Language specialists are worried that the quality of the Estonian language is deteriorating among the youth, including those with higher education, and say that grade schools should enforce stricter standards.
At a conference organized by the University of Tartu and the Mother Tongue Society, professor of tghe Estonian language Martin Ehala presented his study, which concluded that language skills have fallen significantly among even grade school teachers, reported ERR radio.
"The results indicated that around 40 percent of first-year university students have a fairly modest functional command of the language,” said Ehala. “In other words, they have difficulties retrieving the central message from oral presentations and expressing their thoughts in a clear, concrete and structured written form.”
Even at the university level, instructors' competence is falling, experts said.
Silva Tomingas, director of TEA Publishing, said the situation is worrisome, and that language is becoming a major stumbling block for youth.
“It is often the case that even a newly employed Estonian philologist has to be repeatedly edited. Sadly, that editor must also be edited," said Tomingas.