10 Estonian Tongue Twisters for Language Hackers

Being a hacker does not necessarily involve information technology, but certainly implies bold attitude. With time, the meaning of the term hacker has widened to embrace everyone who is curious and enthusiastic to undertake something creatively and learn by doing. This is exactly what this post is about — here are ten words and phrases that scale high on difficulty and challenge you to learn some of the dark and quirky sides of the Estonian language. As you’ll see, the last phrase on the list ain’t easy even for Estonians!

If you need a warm-up, try the 10 Tongue Twisters to Get You Started on Estonian.

So, let’s go. The first one is easy and might even turn out practical:

1. Ma armastan Sind

ma armastan sind

2. Iseseisvuspäev

iseseisvuspaev

3. Suveöö unenägu

suveöö unenägu

4. Jääga või jääta?

Jääga või jääta?

5. Üheksakümmend viis

95

6. Võtta või jätta?

Võtta või jätta?

7. Töööö ööraamatukogus

töö ööraamatukogus

8. Kuuüür

kuuüür

9. Küsi musi

küsi musi

10. Võib võid võtta või ei või võid võtta?

Võib võid võtta või ei või võid võtta?

So, how did you do? Was it doable? What else would you like to learn?

If you enjoyed this, check out a free video and animation heavy online course Keeleklikk, take part in the Estonian summer courses, or come join the semester or degree programmes of Estonian at the University of Tartu.

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  • Bill Chapman

    Wow! Not easy!

    Not many people know that Esperanto has native speakers too. See:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzDS2WyemBI It was never planned that way, but I have met about a dozen native speakers over the years.

  • Suveöö Unenägu/s is one of the deep topics here so make sure to prepare Yourself to not look like a loone outsider, having nothing to say about summernight-dreams

  • Fra

    Just to be pedantic 🙂 : 1) “töööö ööraamatukogus” means “worknight IN the nightlibrary”. 2) Isn’t “küsimusi?” better translated as “ANY questions?”? 3) “Ise” is better translated as “oneself” (it can be myself, yourself, etc.). 4) It would be cool to also analyze “unenägu” (something like “sleep vision”, which is a funny and interestingly archaic way to refer to “dream” for most Western language speakers).

    • Thank you, Fra – your comments are valid and helpful. “Unenägu” is indeed interesting!