Estonian alphabet

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The Estonian alphabet (Estonian: eesti tähestik) is used for writing the Estonian language and is based on the Latin alphabet, with German influence. As such, the Estonian alphabet has the letters Ä, Ö, and Ü (A, O, and U with umlaut), which represent the vowel sounds [æ], [ø] and [y], respectively. Unlike the German umlauts, they are considered and alphabetised as separate letters and are part of the alphabet. The most distinguishing letter in the Estonian alphabet, however, is the Õ (O with tilde), which was added to the alphabet in the 19th century by Otto Wilhelm Masing and stands for the vowel [ɤ]. In addition, the alphabet also differs from the Latin alphabet by the addition of the letters Š and Ž (S and Z with caron/háček), and by the position of Z in the alphabet: it has been moved from the end to between S and T (or Š and Ž).

In Blackletter W was used instead of V.

Johannes Aavik insisted that the letter Ü be replaced by Y, as it has been in the Finnish alphabet.

The official Estonian alphabet has 27 letters:

A, B, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, R, S, Š, Z, Ž, T, U, V, Õ, Ä, Ö, Ü

The oblique letters are so-called "foreign letters" (võõrtähed). F, Š, Z and Ž occur only in loanwords and foreign proper names. C, Q, W, X and Y do not occur in Estonian words, but are used in writing foreign proper names.

Including also the "foreign letters", alphabet consists of the following 32 letters:

A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, Š, Z, Ž, T, U, V, W, Õ, Ä, Ö, Ü, X, Y

The alphabet is occasionally written and recited without even the letters appearing only in loanwords. In that case, it has 23 letters:

A, B, D, E, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, R, S, T, U, V, Õ, Ä, Ö, Ü


A [ɑː] B [b̥eː] C [tseː] D [d̥eː] E [eː] F [eff]
G [ɡ̊eː] H [hɑː] or [hɑʃ] I [iː] J [jotʲː] K [kɑː] L [ell]
M [emm] N [enn] O [oː] P [peː] Q [kuː] R [err] or [ærr]
S [ess] Š [ʃɑː] Z [zeː], [seː] or [tsett] Ž [ʒeː] or [ʃeː] T [teː] U [uː]
V [veː] W [kɑksisveː] Õ [ɤː] Ä [æː] Ö [øː] Ü [yː]
X [iks] Y [iɡrek] or [ypsilon]

See also

External links

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