To be really honest, I sort of hate it when English-speakers whine about not being served in English wherever they go. Anyone who thinks they should be able to perform every function in a foreign country in the language of Her Majesty is kidding themselves. And even if you do manage, you are always putting the burden on others, you ungrateful sods.
On the other hand, English is useful. The Lennart Meri Conference in March was held exclusively in English, even though this is Estonia. I have been transcribing the remainder of conference as of late, and I was particularly impressed with the linguistic skills of Sven Mikser, who chairs the Riigikogu's Foreign Affairs committee.
You should bear in mind that it is one of my objectives in life to obtain some fluency in the Estonian language. I practice everyday in various circumstances, and I try to broaden my source material by listening to boring Estonian radio programs in the car or watching talk shows on TV. The problem is that I don't think I'll ever be able to catch up with Mikser, who has probably been learning English since a relative gave him a contraband Thriller LP for his tenth birthday.*
Just check it out:
To draw in Iran, a little bit. I would say that there seems to be a marriage of convenience instead of love between Iran and Syria. The clique in Syria seems to be buying domestic legitimacy by trumpeting this almost extinct cause of Arab nationalism, which has given way to radical Islamism. But, by trying to lead the cause of Arab nationalism, it is actually deferring to non-Arab Tehran. So how do you see this axis evolving over the next couple of years?
Now, how the hell would I ever manage to say anything so eloquent in Estonian? "Marriage of convenience instead of love"? "Buying domestic legitimacy"? "Trumpeting this almost extinct cause of Arab nationalism"? Mind you, not "espousing" or "professing" or "endorsing," but "trumpeting"! Can you use the Estonian equivalent of the word for trumpet (trompet) as a verb? Kas keegi saab trompetada eesti keeles? On tõesti võimalik või?
I am not the only one who should be jealous of Mikser. Compared to Mikser, other Estonian politicians sound like the Swedish chef. They can only dream of one day being able to speak "the good English" as well as Mikser does. And I can only dream of being able to say something like that in eesti keel.
*As far as I know, Mikser did not receive Michael Jackson's Thriller for his birthday. I was just making that up, to show that, typically, foreigners have been learning my language longer than I have been learning theirs. Maybe he got a Lionel Ritchie album instead.