Estonians highly value their language and culture, but generally do not expect foreigners to have any knowledge of them. Sometime it even seems that they take pride in the Estonian language being so difficult for foreigners to learn – as if this feature alone would make the language exceptional and mysteriously beautiful… Practice has proved that the quickest way for a foreigner to open up a reserved Estonian is to at least try to say something in Estonian: a simple “Tere” (Hello) or “Aitäh” (Thank you) will make any Estonian smile in surprise and delight.
Tere – Hello!
Nägemiseni – Good bye!
Tšau – informal and a very common way between friends and acquaintances to say both Hi and Bye
aitäh!/ tänan! – thank you!
palun – please
jah – yes
ei – no
Ma armastan Sind – I love you
Ilusat päeva! – Have a nice day!
Mulle meeldib kohtuda uute inimestega – I like to meet new people
Kus on raamatukogu? – Where is the library?
Kuidas minna ülikooli? – Which way is the university?
Minge vasakule – Go left
Minge paremale – Go right
Minge otse – Go straight ahead
Palun sõitke aadressil… – Please drive to this address
Mis kell on? – What time is it?
Kui palju see maksab?- How much does this cost?
Kuidas läheb? – How are you?
Tänan küsimast, väga hästi! – Very well, thank you!
Mida Sa õpid? – What are you studying?
Kui palju see maksab? – How much does it cost?
Ma ei saanud aru, palun räägi natuke aeglasemalt – I didn´t understand you, could you speak a bit more slowly, please