Each year the Estonian Studies Program at the University of Toronto receives many inquiries about opportunities to study the Estonian language at the university level. It may be an open secret that Estonian language is taught at the university, but it is an opportunity not to be missed — both for those whose home-grown “kitchen” Estonian needs brushing up, and those who plan to travel or spend extended time in Estonia for business reasons and have strategic “vocabulary gaps.” There are plenty of other good reasons — ranging from nagging curiosity about how the declension system in Estonian really works to the best reason all experienced language teachers know about — falling in love (with someone who speaks only, or mainly Estonian).
In 2006-2007 the Estonian Studies Program at the University of Toronto is offering a full-year course, EST 210Y, Intermediate Estonian on Wednesday evenings from 5-9 PM in Alumni Hall of St. Michael's College, beginning on September 13, 2006. The course is under the auspices of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, where Estonian and other Finno-Ugric languages have had a hospitable home for over a decade, and is supported by the Chair of Estonian Studies. The course is open to University of Toronto undergraduates as a credit-granting elective, and counts toward the language requirement of the European Studies Program. It is also available to interested auditors from outside the university for a specified fee (see the website of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Toronto).
EST 210 presumes a basic knowledge of Estonian, but lest this inspire fear and trepidation, it is a gentle context where one can begin where one actually is in language skills, and go on to broaden one`s vocabulary, sweep the rust off one`s grammar, and learn about Estonian culture through a variety of media, including a range of films, periodicals, and the Internet.
This year EST 210 will be taught by Eva Rein, a doctoral candidate in English from Tartu University, who spent 2006-07 in Toronto as an exchange student with the University of Tartu - University of Toronto exchange program, where she held the Silvere-Pant Memorial Scholarship. Eva is an experienced teacher, who graduated from Tartu University in 1989 with a degree in English philology. She has taught English language and literature for several years at Tartu University. Students in Tartu describe Eva as contagiously friendly, warmhearted, and refreshingly curious. She has also taught Estonian language in Finland. Eva`s academic specialization is in Canadian Studies, and the topic of her doctoral dissertation is the literature of Japanese-Canadians. Her research on comparative connections between contemporary Japanese-Canadian literature and Estonian writers, particularly Ene Mihkelson, has received high praise both in Estonia and Canada. In the coming year, Eva hopes to complete the writing of her dissertation, and welcomes the opportunity to interact not only with prominent scholars in the field of Canadian Studies, but with the authors of the fictional texts she is researching.
Interested students can register for EST 210Y electronically. Additional information on the course can be obtained via the Chair of Estonian Studies website (www.utoronto.ca/estonian) or the website of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, or by phone at 416 926 2075. Eva Rein can be contacted by telephone at 416 946 8945 or by e-mail at
Brush up and deepen your Estonian at the University of Toronto! (1)