Learn Estonian for Both Credit and Enjoyment! - 2022 Winter term

Monday, August 2, 2021 - 10:00pm
University of Toronto

Learn Estonian for Both Credit and Enjoyment!

Don’t miss the wonderful opportunity provided by the Estonian language course offered at the University of Toronto. Students from all Toronto area universities (Toronto, York and Ryerson) can take the course for credit after getting permission from their home university to transfer the credit from U of T. 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 may also consider simply auditing the course for personal fulfillment. The university plans to be back to in person learning this fall. Provided there is sufficient interest, online zoom sessions may be available for students from outside Toronto.

The course will be offered at the introductory level (EST 100H1F and EST 101H1S) and 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 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 language. If you know of people who are held back from a closer connection 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 languages in Europe as 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 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 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 U of T’s Arts & Sciences Faculty timetable:


The course is offered by the Department of Slavic Languages and Literature and the course code is EST100.  The course offered in the 2022 Winter term will be a continuation of the one offered in the 2021 Fall term, at an increased level of language proficiency.

 Information for auditors can be found here:

 http://sites.utoronto.ca/slavic/courses/auditing.html. Classes begin on September 13.

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 the Chair of Estonian Studies Foundation.       




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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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