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.
|Letter||Name of the letter||Phonetic||Sound in a word|
|Õ,õ||õõ||[ɤː]||no counterpart in English|
|Ü,ü||üü||[yː]||no counterpart in English|
The letters can be divided into two groups:
Also, there are six letters that are unique to the Estonian alphabet:
|Õun (Apple)||Ülane (Anemone)|
|Garaaž (Garage)||Šimpans (Chimpanzee)|
|Ämblik (Spider)||Öö (Night)|
Congratulations! You have completed the first step of learning Estonian. Continue to the next lesson to learn the pronunciation.
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