Minu kallis naine was recently on the phone with a friend when she used a word I hadn't heard before: sisuliselt.
Estonians like to pepper their sentences with lots of tegelikult (actually), üldiselt (generally), põhiliselt (basically), põhimõtteliselt (principally), and tavaliselt (regularly). Sometimes I feel that every other word out of our niece's mouth is tegelikult, it's like the Estonian 'like' -- unapologetically overused.
But sisuliselt caught my attention because it contained the magic Finnish word 'sisu' which means something like 'determined' or 'resilient' or 'having guts'. The Finnish blogs are often chattering on and on about sisu, like it was the magic ingredient in life.
The Estonian meaning of sisu, though, is no easier to define. Aare.pri.ee, the väga kasulik eesti-inglise-eesti sõnaraamat defines sisu as 'content' -- the stuff that's inside stuff. The same online dictionary defines sisuliselt as 'in essence' or, as I would put it, 'essentially.' So, sisuliselt, the meaning of suomen sisu and eesti sisu are not that far apart.
The real divide, other than the Gulf of Finland, seems to be how they use the words. For Finns, it's the word. For Estonians, it arouses similar emotions to the word värk, which literally means 'stuff': ie. no emotions whatsoever.
Anyway, in either sense of the word, who do you think has more sisu -- Tarja or Sauli? And if anybody can better explain what these words mean, well, that's what the comment section is for.