = to assign/partition)
I have found the partitive to be the most difficult noun case in Estonian, and it is the one to
deserve your greatest attention, after the Genitive. The partitive indicates a partial state of
being, and can be translated as 'some' in English. For example, the sentence 'Kas sa tahad
tee?' means 'Do you want tea?', but it is incorrect. Instead, one would say 'Kas sa tahad
teed?', which means, 'Do you want some tea?'
"Estonians don’t use definite or indefinite articles: it is usually
simply “cup of tea,” instead of “a cup of tea” or “the cup of tea.”
{on further reflection, not true: One could offer someone “üks tass
teed” or “see tass teed,” “seda tassi teed.” Thus when someone says
“Mul on raamat” it could equally mean “I have a book” (response to:
“Do you have a book?” “Kas sul on üks raamat?” [using üks as the
indefinite article] or “I have the book (or this book).” in
response to “Do you have the/this book?” both are “Kas sul on see
raamat?” )"

The partitive form is used in such cases, and generally ends with a t or a d. Once again, all
good dictionaries should include the Partitive form along with the Genitive. It is also
frequently used when talking about a language. For example, 'Ma räägin inglise keelt.'
means 'I speak English'. However, keelt is the partitive form of keel, meaning language.
So even if you were to speak fluent English, you would still say some, because nobody can
learn such things perfectly, and there will always be words we don't know.
This case will take much effort to acquire an easyness with, but rest assured that it is worth
it. It is quite useful.
Here are the partitive forms of the pronouns.
Mina (Ma) - Mind
Sina (Sa) - Sind
Teie (Te) - Teid
Meie (Me) - Meid
Tema (Ta) - Teda
Nemad (Nad) - Neid
Illative (Sisseütlev, from sisse = into)
This case begins those that merely add on to the Genitive, for which we are thankful. The
Inessive has a slight difficulty, however, as there are two ways of stating it. Nevertheless, it
is easier than the other two.
The Illative case states where something is going. 'Ma lähen Eestisse,' means 'I am going
to Estonia,' which is what I did. In many examples the Illative case will add on -sse to the
Genitive stem, but not all the time. Sometimes it will merely lengthen a consonant by one
letter. For example, take the word 'kino,' which means cinema or movie theatre. If I were
to state that I am going to the cinema, I would not say 'Ma lähen kinosse,' but instead
say 'Ma lähen kinno.' In this case it doubles the consonant in the word, just before the
vowel. This is the primary difficulty in dealing with the Illative case. However, there is a
general tendency one can use to know which form to use: generally, with important words
or place names, one will add on -sse to the end. In most cases, where it is possible, one
should merely add a consonant. And in some cases we need not worry, such as the word
linn for city. The genitive form is linna, which already has a double consonant. In this
cases, we need not do anything to change it to the Illative form.
Elative (Seestütlev, from seest = (motion) from within/out of)
The Elative, along with the rest of these cases, are simple and straightforward. The Elative
case adds -st to the Genitive stem, and means 'from' or 'about', when concerning a noun. It
can be used in a non-physical sense as well, such as 'Nende meelest on Eesti väike
maa.' -'They think Estonia is a small country.' They are right. This literally means, 'From
their mind,' or 'From their thoughts...' A different way of expressing such things.
"The names of countries are capitalized but not when talking about
the people or their languages: Eesti (Estonia), Eestimaa (Estonia -
land), eestlased (Estonians), eesti keel (Estonian (language))."

Allative (Alaleütlev, from alale = (motion) onto a/the surface/area)

The Allative case adds on the ending -le, and has the basic meaning of 'for' or 'to'. The
Allative case is used when something happens to someone or something. For example,
'Kanadalastele on suur maa antud.' (For Canadians, a large country has been provided.)
Or, 'Mis on parim sulle?' which means, 'What is best for you?' The short forms of the
pronouns change to mulle and sulle, but the long remain as minule and sinule. (For me,
for you)
Adessive (Alalütlev, from alal = on a/the surface/area)
The Adessive case adds on the ending -l, and it's basic meaning is 'on.' It is also used in
Estonian to denote possession, as in the mundane example, 'Mul on raamat,' which simply
means 'I have a book.' (Lit. 'On me is a book.') This is the standard form for indicating
ownership of something in the Estonian language, and should be used instead of the verb
Ablative (Alaltütlev, from alalt = (motion) off a/the surface/area)
The Ablative case adds on the ending -lt, and has the basic meaning of 'from'. It's different
from the Elative case, however. The Elative can also mean from in the sense of 'from my
opinion', or more literally, 'from my mind...' but the Ablative generally refers to a physical
reality, and can be used to give directions, or state the location of something.
Translative (Saav, from saama = to become)
The Translative case is somewhat useful, and generally it is quite obvious when this case is
required, which is quite good. This case generally implies a change of state, or can also
specify a duration of time. The case ending is -ks. Here are some examples.
Ma tahan saada paremaks inimeseks. -'I want to become a better person.'
Me saime märjaks ja mustaks. -'We became wet and dirty.'
Ma pean minema pikaks ajaks. -'I must go for a long time.' (Pika is the genitive form of
pikk - long, and aja is the genitive form of aeg - time.)
Terminative (Rajav, from rajatama = to mark the boundary)
The terminative is another useful and easily learned case, with the ending -ni. The
terminative indicates a point at which an action ends, and is often translated as until.
Ma läksin pangani, aga sind ei olnud seal. -'I went as far as the bank, but you weren't
there.' Here panga is the genitive form of pank for bank. I never heard such a sentence is
Estonia, but it may have been said at one time.

"Note: "Ma läksin mööda teed kuni pangani, aga sind ei olnud seal" (I
walked down the road until I reached the bank, but you weren't there)
sounds better in everyday use."

Nad võitlesid kella seitsmeni ning jõid siis kokku. -'They fought until seven, and then
drank together.'
Essive (Olev, from olema = to be/exist)
We are on our twelfth case now... The Essive case denotes the function something
performs. It is often translated as 'as', and takes upon the ending -na. It is often used when
referring to careers or occupations, such as 'Ma töötan arstina,' which means 'I work as a
doctor.' Arst means doctor, arsti is the genitive stem. Or, 'Ma tahaksin sind oma
teenijana.' -'I would like you as my servant.'
"Sinu teenijana kuuletun sulle alati" - "As your servant, I shall always obey you".

Abessive (Ilmaütlev, from ilma = without)

The Abessive is the opposite of the next case, the Comitative, and is used to specify when
something is not present. Its characteristic ending is -ta, and it is often translated as
'without'. 'ilma minuta, kus te oleksite?' -'Without me, where would you be?'
'Raamatuta ma olen ikka kurb.' -'Without books I'm always sad.'
Comitative (Kaasaütlev, from kaasa = along with/accompanied by)
The Comitative is the last of the fourteen Estonian noun cases, and is easily remembered. It
specifies when something is present or being made us of, and is often translated as 'with',
or 'by means of'. The characteristic ending is -ga. For example, if someone were to ask you
what you intended to do on any particular day, the answer could be 'Midagi sõbraga.'
-'Something with a friend.' Or it can also indicate what one is using to perform a certain
action, such as discussing travel. 'Ma sõidan autoga,' means 'I travel by car.' 'Ma tahan
minna sinuga,' means 'I want to go with you.' And so on. A very useful case.
Adjectives are used much like those in English. For example, "Ma olen kanadalane." - "I
am a Canadian." "Ma olen noor kanadalane." - I am a young Canadian.
To use an adjective in the comparative form, use the Genetive case and then add -m.

Adjective Comparative form English meaning

noor noorem young
kerge kergem (genitive is also kerge) easy
hiline hilisem late
halb halvam bad
kiire kiirem quick, urgent
So if you see an adjective in its comparitive form, one will also know the Genitive case of
the noun as well.
And to compare things with another, use the word kui. For example:
'Mu sõbra on noor.' - "My friend is young."
'Mu sõbra on noorem.' - "My friend is younger." and then add kui...
'Mu sõbra on noorem kui sinu kass.' - "My friend is younger than your cat.
"Kanada on suur maa." - "Canada is a big country."
"Kanada on suurem maa." - "Canada is a bigger country."
"Kanada on suurem kui Eesti maa" - "Canada is a bigger country than Estonia.
Superlative: This is very easy, and is done by putting the word kõige before the
comparative form. So then it becomes suur (big), suurem (bigger), kõige suurem
(biggest). So then we could say, "Kanada on kõige suurem maa." - "Canada is the
biggest country." Which isn't true, it's the 2nd biggest.

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