Welcome to studying Estonian! The goal of this course is to introduce you to the fundamentals of the Estonian language and culture. The course will provide you with the tools to function in an everyday context. You will be able to talk about yourself, your family, personal interests, weather, travel, jobs, holidays and food; understand and use basic expressions and simple sentences in routine everyday situations; and be aware of the basic characteristics of the Estonian language, culture and habits.
Authentic materials will be used whenever possible. The course will introduce Estonian literature, cinema, and pop culture. More specifically, we will watch Estonian movies, listen to and read Estonian song lyrics and read excerpts from Estonian literary works. The movies will provide the students an overview of Estonian cinema and facilitate situating the language into a context (subtitles are provided). You will write short reflections on the films in English but also express your thoughts in Estonian from week 2 onwards. You will also learn Estonian songs and poems that (1) portray a theme or genre in Estonian literature and music (2) represent a certain lexico-grammatical feature relevant to the topic at hand; (3) and are used as a reference text bank for examples about grammatical concepts studied during the course. Lyrics will be provided with verbatim English translations but only the original text will be considered during the course. Finally, during the course we will read an excerpt from an Estonian novel in the original language. We will be using a co-constructive reading method, where each student will be assigned weekly a short passage of the text. We will then look at the passages in class weekly to negotiate and discuss the meaning together.
Class will be conducted primarily in Estonian with an emphasis on all four language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Your attendance and participation are essential to being successful. You will be expected to attend class regularly, prepare for class daily and speak as much Estonian as possible.
Textbook and other materials:
Text: Mall Pesti and Helve Ahi: E nagu Eesti (Req.)
Literature: Excerpts from Piiririik (Tõnu Õnnepalu), Estonian poems: “Lumehelbeke” (Juhan Liiv), “Tõuseks üles” (Hando Runnel)
Estonian movies: Leiutajateküla Lotte (2006), Sügisball (2009), Tick Tack (2014), “Tujurikkuja 6” (2013)
Estonian song texts: “Põdra maja” (Neeme Laanepõld), “Laske sisse mardisandid” (Estonian folk song), “Lumeta” (Andres Agasild)