Estonia - Languages

Estonian is a member of the Finno-Ugric linguistic family. It is closely related to Finnish and distantly related to Hungarian. Standard Estonian is based on the North Estonian dialect. Most of the sounds can be pronounced as either short, long, or extra long. Changing the duration of a sound in a word can alter the grammatical function of the word or change its meaning completely. The language is highly agglutinative, and there are no less than 14 cases of noun declension. Most borrowed words are from German. The alphabet is Roman. The first text written in Estonian dates from 1525. Estonian is the official language; however, Russian, Ukrainian, English, Finnish, and other languages are also used.

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