Unfortunately for all you dedicated language learners out there, there’s no Estonian on Duolingo. Of course, if we’re being honest, there aren’t a whole host of Estonian language speakers, but just because the language doesn’t have many practitioners doesn’t take away from its beauty. Plus, we’ve made several reasons why learning Estonian might be useful for you.
Why Is There No Estonian On Duolingo?
- The biggest reason is that there are only 1.1 million Estonian speakers. That isn’t a big enough market for Duolingo.
- Duolingo has committed to saving an endangered language such as the Hawaiian language. Although Estonian has only 1.1 million speakers, it probably isn’t going to go extinct any time soon. It has a solid base and has survived many onslaughts already from other dominant languages. It even survived Russification after World War 2. Although many speak English, the official language is still Estonian, so as long as the country’s politics are being done in Estonian, it’s bound to survive.
- Duolingo recently released a Finnish course and might be skeptical about pursuing a language so closely related. Estonian faces the same problem as many smaller languages, i.e. it is dwarfed by its neighbors such as Finland, Sweden, England, and Russia.
- Difficulty. According to the State Department’s foreign service institute, Estonian is the 5th hardest language to learn for native English speakers. It is interesting to consider that the only languages ranked more difficult are Japanese, Mandarin, Korean, and Arabic.
Why Should You Learn Estonian?
It’s safe to say that if you speak Estonian, you’ll be the only person at the dinner party who can do so. If you can find one other person who speaks it, you basically have your own secret language. People in Finland won’t even understand you!
Both Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia occupied Estonia. Many fascinating accounts of what life was like under these tyrannical regimes come through firsthand if you can read Estonian. The two most widely read modern Estonian writers are Jaan Kross and Jaan Kaplinski.
Estonia is famous for being the birthplace of Skype. It has a respectable internet speed considering where the country is located and ranks not far behind the U.K. Interestingly, Estonia was also the first country to adopt online voting in 2005. The Wall Street Journal has commented on the fantastic fact that Estonia has more start-ups per capita than Silicon Valley! Although a lot of business is conducted in English, it helps tremendously to speak Estonian.
Although Coronavirus has slowed down the economy, in 2019, its GDP grew by 4.3%. Estonia also has one of the best credit scores in the world.
Scenery And Population Density
If you’ve lived in urban metropolises like me, you understand the value of having some breathing space. Estonia has an amazing natural landscape. Half the country is covered in forests among them: Lahemaa National Park, Matsalu National Park, and Sooma National Park. It’s not surprising then that the population density is 28.4 people per square kilometer. Compare that to Singapore that has a density of 9000 people per square kilometer.
For all, you geography lovers out there Estonia has a coastline with 1520 islands spread along the shore. There is plenty to explore!
Highest Rate Of Supermodels Per Capita
Practice your best lines in the nightclubs of Tallinn. Enough said!
What Are The Alternatives To Duolingo?
- Youtube is always a great resource to learn just about anything. Estonian is no different. The best channel I’ve been able to find is Learn Estonian with Tahela. Although she only has 800 subscribers, her content is very high quality and, most importantly, is updated regularly. A live Youtube channel with an active community is much better than a channel where someone posts irregularly and doesn’t have many comments.
- Simply learn is an app from Simya Solutions. It presents Estonian phrases in both phonetic and regular Estonian. Most importantly, they are recorded by a native Estonian speaker! Many people find it particularly useful when travelling in Estonia because the app includes 300+ Estonian phrases and vocabulary.
- Ling is another app that has changed how language learners from around the world are learning Estonian.
Learn Estonian With Ling
Ling is committed to bringing you some of the lesser-known languages in the world. We have over 60! Just because a language has only a million speakers doesn’t mean the likes of Duolingo should overlook it.
The app has a tremendous User Interface that will keep you coming back for more. Along with gamification elements, a leaderboard also keeps you interested in how well you’re doing compared to other people. Learning languages has never been more fun.
We’re not claiming that Ling is a magic bullet that will have you go from zero to hero in a few weeks, but it is the best place to build a base. If you do 15 minutes a day on the app and nail down the fundamentals of the language, you can begin to expand outwards onto Estonian tv shows, movies, and newspapers.
Ling is approaching 10 million apps on the Google Playstore. So, why not come over and start our Estonian course today. It isn’t enough in the modern world to just know your native language!
Until the next time.