of the Finno-Ugric branch of the Uralic language family.
Closely related to
Finnish, Votic, Livonian, Ingrian, Karelian, and Veps.
language occurs in two major dialectal forms, northern and southern; the
northern dialect, Tallinn, is used in most of the country and forms the
basis of the modern literary language. The southern dialect is found from
Typologically, Estonian represents a transitional form from an agglutinating
language to an inflected language.
In Estonian nouns and pronouns do not have grammatical gender, but nouns and
adjectives are declined in fourteen cases: nominative, genitive, partitive,
illative, inessive, elative, allative, adessive, ablative, translative,
terminative, essive, abessive, and comitative, with the case and number of
the adjective(s) always agreeing with that of the noun. Thus the illative
for "a yellow house" (kollane maja) - "into a yellow
house" is (kollasesse majasse).
The verbal system is characterized by the absence of the future tense (the
present tense is used) and by the existence of special forms to express an
action performed by an undetermined subject (the "impersonal").