pühapäev, oktoober 29, 2006

Estland versus Estonia

So I went to the post office the other day to mail a letter to Estonia. Sometimes the employees of the United States Postal Service know that it's in Europe. But then there are the others who think it's another oddly named city in the State of New York, like Astoria or Fredonia. I have to tell them it's in Europe, and sometimes I wish Estonia used it's 'other' official international name - Estland - more often.

See, you can tell that 'Estland' is a country. The -ia suffix just makes it sound like a province, like Bavaria, Wallachia, Carpathia. Sure there are some provinces with the -land suffix, but over all, it could help Estonia stand out just a bit more if it wasn't just another tiny piece of land in a sea of Eastern European "ia" lands. The "land" suffix puts you in competition with Iceland, Finland, Greenland, Poland, Holland, and Switzerland. Not a bad category to be in.

Of course, there's no sense in doing something so frivolous as renaming your country for the sake of a guy at a US Post Office. But it could make my life just that much easier ...

17 kommentaari:

Estonia in World Media (Rus) ütles ...

Good point, Kross the younger once raised the same question, but did not have much support of the masses

Anonüümne ütles ...

Estland is often confused with Iceland. They are pronounced prettu much the same.

Anonüümne ütles ...

Another idea is to call it Elbonia :D

Jens-Olaf ütles ...

Maybe Republic of Estonia? But this reminds me of the BRD - GDR abbreviation instead of Germany or ROK for South Korea.

Aaro ütles ...

And Iceland is sometimes confused with Ireland...

Anonüümne ütles ...

Estonian has 'another' name "Eesti Vabariik" its name in Estonian.

Inga ütles ...

Estonia is still called "Estland" - in German language. There are many loan words in Estonian from German, so why not the name of the country...

Giustino ütles ...

Estland is often confused with Iceland. They are pronounced prettu much the same.

How about "Virland the Good"?

Anonüümne ütles ...

I remember a taxi driver asking me where I was going, and I said "Estonia" -- to receive the reply (after he looked in the rearview mirror): "oh, yeah, I know where that is, it's right next to Vietnam, right?" Issand...

helsinkian ütles ...

Estland is also the Swedish name of Estonia. I wonder which came first, the Swedish or the German name. Of course many Germanic peoples were important in Estonian history (Swedes, Danes, Germans) and they still call the country Estland.

I'd always thought Estonia is the clear and unambiguous English name of the country. In Finnish there are two names, the Finnish Viro and the Estonian Eesti. I personally prefer to use the Estonian word "Eesti" in Finnish, because I find it more beautiful. But some Finns seem to associate "Eesti" with Soviet Estonia and "Viro" with the first period of independence, don't ask me why.

I wish all languages could use the word "Eesti", but I understand it's too difficult for English speakers.

helsinkian ütles ...

One key reason why so many Finns (I think we're many) use in Finnish the Estonian word "Eesti" rather than the Finnish word "Viro", that's the classing tune by Finnish musician Juice Leskinen called "Eesti (On My Mind)". He sings "Eesti, Eesti, Eesti, kaipaan sinne perkeleesti".

helsinkian ütles ...

I guess I answered my own question, some Finns probably think of the Juice Leskinen song when they hear the word "Eesti" uttered in Finnish. Those connotations may then have to do with the period when the recording Eesti (On My Mind) was made (Soviet Estonia, vodka tourism, Mr. Leskinen's alcoholism). I use the "Eesti" word in Finnish simply because it reminds me of the poetic sound of the Estonian language. Sometimes I say "Viro" but usually "Eesti". When I speak Swedish, it's automatically "Estland" without thinking of any alternatives.

helsinkian ütles ...

Excuse me yet again, there are two alternative pronunciations of "Estland" in Swedish. So even when I speak Swedish, I have to think whether I'd prefer to pronounce the first vowel as long or short (like Estland or more like Eestland). My feeling is that in Sweden many pronounce the Swedish word Estland with a short vowel and in Finland many prefer to pronounce the Swedish name with a long initial vowel sound (that perhaps reminds of the original "Eesti" word).

Giustino ütles ...

Estland is also the Swedish name of Estonia. I wonder which came first, the Swedish or the German name.

Well, the saga I quoted from below was written in the 1220s, and the name 'Eistland' is used in the text.

This is the exact time period that the Germans invaded Estonia. However, the saga was written in Norway.

It was the Danes, though who were in control of the province of 'Estland' (northern Estonia) from about 1219 to 1346.

Anyway, there are a lot of words in Estonian with Swedish roots. The word for a "knot" in Swedish is "slips" while in Estonian a "tie" is "lips." You'd be surprised at the vocabulary impact.

helsinkian ütles ...

"Slips" is "tie" in Swedish, "knot" is "knut" in Swedish...

helsinkian ütles ...

Excuse me, I'm trying to be clearer: Swedish slips: English tie, Swedish knut: English knot.

Knut ütles ...

noh, at least i know now what my name does stand for :D

I always thought, knut is a fantasy trademark of ikea...