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Estonian language

Estonian (eesti keel pronounced [ˈeːsti ˈkeːl] is the official language of Estonia, spoken natively by about 1.1 million people in Estonia and tens of thousands in various migrant communities. It belongs to the Finnic branch of the Uralic language family. One distinctive feature that has caused a great amount of interest among linguists is what is traditionally seen as three degrees of phonemic length: short, long, and "overlong", such that /sɑdɑ/, /sɑˑdɑ/and /sɑːdɑ/ are distinct. Education Today's education in Estonia is divided into general, vocational and hobby education. The education system is based on four levels which include the pre-school, basic, secondary and higher education. A wide network of schools and supporting educational institutions has been established. The Estonian educational system consists of state, municipal, public and private educational institutions. There are currently 589 schools in Estonia. Laws The official Head of State is the President of Estonia, who gives assent to the laws passed by Riigikogu, also having the right of sending them back and proposing new laws. The president, however, does not use these rights very often, having a largely ceremonial role. He or she is elected by Riigikogu, with two-thirds of the votes required. If the candidate does not gain the amount of votes required, the right to elect the president goes over to an electoral body, consisting of the 101 members of Riigikogu and representatives from local councils. As other spheres, Estonian law-making has been successfully integrated with the Information Age. History The two different historical Estonian languages (sometimes considered dialects), the North and South Estonian languages, are based on the ancestors of modern Estonians' migration into the territory of Estonia in at least two different waves, both groups speaking considerably different Finnic vernaculars. Modern standard Estonian has evolved on the basis of the dialects of Northern Estonia.