“Estonian Culture Links” by Vincent Teetsov - Keeletee: The Continuing Road of Intermediate Estonian Language Learning

A year or so ago, I compiled and self-published two mini language guides called “The Scared Foreigner's Guide to Estonian.” While these two handy travel guides would help to prepare someone with no prior knowledge of the language to utter their first words and even start trying to construct sentences, there is no one source material that will completely cover one's needs when learning a language.

Acquiring a language is a progression, like learning any new skill, that engages all of one's five senses and the four methods of learning. Visual. Auditory. Reading and writing. Kinaesthetic. This encompasses Neil Fleming's VARK model of learning, developed in 1987 upon previous research of neuro-linguistic programming.

Interaction from outside is important in activating these senses. Thus, there are linguistic nuances that cannot be picked up by having a go at it entirely by yourself. Irregular word endings, changing word order in sentences, and sometimes unfamiliar vocabulary are enough to tempt someone to give up trying to learn. Sometimes we totally misunderstand. Flashback to Tartu last April where I started trying to talk about where I had studied (õppima— to study), when I had really just been asked where I was staying (ööbima— to stay overnight). I might as well have been from Mars. (Pikemalt Eesti Elu 18.01.2019 paberlehes).

Vincent Teetsov