Lydia Koidula 1843-86


It is purely by chance that I have booked into a lodging house on J.V. Jannseni Street in Parnu, Estonia,  on my research trip to Estonai. The street, Jannseni, houses the museum dedicated to the 19th century Estonian poet Lydia Jannsen aka Lydia Koidula.

According to my 2008 edition of the Rough Guide to The Baltic States, Koidula was born in Vandra and the family moved to Parnu in 1850. Her father was a village school teacher who went on to launch the Parnu Courier, which was the first ever Estonian-language weekly newspaper. in 1857.

When Jannsen founded his newspaper in Parnu he was taking part in the national awakening which was intended to bring the Estonian language and culture to the fore. In these times the languages were German and Russian. The country had been ruled by the Baltic German nobles for generations and then the Russian Empire had absorbed it making the traditional language a peasant one. In the 19th century the movement to revive national languages was taking place in both Estonia and Latvia where women poets took the lead in showing how the language could be used in a literary context.

It was Lydia Koidula (the name “Koidula” means “of the dawn” and was an alias) who wrote much of the Perno Postimees when her father went to found the Esti Postimees in Tartu in 1863. She also wrote lyric poems, the first collection of which was published in 1866, and the national song “My Country is My Pride and Joy” which is sung at the end of the annual song festivals in Tallinn. She also wrote the first play ever to be written entirely in the Estonian language, What a Bumpkin!

Downtown there is a monument to Johann Jannsen, showing him reading a copy of his newspaper, outside the offices of the Perno Postimees.  Lydia is remembered by a statue in the shopping parade. Both are remembered in the museum at 37 Jannseni.

Estonian for Beginners


The Estonian language is a hard one to learn belonging as it does to the Finnish group of languages, and seeming to have little in common with English. It does, however, have some interesting words which are easy to pick up.

My long-time favourite Estonian word is pood which roughly translates as shop or store. It can be compounded, which means that you can put another word / noun in front of it to define what kind of shop it is. Though, you can just have a pood on its own if you so wish. A shopkeeper is a poodnik, which I think is a lovely word.

On my last trip around Tallinn, I was on pood alert and tried to get photos of as many poods as I could. I clocked up a mobilipood, an alkoholipood and a telefonipood.

 

Pood Sign

Pood Sign

Another favourite word is turg. A turg is a market, both the indoor and outdoor kind. I like the Sadaama Turg which is a Russian outdoor market over by Balti Jaam in Kopli. At this market you can find anything from homemade pickles to washing detergent. It is a great place to pick up things which are truly representative of the country such as local drinks, sweets and glassware. I got a fantastic Christmas Tea Light a few years back and a friend a Christmas bauble. The Viru Turg is a great place to go if you want to buy handmade woollens  such as sweaters, hats, scarves and mittens. Nordic-Scandinavian sweaters are fashionable these days and this is the place to buy them. There is a more adhoc market if you go through the Viru Gate and turn right. Alongside the wall runs a series of stalls which sell handmade woollens and tourist souvenirs.

Sadaama Turg

Sadaama Turg

Now you have got to grips with turg and pood I am going to throw in jaam. This has got nothing to do with the sweet fruit stuff you put on your toast or a pile of cars blocking the road. It is more like a station or interchange.  A jaam is a transport hub. So, if you want a bus station you look for a bussijaam. The railway station in Tallinn is called Balti Jaam. A station-master is a jaamaülem and a station platform is a jaamaplatvorm. A radio station is a raadio (saate) jaam. A yardmaster is a jaamadispetšer. A stage is a jaamavahe. I am sure that there are lots more jams to be made.

And finally for this posting, the word trahter, means inn or tavern. An innkeeper is a trahteripidaja. I have noticed that inns, as opposed to pubs and bars, are indicated by a picture of a draught of beer with hops and wheat. The difference between an inn and a pub is that they are a) quieter, b) pleasanter to sit in, c) serve traditional ales and lagers and d) do not attract hen/stag parties. There are many pleasant pubs in Tallinn selling good food and beer but I like a traditional inn. The one pictured below is also a brewery, which makes it double special.

 

Kochi Aidad

Kochi Aidad