Except for one glaring difference. The signs in the store here are all in Estonian. Only Estonian. It would be difficult to find anything in this store written in Russian. Although almost everyone in the store, both customers and clerks, speaks Russian, there is no presence of the Russian language.
There are good historical and sociological reasons for why in this country Estonian is now used exclusively. During the Soviet time, Russians (and other ethnic groups) came to
Part of this is a reaction by Estonians who, during the Soviet time, were watching their language and culture rapidly being Russified. There was every reason to believe that
A second reason for the exclusive use of Estonian is that there is a genuine desire on the part of Estonians to build a new nation based on principles and values -- a nation that can co-exist peacefully with its neighbors. A national slogan says it best: “Ühiselt ehitatud riik”, or roughly, “A home-built nation.” And Estonians recognize that the building of this new nation requires the use of a common language. The majority of Russian-Estonians in
Constrast this to what is happening in the
But history does not treat well nations that do not have a single language. With very few exceptions, multiple official languages in one country has always led to tensions, conflict and discrimination. What the Estonians understand, and what the Americans seem to have forgotten, is that it is language that makes both a nation and a nationality. If we Americans value our nation, we need to take a lesson from the Estonians and be ONE nation, …. indivisible.