Imagine my surprise yesterday when (after 21 hours of traveling involving four airports in three countries) I stumbled toward baggage claim in the Tallinn airport and saw a photograph of Barack Obama on the side of a large trash can, next to this legend:
Yes We CAN
Jah Meie Oskame!
I passed the first trash can without quite registering this rather surprising ad; then my brain caught up with my eyes, so I inspected the next trash can carefully, and wrote down the Estonian words. Later I asked one of my kind Estonian hosts what Jah Meie Oskame means — not surprisingly, it means "Yes We Can" — and what the link given on the ad (www.pakendiringlus.ee) was about. Turns out to be an ad for recycling. Not, say, an exhortation to dump the U.S. President in the trash. Whew.
I was too jet-lagged yesterday to register much else, but at the opening reception for the conference — the 12th International Conference on Minority Languages — I learned that the three distinctive lengths of Estonian consonants and vowels are not always indicated in the orthography, and I was told that (some dialect of?) the Finnic language Livonian has FIVE distinctive lengths of consonants and vowels. I think it was Livonian. It was certainly a five-way length distinction in either consonants or vowels, or both. But possibly I merely dreamt this, or maybe they were kidding me. I am very gullible even when I've had some sleep.