Learn Estonian for Both Credit and Enjoyment!

Thursday, September 8, 2022 - 9:00am
University of Toronto

Learn Estonian for Both Credit and Enjoyment!

With growing popularity, the University of Toronto continues to offer an Estonian language course as part of its curriculum. Although  the university is generally back to inperson learning,  given the success and interest for the course through pandemic influenced online learning,  it will be available virtually via zoom this year as well. This will enable students from all Toronto area universities (Toronto, York and Ryerson)  to take the course for credit, after getting permission from their home university to transfer the credit from the University of Toronto. After receiving permission, students from other institutions must pay a fee and submit an application to Woodsworth College to receive a University of Toronto student number and register. You can also consider auditing the course for personal fulfillment if it sounds interesting and too good to pass up!

The course will build essential Estonian vocabulary, grammatical and communicative competence  through  a variety of reading, writing, listening and speaking activities. Popular songs, poetry, and structured and semi-structured dialogue are among the various tools for achieving these objectives. This will evolve to themed sessions using language for travel in Estonia, savouring the language of Estonian cuisine, and the lyrics of popular, folk and classical Estonian music.

If you have ties to the Estonian heritage and culture and have wanted to strengthen these bonds, this is a great opportunity to get a better appreciation of all things Estonian by enhancing your knowledge of the Estonian language. If you know of people who are held back from a stronger bond with their Estonian heritage by their language skills, why not recommend this course to them?

Estonian is an interesting language for its own sake. Estonian is different from most spoken languages in Europe.  It belongs to the Finno-Ugric language family, which also includes Finnish and Hungarian. The role of vowels in Estonian is among the greatest in any European language, whereby a string of vowels can form meaningful words around the frame of few consonants. It also has the additional vowels õ, ä, ö, ü. If you have trouble with the following tongue twisters, then this course is for you. Ülekooliline tööõigusabibüroo (University-wide legal aid office for employment), Jäääär (edge of the ice), Õueala (courtyard), Kõueöö (night of the thunder), Puuõõnsus (hollow of the tree), Töö-öö (working night).  One can even compose a complete sentence without using any consonants - Äia õe oaõieaia õueaua ööau!!!

For more information, please see: https://www.visitestonia.com/en/why-estonia/your-quick-guide-to-the-estonian-language

The instructor for this course is Marju Toomsalu. Marju is a passionate advocate for language and welcomes the opportunity to combine her love of language with teaching. She inspires her students to discover the nuances of understanding that language variations hide and offer, and also enjoy selected aspects of comparative linguistics using simple everyday terms. 

If you are interested in taking this course please email Marju (mtoomsal@ryerson.ca)  and look the course up in the University of Toronto’s Faculty timetable:


Depending on number of students with language skills beyond the introductory level, the course will be offered at either the introductory level (EST 100H1F and EST 101H1S) or intermediate  level (EST 201H1F and EST 201H1S).  The instructor will advise all applicants of which course will be offered as soon as possible.

 Information for auditors can be found here:

 http://sites.utoronto.ca/slavic/courses/auditing.html. Classes begin on September  8.

This course is a key part of the Estonian Studies Program at the University Of Toronto. It is made possible through the generous financial support of Tartu College and Chair of Estonian Studies Foundation in recognition of the importance of the Estonian Studies Program to the Estonian community.



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The Estonian Foundation of Canada is a registered charity that supports Estonian cultural and heritage initiatives across Canada.

Charitable No. 891452575 RR 0001


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