The courses start on the first academic week and last for 15-16 weeks (see the academic calendar).
The courses are generally free of charge for the students of the University of Tartu and for students from other Estonian higher education institutions (See which institutions and universities have a partnership with the University of Tartu).
Visiting students from foreign higher education institutions need to pay for their language courses only if they are fee-paying students at the University of Tartu. In case of the latter, consult with the foreign student office regarding the credit point costs and conditions.
Estonian is the official language of Estonia, spoken natively by about 1 million people in Estonia and tens of thousands in various migrant communities. It belongs to the Finnic branch of the Uralic language family.
The Estonian alphabet consists of 32 letters:
The letters c, q, w, x and y are limited to proper names of foreign origin, and f, z, š, and ž appear in loanwords and foreign names only.
There are 14 cases in Estonian, three grammatical cases and eleven semantic cases. There are no articles, grammatical gender, or grammatical future in Estonian.
There are three degrees of phoneme length: short, long, and “overlong”. Long and “overlong” are spelled alike and the only difference is in pronunciation and meaning (for example, 1 st degree: lina – linen, 2nd: linna – town’s, 3rd: linna – to town; and 1st: sada – hundred, 2nd: saada – send!, 3rd: saada – to get).
There are two infinitives, the –ma-infinitive and the –da-infinitive (elama, elada – to live).
The word order is relatively free – a sentence “Tihti nähti taevas tähti” (The stars were seen often in the sky) can be modified in 24 different ways without changing the meaning.
Estonian is often mentioned as one of the most difficult languages to learn but don’t worry – it has never made it to the TOP 5!