Introduction to Estonian: Lesson 5

Finally, you use the partitive with greetings as well.

Estonian for health is tervis.

The word tervis follows the same pattern as keel does: it’s possessive form is tervise (keele) and its partitive is tervist (keelt).

Now, imagine that you are wishing somebody health. You imply I wish you health. The question is: do you wish him the whole thing or do you wish him to have some more health? It’s the second option: you only wish some (or so think Estonians anyway).

Estonian for to wish is soovima.

Here is a good side-exercise for you:

You form to/for someone (i.e. to me, for you, for him, etc.) by adding le to the possessive form of the word.

How would you say:

1 translation: to you

Could you work out:

2 translation: I wish health to you.

Nice. If you just leave all the other words out (they are implied), you could just say some health (use the word health in the partitive, that is) and that would mean: hi.

3 translation: hi!

While we are on it, in fact, let’s take a small detour and raise it to the next level:

Estonian for a friend is sõber.
Your Estonian friend is always sober, isn’t he?

The possessive of this word is sõbra while the partitive is sõpra.

4 translation: to a friend

5 translation: Her friend’s friend wishes health to your friend.

Awesome, now you know how to talk about friends too.

Estonian for time is aeg.

The possessive of this word is aja and its partitive is aega.

How would you say:

6 translation: He doesn’t have time.

Finally, let’s learn the partitive for hea.

The partitive form of the word hea is head (its possessive stays hea, though).

How would you say:

7 translation: I wish a good time to you.

If you skip all of that I wish and to you part you are left with (some of) good time! which is the Estonian phrase for goodbye.

8 translation: goodbye!

Not a goodbye yet!

Let’s learn our last two word combinations which help us a lot.

Estonian for it is see.

The possessive form of the word see is selle and the partitive form is seda.

Another word just like that is:

Estonian for what is mis.

It’s forms are possessive being mille and the partitive being mida.

So, for both of these words, you just take the first two letters and add lle for the possessive and da for the partitive.

How would you say:

9 translation: What is it?

10 translation: It is good.

Imagine you are referring to milk (so you mean: some of milk). Say:

11 translation: I don’t have it.

Or imagine seeing a dude on the buss (a bus is buss in Estonian) and asking:

12 translation: What is he reading?

And answer that:

13 translation: He is reading a book.

Congratulations! The learning is done. We have learnt a great amount of Estonian. Let’s now just bring it home and test our skills by having a conversation in Estonian.

Imagine an introductory conversation:

14 translation: Hello. What is your name?

15 translation: Hi! My name is Mikhel. What are we studying?

16 translation: We are studying the Estonian language. Do you have the book?

17 translation: I don’t have it. My mother has the book.

18 translation: Where is she?

19 translation: She is not here. She is reading the book.

20 translation: Does your friend have the book?

21 translation: His father has his book...

Well done! We have learnt how to deal with Estonian verbs, the three most important forms of Estonian nouns, all the main person pronouns, their possessive forms, the greetings and quite some useful vocabulary! How’s that for a 5 lesson introduction to Estonian!

Answers to Lesson 5

1 answer: sinule
2 answer: Mina soovin tervist sinule.
3 answer: tervist!
4 answer: sõbrale
5 answer: Tema sõbra sõber soovib tervist sinu sõbrale.
6 answer: Temal ei ole aega.
7 answer: Mina soovin head aega sinule.
8 answer: head aega!
9 answer: Mis on see?
10 answer: See on hea.
11 answer: Minul ei ole seda.
12 answer: Mida tema loeb?
13 answer: Tema loeb raamatut.
14 answer: Tervist. Mis sinu nimi on?
15 answer: Tervist! Minu nimi on Mikhel. Mida meie õpime?
16 answer: Meie õpime eesti keelt. Sinul on raamat?
17 answer: Minul ei ole seda. Minu emal on raamat.
18 answer: Kus tema on?
19 answer: Tema ei ole siin. Tema loeb raamatut.
20 answer: Sinu sõbral on raamat?
21 answer: Tema isal on tema raamat...