25 July 2016

How to learn Estonian!?

If you are interested in learning language that only 1,3 million people in the world can speak, then here are some tips for doing it :)
Firstly, I must say I am always so glad to hear that someone wants to learn my mother tongue, because Estonian is not a popular choice, but it definitely is very interesting one!
1) Websites and applications like Memrise or Duolingo are a great way to start language studies. There are different courses, some are divided by themes like "Eating, cooking and baking in Estonian" or "Clothes", some are dedicated to grammar. Also a website called Keeleklikk gives a good overview of Estonia´s culture, history and language.

2) Books At first it is probably a good idea to start with some children´s books or short stories, but it really depends on your preference. And of course, books that help learning language are very useful.
3) Music Listen to Estonian music, translate words to understand songs and enjoy! Who knows, maybe you will find some new favourites?
4) Youtubers Making videos and being a Youtuber has become more and more popular among young people in Estonia as well. It must be very useful to listen, how an Estonian speaks the language and try to understand, it. There is an option to use translation on some videos and it might help to get the point of the video, but usually the translation is full of mistakes, so better do not learn wrongly :)
5) Movies There are some new great Estonian movies, but also classics that most of Estonians know really well. Depending on what kind of movies you like, choose the most suitable for you and learn!  Some movies can be easily found on Youtube, so it should not be difficult to watch something. I would recommend "Kevade", "Naerata ometi", "Nimed marmortahvlil", "Klass" and there are 13 parts of "Tuulepealne maa", which is one of my favourites!
6) Friends I do not think this one needs a lot of explanation - talking/writing with your Estonian friend, who kindly helps you to
learn this language - learning from a native speaker is very useful and you can practise your knowledge right away! Or perhaps you find someone who learns Estonian as well? Studying with someone else might be a lot more fun than doing it alone :)

7) Snail mail If you already know Estonian a bit, having an Estonian penpal is great practise! There are many websites for looking for a penpal, you may even find someone on Instagram or actually anywhere on internet!
8) Visiting Estonia to practise and amaze Estonians with your knowledge or start Estonian studies here is definitely a good idea, because it is well known a person learns quicker while being in the middle of that language (s)he is studying.
I hope you got some inspiration and good ideas for learning Estonian, althought I am sure these tips work well for any other language as well :D Just keep in mind learning a language takes a lot of time and needs practise to speak it truly well. So, I wish you patience and excitement of learning something new!
I will write again soon and hope to see you here again as well!
Do you know a good way for learning a new language? Let me & other readers know!
If you have any questions or want some recommendations, then just ask :)


  1. These are great tips, I've always wanted to visit Estonia and learn the language! :) Especially having a penpal who helps with language is very useful. I've helped many of my penpals with Finnish and it's been so nice to see their skills getting better all the time. :)

    1. I am very glad to hear that! I know, I have helped some people with Estonian as well and it is really nice to see improvement :)

  2. Hi Liisu,
    I love this post and I think you mentioned a lot of useful things, I cannot add anything I guess. :)
    As you know, I just started learning Estonian. Currently I am just learning a few phrases on Memrise. I also use Duolingo for other languages but sadly they don't offer Estonian yet! :/
    I think especially at the beginning it can be very hard to keep going as it is quite frustrating because you always feel like you know nothing :P
    For me, reading books and writing letters and emails in the foreign language helped a lot with my English! It feels great to be able to watch movies and TV series now in English as well - I tried the same with French but wooow it's so, so difficult! I guess I need to read a bit of French literature before I can actually understand people talking :P

    Do you think that Estonians would understand foreigners trying to talk in Estonian? I have read that for example in certain countries where people are said to be excellent English speakers, people will quickly switch to English if you try to talk to them in their mother language because some of them have a hard time understanding you. And of course, Estonians also seem to be very confident when it comes to speaking English :D But well, I cannot speak out of personal experience and I guess it depends on the person you're talking to. But what would you say? :)

    Sorry for this rather long comment! I hope it wasn't too tiring to read it!


  3. Awesome tips you have here! I'm sure this will help everyone. Thank you very much for sharing!