Saturday, March 30, 2013

English in Estonian: Estonglish

As a teacher I hear a lot of English being mixed in with Estonian by the young. Two examples I came across recently were:

Tegin cheatiga (I.did [it] with.a.cheat), during a discussion between two middle-school boys, obviously about a computer game, and, written as a comment under an Estonian music video on YouTube, the following:

Minu vend vihkab aga mina fännan (My brother hates it but I.am.a.fan), the first time I have encountered the Estonian rendering of the English word ‘fan’ fänn used as a verb.

The photo to the right was taken at a bus shelter in Tallinn. It you look closely you can recognise many words borrowed from English or which are international words also shared by English:

traditsiooniline - traditional

limonaad - fizzy drink; brand name of a fizzy drink

In the former meaning Coke (koka in Estonian) can be called a limonaad. A similar drink is morss which is diluted juice drink made from concentrate, a very common sight on Estonian tables during parties and often homemade by vanaema maal 'grandmother in the countryside', though my wife's family says Mummi, which is the Finnish for 'granny'.

muusika - music

musa - slang for music (s.nom.; mussi - pl.part.)

Comment by keelek6rv:
You wrote: "musa - slang for music (s.nom.; mussi - pl.part.)"

Well, there are at least two slang words for "muusika" and both are used in this poster.

nom sg musa, gen sg musa, part sg musa, part pl musasid (grammatically pl part and any other pl form exists but pl forms are almost never used, though)

nom sg muss, gen sg mussi, part sg mussi (third degree), part pl musse

So at first "musa" was used, and then "muss" in this advertisement.


kood - code (s.gen. koodi, pl.gen. koodide, pl.part. koode)

bänd - music group (band)

skänni (skännima) - scan! (vb. scan)

Skänni koode siit! - Scan the codes from here! (siit <-- siin 'here')

Translations:

Limonaad üllatab muusikaga - Limonaad [brand name] astonishes with music

üllatama - to astonish, take by surprise

Kogu koodide alt kokku tasuta plaaditäis mussi noortebänd 2012 parimatelt! - Collect from the codes together below a free record full of music from the best [groups] of Youth Band 2012.

kogu can mean 'whole' (like terve) but here it is the command form of koguma (collect, gather, accumulate etc.; pl. would be koguge)

plaaditäis - record-full (plaat - record)

Hea muusika fänn aastast 1936 - A fan of good music [though 'a good music fan' could also be a reading but is unlikely] since the year 1936.

14 comments:

  1. "limonaad" is definitely not a brand name, it's how Estonians most commonly call "carbonated soft drink", or "soda", and it means and/or derives from "lemonade".

    "...fänn aastat 1936" - ...aastast 1936 - meaning from the year 1936.

    hope that it helps.

    ReplyDelete
  2. PS. maybe it's just me but I wouldn't call Coke a limonaad. Limonaad needs to be yellow, or pink at least. :-) My personal favorite was actually white limonaad called Kelluke. Do they still have it?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yup, Kelluke is popular. As is Valge Klaar.

    ReplyDelete

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  5. Hi again :)

    You wrote: "musa - slang for music (s.nom.; mussi - pl.part.)"

    Well, there are at least two slang words for "muusika" and both are used in this poster.

    nom sg musa, gen sg musa, part sg musa, part pl musasid (grammatically pl part and any other pl form exists but pl forms are almost never used, though)

    nom sg muss, gen sg mussi, part sg mussi (third degree), part pl musse

    So at first "musa" was used, and then "muss" in this advertisement.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. (Why do I have to reply to someone else's comment? Why can't I post a comment of my own?)

      "Musa" has nothing whatsoever to do with English. It comes from the Finnish slang word "musa" which, of course, means "music". The word "musa" started to become popular among the Estonian teenagers around 1985.

      "Muss" appeared much later.

      Delete
  6. Suur aitäh abi eest!

    I asked my wife about that and she wasn't sure. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Interesting post... On the other hand, are you aware of any Estonian words that might have found their way into English?

    ReplyDelete
  8. No, I am not aware of that. Okay, that's not entirely true. It all depends on what you mean by "English". If you mean the English I speak to my wife, then sure, loads! But if you mean the language spoken by a monolingual English speaker in Birmingham, Alabama/England, then no. And I couldn't think of any reason for any Estonian words to enter standard English.

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  9. I have to let you know I concur on several of the points you make here and others may require some further review,
    Joe Mitchell

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  10. As to "fänn", we took it from Finnish, again around 1985 when the youth slang in Northern Estonia was massively influenced by the Finnish language. In the 1990s, the older generation started to use the word "fan-club", pronounced as in English (but not the word "fan"), apparently unaware that the younger people had been using the words "fänn" and "fänniklubi" for a long time already. Curiously, even a quite authoritative dictionary of foreign-origin words which was published around 2000 listed the word "fan-club" but not the words "fänn" and "fänniklubi" which for the people of my age were a perfectly normal part of everyday vocabulary.

    The verb "fännama" seems to be an Estonian creation from 1990's. I have never heard a verb like "fännata" being used in Finnish, although it's quite possible, as turning a noun into a verb with the help of the inffix -a- is routine in the Finnish language.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I noticed one more thing. "Üllatama" does not mean "to astonish". "Üllatama" means "to surprise". You can ask 100 people in the street to say "üllatama" in English, and more likely than not 100 of them will say "surprise". "To astonish" would be "hämmastama". Surprising - üllatav, astonishing - hämmastav. Used, as far as I can tell, exactly in the same context as in English.

    ReplyDelete
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