No future

Living in a household where 4 languages are spoken (the main one being English), can create at times funny situations: my husband is a native Estonian speaker and my own language is French - we both speak English to each others and can at times exchange in German when seing my in-laws.

At the beginning of our relationships, he mentioned to me that Estonian as a language does not have a future (which was rather ironic during the Soviet era) - like in many other languages where conjugation is just a foreign concept, context is what gives the sense of a timeline. Based on that, he explained that he could not quite grasp the difference between the two expressions used in English to express the immediate future (‘I am going to’) and the less defined future (‘I will’). The French languages has a very similar structure so it has always been an easy one for me and I never have to think twice but I have noticed along the years that he very rarely uses the future tense at all.

To illustrate my point, when I suggest us to to something some time soon, he always seems to be surprised on how soon this often turns out to be (i.e. the following weekend). Similarly, when I ask him to do something for me, as a good project manager I used to be, I have learnt to mention specific deadline as otherwise things will happen but on a timeline that goes from within a few hours to eternity (which, when it comes to cleaning the bathroom can be rather problematic). 

Aurelie Desmas1 Comment