Estonian is the native language of the Republic of Estonia, where it is spoken by about one million people, or two-thirds of the total population.
Estonian is one of the Finno-Ugric languages, which constitute a branch of the Uralic language family. Its closest relative is Finnish, spoken across the Gulf of Finland. The two languages are sufficiently similar to be mutually intelligible, at least for those Estonians who speak the dialect of the north. Estonian is not, as is sometimes thought, in any way related to its nearest geographic neighbors, Latvian and Lithuanian.
Like Latvian and Lithuanian, Estonian employs the Roman script. The alphabet lacks the letters c, q, w, x, y, z, but contains the letter õ, found in no other language of eastern Europe. Umlauts may appear over the letters a, o, and u.
Let me hold your hands in resignation,
Soldier, whom this mortal strife must take.
Soon my hands will fold in supplication
For your own and all your comrades' sake.
Now your changing face is even dearer.
I recall you as a schoolboy when
You first left me. Come, dear child, come nearer!
You have grown mature in wood and fen.
Yet your vivid eyes are still ingenuous,
Though they must have witnessed what is vile
Things that men will do when life is strenuous
And resorts to cruelty and guile.
Do not stand there rigid and unspeaking;
In your glance are things that cry for breath.
Which of those two lords of man is seeking
To command your valor, Life or Death?
MARIE UNDER, Soldier's Mother