Pronunciation and Meaning of Estonian Names

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Introduction

The audio portion of this presentation has been made by Estonian professional actor Margus Tabor working with Film Audio, Ltd. of Tallinn, Estonia with data from the forthcoming article "Estonian Naming Patterns, 1887-1991” by Dr. Edwin D. Lawson, State University of New York at Fredonia, Raivo Seppo, Tallinn, Estonia, and Richard F. Sheil, State University of New York at Fredonia. Professor Emeritus Richard F. Sheil of the State University of New York at Fredonia prepared the pronunciation of the names in IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) format and also an “Easy” pronunciation style similar in style to that of the BBC (British Broadcasting Company), the New York Times, and the VOA (Voice of America). Raivo Seppo is the author of Elavad nimed [Living Names] published by Olion, Tallinn, Estonia in 2008, ISBN 978-9985-66-550-3.
 
Users/viewers should bear in mind that some names may be pronounced in more than one way depending upon the speaker and the location. It is also true that there may be differences between spoken use at home or at work versus the language used at a university or in a literary circle. To simplify matters, we generally chose one version of pronunciation.
 
We wish to acknowledge the fine contribution of Christopher C. Taverna for his work in preparing this website. Comments can be directed to edlawson@netsync.net

For further information on names of all kinds, go to the American Name Society site at: http://www.wtsn.binghamton.edu/ANS/

For a comprehensive resource for given names and their meanings, categorized by various ethnic and cultural backgrounds, go to: Baby Names

Order of entry:
  1. English spelling & Estonian spelling; sex.
  2. "Easy" pronunciation style (BBC1, the NYTimes, and the VOA) shown in braces, { }; International Phonetic Alphabet2 style shown in brackets, [ ].
  3. Language(s) of origin, meaning, historical note, if any.
  4. Frequency of the name by period3.

1The BBC (British Broadcasting Company, the New York Times, and the VOA (Voice of America) have all developed systems for the pronunciation of names (this is sometimes referred to as respelling). The main idea is to show in simple terms for the average person how a name is pronounced. Here are some examples. Note that the stressed syllables are capitalized. The spelling is set up so that English speakers can approximate the sound through familiar sound patterns.

Hugo Chavez OO-go CHAH-vehs
Illinois ILL-uh-noi
Manitoba MAN-ih-toe-bah
Beethoven BAY-toe-vehn

2For an excellent description of the International Phonetic Alphabet, go to the Wikipedia site at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Phonetic_Alphabet

3Since names go in and out of fashion over time, we thought it would be useful to show the time period in which the name was recorded. The periods are:
  1. Czarist (until 1917)
  2. The First Independence Period (1918-1939)
  3. Soviet Period-1 (1940)
  4. German Occupation Period (1941-1943)
  5. Soviet Period-2 (1945-1990)
  6. Independence Period-2 (1991-)
In the example below, the 1-7 indicates that in Period 1, the Czarist Period, there were 7 girls named Leida, in Period 2, there were 6 girls so named. This makes a total of 13.


example slide
 
Note that the names are presented in seven sections. Begin by clicking on one of the sections. It will take a short time for the section to load. Then it will begin. To stop, click on the two vertical lines above START. To begin again, click on those lines again. It is also possible to move around in the section by clicking on the white part of the moving green line just above two parallel lines at the left (this turns into a right arrow during the PLAY phase).

If you would like to download a copy of the Appendix for reference you can do so here (PDF document, Adobe Reader is required to open).
 
Pronunciation of Estonian Names:

Names Beginning with the Letter A

Names Beginning with the Letters B-E

Names Beginning with the Letters F-I

Names Beginning with the Letters J-K

Names Beginning with the Letter L

Names Beginning with the Letter M

Names Beginning with the Letters N-S

Names Beginning with the Letters T-Z



Last Modified 01/21/2009

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