Estonian/Indicative Verbs and Accusative

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In this lesson we'll learn about the Indicative mood of verbs and the Accusative (ACC) case.

Accusative case[edit]

Without the Accusative case, we can't form transitive verbs that allow nouns to affect other nouns. The Estonian Nominative case marks the subject and the Accusative case marks the direct object. Here are some examples of declension:

English Nominative Genitive Accusative
this see selle seda
home kodu kodu kodu
house maja maja maja
curtain kardin kardina kardinat
machine masin masina masinat
book raamat raamatu raamatut
dog koer koera .koera
cat kass kassi .kassi
I/me mina minu .mind
you (singular) sina sinu .sind
him/her tema tema teda

The last two provide an example of the Estonian Long and Overlong "quantities" or "stress". The syllables that are Overlong are marked with a dot. In Estonian, the stress in a word is usually on the first syllable. The stress on Overlong words is required (but not always incomprehensible to the listener), and the overlong syllable can be stretched 'forever' while Long syllables cannot.

.kassi can be stretched easily from the ss without becoming incomprehensible. .koera can be stretched from the e, or the oe diphtong, although the latter might be more difficult for the listener (and the speaker). Not all Accusative cases infer the Overlong quantity, and this makes Estonian cases for each word more difficult to remember. The last 3 words in the table are the singular pronouns - two of these are Overlong but have only one syllable.

Morphological types[edit]

The Estonian Language Institute publishes with each grammatical dictionary a list of morphological types (muuttüübid) that classify each noun, adjective and verb according to a type number for words that decline or conjugate in a similar way. There are 26 types for words that decline (nouns and adjectives) and 11 types for words that conjugate (verbs).

First Estonian verbs[edit]

Indicative Present
I mina you sina he/she tema we meie you teie they nemad
to be olema olen oled on oleme olete on
to know teadma tean tead teab teame teate teavad
to want tahtma tahan tahad tahab tahame tahate tahavad
to see nägema näen näed näeb näeme näete näevad
to hear kuulma kuulen kuuled kuuleb kuuleme kuulete kuulevad
to eat sööma söön sööd sööb sööme sööte söövad
to look for otsima otsin otsid otsib otsime otsite otsivad
to read lugema loen loed loeb loeme loete loevad

Example Phrases[edit]

Estonian has no definite or indefinite articles, so "a/an" and "the" can be used interchangeably.

Words that might need explanation are in bold and can be hovered over to reveal their meaning and/or case. The meaning of the entire phrase can be revealed by clicking on Translation.

See on tüdruku õun


This is a/the girl's apple
That is a/the girl's apple

Ta sööb õuna


He/She eats a/the apple
He/She is eating a/the apple

See maja on minu kodu


This house is my home

Ta tahab õuna


He/She wants an/the apple

Sina tead seda


You (singular) know that

Ma kuulen sind


I hear you

Ma loen raamatut


I read a book
I am reading a book

Poiss otsib tüdruku koera


The boy is looking for the girl's dog