• Estonian course for beginners
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  • 1 Estonian alphabet
  • 2 Estonian pronunciation
  • 3 Estonian keyboard and how to type letters
  • 4 How to say hello in Estonian [0/2]
  • 5 Introducing yourself in Estonian [0/2]
  • 6 Telling the time in Estonian [0/2]
  • 7 Numbers and counting in Estonian [0/3]
  • 8 Days of the week, months and seasons in Estonian [0/3]
  • 9 Describing people and characters in Estonian [0/2]
  • 10 Describing the family in Estonian [0/3]
  • 11 Colours in Estonian [0/3]
  • 12 Body parts in Estonian [0/3]
  • 13 Clothes in Estonian [0/3]
  • 14 Animal names in Estonian [0/3]
  • 15 Order food in Estonian [0/3]
  • 16 Birthday wishes and congratulations in Estonian [0/2]
  • 17 Asking for directions in Estonian [0/3]
  • 18 Grocery shopping in Estonian [0/3]
  • 19 Expressing feelings in Estonian [0/2]
  • 20 How to say I love you in Estonian [0/2]
  • 21 Talking about hobbies in Estonian [0/2]
  • 22 Talk about the weather in Estonian [0/2]
  • 23 Describing your home in Estonian [0/2]
  • 24 Travel and transportation in Estonian [0/2]
  • 25 Business words in Estonian [0/2]
  • Estonian alphabet

    Let's start from the beginning of learning the Estonian language - the alphabet! 

    Luckily, learning the Estonian alphabet is quite easy since it is based on the Latin alphabet. However, due to German influence, there are also vowels such as Ä, Ö, Ü. The alphabet also differs from the Latin alphabet by the addition of the letters Š and Ž and by the position of Z. Probably the most distinctive letter is the vowel Õ.

    The official alphabet consists of 27 letters. However, the letters F, Š, Z, Ž are so-called "foreign letters" (võõrtähed), and occur only in loanwords and foreign proper names. Additionally C, Q, W, X and Y are used in writing foreign proper names but they are not officially part of the alphabet. Including all the foreign letters, the Estonian alphabet consists of 32 letters.

    alphabet

    Letters of the Estonian alphabet

    Letter Name of the letter Phonetic Sound in a word
    A,a aa [a:] alfa
    B,b bee [be:] bravo
    C,c tsee [tse:] charlie
    D,d dee [de:] delta
    E,e ee [e:] echo
    F,f eff [eff] foxtrot
    G,g gee [ge:] golf
    H,h haa [ha:] hotel
    I,i ii [i:] india
    J,j jott [jott] juliett
    K,k kaa [ka:] kilo
    L,l ell [ell] lima
    M,m emm [emm] mike
    N,n enn [enn] november
    O,o oo [o:] oscar
    P,p pee [pe:] papa
    Q,q kuu [ku:] quebec
    R,r err [err] romeo
    S,s ess [ess] sierra
    Š,š ša [ʃɑː] shoe
    Z,z zett [se:] zulu
    Ž,ž žee [ʒeː] treasure
    T,t tee [te:] tango
    U,u uu [u:] uniform
    V,v vee [ve:] victor
    W,w kaksisvee [kaksisve:] whiskey
    Õ,õ õõ [ɤː] no counterpart in English
    Ä,ä ää [æː] cat
    Ö,ö öö [øː] burning
    Ü,ü üü [yː] no counterpart in English
    X,x iks [iks] box
    Y,y igrek [igrek] yankee

     

    Estonian vowels and consonants

    The letters can be divided into two groups:

    • Vowels:  A, E, I, O, U, Õ, Ä, Ö, Ü
    • Consonants: B, D, F, G, H, J, K, L, M, N, P, R, S, Z, Ž, T, V

     

    Unique Estonian letters

    Also, there are six letters that are unique to the Estonian alphabet:

    • Ä, Ö, Ü, Õ, Š, Ž​
    appleÕun (Apple) anemoneÜlane (Anemone)
    garageGaraaž (Garage)   chimpanzeeŠimpans (Chimpanzee) 
    spiderÄmblik (Spider)  night Öö (Night)

     

    yes Congratulations! You have completed the first step of learning Estonian. Continue to the next lesson to learn the pronunciation.