In New York -- where I spent most of the last week -- the front pages of newspapers teem with fun headlines about former Governor Eliot Spitzer's appetite for call girls. In Estonia, on today's front page of Postimees is a debate over whether or not integration is an enemy of the Estonian language.
Urmas Sutrop, director of the Estonian Language Institute, made headlines last week when he said that integration was a threat to the Estonian language. Sutrop clarified his position today, explaining that by bringing 300,000+ speakers of Russian and Ukrainian into the estophone world, the language will inherit their grammatical errors and loan words from their native tongues, thus diluting the riigikeel (state language).
Rein Raud, rector of Tallinn University, writes in response that Estonian has already borrowed heavily from foreign tongues and sees no threat in borrowing some more. He gives several examples of common Estonian words of foreign origin in his piece. So, as I drank my morning coffee, I was able to learn that the Estonian word for trousers -- püksid -- comes from the Swedish word 'byxor'. I did not know that. See, that's what Estonian newspapers are for.