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Finnish & Estonian

 Language Learning Forum : Specific Languages Post Reply
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paparaciii
Diglot
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Latvia
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 Message 1 of 25
22 April 2009 at 2:50pm | IP Logged 
Are they mutually intelligible?



Masked Avenger
Triglot
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 Message 2 of 25
22 April 2009 at 3:59pm | IP Logged 
No.
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paparaciii
Diglot
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 Message 3 of 25
22 April 2009 at 4:07pm | IP Logged 
Thanks.



Chung
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 Message 4 of 25
22 April 2009 at 4:42pm | IP Logged 
Acutally, I'd qualify that "no". They are somewhat mutually intelligible but Estonians usually understand Finnish better than Finns understand Estonian. Even with my basic knowledge of Estonian, I can decipher some signs and understand basic Finnish that's spoken slowly and clearly or written with fairly basic vocabulary.
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paparaciii
Diglot
Senior Member
Latvia
Joined 3716 days ago

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Speaks: Latvian*, Russian
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 Message 5 of 25
22 April 2009 at 5:30pm | IP Logged 
Hmmm... you can understand basic Finnish with your basic Estonian... Are they really THAT intelligible?? :D

But seriously, I made this thread because one guy yesterday told me that those languages are fairly intelligible. Somehow I don't believe his story.

Btw, Estonians and Finns - where the hell are you? I need your opinions on this subject.



Chung
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 Message 6 of 25
22 April 2009 at 5:47pm | IP Logged 
After spending some time in Estonia and then teaching myself some Estonian, I do believe that guy whom you're referring to. The degree and direction of intelligibility can at times be exaggerated, however to say that they are not mutually intelligible (at all) seems at odds with what I've experienced.





Hencke
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 Message 7 of 25
22 April 2009 at 8:33pm | IP Logged 
I grew up near Helsinki, where we could pick up a radio station from the Estonian capital Tallinn at barely 100 km distance across the water. Except it didn't have any interesting programs and I think hardly anyone ever listened to it. We could pick up a TV channel too, but they used a different standard so it was just a rather grainy picture with no sound.

From the few occasions when we did listen in on the radio I have the impression that we could pick up a few scattered words and a snippet of a sentence here and there, enough to mostly identify what subject was being discussed, but not a lot of detail on what was actually said. It is hard to put a percentage on it but it might be somewhere between ten and twenty per cent.

I gather many Estonians grew up watching Finnish television, with American TV-series and other "interesting" (hmmm) programs that they didn't have access to otherwise during the Soviet days. I am guessing this might partly account for why Finnish is easier for them to understand than the other way around.

In my opinion the two languages are probably a little closer, and more mutually intelligible, than Swedish and German, but not quite as close as Spanish and Italian, assuming we compare among native speakers who have not studied or had any special exposure to the other language at all.

During a visit to Tallinn a few years ago I got by with Finnish with no problem at all for basics like ordering in the restaurant and doing some simple shopping, but obviously they were used to Finnish-speaking tourists and possibly adapted their speech to some extent too.

Edited by Hencke on 22 April 2009 at 8:46pm

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Iversen
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berejst.dk
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 Message 8 of 25
22 April 2009 at 11:55pm | IP Logged 
I'm surprised that those two languages aren't seen as mutually intelligible. I have travelled from Tallinn to Helsinki and back with the ferry, and I remember that all signs on the ship were bilingual. And as far as I could see the two languages looked very close to each other, - though with slightly more letters in Finnish than in Estonian.

Edited by Iversen on 22 April 2009 at 11:57pm




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