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Nothing hidden in this word. However, I noticed today that it’s related to the word väljas (outside), so I decided to find out more declensions of this word and see where that would lead me. This is what I found out. Bear in mind, as I am no linguist or anything close, just curious by nature.

välja is the genitive case, which means “of the field”. This is the Estonian word for out.

väljas is the innesive case, so this would be mean something like “in the place of the field“. This actually means outside or afield.

väljast is the elative case, which is like “out of the field“. This in Estonian actually means “from the outside“. The word outsourcing in Estonian is related to this (väljasttellimine, literally “order from the outside“).

väljal is the adessive case, which would be “on the field“. Just think of a person standing on a field.

väljalt is the ablative case, which is something like “off the field“. Imagine when someone picks a flower off a field.

Although it might not be related, I wonder if väljak (square, the place, not the shape) is related to this too.

My brain is tired now.


of the gray old men (from hall, gray; vana, old; and mees, man)

This word caught my attention while traveling by bus earlier today. It is the name of a small street in Tallinn. Street names are inflected in the genitive or possessive case (mees is the nominative, while mehe is the genitive case for man) The equivalent in English is to say “street of the gray old men“.

As my better half said, just think of Gandalf in Lord of the Rings. Who knows, maybe this is his street.

head aega

good bye (from hea, good and aeg, time)

This is one of the expressions that surprised me in Estonian at the beginning. You basically wish someone to have a good time when saying farewell.


breakfast time (from hommik, morning; söök, meal; and aeg, time)

I have discovered that by studying complex words, I kill several birds with one stone. I learn more than one word at once to start with. Also, I find interesting combinations of vowels and consonants.

However, the most important thing is that I start getting the idea about cases in Estonian words; for example, söök (meal) is the nominative case but söögi (of the meal) is the genitive, and hommik (morning) is the nominative but hommiku (of the morning) is the genitive. With this, I can say that the literal translation for hommikusöögiaeg is “time of the meal of the morning” which makes perfect sense.

It is more fun to say it early in the morning. When I manage that, I’ll know that I have learned Estonian.

tere õhtust

good night



Time in Estonian is slightly different from the way you would say in other languages. For example, when it’s 5:30 (not 6:30), you say in Estonian “kell on pool kuus” which means literally “the time is half six“. It might seem counterintuitive for people speaking English or Spanish, but Germans might feel at home with this idea.

By the way, o is pronounced as in door in English.


instead (from see, it and eest, for or behalf)

Four times e in a row. This is an interesting case for translating. If I ask Estonians, they unanimously would translate it as instead. However, I checked at least three dictionaries, and they don’t agree on the meaning (if they have this word at all). After trying doing a bit of research, I understood that this word means something like “it for that” or “it on behalf of that” which is basically the meaning of instead.

By the way, e in Estonian is pronounced as in café.

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