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eino81

Norbert KissPrague, Czech Republic

532626 XP#7973 2814#4930.
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26956#4396

Learning Finnish from English

Level 25 · 110066 XP

Crowns: 210

Skills: 35

Lessons: 144

Lexemes: 1007

Strength: 100%

Created: 2013-05-21
Last Goal: 2021-12-03
Daily Goal: 50 XP
Timezone: UTC+1

Last update: 2021-12-01 23:20:08 GMT+3


3293413

Finnish Skills by StrengthCrownsNameOriginal Order

  • -16 Hello!11 @ 100% 0 •••
    anteeksi · anteeksi · kiitos · kuka · minä · mukava · olen · olet · roosa · sinä · terve
    11 words

    Tervetuloa! Welcome!

    Finnish is a proud member of the Finno-Ugric language family and, therefore, not related to the English language. It has no articles, no future tense, nor many other features found in so many European languages. It is a pretty regular language. Its spelling rules are so simple that Finnish children never have to worry about participating in spelling bee competitions. There, quite simply, is no need for them.


    Vowels

    The Finnish vowels always sound the same regardless of their place in the word. The instructions refer to General American English unless stated otherwise.

    IPA Notes Examples
    A [ɑ] as in "palm tree"; never as in "hat" absurdi, palmu, utopia
    E [e] like the first e in the Australian English (GA) and British English (RP) "legend" emu, genre, legenda
    I [i] pronounced like the letter y in "gallery" idoli, galleria
    O, Å [o] almost like the letter o in "corny" but more closed, never as in "not gold"; the letter Å, the "Swedish O", is used only in names of Swedish origin korni, operetti, studio, Måns
    U [u] as in ”moose taboo" but short urbaani, pulu, tabu
    Y [y] the "French U" and the "German Ü"; close to the expression of disgust ”eww”, but short and pronounced in the front part of the mouth; start with the vowel sound in the word "sea" and then pout like a proud pufferfish yksi, tyly, hyeena
    Ä [æ] like the letter a in "band" ässä, bändi
    Ö [ø] the closest thing found in English can be heard in some words before r, as in ”early bird”; the Finnish sound is pronounced closer to the teeth söpö, ötökkä

    The dots above Ä and Ö are NOT accents nor stress marks used to modify A and O. The two letters stand for distinct sounds made in the front part of the mouth, whereas the sounds represented by the dotless letters are produced at the back. Forgetting your dots results either in incomprehensible gobbledygook or in some wholly unrelated word. It is better to tell someone that they are hellä (tender, gentle) than to call them hella (kitchen stove).

    GOOOOAAAAL!

    Long vowels are written with double letters. They are the same sounds as the single letter ones but longer. If you get the length wrong, there is a risk of either being misunderstood or not being understood at all. If your biology paper is tuulessa, the wind has caught it. If it is tulessa, it is on fire. If your language doesn’t have a long sound found in Finnish, a good way to practice is to take the corresponding short sound and stretch it like an excited sports announcer after a goal or a touchdown.

    IPA Notes Examples
    AA [ɑː] as in ”Aargh!” and the British English (RP) ”bar" baari, aaria, hurraa
    EE [eː] never as in ”sweet dreams”, but a British (RP) soccer announcer shouting the name ”Best” - ”Beest!” eeppinen, toffee, magneetti
    II [iː] as in ”team” iilimato, tiimi, kirii
    OO [oː] Australian (GA) rugby announcer yelling the name ”George” - ”Geoorge!” ooppera, virtuoosi, neuloo
    UU [uː] as in ”boom” and ”vacuum” vakuumi, buumi
    YY [yː] as in the German "kühl"; similar to "eww" but closer to the teeth volyymi, titityy
    ÄÄ [æː] baseball announcer hollering ”Mantle” - ”Maantle!” väärä, ääni, bää
    ÖÖ [øː] basketball announcer shouting ”Erving” - ”Eerving!”; the Finnish sound is closer to the teeth insinööri, miljöö

    Foreign names and loanwords sometimes defy these rules. For example, Chile has a long i in the middle and duo has a long u.

    Who are you?

    The word for "I" is minä and for "you" sinä. Finnish verbs are conjugated according to person and number. Here are two forms of the verb olla, "to be":

    Pronoun Verb
    minä I olen am
    sinä you olet are

    Finns rarely use the expression "my name is". Instead we simply say "I am". The quintessential Finnish word for "hello" is terve, literally "healthy".

    Terve! Minä olen Väinö.
    Hello! I am Väinö.

    Sinä olet Aino.
    You are Aino.

    The question word kuka, "who", is followed by words in the same order as if they were in a statement.

    Terve! Kuka sinä olet?
    Hello! Who are you?

    Sorry and thank you

    Finnish does not have separate, short expressions for "sorry" and "excuse me". Both are translated with anteeksi. The word for "thank you " is kiitos.

    Anteeksi, kuka sinä olet?
    Excuse me, who are you?

    Anteeksi Elsa.
    Sorry Elsa.

    Kiitos!
    Thank you!

    Vocabulary
    terve hello
    minä I
    sinä you
    mukava nice
    olen (I) am
    olet (you) are
    anteeksi sorry, excuse me
    kiitos thank you
    kuka who
  • -16 Good Luck!21 @ 100% 0 •••
    hauska · ja · jee · kippis · no · onnea · paljon · tervetuloa
    8 words

    Consonants

    Let's aspire to not aspirate. Aspiration is a feature in Germanic languages, which can be found in most varieties of English. It means releasing a concise but violent puff of air while producing the sounds [k], [p], and [t] beginning stressed syllables, as in kind, pampered, tomcat. However, when one of these three sounds appears after the sound [s], or ends a syllable, the sounds are unaspirated, as in skydiving, wasp, stung, or Mick, lip, fat. In Finnish, [k], [p], and [t] are always unaspirated regardless of their place in the word. Native English speakers from India, Pakistan, and some parts of Africa often pronounce the sounds like Finns do - no huffing and puffing.

    The instructions refer to General American English unless stated otherwise.

    IPA Notes Examples
    B [b] as in "banana" zombi, banaani
    C [k], [s] appears only in rare loanwords; usually an unaspirated [k] as in the French "café" cancan, café
    D [d] as in "domino" domino, video
    F [f] as in "festival" ufo, festivaali
    G [g], [ŋ] usually as in "gorilla", never as in "gentleman" gorilla, agentti
    H [h], [ɦ], [ç], [x] [h] in the beginning of the word, as in "hiccup" hikka, haiku
    J [j] always like the word initial Y in English, as in "yeti", never like the English J, as in "jolly" jeti, jojo
    K [k] unaspirated; always as in "risk", never as in "kiss" kilogramma, riski
    L [l] as in "lotus" lootus, Englanti
    M [m], [ɱ] most often pronounced as [m], as in "mascot" samba, maskotti
    N [n], [ŋ], [ɱ] almost always pronounced as [n], as in "noodle" nuudeli, fani
    P [p] unaspirated; always as in "sponsor", never as in "pirate" panda, sponsori
    Q [k], [kʋ], [kw] extremely rare and appears only in loanwords; most often an unaspirated [k] as in the Spanish word "tequila" tequila, quiche
    R [r] the "Scottish R" also found in Italian, Spanish, Greek, and Russian; produced by making the tip of the tongue vibrate against the ridge behind the upper front teeth; "rock music" with bagpipes rock-musiikki, dinosaurus
    S [s], [ʃ] usually as in "silk", never as in "easy", or "decision" silkki, illuusio
    T [t] unaspirated; always as in "pessimist", never as in "tango" tango, pessimisti
    V [ʋ] close to "vampire" but more relaxed vampyyri, diiva
    W [ʋ], [w], [u] extremely rare and appears only in loanwords; almost always pronounced as a [ʋ] kiwi, watti
    X [ks] extremely rare; always as in "Exterminate!", never as in "existence" ex-partneri
    Z [ts] rare and found only in loanwords; as in "paparazzi", never as in "zone" zen, gorgonzola

    Seeing double

    Long consonant sounds are marked by double letters or ng. The Finnish double letter sounds are very similar to those found in Italian. Splitting words with long consonants into syllables usually helps those with trouble pronouncing them: alt-to, mok-ka, karamel-li, bas-so.

    IPA Notes Examples
    KK [kː] as in the Italian "mocca"; or "black_cat", but unaspirated gekko
    LL [lː] as in "soul_love" balladi
    MM [mː] as in "beam_me up" gramma
    NN [nː] as in "heaven_not hell" savanni
    PP [pː] as in the Italian "cappuccino"; or "stop_panicking", but unaspirated ooppera
    RR [rː] as in the Italian "guerra" terrieri
    SS [sː] as in "this_state" passi
    TT [tː] as in the Italian "frutti"; or "to be, or not_to be", but unaspirated botti
    NG [ŋː] as in the Spanish "tango" tango

    In spoken language and some loanwords BB, DD, FF, GG, HH, JJ, and VV are also possible.

    Good luck and congratulations!

    The Finnish expressions onnea and paljon onnea can be used both to wish someone good luck and to congratulate them.

    Tervetuloa ja onnea!
    Welcome and good luck/congratulations!

    Paljon onnea Matti!
    Congratulations/Best wishes Matti!

    Well, hello there!

    The word no is a filler word used to make moving from one topic to another less awkward, or to make something less formal and in your face. It is usually translated as "well".

    No, terve! Minä olen Otso. Kukas sinä olet?
    Well, hello! I am Otso. Who are you?

    Minä olen Anna. No, tervetuloa!
    I am Anna. Well, welcome!

    Vocabulary
    hauska funny
    tervetuloa welcome
    onnea good luck, congratulations
    jee yay
    no well
    kippis cheers
    ja and
    paljon a lot (of)
  • -16 Basics 131 @ 100% 0 •••
    aina · hän · kaunis · komea · lapsi · mies · nainen · on · todella · velho
    10 words

    Hän

    The Finnish language has no gender specific pronouns like "he" and "she" in English. Whatever the gender of the person you are talking about, they are referred to as hän in the singular.

    Hän on Matti.
    He is Matti.

    Hän on Liisa.
    She is Liisa.

    To be in order

    There are no articles in Finnish. That does not mean that you can put any old article in the English translation of a Finnish sentence. Sentences with the verb olla, "to be", put nouns in a certain order. The more important and complete something is, the earlier it appears. If a noun ends the sentence, it is somehow incomplete, often because the word does not include everything it by definition could. This is why final nouns in sentences with the verb "to be" are translated with an indefinite article.

    Liisa on nainen.
    Liisa is a woman.

    Matti on mies.
    Matti is a man.

    Hän on velho.
    S/he is a wizard.

    Name is not an omen

    Unlike in many other European languages, the last letter of a first name says nothing about the gender preferences associated with that name. There are also some names that have no preferred gender. Here are the first names introduced in this course:

    Man Woman Neutral
    Matti Liisa Kaino
    Väinö Aino Vieno
    Otso Elsa Lumi
    Joni Anna
    Pyry Tyyne
    Miikka Roosa
    Leo Kaisa

    Happily married

    Finnish diphthongs and vowel unions are blissfully happy. The letters in them represent the same sounds they stand for on their own. For example,

    a + u = au
    [ɑ] + [u] = [ɑu].

    Stressed for success

    In words that have three or fewer syllables, the stress is always on the first syllable. Unlike in English, the place of the stress does not affect the quality of the sounds.

    lap-si
    kau-nis
    ko-me-a
    mu-ka-va

    This applies to Standard Finnish and many of the southern dialects. Most other forms of Finnish are considerably "bouncier".

    Vocabulary
    mies man
    nainen woman
    lapsi child
    velho wizard
    hän he, she
    on (he, she, it) is
    kaunis beautiful
    komea handsome
    todella really
    aina always
  • -16 Basics 241 @ 100% 0 •••
    herra · hiljainen · hyvä · hyvä · ihminen · kantele · maa · poika · pöllönen · rehellinen · rouva · sauna · sisukas · soitin · suomalainen · suomalainen · suomi · tyttö · tämä · ujo · ystävä
    21 words

    Sisu, sauna, and kantele

    Sisu is the secret, internal emergency generator that keeps you going when you have used up all your energy but there are still things left that just need to be done. The word is often considered untranslatable, but the American expression "true grit" gets pretty close. The corresponding adjective is sisukas.

    Hilla on sisukas nainen.
    Hilla is a woman with sisu/true grit.

    Sauna is the most widely spread Finnish word. Although what constitutes as a sauna in most places, is considered in Finland a room that is slightly warmer than usual. Moreover, if you are not allowed to throw water on the sauna stove, it is not a proper sauna.

    Kantele is a Finnish string instrument with a distinctive jingling sound. The first one was built by the great wizard Väinämöinen out of the jawbone of a gargantuan pike. Fact.


    To be

    The singular present tense forms of olla, "to be":

    Finnish English
    olen (I) am
    olet (you) are
    on (s/he) is

    In Standard Finnish, the words minä, "I", and sinä, the singular "you", are optional when they are in the subject position. Hän, however, needs to be included.

    Minä olen ujo./Olen ujo.
    I am shy.

    Sinä olet rehellinen./Olet rehellinen.
    You are honest.

    Hän on hiljainen.
    S/he is quiet.

    Although common in writing, leaving out personal pronouns is rarer in spoken Finnish.

    Order!

    In sentences with the verb olla, "to be", the more complete a noun is, the earlier it appears. The later a noun appears, the less complete it is, and the more likely it is to be translated with an indefinite article.

    Hän on ujo poika.
    He is a shy boy.

    However, the English language has so many ways of using articles in generalisations that sometimes an indefinite article starts such a sentence.

    Hyvä sauna on aina suomalainen.
    A good sauna is always Finnish.

    In Finnish, that sauna is considered complete, since we are talking about all the good saunas in the world here.

    Family names

    Finnish last names can usually be found in nature. The most common last names can be divided into four groups:

    Last name Notes
    Pöllö "Owl" - noun
    Pöllönen "Of Owl", or "Little Owl" - noun with the ending nen
    Pöllölä "Owl Place" - noun with the ending la/lä
    Pöllövaara "Owl Fell/Hill/Danger" - compound word that has probably replaced a name in some other language

    Knowing me, knowing you

    The shortest way to introduce someone is to use the phrase Tämä on..., "This is..":

    Joni, tämä on Anna.
    Joni, this is Anna.

    Finns are very informal, but just in case you get invited to the Presidential Independence Day Ball, or to some other very formal event, the Finnish equivalents of "Mr." and "Ms." are herra and rouva.

    Herra Presidentti, tämä on rouva Pöllönen.
    Mr. President, this is Ms. Pöllönen.

    Bravo!

    The word hyvä, "good", can be used in the meaning "bravo" to encourage other people. You can use it to support your country or friend at a sporting event, or to thank someone for work well done.

    Hyvä Suomi!
    Go (Team) Finland!

    Hyvä Aino!
    Well done Aino!/Bravo Aino!/Go Aino!

    Vocabulary
    Suomi Finland
    maa country, land
    sauna sauna
    kantele kantele
    soitin instrument (music)
    tyttö girl
    poika boy
    ihminen person, human being
    ystävä friend
    suomalainen Finnish (adjective), Finn (person)
    hyvä good, bravo
    sisukas with sisu (adjective)
    ujo shy
    rehellinen honest
    hiljainen quiet, silent
    tämä this
    herra Mr.
    rouva Ms.
  • -16 Pets and Domestic Animals 143 @ 100% 0 •••
    hänellä · kiltti · kissa · koira · käärme · millainen · minulla · musta · on · pieni · poni · pupu · se · sininen · sininen · sinulla · söpö · tuhma · tämä · undulaatti · valkoinen · vihreä · vihreä · väärin · yksi
    25 words

    It and this

    The word for "it" is se and the word for "this" is tämä. As in English, the latter can be used both independently and before a noun.

    Se on pupu.
    It is a bunny.

    Tämä on söpö.
    This (one) is cute.

    Tämä pupu on söpö.
    This bunny is cute.

    To have

    Finnish does not have a verb for "to have". Instead the verb olla, "to be", is combined with a subject in the adessive. You can recognise the adessive from the ending lla/llä.

    Person Nominative Adessive English
    1st singular minä minulla I
    2nd singular sinä sinulla you
    3rd singular hän hänellä s/he

    Sentences with olla follow the most-complete-noun-first rule, which is why an object ending this type of sentence is almost always translated with an indefinite article. Whenever the object follows the verb, the verb always takes the same form: the 3rd person singular, on.

    Minulla on koira.
    I have a dog.

    Sinulla on pupu.
    You have a bunny.

    Hänellä on kissa.
    S/he has a cat.

    What kind of

    In questions that begin with millainen, "what kind of"/"what...like", the verb is placed after the nouns and pronouns.

    Millainen poni se on?
    What kind of pony is it/What is the pony like?

    Millainen koira sinulla on?
    What kind of dog do you have/What is your dog like?

    Incorrect!

    The word väärin, meaning "wrong" or "incorrect", is an adverb, which is why it always appears independently and never attaches itself to a noun.

    Väärin, se on undulaatti.
    Wrong, it is a parakeet.

    Good dog!

    Grownup people are always (fingers crossed) hyvä, "good". However, Finns use the word kiltti, more literally "kind" or "well-behaved", instead of hyvä when talking about children and animals. While some people may use both when talking to their pets, children are almost always kiltti.

    Joni on hyvä mies.
    Joni is a good man.

    Kuka on kiltti koira?
    Who is a good dog?

    Colour my world

    In this skill, you will be introduced to the first colour words in this course: blue, white, and some of the rest (which are not found in the most beautiful flag in the world).

    Finnish English
    sininen blue
    valkoinen white
    musta black
    vihreä green

    Animal names

    You can find these common Finnish names for pets and domestic animals in this course:

    Name Animal
    Musti dog
    Mirri cat
    Polle horse
    Mansikki cow

    Words are wind

    Whenever the letter h appears in some other place than the beginning of the word, it should be pronounced more violently, or the listener may interpret it as a long vowel, or not notice it at all. They may think that you are lamenting how quickly the past few weeks, viikot, have gone, when you actually need new notebooks, vihkot. Or that you are going to visit your friend Pia instead of going to your yard, piha. To find the right sounds, imitate the wind howling on a snowy plain and observe how the movement of air changes the sound.

    IPA Notes Examples
    H [h] starts a word; as in "haiku" hikka, haiku
    H [ɦ] appears in the middle of a word, followed by a vowel; as in "Bohemian" boheemi, mohikaani
    H [ç] hissing wind pronounced behind the front teeth; preceded by i or y either before a consonant or at the end of the word; can be found in "human" and in the German "Richter" vihreä, lyhty
    H [x] formed between the soft spot at the back the mouth's ceiling and the back of the tongue; preceded by a, o, or u, and followed by a consonant; can be found in the Scottish "loch" and the German "Bach" kahvi, sohva, juhla
    Vocabulary
    pupu bunny
    undulaatti parakeet
    koira dog
    kissa cat
    poni pony
    käärme snake
    söpö cute, adorable
    kiltti well-behaved, nice, sweet, good
    tuhma naughty
    pieni small
    sininen blue
    valkoinen white
    musta black
    vihreä green
    yksi one
    se it
    tämä this
    minulla I, (on) me
    sinulla (singular) you, (on) you
    hänellä s/he, (on) him/her
    millainen what kind of
    väärin (in an) incorrect (way), (in a) wrong (way)
  • -16 The North52 @ 100% 0 •••
    auto · bändi · islanti · islantilainen · islantilainen · iso · kaupunki · kylmä · kännykkä · laulu · missä · nimi · norja · norjalainen · norjalainen · onko · onko · pohjoinen · pohjoinen · ruotsalainen · ruotsalainen · ruotsi · saamelainen · saamelainen · shamaani · tanska · tanskalainen · tanskalainen · venäjä · venäläinen · viikinki · viro · virolainen · virolainen
    34 words

    The most northern North

    The word saamelainen (Sápme in Northern Sámi) refers to the Sámi people who live in the northern parts of Finland, Norway, and Sweden, as well as in the most northwestern Russia. Three Sámi languages (Northern Sámi, Inari Sámi, Skolt Sámi) are spoken in Finland and they have a semi-official status. This means that a Sámi language is an official language in any municipality that has a certain number of native speakers. Four Finnish municipalities offer services in at least one Sámi language.

    Orderly conduct

    The more complete a noun is, the earlier it appears in a sentence with the verb olla, "to be". As a result, a noun or a noun phrase that starts a sentence is usually translated with a definite article. If the sentence has another noun with another function, that noun is less complete. It can be translated with both types of articles found in English, depending on the context. The indefinite article is the more likely option in most cases.

    Tuhma kissa on viikinki.
    The naughty cat is a/the Viking.

    If the previous conversation has revolved around the identity of a mysterious Viking, whose scandalous secret is now being revealed, the definite article is used. In other cases, use an indefinite article. Note that this is because the English language works the way it works. Finnish could not care less. As long as there are cats and Vikings involved, in that order, everything is hunky-dory.

    So many questions

    Most Finnish question words are followed by words in the same order as they would be in a statement: the subject first, then the verb. This also applies to the question word missä, "(in) where":

    Norja on maa.
    Norway is a country.

    Missä Norja on?
    Where is Norway?

    Yes/No

    Unlike English, Finnish does not use auxiliary verbs like "to do" to start questions but opts for a question particle instead. In yes/no questions, the particle -ko is added to the word that is in charge of the interrogation. Most often this word is a verb. The verb is followed by the subject.

    Onko Ruotsi kylmä maa?
    Is Sweden a cold country?

    Onko sinulla suomalainen nimi?
    Do you have a Finnish name?

    Whenever the verb olla, "to be", is the chief interrogator in a sentence with several nouns as different parts of the sentence, the more complete noun or noun phrase is placed first. The first noun is usually translated with a definite and the second with an indefinite article.

    Onko kissa viikinki?
    Is the cat a Viking?

    Onko viikinki kissa?
    Is the Viking a cat?

    Nationality

    Most nationality words are formed by adding the ending -lainen to the name of a nation. Unlike in English, nationality words in Finnish are written with the first letter in the lower case. For example, the word for "Icelandic" is formed like this:

    Islanti + lainen = islantilainen

    The most common exceptions are the words suomalainen (Finnish, Finn), ruotsalainen (Swedish, Swede), and venäläinen (Russian). Nationality words that end in -lainen are used as adjectives, and in most cases also as nouns.

    Minulla on söpö venäläinen koira.
    I have a cute, Russian dog.

    Hän on tanskalainen.
    S/he is a Dane.

    Islantilainen on ujo.
    The Icelandic person is shy.

    Shh...

    [ʃ] has the most irregular spelling in Finnish and is a rare sound pronounced like the first sound in "Sherlock". It is usually spelled with sh (shampoo) but s and š are also possible (sampoo, šampoo).

    Saamelainen mies on shamaani/samaani/šamaani.
    The Sámi man is a shaman.

    Stress control

    In words that have three syllables or fewer, the stress falls on the first syllable.

    sau-na
    kan-te-le

    Words that have more syllables need a secondary stress. Its default place is on the third syllable.

    re-hel-li-nen
    suo-ma-lai-nen

    In words that have five syllables or more, if the third syllable is light - that is, it has only one or two letters in it - but there is a longer, heavy syllable next to it, the stress moves to the right, on the fourth syllable.

    is-lan-ti-lai-nen

    These rules apply to Standard Finnish and most southern varieties. Other forms of Finnish are often bouncier.

    Vocabulary
    Islanti Iceland
    Viro Estonia
    Norja Norway
    Ruotsi Sweden
    Tanska Denmark
    Venäjä Russia
    kaupunki city
    laulu song
    shamaani shaman
    viikinki Viking
    bändi band (pop, rock)
    nimi name
    auto car
    kännykkä cell phone
    kylmä cold
    pohjoinen northern, North
    iso big
    saamelainen Sámi
    islantilainen Icelandic, Icelandic person
    virolainen Estonian, Estonian person
    norjalainen Norwegian, Norwegian person
    venäläinen Russian, Russian person
    tanskalainen Danish, Dane
    ruotsalainen Swedish, Swede
    onko is, has (questions)
    missä (in) where
  • -16 Family61 @ 100% 0 •••
    harvoin · he · iloinen · istua · istut · istutteko · istuvat · istuvatko · isä · itkee · itkemme · itken · itkette · kasvaa · kasvavat · laulaa · laulamme · laulatko · laulatte · laulavatko · lelu · lemmikki · me · mummo · naimisissa · nalle · nauraako · nauramme · naurat · nopeasti · nuori · nyt · olemme · olette · oletteko · onnellinen · ovat · ovatko · pari · perhe · seisooko · seisotte · seisovat · seisovatko · surullinen · tanssia · tanssiiko · tanssimmeko · tanssin · tanssit · tanssitko · tanssitte · tanssivatko · te · usein · vaari · vauva · yhdessä · äiti
    59 words

    This time it's personal

    The nominative forms of the personal pronouns:

    Finnish English
    minä I
    sinä you
    hän he, she
    me we
    te you (all)
    he they

    Verbs are conjugated according to person and number. Here is the verb olla, "to be", in its six different present tense forms:

    Finnish English
    olen (I) am
    olet (you) are
    on (s/he, it) is
    olemme (we) are
    olette (you all) are
    ovat (they) are

    Finnish makes a distinction between the singular and the plural you, that is, whether the discussion is about one or several people.

    Sinä olet naimisissa.
    You are married.
    (you are a person who is married)

    Aino ja Otso, te olette naimisissa.
    Aino and Otso, you are married.
    (you are people who are married)

    In Standard Finnish, subject pronouns in the nominative are optional in the 1st and 2nd person. They need to be included in the 3rd person (hän, he).

    (Me) olemme naimisissa.
    We are married.

    (Te) olette naimisissa.
    You (all) are married.

    He ovat naimisissa.
    They are married.

    Verbs can be conjugated in several different ways, depending on the verb type, but the endings are always the same.

    Pronoun Verb ending
    minä -n
    sinä -t
    hän -VV (long vowel)
    me -mme
    te -tte
    he -vVt (v + vowel + t)

    If the 1st infinitive of a verb ends in two vowels, the stem is formed by cutting out the final vowel.

    to sing: laulaa -> laula-
    to dance: tanssia -> tanssi-
    to sit: istua -> istu-

    Then you add the endings. In the 3rd person singular (with hän), you double the final letter in the stem. In the 3rd person plural (with he), you add the ending -vat, if the stem has a, o, or u in it.

    Pronoun Verb English
    minä laula-n I am singing, I sing
    sinä laula-t you are singing, you sing
    hän laula-a s/he is singing, s/he sings
    me laula-mme we are singing, we sing
    te laula-tte you (all) are singing, you (all) sing
    he laula-vat they are singing, they sing

    The question particle -ko is added AFTER the personal endings.

    tanssi + i + ko = tanssiiko
    laula + t + ko = laulatko

    It is rare for a question to consist of only a verb, so using a personal pronoun with all forms is recommended, if there are no other words in the sentence.

    Tanssiiko hän?
    Is s/he dancing?

    Laulatko sinä?
    Do you sing?

    The continuous form of the English verb, the "-ing form", is usually the most natural translation, but the form without -ing, expressing repetitive action, can sometimes be the better option. Often, both are possible, depending on the context.

    Istumme yhdessä.
    We are sitting together.

    The continuous form sounds better above. However, "We sit together" would be correct as an answer to a question about repetitive actions, like "What do we do on Sundays?"

    Istumme usein yhdessä.
    We often sit together.

    The form expressing repetitive action is the most likely translation with sentences like the one above, because the sentence includes an adverb expressing frequency, "often".

    He tanssivat.
    They are dancing (right now)./They dance (as a hobby, etc).

    Finnish often focuses on whether things are complete or incomplete. The sentences "They are dancing" and "They dance" both refer to incomplete, unfinished action. This is why you can translate them with the same sentence.

    To put it shortly, the way ENGLISH grammar works in the given context determines whether the -ing form is used or not. Finnish is not particularly interested in ings.


    Like a dog with two tails

    Finnish has two adjectives that are best translated with the word "happy". A dog that jumps excitedly up and down when you return home after a long day at work is iloinen. A dog that lies relaxed next to you after his dinner while you scratch his neck is onnellinen. The first word is used to describe joyous and cheerful happiness that is easy to notice. The second word is used to describe happiness that is so deep that you can feel it in your bones. Of course it is possible to be both at the same time, but just because you are onnellinen does not necessarily mean that you are iloinen, or vice versa. A person can also pretend to be iloinen, but you cannot fake being onnellinen. Dogs, naturally, are incapable of such deception.

    Musti on hiljainen ja onnellinen.
    Musti is quiet and happy.

    Tämä iloinen vauva nauraa.
    This happy baby is laughing.

    Vocabulary
    lemmikki pet
    äiti mother
    isä father
    mummo grandma
    vaari grandpa
    vauva baby
    pari couple
    lelu toy
    nalle teddy
    perhe family
    onnellinen happy, content
    iloinen happy, jolly
    surullinen sad
    nuori young
    me we
    te you
    he they
    olemme we are
    olette you (all) are
    ovat they are
    nauraa to laugh
    laulaa to sing
    kasvaa to grow
    seisoa to stand
    istua to sit
    tanssia to dance
    itkeä to cry
    nyt now
    usein often
    harvoin seldom
    nopeasti fast, quickly
    naimisissa married
    yhdessä together
  • -16 Home 163 @ 100% 0 •••
    asunto · heillä · huone · kellari · koti · lämmin · meillä · moderni · mukava · mutta · oma · piha · pöytä · radio · sohva · suuri · sänky · talo · teillä · televisio · tuo · uusi · vanha · veranta
    24 words

    This and that

    Finnish makes a distinction between tämä, "this", and tuo, "that". Tämä refers to things, which are relatively close. If you are talking about concrete things, they are so close that you can touch them. Tuo is used for things that are more distant. If those things are concrete, they are still close enough for you to point at them. In English, you can say "This is Finland" or "That's Finland" to make a general statement about a certain northern country. In Finnish, Tämä on Suomi and Tuo on Suomi are possible only if you have a globe or a map in front of you to show others what you are talking about. Despite wild rumours, Finland is very much a concrete thing, not an imaginary fantasy land. Finland is also surprisingly large, so pointing it out accurately is rather challenging, unless you have really long arms.

    Tämä on radio.
    This is a radio.

    Tuo on televisio.
    That is a television.

    Both tämä and tuo can also be used to define a noun that follows them. You are allowed a bit more imagination with these. You can often use tämä also when you are located within the concrete thing discussed.

    Tämä talo on vanha.
    This house is old.

    Tuo piha on kaunis.
    That yard is beautiful.

    If you need to make a distinction between two things that are equally close, tämä precedes tuo.

    Tämä sänky on uusi ja tuo on vanha.
    This bed is new and that one is old.

    More to have

    Finnish does not have a general verb for "to have". Instead, the verb olla, "to be", is used with the adessive forms of the subject. Here are all the adessive forms of the personal pronouns:

    Person Finnish English
    1st singular minulla I, on me
    2nd singular sinulla you, on you
    3rd singular hänellä s/he, on him/her
    1st plural meillä we, on us
    2nd plural teillä you (all), on you (all)
    3rd plural heillä they, on them

    Whenever a pronoun precedes the verb and a noun follows it, the verb takes the form, on. The noun is almost always translated with an indefinite article.

    Meillä on suuri asunto.
    We have a large apartment.

    Nice and comfy

    Mukava is used to describe being welcoming and being easy to be around with. The translation changes depending on what the word is describing. When it is used about people and animals the word describes behaviour and "nice" is the best translation. If you are talking about a sofa, a bed, a room, or a house, "comfortable" and "comfy" are good translations.

    Musti on mukava koira.
    Musti is a nice dog.

    Tuo sohva on todella mukava.
    That sofa is really comfortable.

    Behold! My stuff!

    Unlike in English, oma, "own", often appears without the company of words like "my", "our", or "their", if the subject of the sentence reveals whose stuff we are talking about. This is why any sentence that begins with a pronoun in the adessive does not refer to the owner for the second time.

    Minulla on oma huone.
    I have a room of my own.

    Meillä on oma asunto.
    We have an apartment of our own./We own an apartment.

    Note that while the sentences above can sometimes also be translated with "I have my own room", or "We have our own apartment", the main purpose of the word oma is to simply express ownership and possession, so no need to be sassy.

    I thingth I hab a golb

    Nasal sounds suffer from a really bad cold. Try to breathe through your nose as little as possible when saying them.

    IPA Notes Examples
    N, NG [ŋ] appears mainly before k in words with an NK combination; sometimes a ng combination in more recent loanwords; pronounced as in "link" and "penguin" pingviini, linkki, sänky
    N, M [ɱ] very rare; nasal m-sound that appears before f in nf and mf combinations influenssa, pamfletti
    Vocabulary
    koti home
    talo house
    asunto apartment
    huone room (bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, etc.)
    kellari cellar, basement
    veranta veranda, porch
    piha yard
    radio radio
    televisio television
    sohva sofa, couch
    pöytä table
    sänky bed
    uusi new
    vanha old
    suuri large
    lämmin warm
    mukava comfortable, comfy (furniture, room, etc.)
    oma own
    tuo that
    meillä we, (on) us
    teillä (on) you (all)
    heillä they, (on) them
    mutta but
  • -16 Phrases 172 @ 100% 0 •••
    au · ei · hei · joo · kahvi · kahviko · kuuma · kyllä · kylmä · oikein · ole · olen · oletko · on · pulla · tuo · valmis
    17 words

    Coffee and pulla

    We have a problem and we are not ashamed to admit it. No other nation in the world drinks as much kahvi, "coffee", as the Finns do. We start in the morning and stop in the evening.

    Pulla, or nisu, is a coffeebread made out of wheat flour. It has a firm texture, and while it is sweet, it does not have as much sugar as most pastries. The dough often contains cardamom. Pulla comes in many shapes and sizes, varying from small buns and rolls to large, braided loaves.


    Greetings!

    The greeting hei is used for both "hi" and "bye". You can also double it when you use it in the latter meaning.

    Hei Väinö!
    Hi Väinö!/Bye Väinö!

    Hei hei Musti!
    Goodbye Musti!

    While Finns use the titles rouva (Ms.) and herra (Mr.) only in extremely formal situations and in the military, referring to people using their last name only is very common, especially among men. This can be both a very informal situation, like greeting someone, or a more formal one, like calling the name of the next patient in a waiting room.

    Terve Pöllö!
    Hello Pöllö!

    Behave yourself

    The Finnish language does not have a word for "please", but do not make the mistake of thinking that the lack of this one word means that Finns are rude. We simply express politeness by using other means. We do not plead, we give thanks. The Finnish word for "thank you" is kiitos. You also use it the same way English speakers use the word "please" when you are asking for something at a shop, a café, or a restaurant.

    Yksi kahvi, kiitos.
    One coffee, please.

    Kahvi ja pulla, kiitos.
    A coffee and a pulla, please.

    Since the word means "thank you" and is therefore stronger than "please", you do not have to repeat it quite as often. Kiitos is also used after ei ("no") and kyllä ("yes" ).

    Ei, kiitos.
    No, thank you.

    Kyllä, kiitos.
    Yes, please.

    Kyllä is mainly used with kiitos, as an affirmative answer to questions that begin with haluaisitko, "would you like to have" and in the military. In other situations, you have two options. First, you can say joo or juu (both mean "yes", or "yeah"). The second and the more used option is repeating the verb in the question.

    - Oletko sinä Pöllölä? - Olen.
    - Are you Pöllölä? - (Yes,) I am.

    - Onko tämä oikein? - On.
    - Is this correct? - (Yes,) It is.

    Ole hyvä, literally "be good", is used when passing objects to another person. You are expected to answer with kiitos.

    – Kahvi, ole hyvä. – Kiitos.
    – Here you are, a coffee. – Thank you.

    Notice that ole hyvä find its place at the end of a sentence. If you use the phrase in the beginning of the a sentence, it will sound like you are addressing the coffee. The place after the expression is reserved for names. As coffee obsessed as we are, not even Finns talk to their coffee cups.

    Ole hyvä, Anna!
    Anna! Here you are!

    Correct!

    Much like väärin, the word for "incorrect" and "right", oikein, the word for "correct" and "right", cannot precede a noun but always stands alone.

    Tämä on oikein ja tuo on väärin.
    This one is correct and that one is incorrect.

    Hot and cold

    To express how people and animals experience different temperatures, you need to use the adessive + on structure. In other words, Finns are not hot nor cold, we "have" hot or cold.

    Minulla on kuuma.
    I am hot.

    Meillä on kylmä.
    We are cold.

    Vocabulary
    hei hi, bye
    ole hyvä here you are
    kyllä (definite) yes
    ei no
    joo yes, yeah
    kahvi coffee
    pulla pulla (traditional, Finnish sweet bread)
    au ouch
    oikein correct, right
    valmis ready
    kuuma hot
    kylmä cold
    oletko are you (singular)
  • -16 Language 181 @ 100% 0 •••
    aasialainen · aksentti · englanti · espanja · helppo · japani · kieli · kiina · korea · kysymys · lause · miksi · murre · niin · opettaja · ranska · saksa · sana · suomi · todella · tärkeä · unkari · vai · vaikea · vastaus · viro
    26 words

    Why?

    The Finnish question word for "why" is miksi. As with most other question words, the rest of the sentence looks like a statement.

    Suomi on tärkeä kieli.
    Finnish is an important language.

    Miksi suomi on tärkeä kieli?
    Why is Finnish an important language?

    Nations, nationalities, and their languages

    Unlike in English, languages are not considered proper nouns in Finnish. Therefore, they start with a letter in the lower case. Most language names look identical to the name of the nation of their speakers, except for the first letter.

    Pöllö, Suomi on maa, suomi on kieli ja hän on suomalainen.
    Pöllö, Finland is a country, Finnish is a language, and s/he is a Finn.

    wow. such easy

    The word niin, "so", is a quantifier that appears before an adjective or an adverb.

    Tämä lause on niin helppo.
    This sentence is so easy.

    However, since English insists on leaving articles lying around for speakers of Finnish to trip on, "such" is often the more idiomatic translation whenever the adjective is followed by a noun.

    Englanti on niin vaikea kieli.
    English is so difficult a language./English is such a difficult language.

    Definitely or

    The conjunction vai, "or", appears only in questions and is always exclusive, never inclusive. This means that you are expected to choose one thing as an answer to the question.

    Onko se kieli, murre vai aksentti?
    Is it a language, a dialect, or an accent?

    Oh really?

    As in English, the adverb todella, "really", likes to march before the verb. It should not be confused with the determiner todella, "really", which precedes an adjective and has a different function.

    Ranska todella on kaunis kieli.
    French really is a beautiful language.
    (Mon dieu, French is beautiful. Not pretty, nor cute, nor nice. Beautiful.)

    Ranska on todella kaunis kieli.
    French is a really beautiful language.
    (Oui, French is beautiful, and not just beautiful but so beautiful that saying that it is merely beautiful would be an understatement. Oh la la...)

    Teacher, teacher!

    Finnish children do not address teachers formally. No sirs here, no ma'am! The youngest children refer to their teachers by first name. As they grow older, nicknames and last names (without a title) become more common. Usually though, a teacher is quite simply a teacher, opettaja, or its abbreviation, ope.

    Opettaja, miksi viro on tärkeä kieli?
    Teacher, why is Estonian an important language?

    Vocabulary
    kieli language
    sana word
    lause sentence
    kysymys question
    vastaus answer
    aksentti accent
    murre dialect
    opettaja teacher
    suomi Finnish (language)
    viro Estonian (language)
    ranska French (language)
    espanja Spanish (language)
    japani Japanese (language)
    englanti English (language)
    kiina Chinese (language)
    saksa German (language)
    unkari Hungarian (language)
    korea Korean (language)
    tärkeä important
    vaikea difficult
    helppo easy
    aasialainen Asian
    niin so, such
    vai or (exclusive)
    miksi why
  • -16 Barbecue82 @ 100% 0 •••
    grilli · haarukka · jano · jo · kala · kastike · ketsuppi · kuuma · lasi · lautanen · makkara · mauste · ne · nälkä · omena · peruna · pihvi · pippuri · punainen · pyöreä · salaatti · sinappi · sipuli · sitruuna · suola · tomaatti · tuossa · tässä · veitsi · vesi · vielä
    31 words

    The barbecue season

    An old proverb says that "the Finnish summer is short and short on snow". This is a rather sarcastic observation on the nature of spring and summer weather in Finland. The snow drifts disappear sometime in March, April, May, or June, depending on your latitude and that particular year. Then the snows return. Once, twice, thrice, umpteen times, until it is summer(ish). Whether you are a carnivore, omnivore, vegetarian, vegan, or a cannibal, the barbecue season begins when the snows have almost melted for the first time that spring. If it starts snowing when you are in the middle of grilling the sausages, tough. Now stop yapping about the weather and pass the mustard. As for when the barbecue season ends, well, since the start of the season pretty much coincides with bears waking up from hibernation, it is only natural that the end of the season takes place when the bears are starting their winter hibernation.


    Right here, right there

    The Finnish system for telling whether something is here or there is more detailed than the English one. When something you can see is tässä, "right here", it is either exactly where you are, or at so short a distance that you can touch it without changing your pose or position. If something you can see is tuossa, "right there", it is just beyond your reach.

    Lautanen on tässä.
    The plate is right here.

    Sitruuna on tuossa.
    The lemon is right there.

    He or ne?

    English personal pronouns separate people and other entities only in the singular. You cannot call a person "it" nor can you refer to a dishwashing machine with "he" or "she". Finnish makes this distinction also in the plural.

    Number Human Non-human
    Singular hän (s/he) se (it)
    Plural he (they) ne (they)

    Missä Matti ja Liisa ovat? He ovat tuossa.
    Where are Matti and Liisa? They are right there.

    Missä ketsuppi ja sinappi ovat? Ne ovat tässä.
    Where are the ketchup and the mustard? They are right here.

    Peckish and parched

    Finns usually use the expressions "to have hunger" and "to have thirst" should we feel peckish or parched. The adessive form of the subject is needed to get our basic needs heard.

    Minulla on nälkä.
    I am hungry.

    Meillä on jano.
    We are thirsty.

    Vocabulary
    jano thirst
    nälkä hunger
    peruna potato
    tomaatti tomato
    omena apple
    sipuli onion
    sitruuna lemon
    salaatti salad, lettuce
    makkara sausage
    pihvi steak, patty
    kala fish
    kastike sauce, dressing
    mauste spice
    suola salt
    pippuri pepper
    ketsuppi ketchup
    sinappi mustard
    lasi glass
    lautanen plate
    haarukka fork
    veitsi knife
    vesi water
    grilli grill
    pyöreä round
    punainen red
    keltainen yellow
    ne they (non-human)
    tässä right here
    tuossa right there
    jo already, yet
    vielä still, yet
  • -16 Sights83 @ 100% 0 •••
    auki · ehkä · kahvila · kartta · kaukana · kiinni · kirkko · liian · linna · lähellä · melko · mikä · monumentti · museo · mutta · oho · oikea · oopperatalo · outo · puisto · rakennus · sama · silta · stadion · taas · teatteri · tori · tuolla · täällä · voi · väärä
    31 words

    More questions...

    The question word for "what" is mikä. The word order after the word is similar to that after millainen, "what kind of". The predicative follows the question word, but the verb wanders to the final position to be able to loyally follow the subject.

    Millainen museo se on?
    What kind of museum is it?

    Mikä museo tuo on?
    What/Which museum is that?

    Over here, over there

    The Finnish language is not satisfied with having just words for "here" and "there" like English is. We prefer to know the location of things more specifically. If both you and the person you are talking to are both in the area in which whatever or whomever you are talking about is located, the word täällä, "over here", is used. If neither one of you is in the same area as the person or the thing discussed but they are still close enough for you to point at them, the word tuolla, "over there", is used instead.

    Teatteri on täällä.
    The theater is over here.

    Museo on tuolla.
    The museum is over there.

    Surprise or exasperation?

    In English, most situations can be handled with either the interjection "oh" or by adding something after it. While Finnish has many short expressions that can be used in various situations, we do not have a versatile exclamation that works exactly in the same way as "oh". If something upsetting happens to you, voi ei is a good way to express your general disillusionment with the way the world usually enjoys surprising us.

    Voi ei! Museo on kiinni!
    Oh no! The museum is closed!

    If what you are feeling is surprise caused by the actions of yourself or other people, or just general weirdness of the world, oho is a good exclamation to use. The surprise can be positive, negative, or neutral, and be translated with "oh wow", "oh", or "wow" depending on the context. It can also be used as the equivalent of the surprised "oops" English speakers utter when they arrive at their holiday destination and realize that they bought tickets to a wrong flight and ended up in Paris, Texas, instead of Paris, France, or vice versa.

    Oho. Outo rakennus.
    Oh wow. A weird building.

    Oho. Väärä teatteri.
    Oops. The wrong theater.

    The right stuff

    The Finnish equivalents for "right/correct" and "wrong/incorrect" look different depending on whether they are adjectives or adverbs. You can recognise the adverbs from the ending -in. The adjectives can appear before nouns, but the adverbs cannot.

    Väärin! Tämä on väärä rakennus.
    Wrong! This is the wrong building.

    Oikein! Tuo on oikea museo.
    Correct! That is the correct museum.

    So close, yet so far

    The Finnish words for “close/near” and “far (away)” are lähellä and kaukana. You can use these two words only when you use a verb that does not imply movement from one place to another.

    Voi ei! Kirkko on kaukana.
    Oh no! The church is far away.

    Jee! Puisto on lähellä.
    Yay! The park is near/nearby.

    Vocabulary
    rakennus building
    museo museum
    monumentti monument
    teatteri theater
    stadion stadium
    kirkko church
    linna castle
    puisto park
    silta bridge
    oopperatalo opera house
    kahvila café
    tori market square
    kartta map
    outo strange, weird
    oikea right (adjective)
    väärä wrong (adjective)
    sama (the) same
    auki open
    kiinni closed
    mikä what, which
    melko pretty, rather
    liian too (determiner)
    ehkä maybe
    taas again
    täällä over here
    tuolla over there
    kaukana far away
    lähellä close, near
    voi ei oh no
    oho oh wow, oops
  • -16 Fridge91 @ 100% 0 •••
    hyi · juusto · juustoa · jäätelö · kalaa · kana · kanaa · ketsuppia · kotona · liha · lihaa · liikaa · limonadi · limonadia · loppu · maito · maitoa · makea · makeaa · mehu · mehua · mustaa · mämmi · oranssi · oranssia · outoa · ruoka · ruokaa · samaa · tarpeeksi
    30 words

    Mämmi, ice cream, and ketchup

    The Finnish dessert known as mämmi is sweetened rye porridge eaten especially during the Easter weeks in the spring. It is very dark and thick, so some weirdos find the way it looks unappealing. It is usually consumed with a bit of milk or cream (not whipped), sometimes with vanilla ice cream.

    Finns eat jäätelö, “ice cream”, more than any other nation on the planet. While it is most popular during that one hot day in the summer, we eat it all year round. Sub-zero temperatures in February are considered a pitiful excuse for not having your little piece of edible heaven like a normal person.

    Every other type of food is covered in ketsuppi, “ketchup”, which like coffee and ice cream is more popular in Finland than anywhere else. Any self-respecting grocer keeps several shelves of one liter ketchup bottles in their shop. Whatever bits of your food on your plate are visible from under all the ketchup are there so that you can put mustard on them.

    THE END IS NIGH

    If you run out of ice cream, it is the end of your world. The Finnish word loppu, “the end”, is used to signify that there is nothing left of something.

    Jäätelö on loppu.
    The ice cream is all gone. OR I am/You are/He is/She is/It is/We are/They are out of ice cream.

    Ketsuppi on loppu.
    The ketchup is all gone. OR I am/You are/He is/She is/It is/We are/They are out of ketchup.

    Play your part(itive)

    The dictionary forms of nominals (nouns, adjectives, pronouns, and numerals) are in the nominative case. However, Finnish nominals can be inflected in 14 other cases besides the nominative. Such as (drumroll) THE PARTITIVE (ta-da). The partitive has many uses, but its main purpose is to signify something that is incomplete, unfinished, or hard to specify - things that are a PART of something. The partitive case is used most often (although not always) with objects and predicatives.

    There are several ways of forming the partitive singular, but the simplest way to do it is also the most common one and applies to most words: you add an A at the end.

    ketsuppi + a -> ketsuppia
    kala + a -> kalaa

    If you cannot count it, how do you know whether you have all of it?

    Uncountable nouns fall into to the hard-to-specify category, because you cannot specify how many of something there is. Any uncountable noun that is a predictive is in the partitive singular.

    Se on mehua.
    It is juice.

    Onko tuo maitoa?
    Is that milk?

    Any uncountable noun that is a direct object is in the partitive singular. You can often add the word “some” (statements) or “any” (questions) in front of a noun like this in the English translation.

    Minulla on ketsuppia.
    I have (some) ketchup.

    Onko sinulla juustoa?
    Do you have (any) cheese?

    Any adjective referring to an uncountable noun is also in the partitive singular in predicative and object positions.

    Tämä on outoaa mehua.
    This is strange juice.

    Meillä on mustaa limonadia.
    We have (some) black soda pop.

    In fact, if an adjective appears alone as a predicative, it is in the partitive singular whenever the subject it refers to is an uncountable noun.

    Onko mämmi oranssia?
    Is (the) mämmi orange?

    Ei, mämmi on mustaa.
    No, (the) mämmi is black.

    Amounts

    A word referring to a single unit of some amount is in the nominative in short phrases and following “to be” and “to have”. Yet, any uncountable noun that follows a word referring to an amount is in the partitive. You can count the units, but you still cannot count something that is uncountable. A unit like this can be an exact scientific unit like kilo, or a more everyday measurement like pullo, “bottle”.

    Kilo lihaa, kiitos.
    A kilo of (some) meat, please.

    Pullo mehua, kiitos.
    A bottle of (some) juice, please.

    An amount like this can also be exact in a more subjective manner, as with words like tarpeeksi, “enough”, and liikaa, “too much”. You know when you have had enough (or at least you should).

    Onko meillä tarpeeksi kalaa?
    Do we have enough fish?

    Liian or liikaa?

    The determiner liian, “too”, is a general intensifier that can be used with almost anything: colors, taste, the quality of your local grocer's ketchup, etc. The determiner liikaa, “too much”, refers specifically to an excessive amount of something.

    Tämä mehu on liian makeaa.
    This juice is too sweet.

    Meillä on liikaa juustoa.
    We have too much cheese.

    Vocabulary
    ruoka food
    mehu juice
    maito milk
    juusto cheese
    limonadi soda pop
    liha meat
    kana chicken
    jäätelö ice cream
    mämmi mämmi, sweetened rye porridge
    pullo bottle (of)
    loppu the end, out of
    litra liter (of), 33.8 oz.
    kilo kilo(gram of), 2.2 lb
    kotona at home
    makea sweet (taste)
    oranssi orange (color)
    liikaa too much
    tarpeeksi enough
    hyi eww, yuck
  • -16 Languages 293 @ 100% 0 •••
    afrikkalainen · ahkera · englantia · espanjaa · insinööri · japania · kiinaa · koreaa · moni · muusikko · myös · professori · puhut · puhutko · puhutteko · puhuuko · ranskaa · saksaa · sujuvaa · suomea · tai · turisti · unkaria · vain · viroa · vähän · älykäs
    27 words

    Let’s parti(tive)!

    Finnish has 15 grammatical cases that are used with the nominals (nouns, adjectives, pronouns, and numerals) and sometimes even with other word classes. The dictionary forms of nominals are in the nominative case. Another proud member of the Finnish Case Club for Terms Ending in -IVE is THE PARTITIVE. It has many uses, but its main purpose is to tell you that something is somehow incomplete, unfinished, or hard to specify. The partitive case is used most often (although not always) with objects and predicatives.

    While there are several ways of forming the partitive singular, the simplest way to do it applies to most Finnish words: you add an extra A at the end of the word.

    sana + a -> sanaa
    aksentti + a -> aksenttia

    Partitive verbs

    Finnish has several grammatical cases which can appear in the object position, depending on what you are trying to say. Some verbs prefer partitive objects in certain contexts. puhua, “to speak”, is one such verb. Whenever you tell someone what languages you can or cannot speak, you need the names of the languages in the partitive. After all, no one is able to speak a whole language. There will always be words that you do not know even in your native language. And even if you happen to be an ancient wizard who knows everything, you cannot utter the entirety of a language all at once.

    Opettaja puhuu koreaa.
    The teacher speaks/is speaking Korean.

    Puhuuko turisti ranskaa?
    Does the tourist speak/Is the tourist speaking French?

    While most language names are relatively new loanwords, suomi, the word for the Finnish language, is as old as pro-level wizards. Old nouns and adjectives that end in I go through a stem change: I turns into E. Words that end in I but are still very young, only the age of upstart wizards whose age is counted in hundreds and not in thousands, keep I at the end of their stems.

    englanti: englanti +a -> englantia
    suomi: suome + a -> suomea

    Anteeksi, puhutko sinä suomea?
    Excuse me, do you speak/are you speaking Finnish?

    OR or OR?

    The Finnish language has two words for “or”: tai, the inclusive “or”, and vai, the exclusive “or”. vai can only be used in questions, so you have to go with tai in statements.

    A statement with tai can mean that all options offered are possible, or that only one of them is possible. If the latter, English sometimes emphasizes these limited possibilities by adding “either” before the list of options.

    Tuo on suomea tai viroa.
    That is (either) Finnish or Estonian.

    In questions, both tai and vai are possible, depending on what you want to say. VAI is used when you know there is only one possible answer. TAI is used when you want to keep your options open: any one of the options could be correct, or both of them, or neither. You can sometimes see this reflected in the verb form of the English translation.

    Anteeksi, puhutteko te englantia tai espanjaa?
    Excuse me, do you speak English or Spanish?

    Anteeksi, puhutteko te suomea vai viroa?
    Excuse me, are you speaking Finnish or Estonian?

    If you use the inclusive tai, you must be talking about knowledge of languages. Maybe the people speak both English and Spanish, just one of them, or neither. Or maybe one of them knows Spanish and another one English. You have no way of knowing. If you use the exclusive vai, you must be commenting on what you are hearing. The language spoken sounds very familiar to you, but you have not yet progressed far enough in your Finnish studies to know whether it is Finnish or Estonian, although you know it has to be one or the other.

    Singularly many

    The pronoun moni, “many”, is inflected in both number and case. This means it has a singular form, which is followed by a verb in the singular, although in the corresponding English translation both are in the plural. If moni, the nominative singular form of the word, begins a sentence, you are dealing with a generalisation. Therefore, the continuous form (ing form) of the verb is not possible in the English translation. If you have trouble sticking to the singular, the now old-fashioned structure many a + noun may be of some assistance. As in “many a wordy jest”, an expression found in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

    Moni suomalainen puhuu sujuvaa englantia.
    Many Finns speak fluent English/Many a Finn speaks fluent English.

    Vocabulary
    turisti tourist
    insinööri engineer
    muusikko musician
    professori professor
    afrikkalainen African
    ahkera hardworking, diligent, conscientious
    sujuva fluent
    älykäs intelligent
    puhua to speak, to talk
    tai or (inclusive)
    moni many
    myös also, too, as well
    vain only
    vähän a bit of, a little bit of, a little
  • -16 Home 2102 @ 100% 0 •••
    asuntoa · autoa · että · grillaa · grillaamme · grillaan · grillaavatko · grillata · halpaa · hiki · isoa · katto · kattoa · kello · korjaa · korjaako · korjaamme · korjaat · korjaatko · korjaatteko · korjaavat · korjaavat · koska · lamppua · lattiaa · maalaa · maalaako · maalaamme · maalaan · maalaan · maalaatko · maalaavat · maalaavatko · pihaa · rikki · siisti · siivoaa · siivoaa · siivoaako · siivoan · siivoan · siivoat · siivoatko · siivoatte · siivoavat · sotkuinen · tajuan · tajuatko · tajuatteko · tajuta · taloa · taulu · taulua · tiskaa · tiskaamme · tiskaan · tiskaat · tiskaavat · tiskata · vanhaa · verantaa
    61 words

    ATAboy!

    Finnish verbs can be conjugated in several different ways depending on the verb type, but the endings are always the same.

    Pronoun Verb ending
    minä -n
    sinä -t
    hän -VV (long vowel)
    me -mme
    te -tte
    he -vVt (v + vowel + t)

    If the 1st infinitive of the verb ends in -ata, -ota, or -uta, the stem is formed by removing the T in the middle.

    to paint: maalata -> maalaa-
    to clean: siivota -> siivoa-
    to realize: tajuta -> tajua-

    Then you add the personal endings.

    Pronoun Verb English
    minä siivoa-n I am cleaning, I clean
    sinä siivoa-t you are cleaning, you clean
    hän siivoa-a s/he is cleaning, s/he cleans
    me siivoa-mme we are cleaning, we clean
    te siivoa-tte you (all) are cleaning, you (all) clean
    he siivoa-vat they are cleaning, they clean

    The question particle is added after the personal ending.

    Maalaako Aino usein?
    Does Aino paint often?

    I object!

    If something is the focus of your actions, it’s called an object. If you’re still in the process of doing something to that object, you’ll need the partitive case. Objects of ongoing actions are in the partitive case. The object form rarely has any influence on whether you should use the definite or indefinite article in the English translation. In English, ongoing action is expressed by using the verb, not the noun as in Finnish. This is why Finnish sentences with a partitive object are usually translated with the continuous form of the verb, the -ing form.

    Me siivoamme taloa.
    We’re cleaning a/the house.

    Mummo korjaa autoa.
    Grandma is repairing/fixing a/the car.

    If the noun is preceded by an adjective, it must be in the partitive as well.

    Mummo korjaa mustaa autoa.
    Grandma is repairing/fixing a/the black car.

    Which “that” is that?

    In the English language the conjunction “that” never follows a comma. It’s Finnish equivalent että, however, would die were it seen without an admiring comma on its side. It also likes YOUR attention more than the humble English “that”. “that” rarely complains if it’s cut out of the sentence completely. että, the vain drama queen, on the other hand, has its revenge on you by turning your sentence nonsensical should you choose to ignore it. What a diva!

    Tajuan nyt, että teillä on jo koira.
    I realize now (that) you already have a dog.

    The conjunction koska always appears with a comma too, even though its English cousin “because” chooses not to favor its punctuation companion's company as often.

    Siivoan verantaa, koska se on sotkuinen.
    I’m cleaning the veranda, because it is messy.

    Cleaning and decorating

    The verb siivota is “to clean” only in the meaning “to tidy things up”. It’s used when you're talking about everyday chores in general whether that’s hoovering or picking toys off the floor. If you need to clean something very specific and relatively small, like the bathtub, a windscreen, or a spatula, you should opt for some other verb. You shouldn’t use siivota with parts of the human body either.

    He siivoavat vanhaa asuntoa.
    They are cleaning/tidying up the old apartment.

    The noun taulu refers to a picture you can hang on your wall. It can be a painting, a drawing, a framed photograph, or some fabric stapled on a piece of styrofoam. As long as it’s a flat thing that cannot be bent easily, it required some creative output to get made, and it hangs on a wall, it’s taulu.

    Don’t sweat it!

    Sweating, like being cold or hungry, is something you have, not something you are or do. Finns usually “have a sweat” rather than just “sweat”.

    Minulla on hiki.
    I am sweating.

    Minulla on kylmä/kuuma/lämmin/nälkä/jano.
    I am cold/hot/warm/hungry/thirsty.

    Vocabulary
    tuoli chair
    lattia floor (the type you stand on)
    lamppu lamp
    taulu picture, painting (decorative element)
    katto roof, ceiling
    kello clock, watch
    hiki sweat
    halpa cheap
    sotkuinen messy
    siisti tidy
    rikki broken
    maalata to paint
    korjata to fix, to repair
    siivota to clean (up), to tidy up
    tiskata to do the dishes
    grillata to grill, to barbecue
    tajuta to realize
    koska because
    että that (conjunction)
  • -16 Know-How112 @ 100% 0 •••
    amerikkalainen · että · hiljaa · hys · hyvin · islantia · joka · kanadalainen · kanadalainen · kirjoittaa · kuinka · lahjakas · laulaja · lukea · norjaa · osaako · osaan · osaat · osaatko · osaatteko · osaavat · piirtää · pitkä · ratsastaa · ratsastavat · ruotsia · sekä · tangoa · tanskaa · tanssija · tanssijaa · tosi · vakava · viisas
    34 words

    Knowledge is power

    The verb OSATA means “to know how to” or “to have knowledge of”. English uses various constructions to express the same thing depending on the context. When the verb osata is followed by a language, the verb “to know” is the best translation.

    Osaatko sinä suomea?
    Do you know Finnish?

    If the focus is on speaking rather than knowledge of the language in general, osata is followed by the 1st infinitive puhua, “to speak”. Here English favors the modal verb “can”, although “to know how to” works often too.

    Osaan puhua ranskaa.
    I can/know how to speak French.

    You can place the 1st infinitive form of many verbs after osata.

    Joni osaa lukea/laulaa.
    Joni can/knows how to read/sing.

    OSATA is all about knowledge, talent, and acquired skills, which is why you should NOT assume that every “can” in the English language is translated with osata. The English verb is also used to ask for favors (“Can you come over here?”) and to check if someone is able or capable of doing something (“Can you hear me?”). Finnish uses other structures to express such things. When you ask a parent whether their child can walk yet, osata is the verb to go with. It takes a lot of work, quite a bit of natural talent, and lots of knowledge acquired by failing repeatedly to learn how to walk. If you’re helping someone who has been hit by a car, using osata when posing the same question would sound like asking whether this person ever learned to walk to begin with, when you probably meant to ask if they are capable of walking.

    Osaako lapsi puhua?
    Can the child/Does the child know how to speak?

    Both-and

    Just in case you’re wondering why you can’t see the word ja, “and”, anywhere in this section: what in English is “both-and”, is “also-that” in Finnish. Both the English structure and the Finnish sekä-että are used to point out the importance of there not being only this one thing here but two things, as in this very sentence. Much as in English, if you put the emphasis on että (“and”) in speech, the latter thing sounds more important than the first one.

    Puhun sekä suomea että ruotsia.
    I speak both Finnish and Swedish.

    Osaat sekä tanssia että laulaa.
    You can both dance and sing.

    How about that!

    Finnish question words begin with either M or K.

    Question word
    mikä what, which
    missä where, in which
    miksi why, into which
    millainen what kind of
    kuka who
    kuinka how

    The question word kuinka, "how", can be combined with expressions of amount and frequency, such as the word moni, “many”. Although the English “how many” is in the plural, the Finnish expression kuinka moni is in the singular.

    Kuinka moni kanadalainen osaa ranskaa?
    How many Canadians know French?

    Movers and shakers

    Do you need a word for a profession? Or perhaps a word for a talent? If you need a “doer”, the most common way to turn a verb into a noun is to attach the ending -JA onto a verb stem. This is the Finnish equivalent of the English ending -(e)r.

    laula + ja = laulaja singer
    tanssi + ja = tanssija dancer

    Adverbs or something else?

    The hint is in the name: ad+verb = adverb. Adverbs refer to a verb.

    Root Adverb
    hyvä good hyvin well
    oikea right, correct oikein in the right way, correctly
    väärä wrong, incorrect väärin in the wrong way, incorrectly
    usea several usein often
    harva few harvoin rarely

    Above are five common adverbs created by using the instructive forms of three adjectives and two pronouns/determiners. The instructive ending -in, meaning “with some things”, is particularly common in adverbs of frequency. The literal meaning of hyvin, “well”, is “with good things”. usein, “often”, could be translated as “on several occasions”.

    Matti laulaa hyvin.
    Matti sings well.

    Hush!

    Unusually, you need the adjective “quiet” rather than the adverb “quietly” if you want someone to shut their cakehole. In English, that is. Finnish chooses the adverb, hiljaa, instead of the adjective hiljainen. The accompanying interjection is hys.

    Hys! Hiljaa! Anna laulaa.
    Hush/Shh! Quiet! Anna is singing.

    So long folks!

    The most likely translation of the word pitkä is “long”. However, it also means “tall” when you’re talking about people.

    Pitkä mies laulaa pitkää laulua.
    The tall man is singing a long song.

    Vocabulary
    tango tango
    tanssija dancer
    laulaja singer
    kanadalainen Canadian (adjective/person)
    amerikkalainen American (adjective/person)
    vakava serious
    viisas wise
    lahjakas talented, gifted
    pitkä long, tall (people)
    osata to know how to, to have knowledge of
    piirtää to draw
    lukea to read
    kirjoittaa to write
    ratsastaa to ride (an animal, usually a horse)
    joka who, which (relative)
    sekä-että both-and
    kuinka how
    tosi really (determiner; spoken language)
    hyvin well
    hiljaa quietly
    hys shh, hush
  • -16 Coffee122 @ 100% 0 •••
    glögi · glögiä · haluaa · haluamme · haluan · haluatko · haluatteko · hyvää · jotain · juoda · juotavaa · jäätelöä · kermaa · kuppi · kuumaa · kylmää · leipä · leipää · lisää · mitä · mämmiä · nam · pala · paljon · pehmeä · pehmeää · pirtelö · pirtelöä · pullaa · syödä · syötävää · tee · tumma · tummaa · vihreää
    35 words

    Glögi and dark bread

    Glögi is a hot drink enjoyed in the winter, especially during the Christmas holidays. Originally, it was usually spicy mulled wine or spirits but nowadays it’s more common to drink a version made out of grape or apple juice with no or very little alcohol in it. The most common spices found in glögi are cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger. Glögi is typically sweeter than Glühwein and other similar drinks. It’s served with raisins and almonds. It's often drunk out of glasses designed specifically for the purpose. The traditional glass type resembles Russian tea glasses with metal holders.

    Tumma leipä, “dark bread”, is a more formal way of referring to rye bread. Its plural form, tummat leivät, is something you can see on a sign at a Finnish grocer’s so that you can separate the good stuff from white bread. Finns tend to prefer rye bread over wheat bread. Oat bread is also very popular.

    Peace and harmony

    The Finnish language has three types of vowels: back vowels, front vowels, and neutral (front) vowels.

    Vowel type Vowels
    Back vowels A O U
    Front vowels Y Ä Ö
    Neutral (front) vowels E I

    Back and front vowels CANNOT appear in the same word, whereas neutral vowels can appear in words with both! This is known as VOWEL HARMONY. The most common exceptions to this rule are compound words, words with prefixes, and fairly recent loanwords.

    Partial to harmony

    Vowel harmony applies to most endings you can add to words, including all case endings. This means that a word like glögi with no back vowels cannot end in A in the partitive case, unlike a word like kahvi. This is why words like glögi end in Ä in the partitive.

    1) If a word has one or more back vowels (A, O, U) in it, it gets the ending with a back vowel in the partitive singular: A.
    2) If a word has one or more front vowels (Y, Ä, Ö) in it, it gets the ending with a front vowel in the partitive singular: Ä.

    This is what it looks like in practice:

    kuuma kahvi -> kuumaa kahvia hot coffee
    kylmä jäätelö -> kylmää jäätelöä cold ice cream

    Which what?

    When a question word stands in for a subject or a predicative, it’s in the nominative; when a question word stands in for an object, it’s often in the partitive. mikä is used when you’re looking for a non-human subject/predicative for your sentence; MITÄ is used when you need an unspecified non-human object.

    – Mikä tuo on? – Se on kuppi.
    – What’s that? – It’s a cup.

    – Mitä haluat? – Haluan kahvia.
    – What do you want? – I want coffee.

    We want more!

    haluta, “to want”, is followed by the 1st infinitive form of a verb and an object form of a nominal.

    Haluan syödä jäätelöä.
    I want to eat ice cream.

    jotain is the partitive form of the Finnish version of “something”. When you combine it with the partitive forms of juotava and syötävä, “drinkable” and ”edible”, you get a phrase that you're very likely to hear in a restaurant and when you’re visiting someone’s home: jotain juotavaa/syötävää, "something to drink/eat".

    Haluatko jotain juotavaa/syötävää?
    Do you want something to drink/eat?

    You can also add the very -ble pair to other expressions of amount like lisää, "more".

    Haluatteko lisää juotavaa?
    Do you want something more to drink?

    A piece of cake!

    The Finnish word pala is a generic word for a piece of something. It can be translated as "piece", "morsel", or "slice" depending on the context.

    Pala kakkua, kiitos.
    A piece of cake, please.

    Vocabulary
    tee tea
    sokeri sugar
    kerma cream
    pirtelö milkshake
    glögi glögi, glogg (hot, spicy drink drunk in northern Europe)
    jäätelö ice cream
    leipä bread
    kakku cake
    pala piece (of), slice (of), morsel (of)
    kuppi cup (of)
    pehmeä soft
    tumma dark
    juotava drinkable
    syötävä edible
    juoda to drink
    syödä to eat
    haluta to want
    mitä (of) what
    jotain (of) something
    lisää more
    nam yum
  • -16 Meow!131 @ 100% 0 •••
    eri · etsimme · etsin · etsitkö · etsittekö · etsivätkö · haisee · haisevat · haista · huhuu · juoksee · juoksemme · juoksen · juokset · juoksevat · juoksevatko · kana · karhut · ketkä · kissat · koirat · kot kot · likainen · lintu · murisee · murisevat · mustat · nousemme · nousen · nousevat · nuo · nämä · opettajat · orava · oravat · painavat · pesee · pesemme · pesen · pesettekö · pesevät · pesevätkö · ponit · potkaisee · potkaisevat · potkaista · pulassa · puput · puraisee · puraisevat · puraista · pöllö · ruskea · ruskeaa · siili · siilit · söpöt · titityy · tuhmat · ylös · yrittävät · yrittää
    62 words

    Cups of T

    The most common way to form the nominative plural is to add T at the end of the word. Almost all words that end in a vowel like their T simple without milk, sugar, and extra letters. If a word ends in A, O, U, Y, Ä, or Ö after a consonant, all you have to do to form the plural is to pour some T. Most (but not all) words that end in I after a consonant also work the same way. Words that end in E are excluded for the most part from this group. They prefer stronger, grammatically more complex T.

    kissa + t -> kissat cats
    pöllö + t -> pöllöt owls
    poni + t -> ponit ponies

    Any adjective preceding the noun needs its fill of T as well.

    Mustat kissat tanssivat.
    The black cats are dancing.

    STArry verbs

    Finnish verbs in the conjugation group 3 end in two consonants and a vowel. This group includes verbs which end in STA in the 1st infinitive. The two final letters are dropped to form the stem.

    to smell: haista -> hais-
    to growl: murista -> muris-

    E is placed between the stem and the personal endings. In the 3rd person singular, the E is doubled.

    Pronoun Verb English
    minä hais-e-n I smell
    sinä hais-e-t you smell
    hän, se hais-e-e he/she/it smells
    me hais-e-mme we smell
    te hais-e-tte you (all) smell
    he, ne hais-e-vat they smell

    Running takes more effort than most physical things; conjugating juosta, “to run”, takes more effort than most STA verbs. A mysterious K haunts your every step.

    Pronoun Verb English
    minä juoks-e-n I run, I am running
    sinä juoks-e-t you run, you are running
    hän, se juoks-e-e he/she/it runs, he/she/it is running
    me juoks-e-mme we run, we are running
    te juoks-e-tte you (all) run, you are running
    he, ne juoks-e-vat they run, they are running

    In harmony

    Vowel harmony applies not just to all case endings but also to verb endings. So far we’ve seen verbs that end in VAT in the 3rd person plural. But what about verbs that don’t have any back vowels?

    1) If the stem has one or more back vowels (A, O, U) in it, it gets the ending with a back vowel: VAT.
    2) If the stem has one or more front vowels (Y, Ä, Ö) in it, it gets the ending with a front vowel: VÄT.

    And this is what looks like in practice:

    to try: yrittää -> yrittä + vät

    So what happens when there are only neutral vowels in the stem? Well, since E and I are pronounced closer to the teeth than the throat…

    3) If the stem has only neutral vowels (E, I) in it, it gets the ending with a front vowel: VÄT.

    Which looks like this:

    to look for: etsiä -> etsi + vät
    to wash: pestä -> pes + e + vät

    etsiä is conjugated like tanssia but with some extra dots; pestä is a STÄrry verb similar to haista, a STArry verb.

    Just this once

    Some Finnish verbs, like potkaista , “to kick”, and puraista, “to bite”, can only be used to express a single occurrence. This means that it’s rare to translate them with the ing form of the English verb.

    Kissat puraisevat mummoa.
    The cats bite grandma. (Just once. They're a bit naughty but not mean.)

    Many sensory verbs are often translated the same way: no ing. haista is “to smell” only in the meaning “to emit a scent/to stink” but not in the meaning “to detect a scent/smell” if there is no object in the sentence.

    Koirat haisevat.
    The dogs smell/stink.

    These, those

    To get the plural forms of “this” and “that”, swap the T’s for N’s and you'll get "these" and "those".

    Singular Plural
    tämä nämä
    tuo nuo

    nämä kissat ja nuo koirat
    these cats and those dogs

    Plural who

    If you have a question concerning one person, you use the question word kuka. If you want to know about more than one person, the word to use is KETKÄ. The Finnish verb is in the plural to match the question word, although English likes to treat people as a single body.

    Kuka haisee?
    Who stinks? (one person)

    Ketkä haisevat?
    Who stinks? (several people)

    Vocabulary
    kana hen, chicken
    lehmä cow
    pöllö owl
    lintu bird
    karhu bear
    siili hedgehog
    orava squirrel
    likainen dirty
    painava heavy
    ruskea brown
    eri different, another, some other
    sanoa to say
    etsiä to look for, to search
    pestä to wash
    murista to growl
    puraista to bite
    potkaista to kick
    nousta to rise, to arise
    nousta ylös to get up
    haista to smell
    juosta to run
    yrittää to try
    nämä these
    nuo those
    ketkä who (nom. plural; question word)
    ylös up
    pulassa in trouble
    hau hau woof
    miau meow
    huhuu hoot
    kot kot cluck cluck
    muu moo
    röh oink
    titityy tititee, tweet tweet
    ihahaa neigh
    mur growl
  • -16 Europe133 @ 100% 0 •••
    aikaa · asumme · asun · asun · asut · asutko · asutteko · asuu · asuuko · asuvat · asuvatko · berliini · berliinissä · enemmän · espanja · hauskaa · italia · italiassa · käydä · lontoo · lontoossa · maassa · norjassa · nykyään · oslo · paikka · pariisi · pariisissa · praha · prahassa · puola · puolassa · ranskassa · rooma · roomassa · ruotsissa · saksa · saksassa · suomessa · sveitsi · sveitsissä · tallinna · tallinnassa · tanskassa · tässä · unkari · unkarissa · viettää · virossa
    49 words

    The INessive

    The closest thing Finnish has to the English preposition “in” is the locative case known as the inessive. The most common way to use the inessive is to express stationary existence within something or in some place. You can usually recognize it from the ending SSA. Let’s not forget to keep our vowels harmonious though.

    1) If the word has one or more back vowels (A, O, U) in it, it gets the ending with a back vowel: SSA.

    Saksa + ssa -> Saksassa In Germany
    Viro + ssa -> Virossa In Estonia

    2) If the word has one or more front vowels (Y, Ä, Ö) in it, it gets the ending with a front vowel: SSÄ.
    3) If the word has only neutral vowels (E, I) in it, it gets the ending with a front vowel: SSÄ.

    Berliini + ssä -> Berliinissä In Berlin
    Sveitsi + ssä -> Sveitsissä In Switzerland

    Words in the inessive are often answers to questions beginning with the word missä, “(in) where/in which”.

    – Missä Oslo on? – Norjassa.
    – Where is Oslo? – In Norway.

    Or maybe Finns just believe that Mississippi doesn’t have enough S’s.

    Tuo kaupunki on Mississippissä.
    That city is in Mississippi.

    Suomi, “Finland”, is a very old word. Old words that end in I go through a stem change when you start adding case endings to them. suomi, the Finnish word for the Finnish language, becomes suomea in the partitive. Suomi, the name of the country, behaves similarly in the inessive. The final I turns into E before the case ending.

    He ovat Suomessa.
    They are in Finland.

    If the noun in the inessive is preceded by a pronoun/determiner or an adjective, those are also in the inessive. The inessive form of tämä, “this”, is tässä.

    Helsinki on tässä maassa.
    Helsinki is in this country.

    My neck of the woods

    The verb asua, “to live", is used to indicate residence. If you’re talking about people, any place the size of the continent or smaller is possible with this verb. Once you move to planets and even larger things, you need to use some other verb. You cannot use this verb to talk about any other aspect of living.

    – Missä sinä asut? – Minä asun Italiassa.
    – Where do you live? – I live in Italy.

    There and back again

    The verb käydä has many purposes. Its basic function is similar to that of the English verb “to visit”: you go some place, spend some time there, and then return back where you started from. English speakers visit places. Finns, however, visit IN places. This is why you need to use the inessive with the verb käydä.

    Me haluamme käydä Suomessa.
    We want to visit Finland.

    Fun, fun, fun

    The Finnish expression for “to have fun” belongs in the same group as the expressions for being cold, warm, or hot. The lla on structure is followed by the adjective hauska in the partitive.

    Meillä on hauskaa Tallinnassa.
    We are having fun in Tallinn.

    The verb viettää means “to spend” but only in the contexts of time, holidays, and celebration. This particular verb likes company and rarely appears alone. The word for “time” is aika and its partitive form aikaa is needed to create the Finnish equivalent of “to spend time”.

    Haluan viettää aikaa kotona.
    I want to spend time at home.

    More or more?

    The Finnish language has two words which can both be translated as “more”: lisää and enemmän. So how to tell them apart?

    You use lisää, when you want more something you’ve run out of. You used to have some, now it’s all gone and you want more.

    – Aika on loppu! – Ei! Haluan lisää aikaa!
    – Time is up! – No! I want more time!

    Oh dear. Someone didn’t finish their exam on time and is having a hard time accepting that.

    enemmän is the comparative form of paljon, “a lot”. In many ways, it’s the opposite of enough. When you choose enemmän it usually means that you want more something you already have or know you will have, because you believe you don’t have or will not have enough of it.

    Haluan viettää enemmän aikaa Suomessa.
    I want to spend more time in Finland.

    Since English does not make this distinction, it's often hard to decide which word to choose. Not coming across as greedy is important to Finns, so choose your words wisely to suit the situation, whatever the English sentence looks like.

    Haluan enemmän kahvia.
    I want more coffee. (My cup is neither full nor empty. I want more.)

    Haluan lisää kahvia.
    I want more coffee. (I’m out. I want another full cup.)

    Vocabulary
    Norja Norway
    Tanska Denmark
    Ruotsi Sweden
    Viro Estonia
    Espanja Spain
    Saksa Germany
    Unkari Hungary
    Ranska France
    Italia Italy
    Sveitsi Switzerland
    Puola Poland
    Oslo Oslo
    Tallinna Tallinn
    Berliini Berlin
    Pariisi Paris
    Lontoo London
    Rooma Rome
    Praha Prague
    paikka place
    aika time
    asua to live (in some place)
    käydä to visit
    viettää to spend (time, vacation)
    enemmän more (not enough)
    nykyään nowadays
  • -16 Pets and domestic animals 2141 @ 100% 0 •••
    afrikkalaista · ainakin · eläin · hamsteri · hamsteria · hevonen · hevosta · jolla · kahdeksan · kaksi · kala · kalaa · kenellä · kolme · kuusi · kymmenen · lemmikkiä · monta · montako · neljä · nätti · nättiä · omistaa · omistamme · onnellista · pentu · pentua · pörröinen · pörröistä · seitsemän · sikaa · sillä · sinistä · suomalaista · suomalaista · surullista · söpöä · täydellinen · täydellistä · valkoista · venäläistä · vihainen · vihaista · viisi · villi · villiä · yhdeksän · ystävällinen · ystävällistä
    49 words

    Close your eyes and count to 10

    Finnish English
    1 yksi one
    2 kaksi two
    3 kolme three
    4 neljä four
    5 viisi five
    6 kuusi six
    7 seitsemän seven
    8 kahdeksan eight
    9 yhdeksän nine
    10 kymmenen ten

    seitsemän is an unusual word in the usually so obedient Finnish language, since most people do not pronounce it the way it’s written. seitsämän and seitsömän are acceptable even in formal speech, although the word is still always spelled with E in the middle.

    How many does that amount to?

    Any number larger than 1 is seen as an amount and is treated as such. The number already tells us how many there are of something, much like a scientific unit like litra or kilo, whereas what follows is an incomplete mass. This is why whatever there is a certain number of is always in the partitive singular. What follows the number 1 is considered complete, because the number and its nominal companions match and form one complete unit. Hence the nominative is used when you refer to a single something.

    Hänellä on yksi pieni kala.
    S/he has one small fish.

    Meillä on kilo ruokaa.
    We have a kilogram of food.

    Minulla on kaksi mustaa kissaa, koska olen noita.
    I have two black cats, because I’m a witch.

    If the phrase with a number larger than 1 is in the subject position, the verb is in the 3rd person singular.

    Kolme kilttiä koiraa istuu hiljaa.
    (The) three well-behaved dogs are sitting quietly.

    A number of many

    The partitive singular form of moni, “many”, is monta. It behaves like numbers larger than 1 and is followed by everything in the partitive singular. It and its nominal minions usually park themselves in the object position.

    Omistan monta söpöä lehmää.
    I own many cute cows.

    The -lla on structure is usually followed by everything looking like it’s in the nominative singular. monta has road rage when it comes to having this particular parking space, since it rather than its traffic rule obeying nominative form is used with the adessive structure. The minions following are also in the partitive.

    Minulla on monta mustaa autoa.
    I have many black cars.

    If you want to know how many objects there are, the question to ask is montako.

    Montako hamsteria sinulla on?
    How many hamsters do you have?

    kuinka monta and miten monta are also possible.

    NENough partitive forms to stem a whole river

    Words that end in NEN go through a stem change whenever you start adding things to them. You drop NEN and replace it with S.

    vihainen -> vihais-
    sininen -> sinis-
    pörröinen -> pörröis-

    The partitive singular ending for words that end in most vowels is either -A or -Ä, depending on the vowel harmony. So what happens when you want to add an ending after a consonant like S? You have to stem a river of T, that’s what. The most common partitive ending to follow a consonant is -TA/TÄ.

    vihais + ta -> vihaista
    sinis + tä -> sinistä
    pörröis + tä -> pörröistä

    Don’t forget the vowel harmony!

    Viisi vihaista lintua haluaa sinistä jäätelöä.
    (The) five angry birds want blue ice cream.

    Minulla on kuusi pörröistä koiraa.
    I have six fluffy dogs.

    It has…

    The adessive form of se, “it”, is, sillä.

    Onko sillä tarpeeksi ruokaa?
    Does it have enough food?

    Who-whoo's!

    If you want to know who has something, you need the question word kenellä, the adessive form kuka. Word order in the question affects the article in the English translation.

    Kenellä on pupu?
    Who has a bunny?

    Kenellä pupu on?
    Who has the bunny?

    The adessive form of the relative conjunction joka, “who/which”, is jolla. Both can be used to refer to anything concrete and countable and feel very lonely and vulnerable without commas.

    Mies, jolla on söpö koira, on onnellinen.
    The man, who has a cute dog, is happy.

    Minulla on kissa, jolla on kaksi pentua.
    I have a cat which has two kittens.

    Vocabulary
    eläin animal
    pentu puppy, kitten, cub
    hamsteri hamster
    hevonen horse
    sika pig
    kala fish
    villi wild
    nätti pretty (adjective)
    täydellinen perfect
    ystävällinen friendly
    vihainen angry
    pörröinen fluffy
    omistaa to own, to have property
    yksi one
    kaksi two
    kolme three
    neljä four
    viisi five
    kuusi six
    seitsemän seven
    kahdeksan eight
    yhdeksän nine
    kymmenen ten
    sillä it (has)
    kenellä who (has) (question)
    jolla who/which (has) (relative)
    monta many (partitive)
    montako how many (partitive)
    ainakin at least
  • -16 World142 @ 100% 0 •••
    argentiina · argentiinassa · asu · ei · eivät · eivätkö · eksyä · emme · emme · en · en · enää · et · ette · ettekö · halua · hindiä · japani · japanissa · kanada · kanadassa · koskaan · koti-ikävä · ole · osaa · puhu · shamaanit · skandinaviassa · turistit · vaan · vaikka · venäjää
    32 words

    Vikings and wizards

    Skandinavia is either a geographical area including Norway, Sweden, and the most northern parts of Finnish Lapland or a cultural area including Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. The Norse were farmers, traders, and Vikings, whereas the Finns and the Sámi were mainly hunters, herders, and witches. While our northern cultures have influenced one another over the years, it’s bad manners to refer to the Finns and the Sámi as Scandinavians or to say that Finland is in Scandinavia. There are still many aspects in Finnish culture that most Scandinavians find exotic. We are rather proud of being a bit different, regardless of what mother tongue we happen to have.

    The not knot

    Finnish verbs are conjugated in several different ways, depending on the verb type, but the endings stay the same.

    Pronoun Verb ending
    minä -n
    sinä -t
    hän -VV (long vowel)
    me -mme
    te -tte
    he -vVt (v + vowel + t)

    The Finnish negation verb is built around the word ei. In the 3rd person forms, you can see the letter couple together but in the other forms I disappears.

    Pronoun Verb English
    minä e-n I don’t, I am not, I won’t, I haven’t,...
    sinä e-t you don’t, you’re not, you won’t,...
    hän ei she/he/it doesn’t,...
    me e-mme we don’t,...
    te e-tte you don’t,...
    he ei-vät they don’t,...

    The translations of this structure fashion themselves on the auxiliary verb used in the English sentence. The most popular looks are forms of “to be” and “to have”. You can also translate the structure as a negation of an existential sentence verb, “to be”. The only verb type which doesn’t accessorize with the ei verb is the imperative. Commands prefer another style.

    An auxiliary verb must be followed by the actual verb of the sentence. The main verb usually looks identical to the verb stem to which you would normally add a personal ending. The fabulous ei verb already includes all the endings you could possibly need for your look: less is more. The main verb ending in a vowel is a must though, so E is added at the end of group 3 verbs which have a stem ending in a consonant.

    asua -> asu
    haluta -> halua
    pestä -> pese
    juosta -> juokse
    olla -> ole

    Let’s see what the ensemble looks like!

    Minä en asu Virossa.
    I don’t live in Estonia.

    Sinä et puhu suomea.
    You don’t speak (any) Finnish.

    Me emme juokse.
    We don’t run.

    He eivät ole kotona.
    They’re not home.

    If a third verb is needed, the second verb rather than the negative verb determines its form.

    Osaamme puhua hindiä.
    We can speak Hindu.

    Emme osaa puhua hindiä.
    We can’t speak (any) Hindu.

    Since there aren’t any back vowels in the ei verbs, the question particle of is the one with some trendy umlaut dots.

    Ettekö te asu Kanadassa?
    Do you not live in Canada?

    Never anymore

    enää means “anymore” or “no longer” when it appears in a question or a negative sentence. Its place is either before or after the final verb in a verb phrase, the second option being more common. Having a visible subject makes the first option more likely though.

    En halua puhua enää. / En halua enää puhua.
    I don’t want to talk anymore.

    Etkö sinä halua enää puhua? / Etkö sinä halua puhua enää? Don’t you want to talk anymore?

    Note that the position of the word can change the emphasis in the sentence in a way that you can see in the translation. The earlier it appears, the more emphasized it is. Did you just come home after your daily jog, or have you decided to stop jogging completely?

    En juokse enää.
    I’m no longer running/I don’t run anymore.

    En enää juokse.
    I don’t run anymore.

    koskaan means “ever” or “never” in a question or a negative sentence. Its place is usually after the whole verb phrase. Placing it in the middle makes you sound exasperated enough for you to add an exclamation mark at the end.

    Hän ei puhu koskaan.
    S/he never speaks.

    Hän ei koskaan puhu!
    S/he never speaks!

    But yes!

    When two positive things or sentences are separated by the conjunction “but”, mutta keeps the balance.

    pieni mutta kaunis kieli
    a small but beautiful language

    If the first half of a sentence is negative but the second is positive and both halves have the same subject, vaan is the hero who turns bad things into something good.

    Emme ole kotona vaan Puolassa.
    We are not home but in Poland.

    mutta is also capable of heroics when it comes to whole sentences with two different subjects.

    En halua itkeä, mutta minulla on koti-ikävä.
    I don’t want to cry but I’m home sick.

    Vocabulary
    hindi Hindi (language)
    venäjä Russian (language)
    Kanada Canada
    Japani Japan
    Argentiina Argentina
    Skandinavia Skandinavia
    australialainen Australian
    koti-ikävä home sickness
    eksyä to get lost
    ei no (auxiliary verb)
    enää no longer, anymore
    koskaan never, ever
    vaan but
    vaikka although
  • -16 Wild143 @ 100% 0 •••
    ahma · ahmat · australia · australiassa · egypti · egyptissä · elävät · elävätkö · elääkö · haistelee · haistelevat · haistella · hymyilee · hymyilemme · hymyilet · hymyillä · ilves · isossa · järvi · jää · jäässä · kalassa · kameli · kamelit · kasvi · kasvit · kenguru · kengurut · keskellä · kivi · koala · koalat · koko · krokotiili · krokotiilit · kylmässä · kylmät · kävelee · kävelemme · kävelen · kävelevät · kävellä · maassa · marja · marjat · metsä · metsässä · myrkyllinen · piilossa · pois · poro · poroa · puro · purossa · puussa · puut · vanhassa · vanhat · yleensä
    59 words

    Forces of nature

    The reindeer, poro, is a half-domesticated deer that lives in Lapland, renowned for their single-minded attitude. If they decide to do reindeer things, which usually consists of standing in the middle of the road and being a reindeer and absolutely nothing else, there's no stopping them. You can shout at them and honk your car horn as many times as you want and they still won’t acknowledge your existence. After all, reindeering is very important business and should not be interrupted.

    Four large predators live in the Finnish wild. The lynx, ilves, is a large cat; the wolf, susi, is a large canine animal; the wolverine, ahma, is a large mustelid (although apparently there’s a human wolverine too, living somewhere in Canada or Australia, I can’t remember which). The fourth predator is the bear, karhu, which was once so feared, respected, and loved that the Finnish language has more than 100 names for bear. More than half a dozen of these words are still in everyday use.

    Live and let live

    The Finnish language has two verbs meaning “to live”. asua means “to have a home or a place of residence”. ELÄÄ means “to be alive”. The latter is usually used with animals, although if a creature favors a hole in a tree or some other place as its sleeping place, asua is also possible when talking about that place.

    Kengurut elävät Australiassa.
    Kangaroos live in Australia.

    Pieni orava asuu/elää tuossa puussa.
    The/A small squirrel lives in that tree.

    Some steLLAr verbs you have there

    The steLLAR verbs are verbs that end in LLA or LLÄ in the 1st infinitive. They belong in group 3 like STArry verbs, meaning that they end in two consonants and one vowel. The final two letters are dropped to form the stem.

    kuulla -> kuul-
    kävellä -> kävel-

    E is placed between the stem and the personal endings. The endings are the same as they always are regardless of the verb group. In the 3rd person singular, the E is doubled.

    Pronoun Verb English
    minä kuul-e-n I hear
    sinä kuul-e-t you hear
    hän kuul-e-e s/he hears
    me kuul-e-mme we hear
    te kuul-e-tte you hear
    he kuul-e-vat they hear

    The sturdy ship that is olla, “to be”, is also for the most part steLLAr. Only the 3rd person forms on and ovat break the rules of intersteLLAr travel.

    Olen Otso.
    I am Otso.

    Hymyilemme ja kävelemme metsässä.
    We’re smiling and walking in the forest.

    The whole KOKOnut

    koko, “the whole”, is an adjective which, much like sama, “the same”, is almost always translated with a definite article before it. It only appears in noun phrases and never as a predicative.

    Koko metsä on hiljaa.
    The whole forest is quiet.

    How to fit into a berry?

    An old Finnish joke goes: “Two grandmas are picking berries, but there’s room for only one”. Makes nooo sense. OR DOES IT? The inessive case is used to express many things which in English would be expressed by using verbs.

    Phrase Literally English
    piilossa in the hiding place hiding
    jäässä in the ice frozen
    marjassa in the berry picking berries
    kalassa in the fish fishing

    Kaksi mummoa on marjassa.
    Two grandmas are picking berries.

    Järvi on jäässä, mutta vaari on kalassa.
    The lake is frozen but grandpa is fishing.

    Pöllö on piilossa puussa.
    The owl is hiding in a tree.

    While the inessive is most often translated with the preposition “in”, it’s worth remembering that sometimes some other preposition works much better.

    He istuvat maassa.
    They are sitting on the ground.

    In the middle of nowhere

    keskellä, “in the middle of”, works like lähellä, “close to”. Anything you happen to be in the middle of is in the partitive.

    Otso seisoo keskellä puroa.
    Otso is standing in the middle of the/a creek.

    Vocabulary
    Australia Australia
    Egypti Egypt
    koala koala
    kenguru kangaroo
    kameli camel
    krokotiili crocodile
    ahma wolwerine
    ilves lynx
    poro reindeer
    puu tree
    metsä forest
    kasvi plant
    marja berry
    kukka flower
    maa soil, ground
    jää ice
    puro creek, brook, stream
    järvi lake
    kivi stone, rock
    piilo hiding place
    harmaa grey
    myrkyllinen poisonous, venomous
    koko the whole
    elää to live, to be alive
    kävellä to walk
    hymyillä to smile
    haistella to sniff, to smell at
    kuulla to hear
    yleensä usually
    pois away
    keskellä in the middle of
  • -16 Love151 @ 100% 0 •••
    heitä · häntä · ihmistä · ikävä · jota · kaikki · kaunista · ketä · kulta · lähellä · lämmintä · meitä · minua · naista · poikaystävää · rakastaa · rakastaako · rakastamme · rakastan · rakastat · rakastatko · sinua · sisukasta · suomea · teitä · tyttöystävää · tätä · viisasta
    28 words

    If you say it you better mean it

    Finns are very serious when it comes to love. If you tell someone you love them, you better really love them. rakastaa is not a verb to be used lightly as it signifies complete dedication. If you tell someone you love music, that means that you not only listen to music everyday but that music is the very reason you exist, the one thing that you could not live without. If you go about saying things like “I love coffee” and cannot name and recognise different types of coffee beans, or “I love that shirt” and you don’t wear it every day, people will think you’re superficial and, quite frankly, a bit of an idiot.

    All the love in the world

    The verb rakastaa, “to love”, much like puhua, “to speak”, always takes a partitive object. Love is all encompassing but since you can never know someone completely, you can never love someone completely. Every time you learn something new about someone you love, you love them more and better. Healthy love focuses on the complexity of the person who’s loved, not on the obsessive and absolute emotions of the person who loves. True love is loving the truth.

    Rakastan Väinöä.
    I love Väinö.

    The verb ihailla, “to admire” also takes a partitive object. We admire qualities, not the person or the thing with those qualities.

    Ihailemme komeaa laulajaa.
    We admire the handsome singer.

    The verb halata, “to hug”, works exclusively with the partitive. You’re not a lump of dough that can cover a whole person to show affection; you’re a person with perfectly regular human arms.

    Mummo halaa Mattia.
    Grandma is hugging Matti.

    The fourth newcomer to this parti(tive) is ajatella, “to think of/about”. You’re not a deity who can comprehend the full meaning of something or someone. You can only think of what you know and understand.

    Hän ajattelee Liisaa.
    S/he is thinking of Liisa.

    Personal pronouns go through a stem change when you move away from the nominative singular to other cases. Apart from the genitive and the accusative, this is what the stems look like.

    Nominative Stem
    minä minu-
    sinä sinu-
    hän hän(e)-
    me mei-
    te tei-
    he hei-

    These stems are used in both the adessive and the partitive. In the partitive, the endings vary depending on whether the stem ends in a single vowel (the ending A/Ä) or two vowels (the ending TA/TÄ). The stem for hän ends in the consonant N in the partitive and is followed by TÄ. Vowel harmony is bossing umlaut dots around as usual.

    Nominative Adessive Partitive
    minä minulla minua
    sinä sinulla sinua
    hän hänellä häntä
    me meillä meitä
    te teillä teitä
    he heillä heitä

    Kulta, minä rakastan sinua.
    Darling, I love you.

    Ajattelemme häntä usein.
    We think of him/her often.

    What a whoot!

    The question word kuka has more looks than a British glam rocker. Here are the ones we’ve encountered so far.

    Case Who English
    Nominative singular kuka who
    Nominative plural ketkä who
    Adessive singular kenellä on/by/with whom
    Partitive singular ketä whom

    ketä gets to strut their stuff on stage whenever your question is about finding an object.

    Ketä sinä ajattelet?
    Who(m) are you thinking of?

    I do care one JOTA about it

    The relative conjunction jota is the partitive form of joka, “who/which”. It’s used with anything concrete, whether that’s people, pets, or kitchen furniture. Its purpose is to turn a subject momentarily into an object and it can always be translated with “whom”. Commas! Commas everywhere!

    Mies, jota rakastan, asuu Suomessa.
    The man who(m) I love lives in Finland.

    OK, who invited the consonants?

    Consonants want to parti(tive) too! If a nominal ends in a vowel followed by N, the partitive ending is TA/TÄ. A nominal ending in S gets the same treatment. If you parti(tive) hard, you need more treatment.

    Etsin lämmintä sydäntä.
    I’m looking for a warm heart.

    Ihailemme tätä viisasta miestä.
    We admire this wise man.

    Remember that nominals ending in NEN are diagnosed with an S stem. They’re regular parti(tive) animals!

    Mummo halaa onnellista naista.
    Grandma is hugging the happy woman.

    Miss you

    Finns usually have a pining, ikävä, for someone or something, rather than simply miss them. The pined after object, whether it’s your mother, your country or an actual pine, is in the partitive.

    Minulla on ikävä sinua.
    I miss you.

    Everyone’s a gangsta

    The word kaikki whenever it refers to people and means “everyone/everybody” is followed by a verb in the plural.

    Kaikki rakastavat Raimoa.
    Everybody loves Raimo.

    Vocabulary
    kulta darling
    tyttöystävä girlfriend
    poikaystävä boyfriend
    sulhanen groom
    morsian bride
    vaimo wife
    mies husband
    hymy smile
    sydän heart
    sisu sisu, true grit
    rakastaa to love
    halata to hug
    ihailla to admire
    ajatella to think
    olla ikävä to miss
    kaikki everyone
    ketä whom (partitive)
  • 05 Yummy!152 @ 100% 0 •••
    leivos · maistaa · mustana · paljonko
    4 words

    Have your cake and eat it too

    The general word for anything baked (that's not bread) is leivos, “pastry”. The word kakku can refer to anything of good size, most often to a layered cake, täytekakku. A Finnish täytekakku is usually filled with whipped cream and berries. It marks every celebration in your life worth noting, starting from your birth and ending with your funeral.

    Also popular in cakes is kinuski, “kinusk” or “Russian candy”, which consists of heated cream and sugar, and is similar to confiture de lait. It’s also used in dessert sauces aand to flavor ice cream.

    A particularly popular form of pulla is korvapuusti, literally “a box on the ear”, which is a very large cinnamon roll shaped like, well, an ear. The Danish pastry is known as viineri in Finland, named after the city of Vienna. munkki is a jelly doughnut, although a ring-shaped, jellyless doughnut can be called that too if there is no frosting on it.

    The word piirakka means “pie”, or sometimes “pasty”, and it can be used to refer to pastries of all sizes both sweet and savory as long as it has a dough crust and some filling. You can usually already see at least some of the filling before cutting into one. The best known Finnish baked treat, the small and humble karjalanpiirakka, “Karelian pasty”, would not be classified as a pie in the English speaking world despite having the word piirakka in its name. Its rye crust is usually filled with rice porridge or smashed potatoes.

    Another savory Finnish delicacy is lörtsy. It’s a deep-fried meat pocket, although in some places a sweet jam-filled variant can be found too. Applesauce is a popular filling in the sweet version.

    In the candy department, you can find all sorts of lakritsi, “licorice”. It’s a sweet confection flavored and colored black by roots of a plant of the same name. salmiakki, on the other hand, is sour and salty. It gets its taste from ammonium chloride. You can find it in ice cream, chocolate, chewing gum, liquor and pretty much anything you can eat or drink. If you can put salmiakki into something, someone in Finland is already selling it.

    kiisseli, “kissel”, is a dessert popular in northern and eastern Europe. It’s made of fruit or berries and their juice thickened with potato starch. Prune kissel is a popular dessert during Christmas. I think you can guess why. rahka, “quark”, is a dessert made of curdled sour milk of the same name mixed with whipped cream and berries or fruit. It’s known as white fluff in some parts of the States. Go to any university cafeteria in Finland every day for a week, and the chances are the lunch dessert option is either a kissel or a quark every single day.

    Finns drink sima, “mead”, in the spring, especially around the time of Saint Walburgis Night. It’s a very sweet drink with no or very little alcohol, made of either syrup or honey. It’s used to wash down munkki.

    Verb type propaganDA!

    Of all the verb types the group 2 is the best group. You get to eat and drink and get all sorts of nice things. Group 2 verbs are the best! This is propaganDA. Group 2 verbs end in DA/DÄ. The stem of propaganDA verbs is formed by dropping the two final letters.

    syödä -> syö-
    juoda -> juo-
    saada -> saa-

    The endings are the same as always. Since the stem already ends in two vowels in the 3rd person singular, nothing is added to it.

    Pronoun Verb English
    minä syö-n I’m eating, I eat
    sinä syö-t you’re eating, you eat
    hän syö s/he is eating,...
    me syö-mme we’re eating
    te syö-tte you (all) are eating
    he syö-vät they’re eating

    Juon kahvia ja syön pullaa.
    I’m drinking coffee and eating pulla.

    Myyn simaa.
    I’m selling mead.

    saada means “to get”. The most natural English translation often includes the verb “can”.

    Saanko lisää kiisseliä?
    Can I get (some) more kissel?

    How much?

    When you need to ask the price for something, you add the question particle KO to the word paljon, “a lot”/”much”.

    Paljonko tämä rahka maksaa?
    How much does this quark cost?

    No cream and sugar, please

    If you prefer your coffee black, the essive form of the word musta is needed. The essive singular ends in NA/NÄ.

    Kuppi kahvia, mustana, kiitos.
    A cup of coffee, black, please.

    Vocabulary
    leivos pastry
    piirakka pie, pasty
    korvapuusti cinnamon roll
    täytekakku layered cake
    viineri Danish pastry
    munkki jelly doughnut
    lörtsy lörtsy
    karjalanpiirakka Karelian pasty
    rahka quark
    kiisseli kissel
    kinuski kinusk
    karkki candy
    suklaa chocolate
    lakritsi licorice
    salmiakki salmiakki
    hillo jam
    sima sima, mead
    voi butter
    banaani banana
    herkku delicacy, treat
    raha money
    kahvila café
    vahva strong
    herkullinen delicious
    suolainen salty, savory
    maksaa to cost
    ostaa to buy
    maistaa to taste, to try (a dish)
    sulaa to melt
    syödä to eat
    juoda to drink
    myydä to sell
    saada to get
    paljonko how much
    voi voi uh-oh, oh dear
  • 05 O'Clock153 @ 100% 0 •••
    aamu · hetki · ilta · iltapäivä · joka · kaksitoista · kello · kiire · melkein · myöhä · paljonko · puoli · päivä · tasan · väsynyt · yksitoista · yö
    17 words

    Let there be light

    Whether it’s morning or daytime, early or late, is always subjective. In Finland, figuring this out is even more difficult than in most other places, since sunlight is such a fickle thing over here. In midwinter the sun goes for a holiday to some warmer place; in midsummer it works overtime, shining through both day and night. This is why knowing what time it is is very important when you are in Finland. It’s the quickest way of knowing for certain what time of the day it is, unless you like calculating things based on sun and star positions of course.

    There is another reason for knowing the time in Finland: Finns are very punctual. If your train is scheduled to leave at 19:17, it’s long departed if you reach the platform a minute later. If you show up to a meeting 10 minutes late, you will find 10 minutes worth of things to catch up with and no one will stop to tell you what has been talked about so far. At universities lectures begin at 15 minutes after the hour. Exchange students when they first arrive at a Finnish university often use this as an example of Finns not being as punctual as we claim to be. After a day of studying, they realize that the lectures begin exactly at 15 minutes past.

    No formal subjects in a republic

    The UK is a monarchy; Finland is a republic. The UK has subjects; Finland has citizens. English has formal subjects; Finnish has no formal subjects. If a short active sentence has no subject, you start it with the verb.

    On myöhä.
    It’s late.

    On ilta.
    It is evening.

    On myöhä yö.
    It is late at night.

    Add a subject to a sentence like this and the whole meaning changes. Note the articles in the English translations.

    On aamu.
    It’s morning.

    Se on aamu.
    It’s a morning.

    The first sentence is a general observation about the time of the day. There’s nothing formal about the latter Finnish sentence; se refers directly to aamu. The sentence could be a parent’s answer to a child’s question about what the early hours after a night are called.

    Emperor Clock

    There’s only one sentence type in Finnish which could be considered to have a stand-in subject and even that is a stretch. So who is the one monarchist wanna-be in Finnish grammar? The answer is kello, “clock”/”watch”. This word is used to ask the time. The actual question word is paljonko.

    Paljonko kello on?
    What time is it?

    In the answer kello is either repeated or replaced by se. If no one asked for the time but you feel the need to tell it anyway, the word kello needs to be included.

    – Paljonko kello on? – Kello/Se on kolme.
    – What time is it? - It’s three o’clock.

    Olen väsynyt, koska kello on jo kaksitoista.
    I’m tired because it’s already twelve o’clock.

    English is always late when halves of an hour come into the picture; the ever punctual Finnish is always early. You wouldn’t want to run late, now would you? That’s a sin more deadly than wearing a bathing suit to the sauna! Instead of the English “half past”, Finnish logic works more in the lines of “half to”. The word for “half” is puoli.

    Kello on puoli viisi.
    It is half past four.

    Busy bee

    The expression for being busy or in a hurry, falls into the same group as being hungry or thirsty. You need the lla on structure to be able to make it to your train on time.

    Onko sinulla kiire?
    Are you busy/in a hurry?

    If you need a moment before getting to something else, hetki, “moment”, is a good way to explain your inability to focus on what someone is saying or a short silence on the phone. If you want to emphasize something taking only a very short while, you can attach pieni to your hetki.

    Pieni hetki! Minulla on kiire.
    Just a moment! I’m busy.

    Vocabulary
    kello clock, watch, time (when telling the time)
    aamu morning
    päivä day
    ilta evening
    night
    iltapäivä afternoon
    kalenteri calendar
    minuutti minute
    sekunti second (time)
    hetki moment (time)
    kiire business, hurry
    myöhä late
    väsynyt tired
    seisoa to have stopped (clock, watch)
    yksitoista eleven
    kaksitoista twelve
    puoli half
    joka every (determiner)
    paljonko what (time)
    tasan even, exactly (time)
    melkein almost
  • 05 Outdoors 1162 @ 100% 0 •••
    helmi · hirvi · joki · kuin · kuusi · lehti · lumi · lähellä · meri · muutama · onni · pilvi · sieni · susi · tammi · tuolla · tuossa · tyyni · tähti · tässä · täällä · veri
    22 words

    No formalities, just order

    The heaviest words tend to go first in Finnish sentences. If a noun begins a sentence, the translation is most likely graced with a definite article.

    Puu on tuolla.
    The tree is over there.

    If you put the place first, the tree becomes not as well known as its place. It’s then translated with an indefinite article attached to it. You also need a formal subject for the English sentence. Usually, this stand-in subject is “there”. The actual place goes at the end, since Finnish doesn’t use formal subjects.

    Tuolla on puu.
    There is a tree over there.

    Sentences like this are most common with the verb olla but as long as there is a place tied to the subject, most verbs can be used in this sentence type. Here it’s “to grow” that’s hugging a tree.

    Täällä kasvaa puu.
    There is a tree growing over here.

    Let’s let a verb hug a dog. Everyone likes hugging dogs.

    Lähellä istuu koira.
    There is a dog sitting nearby.

    In questions, the word order is also changed and the article in the English translation changes. Let’s verb hug a moose. That’s pretty much the only way you can hug one.

    Elääkö hirvi lähellä?
    Does the moose live nearby?

    Elääkö lähellä hirvi?
    Is there a moose living nearby?

    Sometimes “there” is not the ideal translation but “it” or even “here” works better depending on the meaning. This happens particularly often when tässä is the first word to appear in the sentence.

    Tässä on yksi marja.
    There is one berry right here.
    (pointing out the location of one berry)

    Tässä on yksi marja.
    It/This/This one has one berry.
    (a bush or a dish or something else not a human nor an animal has one berry)

    Tässä on yksi marja.
    Here is one berry.
    (someone is giving you one berry)

    Being able to have something is a quality reserved for people and animals in Finnish. You have to be able to know you have something to be able to have it. If a plant has a leaf, tässä is used. The plant doesn’t have the leaf. The leaf exists in the plant. If a bunny or a child has a leaf, sillä is used. They can have a leaf because they know they can.

    Puussa on iso punainen lehti.
    There is a big red leaf in the tree.
    (trees are neither humans nor animals)

    Sillä on pieni lehti.
    It has a small leaf.
    (an animal has a leaf)

    Hänellä on vihreä lehti.
    S/he has a green leaf.
    (a person has a leaf)

    A bit like that

    The words “as” or “like” used in English to make sometimes poetic and usually not so poetic similes resemble the Finnish kuin in the way they work.

    Kuu on kuin pyöreä juusto.
    The moon is like a round cheese.

    Kuu on punainen kuin veri.
    The moon is (as) red as blood.

    A few moos

    The word for “a few” is muutama. It’s considered to be so little that whatever there is a few of and the agreeing verb are in the singular.

    Tuolla seisoo muutama lehmä.
    There are a few cows standing over there.

    This is abNORmal

    The Finnish word for “nor” is formed by adding the ending KÄ in the negative verbs.

    Pronoun Verb Nor
    minä en enkä
    sinä et etkä
    hän ei eikä
    me emme emmekä
    te ette ettekä
    he eivät eivätkä

    The negative verb is used twice: first like in any negative sentence and then abNORmally with KÄ.

    Tämä ei ole kissa eikä ilves.
    This is neither a cat nor a lynx.

    Emme ole saunassa emmekä metsässä.
    We are neither in the sauna nor in the forest.

    Vocabulary
    sieni mushroom, fungus
    kuusi spruce
    helmi pearl
    lehti leaf
    susi wolf
    hirvi moose
    meri sea
    joki river
    lumi snow
    taivas sky
    suo bog
    tammi oak
    kuu moon
    veri blood
    vadelma raspberry
    pilvi cloud
    tähti star
    onni happiness
    rauha peace
    syvä deep
    vaarallinen dangerous
    turvallinen safe
    tyyni calm, placid
    kirkas bright
    sinivalkoinen blue and white
    märkä wet
    korkea tall (not humans)
    muutama a few
    -kä nor
    kuin as-as, like
    rauhassa some peace and quiet, in peace
  • 05 Phrases 2163 @ 100% 0 •••
    apua · huomenta · ihan · iltaa · kai · kuuluu · lähin · missä · mitään · myöhemmin · myöhässä · nähdään · oikeassa · pian · päivänjatkoa · päivää · varma · varo · väärässä · yötä
    20 words

    I expect your forenoon shall be fine

    All longer greetings are partitive objects. Finns wish someone a good morning or an evening, but we’re lazy about it and use only the object. We are a bit quaint when it comes to morning greetings. Instead of aamu, the most common word for “morning”, we opt for the old-fashioned huomen, “forenoon”.

    Hyvää huomenta!
    Good morning!

    Hyvää huomenta is used before noon and Hyvää iltaa after 6pm. While using the word iltapäivä, “afternoon”, in a greeting is possible, usually people wish each other a good day rather than an afternoon between noon and 6pm.

    Hyvää päivää!
    Good day!

    “Good night” is mainly about retiring to bed at the end of the day.

    Hyvää yötä!
    Good night!

    In service situations, Finns wish for “a good continuation of the day” once they have bought their strawberries or sold their phones.

    Hyvää päivänjatkoa!
    Have a nice day!

    Aussi rules

    As if our greetings weren't short enough already, Finns are koalas rather than kangaroos when it comes to adjectives in them. We don’t bounce around wasting energy but prefer to stick to one tree for as long as we can. So G’day!

    Huomenta/Päivää/Iltaa!
    Morning/Day/Evening!

    If you do choose the kanga style and include the hyvää in your greeting, the answer will probably exclude it in koala style.

    – Hyvää iltaa. – Iltaa.
    –Good evening. – Evening.

    yötä and päivänjatkoa are more likely to be bouncy roos and keep the adjective.

    What’s up (or down)?

    Asking the question “How are you?” is easy; answering it is less simple. First, an actual answer explaining how you are is expected. Second, Finns are an honest but shy lot. We like to keep our personal space and try to respect that of others if we don’t know the person well. When someone asks us how we are, the answer needs to be honest, modest, and nonintrusive. Answering “Fine, thank you” would be bragging.

    The most common way to ask “How are you?” is Mitä kuuluu?, which literally means “What is heard?”. The most common answer is “nothing”, or in more idiomatic English “nothing special”.

    – Mitä kuuluu? – No ei (tässä) mitään.
    – What’s up? – Well nothing special.

    What if things really are so well that answering “nothing” would be a downright lie but you don’t want to sound like you’re boasting? The word ihan, “pretty”, is appropriately modest for such purposes. Unlike the optimistic melko, which would be translated with the same word, ihan is pessimistic. If melko is adjective +1, then ihan is adjective -1.

    –Mitä kuuluu? – Ihan hyvää, kiitos.
    – How are you? – Pretty well, thanks.

    If you leave ihan out, you better be absolutely ecstatic.

    kai means “maybe” but in practice it’s translated as “I guess” in phrases like these. tässä is a filler word that makes the answer sound more jovial.

    – No, mitä kuuluu? – Ei kai tässä mitään.
    – Well, what’s up? – Not much, I guess.

    Right and wrong

    Things can be right or wrong. Things are done in the right or wrong way. People with opinions are either IN the right or IN the wrong. That “in” means that the inessive with its SSA ending is the one to judge your opinion.

    Tuo on väärä talo.
    That’s the wrong house..

    Tämä sana on väärin.
    This word is wrong.

    Olet oikeassa.
    You’re right.

    Running late

    The time of the day can be myöhä, “late”, but if the bus is running late, you think you’re not going to make it to your lecture on time, or you’re apologizing because you showed up on that lecture late, you are IN the late, myöhässä.

    Anteeksi, että olen myöhässä.
    I’m sorry I’m late.

    Just in case you meet a bear

    If your friend wants to slide down the most difficult piste on the slopes despite being an average skier, you can tell them to be careful by using the command form of the verb olla and the adjective varovainen, “careful”.

    Ole varovainen!
    Be careful!

    If you’re extremely worried about whatever reckless thing your friend is about to do, you can use the expression ole kiltti to emphasize your concern.

    Ole kiltti ja ole varovainen.
    Please be careful.

    If your friend is crossing a road and you see a car not slowing down, you can warn your friend about the immediate danger by shouting Varo!.

    Varo! Auto!
    Watch out! Car!

    If the car you warned your friend about hits you, or you drop into 20 feet deep well (that would be 6.1 meters in human measurements), or you face some other horrid ordeal like running out of coffee, you shout apua, “help”.

    Apua! Kahvi on loppu!
    Help! We’re out of coffee!

    Vocabulary
    huomen forenoon
    päivänjatko continuation of a day
    varovainen careful
    varma sure, certain
    lähin closest
    varoa to watch out
    kuulua to be heard
    nähdä to see
    missä where (relative)
    ei-mitään nothing
    pian soon
    ihan pretty, rather
    kai maybe, I guess
    myöhemmin later
    apua help
  • 05 Tech171 @ 100% 0 •••
    edes · kännykkää · käyttää · lainata · ole · pistoke · pitää · päällä · radiota · televisiota · tuota · ääni
    12 words

    Things counted and uncounted for

    Think about how the following sentences are different in terms of what their function in a conversation is? What are you trying to say with these sentences?

    I have a phone.
    I have a Finnish phone.
    Why do you have a phone?
    Do you have a phone?
    Do you have a Finnish phone?
    I don’t have a phone.
    Why don’t you have a phone?
    Why don’t you have a Finnish phone?

    The goal these sentences have is important, because that goal determines whether "phone" in the partitive or looks like the nominative in the Finnish translations of these sentences.

    In the first two sentences “phone” resembles the nominative. It’s a countable noun that is minulla, “on me”. You could add the word yksi, “one”, in the sentence without changing the grammar. It would change the meaning of the sentence though, from there being a phone which happens to be Finnish to emphasizing there being one Finnish phone among many phones.

    Minulla on (suomalainen) puhelin.
    I have a (Finnish) phone.

    The question beginning “why” also has “phone” that looks like the nominative for the same reason: it’s a countable noun and there’s clearly only one of them.

    Miksi sinulla on puhelin?
    Why do you have a phone?

    When you ask whether someone has a phone, it’s important to make a distinction between whether you’re asking if someone has a phone available to use right now, or whether you want to know if someone owns a phone at all. In the first case, you’re clearly talking about ONE specific phone so the word looks like the nominative; in the latter case, you’re talking about ANY phone someone might have so the partitive is used.

    Onko sinulla puhelin?
    Do you have a phone (with you)?

    Onko sinulla puhelinta?
    Do you have a phone (at all)?

    In negative sentences, “phone” is in the partitive. In Finnish, you always ask whether someone doesn’t have any, never whether someone doesn’t have one.

    Minulla ei ole puhelinta.
    I don’t have a phone.

    Miksi sinulla ei ole (suomalaista) puhelinta?
    Why don’t you have a (Finnish) phone?

    This also applies to objects in all sentences. In a negative sentence, the object is always in the partitive.

    En halua tuota kameraa.
    I don’t want that camera.

    Emme osaa käyttää tätä sovellusta.
    We don’t know how to use this app.

    Wörk wörk wörk

    pätkiä, literally “to cut a long thing into small pieces”, is a verb used with failing connections, whether you’re talking about a video, a film, your net connection, or a phone call. Haloo? is used as “hello” when you have trouble hearing someone calling you, although some people also use it to answer their phone. ääni means “voice”.

    Haloo? Ääni pätkii taas.
    Hello? You’re breaking up again.

    Video pätkii.
    The video is buffering.

    Netti pätkii.
    The/My net is cutting in and out again.

    “plugged in” is seinässä, literally, “in the wall”, in Finnish.

    Onko se edes seinässä?
    Is it even plugged in?

    Mayday!

    voida means “may” or “can”. It’s often used to ask for permission to do something. It should be kept separate from osata, “can”, which is about knowing how to do something.

    Voinko käyttää puhelinta?
    May/Can I use the phone?

    Osaatko käyttää puhelinta?
    Can you/Do you know how to use the phone?

    Vocabulary
    seinä wall
    laturi charger
    tabletti tablet
    läppäri laptop
    kamera camera
    akku battery
    puhelin phone
    mikrofoni microphone
    pistoke power plug
    tulostin printer
    sovellus app
    netti net (IT)
    meemi meme (IT)
    video video
    peli game
    ääni voice, sound
    prinsessa princess
    hidas slow
    nopea quick, fast
    suosittu popular
    toimia to work
    pätkiä to cut in and out
    lainata to borrow, to loan
    pelata to play (a game)
    käyttää to use
    pitää needs to be
    voida may, can, to be able to
    päällä on
    edes even
    seinässä plugged in
  • 05 Restaurant182 @ 100% 0 •••
    jossa · miettiä · olkaa · pahoillamme · pahoillani · suositella · tuossa · virhe · yhtään
    9 words

    Time to have something to eat

    Finns eat their two larger meals of the day relatively early in comparison to most other Europeans. lounas, “lunch”, is usually eaten at noon or earlier. päivällinen, “dinner”, happens around 5pm, or even at 4pm if there are small children in the family. We have been conditioned by our free school lunches, practical workplace cafeterias, and steady working hours into eating our meals at those hours. When the clock hands reach the right number, involuntary drooling and tummy grumbling begins.

    terassi is the Finnish word for an outdoors eating or drinking area, whether it’s for the customers of a café, a restaurant, or an ice cream kiosk. It’s also the name for an outdoors biergarten. After the winter, when the first terassi appears on a sidewalk or a marketplace, it’s officially the first day of the summer, or at least terassikausi, “terrace season”. Even if it’s completely covered in snow the following day.

    The conditional kids need their daddy

    The Finnish word for “daddy” is ISI; -ISI- is the marker for the conditional. Well-behaved, polite children rely on their daddy when they go to a restaurant or some place where being polite is valued. The father of six has a lot to do.

    The stem for group 2 verbs, the one’s that end in -DA, is formed by dropping the three final letters of the 1st infinitive.

    saada -> sa-
    voida -> vo-

    Daddy helps his kids to connect with their personal stuff, which comes at the end. The third kid feels that personality is for sissies and has no personal ending.

    Pronoun Conditional
    minä sa-isi-n
    sinä sa-isi-t
    hän sa-isi
    me sa-isi-mme
    te sa-isi-tte
    he sa-isi-vat

    In English, these verbs are usually translated with the "would" + infinitive structure. But since Finnish does not have a separate word for “could”, some verbs, verbs like saada and voida are often translated with "could" instead. In fact in service situations those are the most common translations.

    Saisimmeko lisää leipää, kiitos?
    Could we get some more bread, please?

    Voisitteko suositella viiniä?
    Could you recommend a wine?

    In some fixed phrases “can” is the best translation for the conditional form of saada.

    Päivää. Mitä saisi olla?
    Good day. What can I get you?

    Another phrase found in English language is the verb structure “would like to”. In Finnish, similar situations are handled with the conditional forms of haluta to want. This family belongs in the 4th verb group and its conditional stem is formed by dropping out T. Finns prefer coffee anyway.

    haluta -> halua-

    Once again, daddy keeps his family together. The third kid is a bit of a rebel and has no personal ending.

    Pronoun Conditional
    minä halua-isi-n
    sinä halua-isi-t
    hän halua-isi
    me halua-isi-mme
    te halua-isi-tte
    he halua-isi-vat

    Haluaisitteko vielä jotain?
    Would you like to have something else?

    Together as many

    The communal plural is used to refer to companies, congregations, knitting associations, and other communities, including restaurants. It also exists in English, but it’s worth noting that while it’s hard to spot in the second person plural in English, in Finnish you can recognise it by the verb form.

    Me olemme kiinni.
    We are closed.

    Onko teillä sushia?
    Do you have sushi?

    Heillä on uusi kokki.
    They have a new cook.

    More plural stuff

    The polite phrase ole hyvä is used to address only one person. If you’re talking to a group of people, you should use olkaa hyvä.

    Ruokalistat, olkaa hyvä.
    Here you are, your menus.

    Think before you choose your "think"

    ajatella is about involuntary thinking, the type that happens automatically. If you need to consider something on purpose, the verb is miettiä.

    Haluaisimme vielä miettiä vähän aikaa.
    We would like to think for a while longer.

    Vocabulary
    ravintola restaurant
    terassi terrace
    keittiö kitchen
    tarjoilija waiter
    kokki cook
    ruokalista menu
    lounas lunch
    päivällinen dinner
    lasku check, bill
    virhe mistake, error
    annos portion, dish
    lusikka spoon
    riisi rice
    viini wine
    pasta pasta
    pitsa pizza
    sushi sushi
    keitto soup
    appelsiini orange (fruit)
    olut beer
    vessa restroom, toilet
    kallis expensive
    paikallinen local
    saada to get
    miettiä to think (over), to consider
    suositella to recommend
    yhtään any (at all)
    jossa in which
  • 05 City183 @ 100% 0 •••
    elokuvissa · helsingissä · joku · jossain · jotka · lomalla · mikä · pari · viikingit
    9 words

    Whenever there’s trouble it’s always you three

    Consonant gradation is a phenomenon related to plosives, the sounds represented in the Finnish alphabet by the letters K, P, and T. Whenever they appear near the end of the word, the word goes through stem changes before getting attached to case endings. Of the most common cases, only the partitive and the essive don’t have consonant gradation. Most other cases have it in both the singular and the plural. It also affects the nominative plural.

    Gradated by some VikiNGs

    In NK-NG type gradation, a noun or an adjective that ends in NK followed by a single vowel, K turns into G. The NG is pronounced as a long [ŋː], as in the Spanish word “tango”. What can I say? VikiNGs like dancing.

    The VikiNG gradation happens in the nominative plural.

    viikinki -> viikingit the Vikings
    sänky -> sängyt the beds

    It also happens in the inessive singular.

    Helsinki -> Helsingissä in Helsinki
    kaupunki -> kaupungissa in the/a city

    It doesn’t, however, happen in the partitive singular.

    viikinki -> viikinkiä
    kaupunki -> kaupunkia

    And this is what the fearsome VikiNGs look like in action.

    Miksi nuo viikingit laulavat Helsingissä?
    Why are those Vikings singing in Helsinki?

    Miksi viikingit tanssivat keskellä kaupunkia?
    Why are the Vikings dancing in the middle of the city?

    Studies

    The verb opiskella, “to study”, can only refer to studying related to an educational institution, especially to a university, a polytechnic, or a vocational school. So if you want to tell a new acquaintance that you are in fact a Viking studying history in Oslo, or that you can’t go loot England because you have to study, opiskella is your verb. If you want to talk about your Finnish studies on Duolingo, you have to use some other verb. The object is always in the partitive.

    He opiskelevat historiaa Oslossa.
    They study history in Oslo.

    Minä opiskelen englantia yliopistossa.
    I study English at the/a university.

    Relatively many

    The relative conjunction joka, “who/which/that”, declines in case and number. Its nominative plural form is jotka and it’s used instead of a subject. Comma warning!

    Minulla on kaksi ystävää, jotka asuvat Berliinissä.
    I have two friends who live in Berlin.

    Koirat, jotka kävelevät puistossa, murisevat hiljaa.
    The dogs (which are) walking in the park are growling quietly.

    Someone somewhere

    The nominative form of “someone” is joku.

    Joku tanssii keskellä katua.
    Someone is dancing in the middle of the/a street.

    The word for “somewhere” is jossain.

    Voi ei! Viikingit on jossain lähellä!
    Oh no! The vikings are somewhere near!

    A couple of numbers

    The word pari, “a couple (of)”, behaves like a number: it’s followed by whatever there is a couple of in the partitive singular.

    Tässä kaupungissa on pari miljoonaa asukasta.
    There are a couple of million inhabitants in this city.

    It shouldn’t be confused with the noun pari, which refers to a couple in the chocolate and roses sense.

    Pari istuu puistossa ja syö jäätelöä.
    The/A couple is sitting in the park eating ice cream.

    Crowded

    The word ruuhka is used to describe problems that arise during the rush hour. If you want to complain about Vikings taking over your metro station, “crowded” is a good translation.

    Metrossa on ruuhkaa.
    The metro is crowded.

    If you’re moaning about cars, “traffic jam” is the best expression.

    Olemme ruuhkassa.
    We’re in a traffic jam.

    What a beautiful exclamation!

    Much like in English, the question word mikä, “what”, can also be used to start exclamations.

    Huh! Mikä ruuhka!
    Whoa! What a traffic jam!

    Vocabulary
    asukas inhabitant
    katu street
    yliopisto university
    keskusta city center
    metro metro(politan rail)
    hotelli hotel
    ruuhka traffic jam
    historia history
    kemia chemistry
    näytelmä play (theatre)
    elokuva movie
    sarja series
    maalaus painting
    viikko week
    karanteeni quarantine
    tyhjä empty
    opiskella to study (in an educational institution)
    katsella to watch
    miljoona million
    joku someone
    jossain somewhere
    jotka who, that, which (relative)
  • 05 Shopping190 @ 100% 0 •••
    auttaa · housut · lasit · millaiset · millaista · ostoksilla · sitä · sovittaa
    8 words

    A splash of color

    Väri Color
    musta black
    valkoinen white
    harmaa grey
    ruskea brown
    sininen blue
    punainen red
    keltainen yellow
    violetti purple
    oranssi orange
    vihreä green

    In Finnish, violetti is the default word for something that mixes red and blue, whereas in English “purple” has similar connotations. oranssi refers only to the color orange and never to the fruit.

    To ask the color of something, you need the question word minkävärinen, “of-what-colored”. It’s followed by a noun or a pronoun representing the thing the color of which is the topic of the discussion. If that thing is the object of the sentence, the question word is often in the partitive: minkäväristä.

    Minkävärinen paita se on?
    What color shirt is it?

    Minkäväristä paitaa etsit?
    What color shirt are you looking for?

    Size up the KOKOnuts

    The word for “size” is koko. It should not be confused with the adjective koko, “the whole”. The size related question word is minkäkokoinen, “of-what-sized”. In the object position it often wears the partitive cloak: minkäkokoista.

    Minkäkokoinen talo se on?
    What size house is it?

    Minkäkokoista takkia etsit?
    What size coat/jacket are you looking for?

    If you are dealing with a system of sizes, like the ones used for clothes and shoes for example, you can use mitä kokoa instead of the nominative form question word.

    Mitä kokoa tämä mekko on?
    What size is this dress?

    The NENemy of adjectiveS

    The stem of all evil is marked by S for NEN words. All cases apart from the angelic nominative singular have to deal with this horror.

    italialainen -> italialais-
    sveitsiläinen -> sveitsiläis-

    A nefarious E is added before the foul T can be poured into the cups of the nominative plural.

    italialais + e + t = italialaiset

    The question word millainen gets the same horrifying treatment, resulting in the grotesque and deformed millaiset.

    – Millaiset housut sinulla on? – Ne ovat mustat ja italialaiset.
    – What kind of pants do you have on? – They are black and Italian.

    NA NA NA!

    The essive endings could be a catchy tune from a pop song: NA/NÄ. The closest thing in English is the preposition “as” but sometimes other prepositions work better as a translation. When you need to know whether something can be found in a certain color, you need the essive form of that color.

    Onko teillä tätä vyötä ruskeana?
    Do you have this belt in brown?

    Hundreds and hundreds

    The word for “a hundred” is sata. You can get larger numbers by adding another much smaller number before it and adding A at the end.

    kaksi + sata + a = kaksisataa 200
    viisi + sata + a = viisisataa 500

    Vocabulary
    paita shirt
    lasit (eye) glasses
    housut pants
    vyö belt
    kravatti tie
    takki coat, jacket
    hattu hat
    mekko dress
    kenkä shoe
    koru piece of jewelry
    sormus ring
    timantti diamond
    muoti fashion
    väri color
    ale sale
    sovituskoppi fitting room
    koko size
    euro euro
    violetti purple
    kirjava multi-colored, colorful
    ruma ugly
    istua to fit
    sovittaa to try on
    auttaa to help
    olla ostoksilla to be shopping
    minkäkokoinen what size
    minkävärinen what color
    sata 100
    kaksisataa 200
    kolmesataa 300
    neljäsataa 400
    viisisataa 500
    kuusisataa 600
  • 05 Outdoors 2193 @ 100% 0 •••
    alas · hiiri · hiirtä · hikeä · joten · järveä · kahta · kieltä · kiveä · kun · kuusta · kuutta · lasta · lehteä · lunta · merta · mäkeä · pientä · pilveä · saari · saarta · sientä · sutta · suurta · tähteä · uutta · vettä · viittä · yhtä
    29 words

    Word magic

    Words have power. Old Finnish magic focused on words: if you can define something perfectly, you can control it. Moreover, if you use a word you can’t control, you invite ruin to yourself and your kin. While most modern Finns are unaware of such ideas when we speak our language, you can still hear it and see it in Finnish words and grammatical structures. The ring finger is known as nimetön, “nameless”, in Finnish for it was the finger for performing magic and its name was avoided. The most powerful god of the Finns of old is known as Ukko, “Old Man”, and his true name has been forgotten for no one dared to utter it. Oksi, The Bear, has a hundred names, so that there’s no chance of offending the King of Forest. Even today, we prefer to use karhu, one of the many euphemisms for the great furry one.

    The old wizard v. the young wizard

    Words that end in I can be divided into two groups. There are younger words the age of which can be counted in hundreds and older words the age of which can reach thousands.

    The young words ending in I are like the magic of a young upstart wizard who can bring only one spell into the partitive battle: you add A or Ä at the end depending on the magical rules of vowel harmony.

    kahvi + a = kahvia coffee
    siili + ä = siiliä hedgehog

    The old words that end in I are incantations of seasoned fighters when it comes to partitive battles. The most often used spell merely changes the I at the end of the stem into a more elegant E while the ending is still A/Ä.

    Nominative Partitive English
    hiki hike-ä sweat
    järvi järve-ä lake
    kivi kive-ä rock, stone
    mäki mäke-ä hill
    lehti lehte-ä leaf
    pilvi pilve-ä cloud
    tähti tähte-ä star

    Juoksen ylös mäkeä.
    I’m running up the hill.

    Minä rakastan tuota järveä.
    I love that lake.

    Then to more demanding spells! Words that end in LI, NI, or RI need to get rid of the I for the incantation to work. A knowledgeable witch finishes the spell with TA/TÄ.

    Nominative Partitive English
    hiiri hiir-tä mouse
    kieli kiel-tä language
    pieni pien-tä small
    saari saar-ta island
    sieni sien-tä mushroom
    suuri suur-ta large

    Keittiössä juoksee kaksi pientä hiirtä.
    There are two small mice running in the kitchen.

    If the word ends in SI, the two letters are dropped completely. A skillful sorcerer ends these spells with TTA/TTÄ.

    Nominative Partitive English
    kuusi kuu-tta six
    susi su-tta wolf
    uusi uu-tta new
    vesi ve-ttä water
    viisi vii-ttä five

    Haluan lisää vettä.
    I want (some) more water.

    If your magic word ends in MI or HI, you have more options. Some spells prefer adding A/Ä to an E stem while others drop I at the end to make room for TA/TÄ. Some spells work no matter which you choose! In those cases the wizard’s personal aesthetic preferences come into play. If you drop the I at the end and add TA/TÄ, a preceding M turns into an N.

    Nominative Partitive English
    lumi lun-ta snow
    suomi suome-a Finnish
    Suomi Suome-a Finland
    vuohi vuohe-a, vuoh-ta goat

    Tuolla on paljon lunta.
    There is a lot of snow over there.

    The spellcasting master class for the Order of Väinämöinen: some incantations ending in SI don’t care about magical rules but make their own rules.

    Nominative Partitive English
    lapsi las-ta child
    kaksi kah-ta two
    kuusi kuus-ta spruce
    veitsi veis-tä, veitse-ä knife
    yksi yh-tä one

    Etsimme yhtä tai kahta hyvää kuusta.
    We're looking for one or two good spruces.

    And finally, two things so violent that even wizards are afraid of them; two things that are almost impossible to control. These words are so powerful that they defy the vowel harmony and take whatever ending they want!

    Nominative Partitive English
    meri mer-ta sea
    veri ver-ta blood

    Talo on lähellä merta.
    The house is near the sea.

    The RECKONing

    luulla is one of the many Finnish verbs that can be translated as “to think''. ajatella is about involuntary thinking that we can’t control; miettiä is about really putting your mind to something and trying to figure things out on purpose; luulla is used to express uncertainty. It’s about speculation and can also be translated with “to reckon” and sometimes with “to suppose”.

    Luulen, että tuo marja on myrkyllinen.
    I reckon/think that berry is poisonous.

    Vocabulary
    hiiri mouse
    saari island
    tie road
    toivoa to hope, to wish
    huomata to notice
    seurata to follow
    kuunnella to listen
    luulla to reckon, to suppose, to think
    kun when
    joten so, hence, therefore
    alas down
  • 05 Vacation201 @ 100% 0 •••
    eväät · kuulokkeet · lääkkeet · onneksi · pyyhe · täysi · uikkarit
    7 words

    To have THE thing

    When you use the LLA ON structure, the order of the words affects the article in the English translation. The earlier something appears the more important or better known it is. If the noun appears on the right side of the verb, it’s most likely translated with the indefinite article “a(n)”.

    Minulla on kirja.
    I have A book.

    If the noun is on the left side, it’s always translated with the definite article “the”.

    Kirja on minulla.
    I have THE book.

    It’s also possible to have “the things” on the left. The verb agrees with those things and is in the 3rd person plural.

    Kirjat ovat minulla.
    I have THE books.

    Passit ovat minulla.
    I have THE passports.

    If you have “things” rather than “THE things”, you would need a far more complicated form of the noun on the right side. We do not yet teach such a form.

    TSETSE verbs

    In Group 4, most verbs in the end in vowel + T + vowel, like maalata, siivota, or haluta, have a stem formed by removing the T from the 1st infinitive.

    Maalaan taloa.
    I’m painting the house.

    Me haluamme lisää kahvia.
    We want more coffee.

    Verbs that end in ITA/ITÄ in the 1st infinitive attract flies though, tsetse flies to be exact. These verbs form Verb Conjugation Group 5. You form the stem by first cutting off the TA/TÄ at the end.

    tarvita -> tarvi- to need
    sijaita -> sijai- to be located
    häiritä -> häiri- to bother, to disturb

    Then you add the buzzing TSE and finally the personal ending. In the 3rd person singular you double the E at the end to get the double vowel needed in all verb groups.

    Pronoun Verb English
    minä tarvi-tse-n I need
    sinä tarvi-tse-t you need
    hän tarvi-tse-e s/he needs
    me tarvi-tse-mme we need
    te tarvi-tse-tte you (all) need
    he tarvi-tse-vat they need

    Hotelli sijaitsee Helsingissä.
    The hotel is located in Helsinki.

    Minä tarvitsen tuota karttaa.
    I (will be) need(ing) that map.

    The negative forms of Group 5 verbs include the TSE.

    Emme tarvitse karttaa.
    We don’t need a map.

    Vocabulary
    avain key
    lippu ticket, flag
    pyyhe towel
    kirja book
    passi passport
    sandaali sandal
    suksi ski
    sauva ski pole
    pipo beanie, knit cap, winter hat
    termari thermos
    kampa comb
    saippua soap
    lompakko wallet
    deodorantti deodorant
    vesipullo water bottle
    lääkkeet meds, medicine, medications
    eväät packed meal
    uikkarit swimwear
    kuulokkeet headphones
    varjo shadow, shade
    aurinko sun
    täysi full, complete
    toinen other, another
    sijaita to be located
    tarvita to need
    häiritä to bother, to disturb
    paistaa to shine (the sun)
    onneksi good thing, luckily, thankfully
  • 05 Hobbies202 @ 100% 0 •••
    bändissä · kaikki · miten · soittaa
    4 words

    Meanwhile in Finland

    Finns are an unusually musical people with eclectic tastes. A Finn is more likely to know how to play an instrument than a person from any other nation in Europe; more than half of Finns can play at least one instrument. We also have more choirs and heavy metal bands per capita than any other nation in Europe, although the current trend is towards pop music. Most pubs and bars have karaoke equipment although whether the word “musical” can be used in connection to the most likely end result is under debate. Classical music is also popular and our education system regularly produces world class singers, composers, and conductors.

    Our taste in sports may seem exotic to most other nations although our number one sports hobby is still soccer, just like everywhere else. The most followed sport is ice hockey though. Basketball, volleyball, track and field, and cross-country skiing are also popular. It should be noted than when people from English speaking countries speak of “skiing”, they usually mean Alpine skiing, laskettelu, whereas Finns will probably be thinking about cross-country, hiihto. Our national sport is pesäpallo, “nestball”, which is distantly related to baseball and cricket. Motorsports and swimming have their fans too. Most Finns know how to swim.

    Finns travel more than any other nation in Europe. Many of us are also into knitting, crocheting, and carpentry, the basics of which we learn in comprehensive school. Many Finns are also avid birdwatchers. Cooking, baking, gardening, drawing, and painting have had a dip in popularity but are becoming more common again. Many Finns have a library card, but while we enjoy reading, we are sadly not particularly interested in languages.

    ”To hobby”

    English has many words which work as both a noun and as a verb. It’s possible to copy something and to have a copy of something; you can suspect someone and be a suspect; you are able to use some paint to paint something. The Finnish verb harrastaa is almost impossible to translate into English. The best way to grasp its meaning is to take the noun “hobby” and use it like an imaginary verb: “to hobby”. The actual translation varies depending on the context, although sometimes the clumsy “to have as a hobby” is sadly the best translation available.

    Nämä pingviinit harrastavat jääkiekkoa.
    These penguins have ice hockey as a hobby.

    Harrastatko sinä balettia?
    Is ballet your hobby?

    Moreover, Finns are not “good at” things but “good in” things. The inessive is used to imply talent at something – or the lack of it.

    Sinä olet hyvä pokerissa.
    You are good at poker.

    Minä olen tosi huono jalkapallossa.
    I’m really bad at soccer/football.

    No buts!

    It’s common to combine the conjunction mutta with the following verb whenever that verb is a negative one. The A at the end of mutta is dropped and the negative verb is attached to what remains.

    Pronoun Verb
    minä mutt-en
    sinä mutt-et
    hän mutt-ei
    me mutt-emme
    te mutt-ette
    he mutt-eivät / mutt-eivat

    Notice that the merge doesn’t necessarily affect the negative verbs in any way. This means that both mutteivat and mutteivät are possible for the 3rd person plural, the form being one of the few Finnish words to defy the vowel harmony.

    Olen hyvä urheilussa, mutten osaa pelata koripalloa.
    I am good at sports, but I don’t know how to play basketball.

    He osaavat pelata jääkiekkoa, mutteivat/mutteivät pokeria.
    They know how to play ice hockey but not poker.

    NENergetic plural

    The stem for words that end NEN in the nominative singular ends in S.

    suomalainen -> suomalais-
    amerikkalainen -> amerikkalais-

    This S stem is used with all other forms, including the nominative plural form. The plural T is tied to the stem by an energetic E.

    Nuo amerikkalaiset hait pelaavat jääkiekkoa.
    Those American sharks play ice hockey.

    Note that in Finnish amerikkalainen usually refers to someone or something from the USA rather than from any place in the Americas.

    Vocabulary
    jalkapallo soccer, football
    koripallo basketball
    pesäpallo nestball
    jääkiekko ice hockey
    hiihto (cross-country) skiing
    ralli rally (driving)
    urheilu sport
    urheilija sportsperson, athlete
    pokeri poker
    karaoke karaoke
    kitara guitar
    piano piano
    viulu violin
    kuoro choir
    baletti ballet
    ooppera opera
    musiikki music
    biisi (pop, rock) song
    matkailu traveling (noun)
    hai shark
    pingviini penguin
    huuhkaja eagle owl
    leijona lion
    huono bad
    uida to swim
    ajaa to drive (vehicle)
    neuloa to knit
    soittaa to play
    harrastaa to have (as) a hobby
    svengata to groove, to swing
    kaikki all (determiner)
    miten how
  • -16 Phrases 3211 @ 100% 0 •••
    entä · kunnossa · ohi · oli · tee · tutustua · uudelleen
    7 words

    Again or again?

    Finnish has several words which could be translated as “again”. While these words are often interchangeable, there are situations when some of them do not work. Here are two of these words: taas and uudelleen.

    uudelleen is used when there’s a distinct pattern in the repetitive action but things are not done exactly the same way. Repeating an exercise in a Finnish course is a good example. You may have made mistakes in the previous run or just generally want to do things better the second time around. Hoping to meet someone again is another example. You don’t want to repeat everything exactly the same way but you want to stick to certain rules about how human interaction works.

    Nähdään pian uudelleen!
    See you again soon!

    taas is more about tendencies in long term. It often has the “here we go again” mindset implied with it.

    Hän on taas myöhässä.
    S/he is late again.

    Sometimes both are possible but while Finnish makes a distinction between the two sentences, the context is everything in the English ones. You can test which is which by trying to add the word “once” in the English sentence. While you can’t use that in the actual translation, adding it into a sentence that’s a translation for a sentence with the word uudelleen without making the sentence sound odd is incredibly unlikely.

    Hän laulaa laulua taas.
    S/he is singing the song (once) again.
    (s/he has a habit of singing the song and is at it again)

    Hän laulaa laulua uudelleen.
    S/he is singing the song again.
    (s/he just sung the song and is repeating the action)

    Time to say goodbye

    It’s incredibly rare to say “nice to meet you” in the beginning of a conversation in Finland. It’s far more common to use that expression at the end of a conversation. We don’t think meeting someone is nice either; we think it’s fun!

    Oli hauska tutustua.
    It was nice meeting you.

    Notice the continuous verb form above, “meeting”. It’s been chosen because tutustua means “to meet” in the sense “to get to know someone” and you only use the verb after you’ve met someone for the first time.

    Vocabulary
    tutustua to get to know, to meet
    tehdä to do, to make
    kunto condition
    uudelleen again
    entä how about
    ohi over, past

2021-11-17
0.012

Hello! updated 2020-06-16

Tervetuloa! Welcome!

Finnish is a proud member of the Finno-Ugric language family and, therefore, not related to the English language. It has no articles, no future tense, nor many other features found in so many European languages. It is a pretty regular language. Its spelling rules are so simple that Finnish children never have to worry about participating in spelling bee competitions. There, quite simply, is no need for them.


Vowels

The Finnish vowels always sound the same regardless of their place in the word. The instructions refer to General American English unless stated otherwise.

IPA Notes Examples
A [ɑ] as in "palm tree"; never as in "hat" absurdi, palmu, utopia
E [e] like the first e in the Australian English (GA) and British English (RP) "legend" emu, genre, legenda
I [i] pronounced like the letter y in "gallery" idoli, galleria
O, Å [o] almost like the letter o in "corny" but more closed, never as in "not gold"; the letter Å, the "Swedish O", is used only in names of Swedish origin korni, operetti, studio, Måns
U [u] as in ”moose taboo" but short urbaani, pulu, tabu
Y [y] the "French U" and the "German Ü"; close to the expression of disgust ”eww”, but short and pronounced in the front part of the mouth; start with the vowel sound in the word "sea" and then pout like a proud pufferfish yksi, tyly, hyeena
Ä [æ] like the letter a in "band" ässä, bändi
Ö [ø] the closest thing found in English can be heard in some words before r, as in ”early bird”; the Finnish sound is pronounced closer to the teeth söpö, ötökkä

The dots above Ä and Ö are NOT accents nor stress marks used to modify A and O. The two letters stand for distinct sounds made in the front part of the mouth, whereas the sounds represented by the dotless letters are produced at the back. Forgetting your dots results either in incomprehensible gobbledygook or in some wholly unrelated word. It is better to tell someone that they are hellä (tender, gentle) than to call them hella (kitchen stove).

GOOOOAAAAL!

Long vowels are written with double letters. They are the same sounds as the single letter ones but longer. If you get the length wrong, there is a risk of either being misunderstood or not being understood at all. If your biology paper is tuulessa, the wind has caught it. If it is tulessa, it is on fire. If your language doesn’t have a long sound found in Finnish, a good way to practice is to take the corresponding short sound and stretch it like an excited sports announcer after a goal or a touchdown.

IPA Notes Examples
AA [ɑː] as in ”Aargh!” and the British English (RP) ”bar" baari, aaria, hurraa
EE [eː] never as in ”sweet dreams”, but a British (RP) soccer announcer shouting the name ”Best” - ”Beest!” eeppinen, toffee, magneetti
II [iː] as in ”team” iilimato, tiimi, kirii
OO [oː] Australian (GA) rugby announcer yelling the name ”George” - ”Geoorge!” ooppera, virtuoosi, neuloo
UU [uː] as in ”boom” and ”vacuum” vakuumi, buumi
YY [yː] as in the German "kühl"; similar to "eww" but closer to the teeth volyymi, titityy
ÄÄ [æː] baseball announcer hollering ”Mantle” - ”Maantle!” väärä, ääni, bää
ÖÖ [øː] basketball announcer shouting ”Erving” - ”Eerving!”; the Finnish sound is closer to the teeth insinööri, miljöö

Foreign names and loanwords sometimes defy these rules. For example, Chile has a long i in the middle and duo has a long u.

Who are you?

The word for "I" is minä and for "you" sinä. Finnish verbs are conjugated according to person and number. Here are two forms of the verb olla, "to be":

Pronoun Verb
minä I olen am
sinä you olet are

Finns rarely use the expression "my name is". Instead we simply say "I am". The quintessential Finnish word for "hello" is terve, literally "healthy".

Terve! Minä olen Väinö.
Hello! I am Väinö.

Sinä olet Aino.
You are Aino.

The question word kuka, "who", is followed by words in the same order as if they were in a statement.

Terve! Kuka sinä olet?
Hello! Who are you?

Sorry and thank you

Finnish does not have separate, short expressions for "sorry" and "excuse me". Both are translated with anteeksi. The word for "thank you " is kiitos.

Anteeksi, kuka sinä olet?
Excuse me, who are you?

Anteeksi Elsa.
Sorry Elsa.

Kiitos!
Thank you!

Vocabulary
terve hello
minä I
sinä you
mukava nice
olen (I) am
olet (you) are
anteeksi sorry, excuse me
kiitos thank you
kuka who

Good Luck! updated 2021-01-21

Consonants

Let's aspire to not aspirate. Aspiration is a feature in Germanic languages, which can be found in most varieties of English. It means releasing a concise but violent puff of air while producing the sounds [k], [p], and [t] beginning stressed syllables, as in kind, pampered, tomcat. However, when one of these three sounds appears after the sound [s], or ends a syllable, the sounds are unaspirated, as in skydiving, wasp, stung, or Mick, lip, fat. In Finnish, [k], [p], and [t] are always unaspirated regardless of their place in the word. Native English speakers from India, Pakistan, and some parts of Africa often pronounce the sounds like Finns do - no huffing and puffing.

The instructions refer to General American English unless stated otherwise.

IPA Notes Examples
B [b] as in "banana" zombi, banaani
C [k], [s] appears only in rare loanwords; usually an unaspirated [k] as in the French "café" cancan, café
D [d] as in "domino" domino, video
F [f] as in "festival" ufo, festivaali
G [g], [ŋ] usually as in "gorilla", never as in "gentleman" gorilla, agentti
H [h], [ɦ], [ç], [x] [h] in the beginning of the word, as in "hiccup" hikka, haiku
J [j] always like the word initial Y in English, as in "yeti", never like the English J, as in "jolly" jeti, jojo
K [k] unaspirated; always as in "risk", never as in "kiss" kilogramma, riski
L [l] as in "lotus" lootus, Englanti
M [m], [ɱ] most often pronounced as [m], as in "mascot" samba, maskotti
N [n], [ŋ], [ɱ] almost always pronounced as [n], as in "noodle" nuudeli, fani
P [p] unaspirated; always as in "sponsor", never as in "pirate" panda, sponsori
Q [k], [kʋ], [kw] extremely rare and appears only in loanwords; most often an unaspirated [k] as in the Spanish word "tequila" tequila, quiche
R [r] the "Scottish R" also found in Italian, Spanish, Greek, and Russian; produced by making the tip of the tongue vibrate against the ridge behind the upper front teeth; "rock music" with bagpipes rock-musiikki, dinosaurus
S [s], [ʃ] usually as in "silk", never as in "easy", or "decision" silkki, illuusio
T [t] unaspirated; always as in "pessimist", never as in "tango" tango, pessimisti
V [ʋ] close to "vampire" but more relaxed vampyyri, diiva
W [ʋ], [w], [u] extremely rare and appears only in loanwords; almost always pronounced as a [ʋ] kiwi, watti
X [ks] extremely rare; always as in "Exterminate!", never as in "existence" ex-partneri
Z [ts] rare and found only in loanwords; as in "paparazzi", never as in "zone" zen, gorgonzola

Seeing double

Long consonant sounds are marked by double letters or ng. The Finnish double letter sounds are very similar to those found in Italian. Splitting words with long consonants into syllables usually helps those with trouble pronouncing them: alt-to, mok-ka, karamel-li, bas-so.

IPA Notes Examples
KK [kː] as in the Italian "mocca"; or "black_cat", but unaspirated gekko
LL [lː] as in "soul_love" balladi
MM [mː] as in "beam_me up" gramma
NN [nː] as in "heaven_not hell" savanni
PP [pː] as in the Italian "cappuccino"; or "stop_panicking", but unaspirated ooppera
RR [rː] as in the Italian "guerra" terrieri
SS [sː] as in "this_state" passi
TT [tː] as in the Italian "frutti"; or "to be, or not_to be", but unaspirated botti
NG [ŋː] as in the Spanish "tango" tango

In spoken language and some loanwords BB, DD, FF, GG, HH, JJ, and VV are also possible.

Good luck and congratulations!

The Finnish expressions onnea and paljon onnea can be used both to wish someone good luck and to congratulate them.

Tervetuloa ja onnea!
Welcome and good luck/congratulations!

Paljon onnea Matti!
Congratulations/Best wishes Matti!

Well, hello there!

The word no is a filler word used to make moving from one topic to another less awkward, or to make something less formal and in your face. It is usually translated as "well".

No, terve! Minä olen Otso. Kukas sinä olet?
Well, hello! I am Otso. Who are you?

Minä olen Anna. No, tervetuloa!
I am Anna. Well, welcome!

Vocabulary
hauska funny
tervetuloa welcome
onnea good luck, congratulations
jee yay
no well
kippis cheers
ja and
paljon a lot (of)

Basics 1 updated 2020-06-16

Hän

The Finnish language has no gender specific pronouns like "he" and "she" in English. Whatever the gender of the person you are talking about, they are referred to as hän in the singular.

Hän on Matti.
He is Matti.

Hän on Liisa.
She is Liisa.

To be in order

There are no articles in Finnish. That does not mean that you can put any old article in the English translation of a Finnish sentence. Sentences with the verb olla, "to be", put nouns in a certain order. The more important and complete something is, the earlier it appears. If a noun ends the sentence, it is somehow incomplete, often because the word does not include everything it by definition could. This is why final nouns in sentences with the verb "to be" are translated with an indefinite article.

Liisa on nainen.
Liisa is a woman.

Matti on mies.
Matti is a man.

Hän on velho.
S/he is a wizard.

Name is not an omen

Unlike in many other European languages, the last letter of a first name says nothing about the gender preferences associated with that name. There are also some names that have no preferred gender. Here are the first names introduced in this course:

Man Woman Neutral
Matti Liisa Kaino
Väinö Aino Vieno
Otso Elsa Lumi
Joni Anna
Pyry Tyyne
Miikka Roosa
Leo Kaisa

Happily married

Finnish diphthongs and vowel unions are blissfully happy. The letters in them represent the same sounds they stand for on their own. For example,

a + u = au
[ɑ] + [u] = [ɑu].

Stressed for success

In words that have three or fewer syllables, the stress is always on the first syllable. Unlike in English, the place of the stress does not affect the quality of the sounds.

lap-si
kau-nis
ko-me-a
mu-ka-va

This applies to Standard Finnish and many of the southern dialects. Most other forms of Finnish are considerably "bouncier".

Vocabulary
mies man
nainen woman
lapsi child
velho wizard
hän he, she
on (he, she, it) is
kaunis beautiful
komea handsome
todella really
aina always

Basics 2 updated 2020-06-16

Sisu, sauna, and kantele

Sisu is the secret, internal emergency generator that keeps you going when you have used up all your energy but there are still things left that just need to be done. The word is often considered untranslatable, but the American expression "true grit" gets pretty close. The corresponding adjective is sisukas.

Hilla on sisukas nainen.
Hilla is a woman with sisu/true grit.

Sauna is the most widely spread Finnish word. Although what constitutes as a sauna in most places, is considered in Finland a room that is slightly warmer than usual. Moreover, if you are not allowed to throw water on the sauna stove, it is not a proper sauna.

Kantele is a Finnish string instrument with a distinctive jingling sound. The first one was built by the great wizard Väinämöinen out of the jawbone of a gargantuan pike. Fact.


To be

The singular present tense forms of olla, "to be":

Finnish English
olen (I) am
olet (you) are
on (s/he) is

In Standard Finnish, the words minä, "I", and sinä, the singular "you", are optional when they are in the subject position. Hän, however, needs to be included.

Minä olen ujo./Olen ujo.
I am shy.

Sinä olet rehellinen./Olet rehellinen.
You are honest.

Hän on hiljainen.
S/he is quiet.

Although common in writing, leaving out personal pronouns is rarer in spoken Finnish.

Order!

In sentences with the verb olla, "to be", the more complete a noun is, the earlier it appears. The later a noun appears, the less complete it is, and the more likely it is to be translated with an indefinite article.

Hän on ujo poika.
He is a shy boy.

However, the English language has so many ways of using articles in generalisations that sometimes an indefinite article starts such a sentence.

Hyvä sauna on aina suomalainen.
A good sauna is always Finnish.

In Finnish, that sauna is considered complete, since we are talking about all the good saunas in the world here.

Family names

Finnish last names can usually be found in nature. The most common last names can be divided into four groups:

Last name Notes
Pöllö "Owl" - noun
Pöllönen "Of Owl", or "Little Owl" - noun with the ending nen
Pöllölä "Owl Place" - noun with the ending la/lä
Pöllövaara "Owl Fell/Hill/Danger" - compound word that has probably replaced a name in some other language

Knowing me, knowing you

The shortest way to introduce someone is to use the phrase Tämä on..., "This is..":

Joni, tämä on Anna.
Joni, this is Anna.

Finns are very informal, but just in case you get invited to the Presidential Independence Day Ball, or to some other very formal event, the Finnish equivalents of "Mr." and "Ms." are herra and rouva.

Herra Presidentti, tämä on rouva Pöllönen.
Mr. President, this is Ms. Pöllönen.

Bravo!

The word hyvä, "good", can be used in the meaning "bravo" to encourage other people. You can use it to support your country or friend at a sporting event, or to thank someone for work well done.

Hyvä Suomi!
Go (Team) Finland!

Hyvä Aino!
Well done Aino!/Bravo Aino!/Go Aino!

Vocabulary
Suomi Finland
maa country, land
sauna sauna
kantele kantele
soitin instrument (music)
tyttö girl
poika boy
ihminen person, human being
ystävä friend
suomalainen Finnish (adjective), Finn (person)
hyvä good, bravo
sisukas with sisu (adjective)
ujo shy
rehellinen honest
hiljainen quiet, silent
tämä this
herra Mr.
rouva Ms.

Pets and Domestic Animals 1 updated 2020-07-19

It and this

The word for "it" is se and the word for "this" is tämä. As in English, the latter can be used both independently and before a noun.

Se on pupu.
It is a bunny.

Tämä on söpö.
This (one) is cute.

Tämä pupu on söpö.
This bunny is cute.

To have

Finnish does not have a verb for "to have". Instead the verb olla, "to be", is combined with a subject in the adessive. You can recognise the adessive from the ending lla/llä.

Person Nominative Adessive English
1st singular minä minulla I
2nd singular sinä sinulla you
3rd singular hän hänellä s/he

Sentences with olla follow the most-complete-noun-first rule, which is why an object ending this type of sentence is almost always translated with an indefinite article. Whenever the object follows the verb, the verb always takes the same form: the 3rd person singular, on.

Minulla on koira.
I have a dog.

Sinulla on pupu.
You have a bunny.

Hänellä on kissa.
S/he has a cat.

What kind of

In questions that begin with millainen, "what kind of"/"what...like", the verb is placed after the nouns and pronouns.

Millainen poni se on?
What kind of pony is it/What is the pony like?

Millainen koira sinulla on?
What kind of dog do you have/What is your dog like?

Incorrect!

The word väärin, meaning "wrong" or "incorrect", is an adverb, which is why it always appears independently and never attaches itself to a noun.

Väärin, se on undulaatti.
Wrong, it is a parakeet.

Good dog!

Grownup people are always (fingers crossed) hyvä, "good". However, Finns use the word kiltti, more literally "kind" or "well-behaved", instead of hyvä when talking about children and animals. While some people may use both when talking to their pets, children are almost always kiltti.

Joni on hyvä mies.
Joni is a good man.

Kuka on kiltti koira?
Who is a good dog?

Colour my world

In this skill, you will be introduced to the first colour words in this course: blue, white, and some of the rest (which are not found in the most beautiful flag in the world).

Finnish English
sininen blue
valkoinen white
musta black
vihreä green

Animal names

You can find these common Finnish names for pets and domestic animals in this course:

Name Animal
Musti dog
Mirri cat
Polle horse
Mansikki cow

Words are wind

Whenever the letter h appears in some other place than the beginning of the word, it should be pronounced more violently, or the listener may interpret it as a long vowel, or not notice it at all. They may think that you are lamenting how quickly the past few weeks, viikot, have gone, when you actually need new notebooks, vihkot. Or that you are going to visit your friend Pia instead of going to your yard, piha. To find the right sounds, imitate the wind howling on a snowy plain and observe how the movement of air changes the sound.

IPA Notes Examples
H [h] starts a word; as in "haiku" hikka, haiku
H [ɦ] appears in the middle of a word, followed by a vowel; as in "Bohemian" boheemi, mohikaani
H [ç] hissing wind pronounced behind the front teeth; preceded by i or y either before a consonant or at the end of the word; can be found in "human" and in the German "Richter" vihreä, lyhty
H [x] formed between the soft spot at the back the mouth's ceiling and the back of the tongue; preceded by a, o, or u, and followed by a consonant; can be found in the Scottish "loch" and the German "Bach" kahvi, sohva, juhla
Vocabulary
pupu bunny
undulaatti parakeet
koira dog
kissa cat
poni pony
käärme snake
söpö cute, adorable
kiltti well-behaved, nice, sweet, good
tuhma naughty
pieni small
sininen blue
valkoinen white
musta black
vihreä green
yksi one
se it
tämä this
minulla I, (on) me
sinulla (singular) you, (on) you
hänellä s/he, (on) him/her
millainen what kind of
väärin (in an) incorrect (way), (in a) wrong (way)

The North updated 2021-01-30

The most northern North

The word saamelainen (Sápme in Northern Sámi) refers to the Sámi people who live in the northern parts of Finland, Norway, and Sweden, as well as in the most northwestern Russia. Three Sámi languages (Northern Sámi, Inari Sámi, Skolt Sámi) are spoken in Finland and they have a semi-official status. This means that a Sámi language is an official language in any municipality that has a certain number of native speakers. Four Finnish municipalities offer services in at least one Sámi language.

Orderly conduct

The more complete a noun is, the earlier it appears in a sentence with the verb olla, "to be". As a result, a noun or a noun phrase that starts a sentence is usually translated with a definite article. If the sentence has another noun with another function, that noun is less complete. It can be translated with both types of articles found in English, depending on the context. The indefinite article is the more likely option in most cases.

Tuhma kissa on viikinki.
The naughty cat is a/the Viking.

If the previous conversation has revolved around the identity of a mysterious Viking, whose scandalous secret is now being revealed, the definite article is used. In other cases, use an indefinite article. Note that this is because the English language works the way it works. Finnish could not care less. As long as there are cats and Vikings involved, in that order, everything is hunky-dory.

So many questions

Most Finnish question words are followed by words in the same order as they would be in a statement: the subject first, then the verb. This also applies to the question word missä, "(in) where":

Norja on maa.
Norway is a country.

Missä Norja on?
Where is Norway?

Yes/No

Unlike English, Finnish does not use auxiliary verbs like "to do" to start questions but opts for a question particle instead. In yes/no questions, the particle -ko is added to the word that is in charge of the interrogation. Most often this word is a verb. The verb is followed by the subject.

Onko Ruotsi kylmä maa?
Is Sweden a cold country?

Onko sinulla suomalainen nimi?
Do you have a Finnish name?

Whenever the verb olla, "to be", is the chief interrogator in a sentence with several nouns as different parts of the sentence, the more complete noun or noun phrase is placed first. The first noun is usually translated with a definite and the second with an indefinite article.

Onko kissa viikinki?
Is the cat a Viking?

Onko viikinki kissa?
Is the Viking a cat?

Nationality

Most nationality words are formed by adding the ending -lainen to the name of a nation. Unlike in English, nationality words in Finnish are written with the first letter in the lower case. For example, the word for "Icelandic" is formed like this:

Islanti + lainen = islantilainen

The most common exceptions are the words suomalainen (Finnish, Finn), ruotsalainen (Swedish, Swede), and venäläinen (Russian). Nationality words that end in -lainen are used as adjectives, and in most cases also as nouns.

Minulla on söpö venäläinen koira.
I have a cute, Russian dog.

Hän on tanskalainen.
S/he is a Dane.

Islantilainen on ujo.
The Icelandic person is shy.

Shh...

[ʃ] has the most irregular spelling in Finnish and is a rare sound pronounced like the first sound in "Sherlock". It is usually spelled with sh (shampoo) but s and š are also possible (sampoo, šampoo).

Saamelainen mies on shamaani/samaani/šamaani.
The Sámi man is a shaman.

Stress control

In words that have three syllables or fewer, the stress falls on the first syllable.

sau-na
kan-te-le

Words that have more syllables need a secondary stress. Its default place is on the third syllable.

re-hel-li-nen
suo-ma-lai-nen

In words that have five syllables or more, if the third syllable is light - that is, it has only one or two letters in it - but there is a longer, heavy syllable next to it, the stress moves to the right, on the fourth syllable.

is-lan-ti-lai-nen

These rules apply to Standard Finnish and most southern varieties. Other forms of Finnish are often bouncier.

Vocabulary
Islanti Iceland
Viro Estonia
Norja Norway
Ruotsi Sweden
Tanska Denmark
Venäjä Russia
kaupunki city
laulu song
shamaani shaman
viikinki Viking
bändi band (pop, rock)
nimi name
auto car
kännykkä cell phone
kylmä cold
pohjoinen northern, North
iso big
saamelainen Sámi
islantilainen Icelandic, Icelandic person
virolainen Estonian, Estonian person
norjalainen Norwegian, Norwegian person
venäläinen Russian, Russian person
tanskalainen Danish, Dane
ruotsalainen Swedish, Swede
onko is, has (questions)
missä (in) where

Family updated 2020-06-16

This time it's personal

The nominative forms of the personal pronouns:

Finnish English
minä I
sinä you
hän he, she
me we
te you (all)
he they

Verbs are conjugated according to person and number. Here is the verb olla, "to be", in its six different present tense forms:

Finnish English
olen (I) am
olet (you) are
on (s/he, it) is
olemme (we) are
olette (you all) are
ovat (they) are

Finnish makes a distinction between the singular and the plural you, that is, whether the discussion is about one or several people.

Sinä olet naimisissa.
You are married.
(you are a person who is married)

Aino ja Otso, te olette naimisissa.
Aino and Otso, you are married.
(you are people who are married)

In Standard Finnish, subject pronouns in the nominative are optional in the 1st and 2nd person. They need to be included in the 3rd person (hän, he).

(Me) olemme naimisissa.
We are married.

(Te) olette naimisissa.
You (all) are married.

He ovat naimisissa.
They are married.

Verbs can be conjugated in several different ways, depending on the verb type, but the endings are always the same.

Pronoun Verb ending
minä -n
sinä -t
hän -VV (long vowel)
me -mme
te -tte
he -vVt (v + vowel + t)

If the 1st infinitive of a verb ends in two vowels, the stem is formed by cutting out the final vowel.

to sing: laulaa -> laula-
to dance: tanssia -> tanssi-
to sit: istua -> istu-

Then you add the endings. In the 3rd person singular (with hän), you double the final letter in the stem. In the 3rd person plural (with he), you add the ending -vat, if the stem has a, o, or u in it.

Pronoun Verb English
minä laula-n I am singing, I sing
sinä laula-t you are singing, you sing
hän laula-a s/he is singing, s/he sings
me laula-mme we are singing, we sing
te laula-tte you (all) are singing, you (all) sing
he laula-vat they are singing, they sing

The question particle -ko is added AFTER the personal endings.

tanssi + i + ko = tanssiiko
laula + t + ko = laulatko

It is rare for a question to consist of only a verb, so using a personal pronoun with all forms is recommended, if there are no other words in the sentence.

Tanssiiko hän?
Is s/he dancing?

Laulatko sinä?
Do you sing?

The continuous form of the English verb, the "-ing form", is usually the most natural translation, but the form without -ing, expressing repetitive action, can sometimes be the better option. Often, both are possible, depending on the context.

Istumme yhdessä.
We are sitting together.

The continuous form sounds better above. However, "We sit together" would be correct as an answer to a question about repetitive actions, like "What do we do on Sundays?"

Istumme usein yhdessä.
We often sit together.

The form expressing repetitive action is the most likely translation with sentences like the one above, because the sentence includes an adverb expressing frequency, "often".

He tanssivat.
They are dancing (right now)./They dance (as a hobby, etc).

Finnish often focuses on whether things are complete or incomplete. The sentences "They are dancing" and "They dance" both refer to incomplete, unfinished action. This is why you can translate them with the same sentence.

To put it shortly, the way ENGLISH grammar works in the given context determines whether the -ing form is used or not. Finnish is not particularly interested in ings.


Like a dog with two tails

Finnish has two adjectives that are best translated with the word "happy". A dog that jumps excitedly up and down when you return home after a long day at work is iloinen. A dog that lies relaxed next to you after his dinner while you scratch his neck is onnellinen. The first word is used to describe joyous and cheerful happiness that is easy to notice. The second word is used to describe happiness that is so deep that you can feel it in your bones. Of course it is possible to be both at the same time, but just because you are onnellinen does not necessarily mean that you are iloinen, or vice versa. A person can also pretend to be iloinen, but you cannot fake being onnellinen. Dogs, naturally, are incapable of such deception.

Musti on hiljainen ja onnellinen.
Musti is quiet and happy.

Tämä iloinen vauva nauraa.
This happy baby is laughing.

Vocabulary
lemmikki pet
äiti mother
isä father
mummo grandma
vaari grandpa
vauva baby
pari couple
lelu toy
nalle teddy
perhe family
onnellinen happy, content
iloinen happy, jolly
surullinen sad
nuori young
me we
te you
he they
olemme we are
olette you (all) are
ovat they are
nauraa to laugh
laulaa to sing
kasvaa to grow
seisoa to stand
istua to sit
tanssia to dance
itkeä to cry
nyt now
usein often
harvoin seldom
nopeasti fast, quickly
naimisissa married
yhdessä together

Home 1 updated 2021-02-24

This and that

Finnish makes a distinction between tämä, "this", and tuo, "that". Tämä refers to things, which are relatively close. If you are talking about concrete things, they are so close that you can touch them. Tuo is used for things that are more distant. If those things are concrete, they are still close enough for you to point at them. In English, you can say "This is Finland" or "That's Finland" to make a general statement about a certain northern country. In Finnish, Tämä on Suomi and Tuo on Suomi are possible only if you have a globe or a map in front of you to show others what you are talking about. Despite wild rumours, Finland is very much a concrete thing, not an imaginary fantasy land. Finland is also surprisingly large, so pointing it out accurately is rather challenging, unless you have really long arms.

Tämä on radio.
This is a radio.

Tuo on televisio.
That is a television.

Both tämä and tuo can also be used to define a noun that follows them. You are allowed a bit more imagination with these. You can often use tämä also when you are located within the concrete thing discussed.

Tämä talo on vanha.
This house is old.

Tuo piha on kaunis.
That yard is beautiful.

If you need to make a distinction between two things that are equally close, tämä precedes tuo.

Tämä sänky on uusi ja tuo on vanha.
This bed is new and that one is old.

More to have

Finnish does not have a general verb for "to have". Instead, the verb olla, "to be", is used with the adessive forms of the word that's in the subject position in the English sentence. Here are all the adessive forms of the personal pronouns:

Person Finnish English
1st singular minulla I, on me
2nd singular sinulla you, on you
3rd singular hänellä s/he, on him/her
1st plural meillä we, on us
2nd plural teillä you (all), on you (all)
3rd plural heillä they, on them

Whenever a pronoun precedes the verb and a noun follows it, the verb takes the form, on. The noun is almost always translated with an indefinite article.

Meillä on suuri asunto.
We have a large apartment.

Nice and comfy

Mukava is used to describe being welcoming and being easy to be around with. The translation changes depending on what the word is describing. When it is used about people and animals the word describes behaviour and "nice" is the best translation. If you are talking about a sofa, a bed, a room, or a house, "comfortable" and "comfy" are good translations.

Musti on mukava koira.
Musti is a nice dog.

Tuo sohva on todella mukava.
That sofa is really comfortable.

Behold! My stuff!

Unlike in English, oma, "own", often appears without the company of words like "my", "our", or "their", if the subject of the sentence reveals whose stuff we are talking about. This is why any sentence that begins with a pronoun in the adessive does not refer to the owner for the second time.

Minulla on oma huone.
I have a room of my own.

Meillä on oma asunto.
We have an apartment of our own./We own an apartment.

Note that while the sentences above can sometimes also be translated with "I have my own room", or "We have our own apartment", the main purpose of the word oma is to simply express ownership and possession, so no need to be sassy.

I thingth I hab a golb

Nasal sounds suffer from a really bad cold.

IPA Notes Examples
N, NG [ŋ] appears mainly before k in words with an NK combination; sometimes a ng combination in more recent loanwords; pronounced as in "link" and "penguin" pingviini, linkki, sänky
N, M [ɱ] very rare; nasal m-sound that appears before f in nf and mf combinations influenssa, pamfletti
Vocabulary
koti home
talo house
asunto apartment
huone room (bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, etc.)
kellari cellar, basement
veranta veranda, porch
piha yard
radio radio
televisio television
sohva sofa, couch
pöytä table
sänky bed
uusi new
vanha old
suuri large
lämmin warm
mukava comfortable, comfy (furniture, room, etc.)
oma own
tuo that
meillä we, (on) us
teillä (on) you (all)
heillä they, (on) them
mutta but

Phrases 1 updated 2020-12-01

Coffee and pulla

We have a problem and we are not ashamed to admit it. No other nation in the world drinks as much kahvi, "coffee", as the Finns do. We start in the morning and stop in the evening.

Pulla, or nisu, is a coffeebread made out of wheat flour. It has a firm texture, and while it is sweet, it does not have as much sugar as most pastries. The dough often contains cardamom. Pulla comes in many shapes and sizes, varying from small buns and rolls to large, braided loaves.


Greetings!

The greeting hei is used for both "hi" and "bye". You can also double it when you use it in the latter meaning.

Hei Väinö!
Hi Väinö!/Bye Väinö!

Hei hei Musti!
Goodbye Musti!

While Finns use the titles rouva (Ms.) and herra (Mr.) only in extremely formal situations and in the military, referring to people using their last name only is very common, especially among men. This can be both a very informal situation, like greeting someone, or a more formal one, like calling the name of the next patient in a waiting room.

Terve Pöllö!
Hello Pöllö!

Behave yourself

The Finnish language does not have a word for "please", but do not make the mistake of thinking that the lack of this one word means that Finns are rude. We simply express politeness by using other means. We do not plead, we give thanks. The Finnish word for "thank you" is kiitos. You also use it the same way English speakers use the word "please" when you are asking for something at a shop, a café, or a restaurant.

Yksi kahvi, kiitos.
One coffee, please.

Kahvi ja pulla, kiitos.
A coffee and a pulla, please.

Since the word means "thank you" and is therefore stronger than "please", you do not have to repeat it quite as often. Kiitos is also used after ei ("no") and kyllä ("yes" ).

Ei, kiitos.
No, thank you.

Kyllä, kiitos.
Yes, please.

Kyllä is mainly used with kiitos, as an affirmative answer to questions that begin with haluaisitko, "would you like to have" and in the military. In other situations, you have two options. First, you can say joo or juu (both mean "yes", or "yeah"). The second and the more used option is repeating the verb in the question.

- Oletko sinä Pöllölä? - Olen.
- Are you Pöllölä? - (Yes,) I am.

- Onko tämä oikein? - On.
- Is this correct? - (Yes,) It is.

Ole hyvä, literally "be good", is used when passing objects to another person. You are expected to answer with kiitos.

– Kahvi, ole hyvä. – Kiitos.
– Here you are, a coffee. – Thank you.

Notice that ole hyvä find its place at the end of a sentence. If you use the phrase in the beginning of a sentence, it will sound like you are addressing the coffee. The place after the expression is reserved for names. As coffee obsessed as we are, not even Finns talk to their coffee cups.

Ole hyvä, Anna!
Anna! Here you are!

Correct!

Much like väärin, the word for "incorrect" and "wrong", oikein, the word for "correct" and "right", cannot precede a noun but always stands alone.

Tämä on oikein ja tuo on väärin.
This one is correct and that one is incorrect.

Hot and cold

To express how people and animals experience different temperatures, you need to use the adessive + on structure. In other words, Finns are not hot nor cold, we "have" hot or cold.

Minulla on kuuma.
I am hot.

Meillä on kylmä.
We are cold.

Vocabulary
hei hi, bye
ole hyvä here you are
kyllä (definite) yes
ei no
joo yes, yeah
kahvi coffee
pulla pulla (traditional, Finnish sweet bread)
au ouch
oikein correct, right
valmis ready
kuuma hot
kylmä cold
oletko are you (singular)

Language 1 updated 2020-06-23

Why?

The Finnish question word for "why" is miksi. As with most other question words, the rest of the sentence looks like a statement.

Suomi on tärkeä kieli.
Finnish is an important language.

Miksi suomi on tärkeä kieli?
Why is Finnish an important language?

Nations, nationalities, and their languages

Unlike in English, languages are not considered proper nouns in Finnish. Therefore, they start with a letter in the lower case. Most language names look identical to the name of the nation of their speakers, except for the first letter.

Pöllö, Suomi on maa, suomi on kieli ja hän on suomalainen.
Pöllö, Finland is a country, Finnish is a language, and s/he is a Finn.

wow. such easy

The word niin, "so", is a quantifier that appears before an adjective or an adverb.

Tämä lause on niin helppo.
This sentence is so easy.

However, since English insists on leaving articles lying around for speakers of Finnish to trip on, "such" is often the more idiomatic translation whenever the adjective is followed by a noun.

Englanti on niin vaikea kieli.
English is so difficult a language./English is such a difficult language.

Definitely or

The conjunction vai, "or", appears only in questions and is always exclusive, never inclusive. This means that you are expected to choose one thing as an answer to the question.

Onko se kieli, murre vai aksentti?
Is it a language, a dialect, or an accent?

Oh really?

As in English, the adverb todella, "really", likes to march before the verb. It should not be confused with the determiner todella, "really", which precedes an adjective and has a different function.

Ranska todella on kaunis kieli.
French really is a beautiful language.
(Mon dieu, French is beautiful. Not pretty, nor cute, nor nice. Beautiful.)

Ranska on todella kaunis kieli.
French is a really beautiful language.
(Oui, French is beautiful, and not just beautiful but so beautiful that saying that it is merely beautiful would be an understatement. Oh la la...)

Teacher, teacher!

Finnish children do not address teachers formally. No sirs here, no ma'am! The youngest children refer to their teachers by first name. As they grow older, nicknames and last names (without a title) become more common. Usually though, a teacher is quite simply a teacher, opettaja, or its abbreviation, ope.

Opettaja, miksi viro on tärkeä kieli?
Teacher, why is Estonian an important language?

Vocabulary
kieli language
sana word
lause sentence
kysymys question
vastaus answer
aksentti accent
murre dialect
opettaja teacher
suomi Finnish (language)
viro Estonian (language)
ranska French (language)
espanja Spanish (language)
japani Japanese (language)
englanti English (language)
kiina Chinese (language)
saksa German (language)
unkari Hungarian (language)
korea Korean (language)
tärkeä important
vaikea difficult
helppo easy
aasialainen Asian
niin so, such
vai or (exclusive)
miksi why

Barbecue updated 2020-06-16

The barbecue season

An old proverb says that "the Finnish summer is short and short on snow". This is a rather sarcastic observation on the nature of spring and summer weather in Finland. The snow drifts disappear sometime in March, April, May, or June, depending on your latitude and that particular year. Then the snows return. Once, twice, thrice, umpteen times, until it is summer(ish). Whether you are a carnivore, omnivore, vegetarian, vegan, or a cannibal, the barbecue season begins when the snows have almost melted for the first time that spring. If it starts snowing when you are in the middle of grilling the sausages, tough. Now stop yapping about the weather and pass the mustard. As for when the barbecue season ends, well, since the start of the season pretty much coincides with bears waking up from hibernation, it is only natural that the end of the season takes place when the bears are starting their winter hibernation.


Right here, right there

The Finnish system for telling whether something is here or there is more detailed than the English one. When something you can see is tässä, "right here", it is either exactly where you are, or at so short a distance that you can touch it without changing your pose or position. If something you can see is tuossa, "right there", it is just beyond your reach.

Lautanen on tässä.
The plate is right here.

Sitruuna on tuossa.
The lemon is right there.

He or ne?

English personal pronouns separate people and other entities only in the singular. You cannot call a person "it" nor can you refer to a dishwashing machine with "he" or "she". Finnish makes this distinction also in the plural.

Number Human Non-human
Singular hän (s/he) se (it)
Plural he (they) ne (they)

Missä Matti ja Liisa ovat? He ovat tuossa.
Where are Matti and Liisa? They are right there.

Missä ketsuppi ja sinappi ovat? Ne ovat tässä.
Where are the ketchup and the mustard? They are right here.

Peckish and parched

Finns usually use the expressions "to have hunger" and "to have thirst" should we feel peckish or parched. The adessive form of the subject is needed to get our basic needs heard.

Minulla on nälkä.
I am hungry.

Meillä on jano.
We are thirsty.

Vocabulary
jano thirst
nälkä hunger
peruna potato
tomaatti tomato
omena apple
sipuli onion
sitruuna lemon
salaatti salad, lettuce
makkara sausage
pihvi steak, patty
kala fish
kastike sauce, dressing
mauste spice
suola salt
pippuri pepper
ketsuppi ketchup
sinappi mustard
lasi glass
lautanen plate
haarukka fork
veitsi knife
vesi water
grilli grill
pyöreä round
punainen red
keltainen yellow
ne they (non-human)
tässä right here
tuossa right there
jo already, yet
vielä still, yet

Sights updated 2020-08-07

More questions...

The question word for "what" is mikä. The word order after the word is similar to that after millainen, "what kind of". The predicative follows the question word, but the verb wanders to the final position to be able to loyally follow the subject.

Millainen museo se on?
What kind of museum is it?

Mikä museo tuo on?
What/Which museum is that?

Over here, over there

The Finnish language is not satisfied with having just words for "here" and "there" like English is. We prefer to know the location of things more specifically. If both you and the person you are talking to are both in the area in which whatever or whomever you are talking about is located, the word täällä, "over here", is used. If neither one of you is in the same area as the person or the thing discussed but they are still close enough for you to point at them, the word tuolla, "over there", is used instead.

Teatteri on täällä.
The theater is over here.

Museo on tuolla.
The museum is over there.

Surprise or exasperation?

In English, most situations can be handled with either the interjection "oh" or by adding something after it. While Finnish has many short expressions that can be used in various situations, we do not have a versatile exclamation that works exactly in the same way as "oh". If something upsetting happens to you, voi ei is a good way to express your general disillusionment with the way the world usually enjoys surprising us.

Voi ei! Museo on kiinni!
Oh no! The museum is closed!

If what you are feeling is surprise caused by the actions of yourself or other people, or just general weirdness of the world, oho is a good exclamation to use. The surprise can be positive, negative, or neutral, and be translated with "oh wow", "oh", or "wow" depending on the context. It can also be used as the equivalent of the surprised "oops" English speakers utter when they arrive at their holiday destination and realize that they bought tickets to a wrong flight and ended up in Paris, Texas, instead of Paris, France, or vice versa.

Oho. Outo rakennus.
Oh wow. A weird building.

Oho. Väärä teatteri.
Oops. The wrong theater.

The right stuff

The Finnish equivalents for "right/correct" and "wrong/incorrect" look different depending on whether they are adjectives or adverbs. You can recognise the adverbs from the ending -in. The adjectives can appear before nouns, but the adverbs cannot.

Väärin! Tämä on väärä rakennus.
Wrong! This is the wrong building.

Oikein! Tuo on oikea museo.
Correct! That is the correct museum.

So close, yet so far

The Finnish words for “close/near” and “far (away)” are lähellä and kaukana. You can use these two words only when you use a verb that does not imply movement from one place to another.

Voi ei! Kirkko on kaukana.
Oh no! The church is far away.

Jee! Puisto on lähellä.
Yay! The park is near/nearby.

Vocabulary
rakennus building
museo museum
monumentti monument
teatteri theater
stadion stadium
kirkko church
linna castle
puisto park
silta bridge
oopperatalo opera house
kahvila café
tori market square
kartta map
outo strange, weird
oikea right (adjective)
väärä wrong (adjective)
sama (the) same
auki open
kiinni closed
mikä what, which
melko pretty, rather
liian too (determiner)
ehkä maybe
taas again
täällä over here
tuolla over there
kaukana far away
lähellä close, near
voi ei oh no
oho oh wow, oops

Fridge updated 2020-12-01

Mämmi, ice cream, and ketchup

The Finnish dessert known as mämmi is sweet rye pudding eaten especially during the Easter weeks in the spring. It is very dark and thick, so some weirdos find the way it looks unappealing. It is usually consumed with a bit of milk or cream (not whipped), sometimes with vanilla ice cream.

Finns eat jäätelö, “ice cream”, more than most other nations. While it is most popular during that one hot day in the summer, we eat it all year round. Sub-zero temperatures in February are considered a pitiful excuse for not having your little piece of edible heaven like a normal person.

Every other type of food is covered in ketsuppi, “ketchup”, which like coffee and ice cream is unusually popular in Finland. Any self-respecting grocer keeps several shelves of one kilogram ketchup bottles in their shop. Whatever bits of your food on your plate are visible from under all the ketchup are there so that you can put mustard on them.

THE END IS NIGH

If you run out of ice cream, it is the end of your world. The Finnish word loppu, “the end”, is used to signify that there is nothing left of something.

Jäätelö on loppu.
The ice cream is all gone. OR I am/You are/He is/She is/It is/We are/They are out of ice cream.

Ketsuppi on loppu.
The ketchup is all gone. OR I am/You are/He is/She is/It is/We are/They are out of ketchup.

Play your part(itive)

The dictionary forms of nominals (nouns, adjectives, pronouns, and numerals) are in the nominative case. However, Finnish nominals can be inflected in 14 other cases besides the nominative. Such as (drumroll) THE PARTITIVE (ta-da). The partitive has many uses, but its main purpose is to signify something that is incomplete, unfinished, or hard to specify - things that are a PART of something. The partitive case is used most often (although not always) with objects and predicatives.

There are several ways of forming the partitive singular, but the simplest way to do it is also the most common one and applies to most words: you add an A at the end.

ketsuppi + a -> ketsuppia
kala + a -> kalaa

If you cannot count it, how do you know whether you have all of it?

Uncountable nouns fall into the hard-to-specify category, because you cannot specify how many of something there is. Any uncountable noun that is a predictive is in the partitive singular.

Se on mehua.
It is juice.

Onko tuo maitoa?
Is that milk?

Any uncountable noun that is a direct object is in the partitive singular. You can often add the word “some” (statements) or “any” (questions) in front of a noun like this in the English translation.

Minulla on ketsuppia.
I have (some) ketchup.

Onko sinulla juustoa?
Do you have (any) cheese?

Any adjective referring to an uncountable noun is also in the partitive singular in predicative and object positions.

Tämä on outoaa mehua.
This is strange juice.

Meillä on mustaa limonadia.
We have (some) black soda pop.

In fact, if an adjective appears alone as a predicative, it is in the partitive singular whenever the subject it refers to is an uncountable noun.

Onko mämmi oranssia?
Is (the) mämmi orange?

Ei, mämmi on mustaa.
No, (the) mämmi is black.

Amounts

A word referring to a single unit of some amount is in the nominative in short phrases and following “to be” and “to have”. Yet, any uncountable noun that follows a word referring to an amount is in the partitive. You can count the units, but you still cannot count something that is uncountable. A unit like this can be an exact scientific unit like kilo, or a more everyday measurement like pullo, “bottle”.

Kilo lihaa, kiitos.
A kilo of (some) meat, please.

Pullo mehua, kiitos.
A bottle of (some) juice, please.

An amount like this can also be exact in a more subjective manner, as with words like tarpeeksi, “enough”, and liikaa, “too much”. You know when you have had enough (or at least you should).

Onko meillä tarpeeksi kalaa?
Do we have enough fish?

Liian or liikaa?

The determiner liian, “too”, is a general intensifier that can be used with almost anything: colors, taste, the quality of your local grocer's ketchup, etc. The determiner liikaa, “too much”, refers specifically to an excessive amount of something.

Tämä mehu on liian makeaa.
This juice is too sweet.

Meillä on liikaa juustoa.
We have too much cheese.

Vocabulary
ruoka food
mehu juice
maito milk
juusto cheese
limonadi soda pop
liha meat
kana chicken
jäätelö ice cream
mämmi mämmi, sweet rye pudding
pullo bottle (of)
loppu the end, out of
litra liter (of), 33.8 oz.
kilo kilo(gram of), 2.2 lb
kotona at home
makea sweet (taste)
oranssi orange (color)
liikaa too much
tarpeeksi enough
hyi eww, yuck

Languages 2 updated 2020-12-23

Let’s parti(tive)!

Finnish has 15 grammatical cases that are used with the nominals (nouns, adjectives, pronouns, and numerals) and sometimes even with other word classes. The dictionary forms of nominals are in the nominative case. Another proud member of the Finnish Case Club for Terms Ending in -IVE is THE PARTITIVE. It has many uses, but its main purpose is to tell you that something is somehow incomplete, unfinished, or hard to specify. The partitive case is used most often (although not always) with objects and predicatives.

While there are several ways of forming the partitive singular, the simplest way to do it applies to most Finnish words: you add an extra A at the end of the word.

sana + a -> sanaa
aksentti + a -> aksenttia

Partitive verbs

Finnish has several grammatical cases which can appear in the object position, depending on what you are trying to say. Some verbs prefer partitive objects in certain contexts. puhua, “to speak”, is one such verb. Whenever you tell someone what languages you can or cannot speak, you need the names of the languages in the partitive. After all, no one is able to speak a whole language. There will always be words that you do not know even in your native language. And even if you happen to be an ancient wizard who knows everything, you cannot utter the entirety of a language all at once.

Opettaja puhuu koreaa.
The teacher speaks/is speaking Korean.

Puhuuko turisti ranskaa?
Does the tourist speak/Is the tourist speaking French?

While most language names are relatively new loanwords, suomi, the word for the Finnish language, is as old as pro-level wizards. Old nouns and adjectives that end in I go through a stem change: I turns into E. Words that end in I but are still very young, only the age of upstart wizards whose age is counted in hundreds and not in thousands, keep I at the end of their stems.

englanti: englanti +a -> englantia
suomi: suome + a -> suomea

Anteeksi, puhutko sinä suomea?
Excuse me, do you speak/are you speaking Finnish?

OR or OR?

The Finnish language has two words for “or”: tai, the inclusive “or”, and vai, the exclusive “or”. vai can only be used in questions, so you have to go with tai in statements.

A statement with tai can mean that all options offered are possible, or that only one of them is possible. If the latter, English sometimes emphasizes these limited possibilities by adding “either” before the list of options.

Tuo on suomea tai viroa.
That is (either) Finnish or Estonian.

In questions, both tai and vai are possible, depending on what you want to say. VAI is used when you know there is only one possible answer. TAI is used when you want to keep your options open: any one of the options could be correct, or both of them, or neither. You can sometimes see this reflected in the verb form of the English translation.

Anteeksi, puhutteko te englantia tai espanjaa?
Excuse me, do you speak English or Spanish?

Anteeksi, puhutteko te suomea vai viroa?
Excuse me, are you speaking Finnish or Estonian?

If you use the inclusive tai, you must be talking about knowledge of languages. Maybe the people speak both English and Spanish, just one of them, or neither. Or maybe one of them knows Spanish and another one English. You have no way of knowing. If you use the exclusive vai, you must be commenting on what you are hearing. The language spoken sounds very familiar to you, but you have not yet progressed far enough in your Finnish studies to know whether it is Finnish or Estonian, although you know it has to be one or the other.

Singularly many

The pronoun moni, “many”, is inflected in both number and case. This means it has a singular form, which is followed by a verb in the singular, although in the corresponding English translation both are in the plural. If moni, the nominative singular form of the word, begins a sentence, you are dealing with a generalisation. Therefore, the continuous form (ing form) of the verb is not possible in the English translation. If you have trouble sticking to the singular, the now old-fashioned structure many a + noun may be of some assistance. As in “many a wordy jest”, an expression found in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

Moni suomalainen puhuu sujuvaa englantia.
Many Finns speak fluent English/Many a Finn speaks fluent English.

Vocabulary
turisti tourist
insinööri engineer
muusikko musician
professori professor
afrikkalainen African
ahkera hardworking, diligent, conscientious
sujuva fluent
älykäs intelligent
puhua to speak, to talk
tai or (inclusive)
moni many
myös also, too, as well
vain only
vähän a bit of, a little bit of, a little

Home 2 updated 2020-11-26

ATAboy!

Finnish verbs can be conjugated in several different ways depending on the verb type, but the endings are always the same.

Pronoun Verb ending
minä -n
sinä -t
hän -VV (long vowel)
me -mme
te -tte
he -vVt (v + vowel + t)

If the 1st infinitive of the verb ends in -ata, -ota, or -uta, the stem is formed by removing the T in the middle.

to paint: maalata -> maalaa-
to clean: siivota -> siivoa-
to realize: tajuta -> tajua-

Then you add the personal endings.

Pronoun Verb English
minä siivoa-n I am cleaning, I clean
sinä siivoa-t you are cleaning, you clean
hän siivoa-a s/he is cleaning, s/he cleans
me siivoa-mme we are cleaning, we clean
te siivoa-tte you (all) are cleaning, you (all) clean
he siivoa-vat they are cleaning, they clean

The question particle is added after the personal ending.

Maalaako Aino usein?
Does Aino paint often?

I object!

If something is the focus of your actions, it’s called an object. If you’re still in the process of doing something to that object, you’ll need the partitive case. Objects of ongoing actions are in the partitive case. The object form rarely has any influence on whether you should use the definite or indefinite article in the English translation. In English, ongoing action is expressed by using the verb, not the noun as in Finnish. This is why Finnish sentences with a partitive object are usually translated with the continuous form of the verb, the -ing form.

Me siivoamme taloa.
We’re cleaning a/the house.

Mummo korjaa autoa.
Grandma is repairing/fixing a/the car.

If the noun is preceded by an adjective, it must be in the partitive as well.

Mummo korjaa mustaa autoa.
Grandma is repairing/fixing a/the black car.

Which “that” is that?

In the English language the conjunction “that” never follows a comma. It’s Finnish equivalent että, however, would die were it seen without an admiring comma on its side. It also likes YOUR attention more than the humble English “that”. “that” rarely complains if it’s cut out of the sentence completely. että, the vain drama queen, on the other hand, has its revenge on you by turning your sentence nonsensical should you choose to ignore it. What a diva!

Tajuan nyt, että teillä on jo koira.
I realize now (that) you already have a dog.

The conjunction koska always appears with a comma too, even though its English cousin “because” chooses not to favor its punctuation companion's company as often.

Siivoan verantaa, koska se on sotkuinen.
I’m cleaning the veranda, because it is messy.

Cleaning and decorating

The verb siivota is “to clean” only in the meaning “to tidy things up”. It’s used when you're talking about everyday chores in general whether that’s hoovering or picking toys off the floor. If you need to clean something very specific and relatively small, like the bathtub, a windscreen, or a spatula, you should opt for some other verb. You shouldn’t use siivota with parts of the human body either.

He siivoavat vanhaa asuntoa.
They are cleaning/tidying up the old apartment.

The noun taulu refers to a picture you can hang on your wall. It can be a painting, a drawing, a framed photograph, or some fabric stapled on a piece of styrofoam. As long as it’s a flat thing that cannot be bent easily, it required some creative output to get made, and it hangs on a wall, it’s taulu.

Don’t sweat it!

Sweating, like being cold or hungry, is something you have, not something you are or do. Finns usually “have a sweat” rather than just “sweat”.

Minulla on hiki.
I am sweating.

Minulla on kylmä/kuuma/lämmin/nälkä/jano.
I am cold/hot/warm/hungry/thirsty.

Vocabulary
tuoli chair
lattia floor (the type you stand on)
lamppu lamp
taulu picture, painting (decorative element)
katto roof, ceiling
kello clock, watch
hiki sweat
halpa cheap
sotkuinen messy
siisti tidy
rikki broken
maalata to paint
korjata to fix, to repair
siivota to clean (up), to tidy up
tiskata to do the dishes
grillata to grill, to barbecue
tajuta to realize
koska because
että that (conjunction)

Know-How updated 2020-12-02

Knowledge is power

The verb OSATA means “to know how to” or “to have knowledge of”. English uses various constructions to express the same thing depending on the context. When the verb osata is followed by a language, the verb “to know” is the best translation.

Osaatko sinä suomea?
Do you know Finnish?

If the focus is on speaking rather than knowledge of the language in general, osata is followed by the 1st infinitive puhua, “to speak”. Here English favors the modal verb “can”, although “to know how to” works often too.

Osaan puhua ranskaa.
I can/know how to speak French.

You can place the 1st infinitive form of many verbs after osata.

Joni osaa lukea/laulaa.
Joni can/knows how to read/sing.

OSATA is all about knowledge, talent, and acquired skills, which is why you should NOT assume that every “can” in the English language is translated with osata. The English verb is also used to ask for favors (“Can you come over here?”) and to check if someone is able or capable of doing something (“Can you hear me?”). Finnish uses other structures to express such things. When you ask a parent whether their child can walk yet, osata is the verb to go with. It takes a lot of work, quite a bit of natural talent, and lots of knowledge acquired by failing repeatedly to learn how to walk. If you’re helping someone who has been hit by a car, using osata when posing the same question would sound like asking whether this person ever learned to walk to begin with, when you probably meant to ask if they are capable of walking.

Osaako lapsi puhua?
Can the child/Does the child know how to speak?

Both-and

Just in case you’re wondering why you can’t see the word ja, “and”, anywhere in this section: what in English is “both-and”, is “also-that” in Finnish. Both the English structure and the Finnish sekä-että are used to point out the importance of there not being only this one thing here but two things, as in this very sentence. Much as in English, if you put the emphasis on että (“and”) in speech, the latter thing sounds more important than the first one.

Puhun sekä suomea että ruotsia.
I speak both Finnish and Swedish.

Osaat sekä tanssia että laulaa.
You can both dance and sing.

How about that!

Finnish question words begin with either M or K.

Question word
mikä what, which
missä where, in which
miksi why, into which
millainen what kind of
kuka who
kuinka how

The question word kuinka, "how", can be combined with expressions of amount and frequency, such as the word moni, “many”. Although the English “how many” is in the plural, the Finnish expression kuinka moni is in the singular.

Kuinka moni kanadalainen osaa ranskaa?
How many Canadians know French?

Movers and shakers

Do you need a word for a profession? Or perhaps a word for a talent? If you need a “doer”, the most common way to turn a verb into a noun is to attach the ending -JA onto a verb stem. This is the Finnish equivalent of the English ending -(e)r.

laula + ja = laulaja singer
tanssi + ja = tanssija dancer

Adverbs or something else?

The hint is in the name: ad+verb = adverb. Adverbs refer to a verb.

Root Adverb
hyvä good hyvin well
oikea right, correct oikein in the right way, correctly
väärä wrong, incorrect väärin in the wrong way, incorrectly
usea several usein often
harva few harvoin rarely

Above are five common adverbs created by using the instructive forms of three adjectives and two pronouns/determiners. The instructive ending -in, meaning “with some things”, is particularly common in adverbs of frequency. The literal meaning of hyvin, “well”, is “with good things”. usein, “often”, could be translated as “on several occasions”.

Matti laulaa hyvin.
Matti sings well.

Hush!

Unusually, you need the adjective “quiet” rather than the adverb “quietly” if you want someone to shut their cakehole. In English, that is. Finnish chooses the adverb, hiljaa, instead of the adjective hiljainen. The accompanying interjection is hys.

Hys! Hiljaa! Anna laulaa.
Hush/Shh! Quiet! Anna is singing.

So long folks!

The most likely translation of the word pitkä is “long”. However, it also means “tall” when you’re talking about people.

Pitkä mies laulaa pitkää laulua.
The tall man is singing a long song.

Vocabulary
tango tango
tanssija dancer
laulaja singer
kanadalainen Canadian (adjective/person)
amerikkalainen American (adjective/person)
vakava serious
viisas wise
lahjakas talented, gifted
pitkä long, tall (people)
osata to know how to, to have knowledge of
piirtää to draw
lukea to read
kirjoittaa to write
ratsastaa to ride (an animal, usually a horse)
joka who, which (relative)
sekä-että both-and
kuinka how
tosi really (determiner; spoken language)
hyvin well
hiljaa quietly
hys shh, hush

Coffee updated 2020-12-23

Glögi and dark bread

Glögi is a hot drink enjoyed in the winter, especially during the Christmas holidays. Originally, it was usually spicy mulled wine or spirits but nowadays it’s more common to drink a version made out of grape or apple juice with no or very little alcohol in it. The most common spices found in glögi are cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger. Glögi is typically sweeter than Glühwein and other similar drinks. It’s served with raisins and almonds. It's often drunk out of glasses designed specifically for the purpose. The traditional glass type resembles Russian tea glasses with metal holders.

Tumma leipä, “dark bread”, is a more formal way of referring to rye bread. Its plural form, tummat leivät, is something you can see on a sign at a Finnish grocer’s so that you can separate the good stuff from white bread. Finns tend to prefer rye bread over wheat bread. Oat bread is also very popular.

Peace and harmony

The Finnish language has three types of vowels: back vowels, front vowels, and neutral (front) vowels.

Vowel type Vowels
Back vowels A O U
Front vowels Y Ä Ö
Neutral (front) vowels E I

Back and front vowels CANNOT appear in the same word, whereas neutral vowels can appear in words with both! This is known as VOWEL HARMONY. The most common exceptions to this rule are compound words, words with prefixes, and fairly recent loanwords.

Partial to harmony

Vowel harmony applies to most endings you can add to words, including all case endings. This means that a word like glögi with no back vowels cannot end in A in the partitive case, unlike a word like kahvi. This is why words like glögi end in Ä in the partitive.

1) If a word has one or more back vowels (A, O, U) in it, it gets the ending with a back vowel in the partitive singular: A.
2) If a word has one or more front vowels (Y, Ä, Ö) in it, it gets the ending with a front vowel in the partitive singular: Ä.

This is what it looks like in practice:

kuuma kahvi -> kuumaa kahvia hot coffee
kylmä jäätelö -> kylmää jäätelöä cold ice cream

Which what?

When a question word stands in for a subject or a predicative, it’s in the nominative; when a question word stands in for an object, it’s often in the partitive. mikä is used when you’re looking for a non-human subject/predicative for your sentence; MITÄ is used when you need an unspecified non-human object.

– Mikä tuo on? – Se on kuppi.
– What’s that? – It’s a cup.

– Mitä haluat? – Haluan kahvia.
– What do you want? – I want coffee.

We want more!

haluta, “to want”, is followed by the 1st infinitive form of a verb and an object form of a nominal.

Haluan syödä jäätelöä.
I want to eat ice cream.

jotain is the partitive form of the Finnish version of “something”. When you combine it with the partitive forms of juotava and syötävä, “drinkable” and ”edible”, you get a phrase that you're very likely to hear in a restaurant and when you’re visiting someone’s home: jotain juotavaa/syötävää, "something to drink/eat".

Haluatko jotain juotavaa/syötävää?
Do you want something to drink/eat?

You can also add the very -ble pair to other expressions of amount like lisää, "more".

Haluatteko lisää juotavaa?
Do you want something more to drink?

A piece of cake!

The Finnish word pala is a generic word for a piece of something. It can be translated as "piece", "morsel", or "slice" depending on the context.

Pala kakkua, kiitos.
A piece of cake, please.

Vocabulary
tee tea
sokeri sugar
kerma cream
pirtelö milkshake
glögi glögi, glogg (hot, spicy drink drunk in northern Europe)
jäätelö ice cream
leipä bread
kakku cake
pala piece (of), slice (of), morsel (of)
kuppi cup (of)
pehmeä soft
tumma dark
juotava drinkable
syötävä edible
juoda to drink
syödä to eat
haluta to want
mitä (of) what
jotain (of) something
lisää more
nam yum

Meow! updated 2021-01-20

Cups of T

The most common way to form the nominative plural is to add T at the end of the word. Almost all words that end in a vowel like their T simple without milk, sugar, and extra letters. If a word ends in A, O, U, Y, Ä, or Ö after a consonant, all you have to do to form the plural is to pour some T. Most (but not all) words that end in I after a consonant also work the same way. Words that end in E are excluded for the most part from this group. They prefer stronger, grammatically more complex T.

kissa + t -> kissat cats
pöllö + t -> pöllöt owls
poni + t -> ponit ponies

Any adjective preceding the noun needs its fill of T as well.

Mustat kissat tanssivat.
The black cats are dancing.

STArry verbs

Finnish verbs in the conjugation group 3 end in two consonants and a vowel. This group includes verbs which end in STA in the 1st infinitive. The two final letters are dropped to form the stem.

to smell: haista -> hais-
to growl: murista -> muris-

E is placed between the stem and the personal endings. In the 3rd person singular, the E is doubled.

Pronoun Verb English
minä hais-e-n I smell
sinä hais-e-t you smell
hän, se hais-e-e he/she/it smells
me hais-e-mme we smell
te hais-e-tte you (all) smell
he, ne hais-e-vat they smell

Running takes more effort than most physical things; conjugating juosta, “to run”, takes more effort than most STA verbs. A mysterious K haunts your every step.

Pronoun Verb English
minä juoks-e-n I run, I am running
sinä juoks-e-t you run, you are running
hän, se juoks-e-e he/she/it runs, he/she/it is running
me juoks-e-mme we run, we are running
te juoks-e-tte you (all) run, you are running
he, ne juoks-e-vat they run, they are running

In harmony

Vowel harmony applies not just to all case endings but also to verb endings. So far we’ve seen verbs that end in VAT in the 3rd person plural. But what about verbs that don’t have any back vowels?

1) If the stem has one or more back vowels (A, O, U) in it, it gets the ending with a back vowel: VAT.
2) If the stem has one or more front vowels (Y, Ä, Ö) in it, it gets the ending with a front vowel: VÄT.

And this is what looks like in practice:

to try: yrittää -> yrittä + vät

So what happens when there are only neutral vowels in the stem? Well, since E and I are pronounced closer to the teeth than the throat…

3) If the stem has only neutral vowels (E, I) in it, it gets the ending with a front vowel: VÄT.

Which looks like this:

to look for: etsiä -> etsi + vät
to wash: pestä -> pes + e + vät

etsiä is conjugated like tanssia but with some extra dots; pestä is a STÄrry verb similar to haista, a STArry verb.

Just this once

Some Finnish verbs, like potkaista , “to kick”, and puraista, “to bite”, can only be used to express a single occurrence. This means that it’s rare to translate them with the ing form of the English verb.

Kissat puraisevat mummoa.
The cats bite grandma. (Just once. They're a bit naughty but not mean.)

Many sensory verbs are often translated the same way: no ing. haista is “to smell” only in the meaning “to emit a scent/to stink” but not in the meaning “to detect a scent/smell” if there is no object in the sentence.

Koirat haisevat.
The dogs smell/stink.

These, those

To get the plural forms of “this” and “that”, swap the T’s for N’s and you'll get "these" and "those".

Singular Plural
tämä nämä
tuo nuo

nämä kissat ja nuo koirat
these cats and those dogs

Plural who

If you have a question concerning one person, you use the question word kuka. If you want to know about more than one person, the word to use is KETKÄ. The Finnish verb is in the plural to match the question word, although English likes to treat people as a single body.

Kuka haisee?
Who stinks? (one person)

Ketkä haisevat?
Who stinks? (several people)

Vocabulary
kana hen, chicken
lehmä cow
pöllö owl
lintu bird
karhu bear
siili hedgehog
orava squirrel
likainen dirty
painava heavy
ruskea brown
eri different, another, some other
sanoa to say
etsiä to look for, to search
pestä to wash
murista to growl
puraista to bite
potkaista to kick
nousta to rise, to arise
nousta ylös to get up
haista to smell
juosta to run
yrittää to try
nämä these
nuo those
ketkä who (nom. plural; question word)
ylös up
pulassa in trouble
hau hau woof
miau meow
huhuu hoot
kot kot cluck cluck
muu moo
röh oink
titityy tititee, tweet tweet
ihahaa neigh
mur growl

Europe updated 2020-12-23

The INessive

The closest thing Finnish has to the English preposition “in” is the locative case known as the inessive. The most common way to use the inessive is to express stationary existence within something or in some place. You can usually recognize it from the ending SSA. Let’s not forget to keep our vowels harmonious though.

1) If the word has one or more back vowels (A, O, U) in it, it gets the ending with a back vowel: SSA.

Saksa + ssa -> Saksassa In Germany
Viro + ssa -> Virossa In Estonia

2) If the word has one or more front vowels (Y, Ä, Ö) in it, it gets the ending with a front vowel: SSÄ.
3) If the word has only neutral vowels (E, I) in it, it gets the ending with a front vowel: SSÄ.

Berliini + ssä -> Berliinissä In Berlin
Sveitsi + ssä -> Sveitsissä In Switzerland

Words in the inessive are often answers to questions beginning with the word missä, “(in) where/in which”.

– Missä Oslo on? – Norjassa.
– Where is Oslo? – In Norway.

Or maybe Finns just believe that Mississippi doesn’t have enough S’s.

Tuo kaupunki on Mississippissä.
That city is in Mississippi.

Suomi, “Finland”, is a very old word. Old words that end in I go through a stem change when you start adding case endings to them. suomi, the Finnish word for the Finnish language, becomes suomea in the partitive. Suomi, the name of the country, behaves similarly in the inessive. The final I turns into E before the case ending.

He ovat Suomessa.
They are in Finland.

If the noun in the inessive is preceded by a pronoun/determiner or an adjective, those are also in the inessive. The inessive form of tämä, “this”, is tässä.

Helsinki on tässä maassa.
Helsinki is in this country.

My neck of the woods

The verb asua, “to live", is used to indicate residence. If you’re talking about people, any place the size of a continent or smaller is possible with this verb. Once you move to planets and even larger things, you need to use some other verb. You cannot use this verb to talk about any other aspect of living.

– Missä sinä asut? – Minä asun Italiassa.
– Where do you live? – I live in Italy.

There and back again

The verb käydä has many purposes. Its basic function is similar to that of the English verb “to visit”: you go some place, spend some time there, and then return back where you started from. English speakers visit places. Finns, however, visit IN places. This is why you need to use the inessive with the verb käydä.

Me haluamme käydä Suomessa.
We want to visit Finland.

Fun, fun, fun

The Finnish expression for “to have fun” belongs in the same group as the expressions for being cold, warm, or hot. The lla on structure is followed by the adjective hauska in the partitive.

Meillä on hauskaa Tallinnassa.
We are having fun in Tallinn.

The verb viettää means “to spend” but only in the contexts of time, holidays, and celebration. This particular verb likes company and rarely appears alone. The word for “time” is aika and its partitive form aikaa is needed to create the Finnish equivalent of “to spend time”.

Haluan viettää aikaa kotona.
I want to spend time at home.

More or more?

The Finnish language has two words which can both be translated as “more”: lisää and enemmän. So how to tell them apart?

You use lisää, when you want more something you’ve run out of. You used to have some, now it’s all gone and you want more.

– Aika on loppu! – Ei! Haluan lisää aikaa!
– Time is up! – No! I want more time!

Oh dear. Someone didn’t finish their exam on time and is having a hard time accepting that.

enemmän is the comparative form of paljon, “a lot”. In many ways, it’s the opposite of enough. When you choose enemmän it usually means that you want more something you already have or know you will have, because you believe you don’t have or will not have enough of it.

Haluan viettää enemmän aikaa Suomessa.
I want to spend more time in Finland.

Since English does not make this distinction, it's often hard to decide which word to choose. Not coming across as greedy is important to Finns, so choose your words wisely to suit the situation, whatever the English sentence looks like.

Haluan enemmän kahvia.
I want more coffee. (My cup is neither full nor empty. I want more.)

Haluan lisää kahvia.
I want more coffee. (I’m out. I want another full cup.)

Vocabulary
Norja Norway
Tanska Denmark
Ruotsi Sweden
Viro Estonia
Espanja Spain
Saksa Germany
Unkari Hungary
Ranska France
Italia Italy
Sveitsi Switzerland
Puola Poland
Oslo Oslo
Tallinna Tallinn
Berliini Berlin
Pariisi Paris
Lontoo London
Rooma Rome
Praha Prague
paikka place
aika time
asua to live (in some place)
käydä to visit
viettää to spend (time, vacation)
enemmän more (not enough)
nykyään nowadays

Pets and domestic animals 2 updated 2021-01-27

Close your eyes and count to 10

Finnish English
1 yksi one
2 kaksi two
3 kolme three
4 neljä four
5 viisi five
6 kuusi six
7 seitsemän seven
8 kahdeksan eight
9 yhdeksän nine
10 kymmenen ten

seitsemän is an unusual word in the usually so obedient Finnish language, since most people do not pronounce it the way it’s written. seitsämän and seitsömän are acceptable even in formal speech, although the word is still always spelled with E in the middle.

How many does that amount to?

Any number larger than 1 is seen as an amount and is treated as such. The number already tells us how many there are of something, much like a scientific unit like litra or kilo, whereas what follows is an incomplete mass. This is why whatever there is a certain number of is always in the partitive singular. What follows the number 1 is considered complete, because the number and its nominal companions match and form one complete unit. Hence the nominative is used when you refer to a single something.

Hänellä on yksi pieni kala.
S/he has one small fish.

Meillä on kilo ruokaa.
We have a kilogram of food.

Minulla on kaksi mustaa kissaa, koska olen noita.
I have two black cats, because I’m a witch.

If the phrase with a number larger than 1 is in the subject position, the verb is in the 3rd person singular.

Kolme kilttiä koiraa istuu hiljaa.
(The) three well-behaved dogs are sitting quietly.

A number of many

The partitive singular form of moni, “many”, is monta. It behaves like numbers larger than 1 and is followed by everything in the partitive singular. It and its nominal minions usually park themselves in the object position.

Omistan monta söpöä lehmää.
I own many cute cows.

The -lla on structure is usually followed by everything looking like it’s in the nominative singular. monta has road rage when it comes to having this particular parking space, since it rather than its traffic rule obeying nominative form is used with the adessive structure. The minions following are also in the partitive.

Minulla on monta mustaa autoa.
I have many black cars.

If you want to know how many objects there are, the question to ask is montako.

Montako hamsteria sinulla on?
How many hamsters do you have?

kuinka monta and miten monta are also possible.

NENough partitive forms to stem a whole river

Words that end in NEN go through a stem change whenever you start adding things to them. You drop NEN and replace it with S.

vihainen -> vihais-
sininen -> sinis-
pörröinen -> pörröis-

The partitive singular ending for words that end in most vowels is either -A or -Ä, depending on the vowel harmony. So what happens when you want to add an ending after a consonant like S? You have to stem a river of T, that’s what. The most common partitive ending to follow a consonant is -TA/TÄ.

vihais + ta -> vihaista
sinis + tä -> sinistä
pörröis + tä -> pörröistä

Don’t forget the vowel harmony!

Viisi vihaista lintua haluaa sinistä jäätelöä.
(The) five angry birds want blue ice cream.

Minulla on kuusi pörröistä koiraa.
I have six fluffy dogs.

It has…

The adessive form of se, “it”, is, sillä.

Onko sillä tarpeeksi ruokaa?
Does it have enough food?

Who-whoo's!

If you want to know who has something, you need the question word kenellä, the adessive form kuka. Word order in the question affects the article in the English translation.

Kenellä on pupu?
Who has a bunny?

Kenellä pupu on?
Who has the bunny?

The adessive form of the relative conjunction joka, “who/which”, is jolla. Both can be used to refer to anything concrete and countable and feel very lonely and vulnerable without commas.

Mies, jolla on söpö koira, on onnellinen.
The man, who has a cute dog, is happy.

Minulla on kissa, jolla on kaksi pentua.
I have a cat which has two kittens.

Vocabulary
eläin animal
pentu puppy, kitten, cub
hamsteri hamster
hevonen horse
sika pig
kala fish
villi wild
nätti pretty (adjective)
täydellinen perfect
ystävällinen friendly
vihainen angry
pörröinen fluffy
omistaa to own, to have property
yksi one
kaksi two
kolme three
neljä four
viisi five
kuusi six
seitsemän seven
kahdeksan eight
yhdeksän nine
kymmenen ten
sillä it (has)
kenellä who (has) (question)
jolla who/which (has) (relative)
monta many (partitive)
montako how many (partitive)
ainakin at least

World updated 2021-02-02

Vikings and wizards

Skandinavia is either a geographical area including Norway, Sweden, and the most northern parts of Finnish Lapland or a cultural area including Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. The Norse were farmers, traders, and Vikings, whereas the Finns and the Sámi were mainly hunters, herders, and witches. While our northern cultures have influenced one another over the years, it’s bad manners to refer to the Finns and the Sámi as Scandinavians or to say that Finland is in Scandinavia. There are still many aspects in Finnish culture that most Scandinavians find exotic. We are rather proud of being a bit different, regardless of what mother tongue we happen to have.

The not knot

Finnish verbs are conjugated in several different ways, depending on the verb type, but the endings stay the same.

Pronoun Verb ending
minä -n
sinä -t
hän -VV (long vowel)
me -mme
te -tte
he -vVt (v + vowel + t)

The Finnish negation verb is built around the word ei. In the 3rd person forms, you can see the letter couple together but in the other forms I disappears.

Pronoun Verb English
minä e-n I don’t, I am not, I won’t, I haven’t,...
sinä e-t you don’t, you’re not, you won’t,...
hän ei she/he/it doesn’t,...
me e-mme we don’t,...
te e-tte you don’t,...
he ei-vät they don’t,...

The translations of this structure fashion themselves on the auxiliary verb used in the English sentence. The most popular looks are forms of “to be” and “to have”. You can also translate the structure as a negation of an existential sentence verb, “to be”. The only verb type which doesn’t accessorize with the ei verb is the imperative. Commands prefer another style.

An auxiliary verb must be followed by the actual verb of the sentence. The main verb usually looks identical to the verb stem to which you would normally add a personal ending. The fabulous ei verb already includes all the endings you could possibly need for your look: less is more. The main verb ending in a vowel is a must though, so E is added at the end of group 3 verbs which have a stem ending in a consonant.

asua -> asu
haluta -> halua
pestä -> pese
juosta -> juokse
olla -> ole

Let’s see what the ensemble looks like!

Minä en asu Virossa.
I don’t live in Estonia.

Sinä et puhu suomea.
You don’t speak (any) Finnish.

Me emme juokse.
We don’t run.

He eivät ole kotona.
They’re not home.

If a third verb is needed, the second verb rather than the negative verb determines its form.

Osaamme puhua hindiä.
We can speak Hindu.

Emme osaa puhua hindiä.
We can’t speak (any) Hindu.

Since there aren’t any back vowels in the ei verbs, the question particle of is the one with some trendy umlaut dots.

Ettekö te asu Kanadassa?
Do you not live in Canada?

Never anymore

enää means “anymore” or “no longer” when it appears in a question or a negative sentence. Its place is either before or after the final verb in a verb phrase, the second option being more common. Having a visible subject makes the first option more likely though.

En halua puhua enää. / En halua enää puhua.
I don’t want to talk anymore.

Etkö sinä halua enää puhua? / Etkö sinä halua puhua enää? Don’t you want to talk anymore?

Note that the position of the word can change the emphasis in the sentence in a way that you can see in the translation. The earlier it appears, the more emphasized it is. Did you just come home after your daily jog, or have you decided to stop jogging completely?

En juokse enää.
I’m no longer running/I don’t run anymore.

En enää juokse.
I don’t run anymore.

koskaan means “ever” or “never” in a question or a negative sentence. Its place is usually after the whole verb phrase. Placing it in the middle makes you sound exasperated enough for you to add an exclamation mark at the end.

Hän ei puhu koskaan.
S/he never speaks.

Hän ei koskaan puhu!
S/he never speaks!

But yes!

When two positive things or sentences are separated by the conjunction “but”, mutta keeps the balance.

pieni mutta kaunis kieli
a small but beautiful language

If the first half of a sentence is negative but the second is positive and both halves have the same subject, vaan is the hero who turns bad things into something good.

Emme ole kotona vaan Puolassa.
We are not home but in Poland.

mutta is also capable of heroics when it comes to whole sentences with two different subjects.

En halua itkeä, mutta minulla on koti-ikävä.
I don’t want to cry but I’m home sick.

Vocabulary
hindi Hindi (language)
venäjä Russian (language)
Kanada Canada
Japani Japan
Argentiina Argentina
Skandinavia Skandinavia
australialainen Australian
koti-ikävä home sickness
eksyä to get lost
ei no (auxiliary verb)
enää no longer, anymore
koskaan never, ever
vaan but
vaikka although

Wild updated 2021-01-30

Forces of nature

The reindeer, poro, is a half-domesticated deer that lives in Lapland, renowned for their single-minded attitude. If they decide to do reindeer things, which usually consists of standing in the middle of the road and being a reindeer and absolutely nothing else, there's no stopping them. You can shout at them and honk your car horn as many times as you want and they still won’t acknowledge your existence. After all, reindeering is very important business and should not be interrupted.

Four large predators live in the Finnish wild. The lynx, ilves, is a large cat; the wolf, susi, is a large canine animal; the wolverine, ahma, is a large mustelid (although apparently there’s a human wolverine too, living somewhere in Canada or Australia, I can’t remember which). The fourth predator is the bear, karhu, which was once so feared, respected, and loved that the Finnish language has more than 100 names for bear. More than half a dozen of these words are still in everyday use.

Live and let live

The Finnish language has two verbs meaning “to live”. asua means “to have a home or a place of residence”. ELÄÄ means “to be alive”. The latter is usually used with animals, although if a creature favors a hole in a tree or some other place as its sleeping place, asua is also possible when talking about that place.

Kengurut elävät Australiassa.
Kangaroos live in Australia.

Pieni orava asuu/elää tuossa puussa.
The/A small squirrel lives in that tree.

Some steLLAr verbs you have there

The steLLAR verbs are verbs that end in LLA or LLÄ in the 1st infinitive. They belong in group 3 like STArry verbs, meaning that they end in two consonants and one vowel. The final two letters are dropped to form the stem.

kuulla -> kuul-
kävellä -> kävel-

E is placed between the stem and the personal endings. The endings are the same as they always are regardless of the verb group. In the 3rd person singular, the E is doubled.

Pronoun Verb English
minä kuul-e-n I hear
sinä kuul-e-t you hear
hän kuul-e-e s/he hears
me kuul-e-mme we hear
te kuul-e-tte you hear
he kuul-e-vat they hear

The sturdy ship that is olla, “to be”, is also for the most part steLLAr. Only the 3rd person forms on and ovat break the rules of intersteLLAr travel.

Olen Otso.
I am Otso.

Hymyilemme ja kävelemme metsässä.
We’re smiling and walking in the forest.

The whole KOKOnut

koko, “the whole”, is an adjective which, much like sama, “the same”, is almost always translated with a definite article before it. It only appears in noun phrases and never as a predicative.

Koko metsä on hiljaa.
The whole forest is quiet.

How to fit into a berry?

An old Finnish joke goes: “Two grandmas are picking berries, but there’s room for only one”. Makes nooo sense. OR DOES IT? The inessive case is used to express many things which in English would be expressed by using verbs.

Phrase Literally English
piilossa in the hiding place hiding
jäässä in the ice frozen
marjassa in the berry picking berries
kalassa in the fish fishing

Kaksi mummoa on marjassa.
Two grandmas are picking berries.

Järvi on jäässä, mutta vaari on kalassa.
The lake is frozen but grandpa is fishing.

Pöllö on piilossa puussa.
The owl is hiding in a tree.

While the inessive is most often translated with the preposition “in”, it’s worth remembering that sometimes some other preposition works much better.

He istuvat maassa.
They are sitting on the ground.

In the middle of nowhere

keskellä, “in the middle of”, works like lähellä, “close to”. Anything you happen to be in the middle of is in the partitive.

Otso seisoo keskellä puroa.
Otso is standing in the middle of the/a creek.

Vocabulary
Australia Australia
Egypti Egypt
koala koala
kenguru kangaroo
kameli camel
krokotiili crocodile
ahma wolwerine
ilves lynx
poro reindeer
puu tree
metsä forest
kasvi plant
marja berry
kukka flower
maa soil, ground
jää ice
puro creek, brook, stream
järvi lake
kivi stone, rock
piilo hiding place
harmaa grey
myrkyllinen poisonous, venomous
koko the whole
elää to live, to be alive
kävellä to walk
hymyillä to smile
haistella to sniff, to smell at
kuulla to hear
yleensä usually
pois away
keskellä in the middle of

Love updated 2021-02-05

If you say it you better mean it

Finns are very serious when it comes to love. If you tell someone you love them, you better really love them. rakastaa is not a verb to be used lightly as it signifies complete dedication. If you tell someone you love music, that means that you not only listen to music everyday but that music is the very reason you exist, the one thing that you could not live without. If you go about saying things like “I love coffee” and cannot name and recognise different types of coffee beans, or “I love that shirt” and you don’t wear it every day, people will think you’re superficial and, quite frankly, a bit of an idiot.

All the love in the world

The verb rakastaa, “to love”, much like puhua, “to speak”, always takes a partitive object. Love is all encompassing but since you can never know someone completely, you can never love someone completely. Every time you learn something new about someone you love, you love them more and better. Healthy love focuses on the complexity of the person who’s loved, not on the obsessive and absolute emotions of the person who loves. True love is loving the truth.

Rakastan Väinöä.
I love Väinö.

The verb ihailla, “to admire” also takes a partitive object. We admire qualities, not the person or the thing with those qualities.

Ihailemme komeaa laulajaa.
We admire the handsome singer.

The verb halata, “to hug”, works exclusively with the partitive. You’re not a lump of dough that can cover a whole person to show affection; you’re a person with perfectly regular human arms.

Mummo halaa Mattia.
Grandma is hugging Matti.

The fourth newcomer to this parti(tive) is ajatella, “to think of/about”. You’re not a deity who can comprehend the full meaning of something or someone. You can only think of what you know and understand.

Hän ajattelee Liisaa.
S/he is thinking of Liisa.

Personal pronouns go through a stem change when you move away from the nominative singular to other cases. Apart from the genitive and the accusative, this is what the stems look like.

Nominative Stem
minä minu-
sinä sinu-
hän hän(e)-
me mei-
te tei-
he hei-

These stems are used in both the adessive and the partitive. In the partitive, the endings vary depending on whether the stem ends in a single vowel (the ending A/Ä) or two vowels (the ending TA/TÄ). The stem for hän ends in the consonant N in the partitive and is followed by TÄ. Vowel harmony is bossing umlaut dots around as usual.

Nominative Adessive Partitive
minä minulla minua
sinä sinulla sinua
hän hänellä häntä
me meillä meitä
te teillä teitä
he heillä heitä

Kulta, minä rakastan sinua.
Darling, I love you.

Ajattelemme häntä usein.
We think of him/her often.

What a whoot!

The question word kuka has more looks than a British glam rocker. Here are the ones we’ve encountered so far.

Case Who English
Nominative singular kuka who
Nominative plural ketkä who
Adessive singular kenellä on/by/with whom
Partitive singular ketä whom

ketä gets to strut their stuff on stage whenever your question is about finding an object.

Ketä sinä ajattelet?
Who(m) are you thinking of?

I do care one JOTA about it

The relative conjunction jota is the partitive form of joka, “who/which”. It’s used with anything concrete, whether that’s people, pets, or kitchen furniture. Its purpose is to turn a subject momentarily into an object and it can always be translated with “whom”. Commas! Commas everywhere!

Mies, jota rakastan, asuu Suomessa.
The man who(m) I love lives in Finland.

OK, who invited the consonants?

Consonants want to parti(tive) too! If a nominal ends in a vowel followed by N, the partitive ending is TA/TÄ. A nominal ending in S gets the same treatment. If you parti(tive) hard, you need more treatment.

Etsin lämmintä sydäntä.
I’m looking for a warm heart.

Ihailemme tätä viisasta miestä.
We admire this wise man.

Remember that nominals ending in NEN are diagnosed with an S stem. They’re regular parti(tive) animals!

Mummo halaa onnellista naista.
Grandma is hugging the happy woman.

Miss you

Finns usually have a pining, ikävä, for someone or something, rather than simply miss them. The pined after object, whether it’s your mother, your country or an actual pine, is in the partitive.

Minulla on ikävä sinua.
I miss you.

Everyone’s a gangsta

The word kaikki whenever it refers to people and means “everyone/everybody” is followed by a verb in the plural.

Kaikki rakastavat Raimoa.
Everybody loves Raimo.

Vocabulary
kulta darling
tyttöystävä girlfriend
poikaystävä boyfriend
sulhanen groom
morsian bride
vaimo wife
mies husband
hymy smile
sydän heart
sisu sisu, true grit
rakastaa to love
halata to hug
ihailla to admire
ajatella to think
olla ikävä to miss
kaikki everyone
ketä whom (partitive)

Yummy! updated 2021-02-10

Have your cake and eat it too

The general word for anything baked (that's not bread) is leivos, “pastry”. The word kakku can refer to anything of good size, most often to a layered cake, täytekakku. A Finnish täytekakku is usually filled with whipped cream and berries. It marks every celebration in your life worth noting, starting from your birth and ending with your funeral.

Also popular in cakes is kinuski, “kinusk” or “Russian candy”, which consists of heated cream and sugar, and is similar to confiture de lait. It’s also used in dessert sauces and to flavor ice cream.

A particularly popular form of pulla is korvapuusti, literally “a box on the ear”, which is a very large cinnamon roll shaped like, well, an ear. The Danish pastry is known as viineri in Finland, named after the city of Vienna. munkki is a jelly doughnut, although a ring-shaped, jellyless doughnut can be called that too if there is no frosting on it.

The word piirakka means “pie”, or sometimes “pasty”, and it can be used to refer to pastries of all sizes both sweet and savory as long as it has a dough crust and some filling. You can usually already see at least some of the filling before cutting into one. The best known Finnish baked treat, the small and humble karjalanpiirakka, “Karelian pasty”, would not be classified as a pie in the English speaking world despite having the word piirakka in its name. Its rye crust is usually filled with rice porridge or smashed potatoes.

Another savory Finnish delicacy is lörtsy. It’s a deep-fried meat pocket, although in some places a sweet jam-filled variant can be found too. Applesauce is a popular filling in the sweet version.

In the candy department, you can find all sorts of lakritsi, “licorice”. It’s a sweet confection flavored and colored black by roots of a plant of the same name. salmiakki, on the other hand, is sour and salty. It gets its taste from ammonium chloride. You can find it in ice cream, chocolate, chewing gum, liquor and pretty much anything you can eat or drink. If you can put salmiakki into something, someone in Finland is already selling it.

kiisseli, “kissel”, is a dessert popular in northern and eastern Europe. It’s made of fruit or berries and their juice thickened with potato starch. Prune kissel is a popular dessert during Christmas. I think you can guess why. rahka, “quark”, is a dessert made of curdled sour milk of the same name mixed with whipped cream and berries or fruit. It’s known as white fluff in some parts of the States. Go to any university cafeteria in Finland every day for a week, and the chances are the lunch dessert option is either a kissel or a quark every single day.

Finns drink sima, “mead”, in the spring, especially around the time of Saint Walburgis Night. It’s a very sweet drink with no or very little alcohol, made of either syrup or honey. It’s used to wash down munkki.

Verb type propaganDA!

Of all the verb types the group 2 is the best group. You get to eat and drink and get all sorts of nice things. Group 2 verbs are the best! This is propaganDA. Group 2 verbs end in DA/DÄ. The stem of propaganDA verbs is formed by dropping the two final letters.

syödä -> syö-
juoda -> juo-
saada -> saa-

The endings are the same as always. Since the stem already ends in two vowels in the 3rd person singular, nothing is added to it.

Pronoun Verb English
minä syö-n I’m eating, I eat
sinä syö-t you’re eating, you eat
hän syö s/he is eating,...
me syö-mme we’re eating
te syö-tte you (all) are eating
he syö-vät they’re eating

Juon kahvia ja syön pullaa.
I’m drinking coffee and eating pulla.

Myyn simaa.
I’m selling mead.

saada means “to get”. The most natural English translation often includes the verb “can”.

Saanko lisää kiisseliä?
Can I get (some) more kissel?

How much?

When you need to ask the price for something, you add the question particle KO to the word paljon, “a lot”/”much”.

Paljonko tämä rahka maksaa?
How much does this quark cost?

No cream and sugar, please

If you prefer your coffee black, the essive form of the word musta is needed. The essive singular ends in NA/NÄ.

Kuppi kahvia, mustana, kiitos.
A cup of coffee, black, please.

Vocabulary
leivos pastry
piirakka pie, pasty
korvapuusti cinnamon roll
täytekakku layered cake
viineri Danish pastry
munkki jelly doughnut
lörtsy lörtsy
karjalanpiirakka Karelian pasty
rahka quark
kiisseli kissel
kinuski kinusk
karkki candy
suklaa chocolate
lakritsi licorice
salmiakki salmiakki
hillo jam
sima sima, mead
voi butter
banaani banana
herkku delicacy, treat
raha money
kahvila café
vahva strong
herkullinen delicious
suolainen salty, savory
maksaa to cost
ostaa to buy
maistaa to taste, to try (a dish)
sulaa to melt
syödä to eat
juoda to drink
myydä to sell
saada to get
paljonko how much
voi voi uh-oh, oh dear

O'Clock updated 2021-02-13

Let there be light

Whether it’s morning or daytime, early or late, is always subjective. In Finland, figuring this out is even more difficult than in most other places, since sunlight is such a fickle thing over here. In midwinter the sun goes for a holiday to some warmer place; in midsummer it works overtime, shining through both day and night. This is why knowing what time it is is very important when you are in Finland. It’s the quickest way of knowing for certain what time of the day it is, unless you like calculating things based on sun and star positions of course.

There is another reason for knowing the time in Finland: Finns are very punctual. If your train is scheduled to leave at 19:17, it’s long departed if you reach the platform a minute later. If you show up to a meeting 10 minutes late, you will find 10 minutes worth of things to catch up with and no one will stop to tell you what has been talked about so far. At universities lectures begin at 15 minutes after the hour. Exchange students when they first arrive at a Finnish university often use this as an example of Finns not being as punctual as we claim to be. After a day of studying, they realize that the lectures begin exactly a quarter after.

No formal subjects in a republic

The UK is a monarchy; Finland is a republic. The UK has subjects; Finland has citizens. English has formal subjects; Finnish has no formal subjects. If a short active sentence has no subject, you start it with the verb.

On myöhä.
It’s late.

On ilta.
It is evening.

On myöhä yö.
It is late at night.

Add a subject to a sentence like this and the whole meaning changes. Note the articles in the English translations.

On aamu.
It’s morning.

Se on aamu.
It’s a morning.

The first sentence is a general observation about the time of the day. There’s nothing formal about the latter Finnish sentence; se refers directly to aamu. The sentence could be a parent’s answer to a child’s question about what the early hours after a night are called.

Emperor Clock

There’s only one sentence type in Finnish which could be considered to have a stand-in subject and even that is a stretch. So who is the one monarchist wanna-be in Finnish grammar? The answer is kello, “clock”/”watch”. This word is used to ask the time. The actual question word is paljonko.

Paljonko kello on?
What time is it?

In the answer kello is either repeated or replaced by se. If no one asked for the time but you feel the need to tell it anyway, the word kello needs to be included.

– Paljonko kello on? – Kello/Se on kolme.
– What time is it? - It’s three o’clock.

Olen väsynyt, koska kello on jo kaksitoista.
I’m tired because it’s already twelve o’clock.

English is always late when halves of an hour come into the picture; the ever punctual Finnish is always early. You wouldn’t want to run late, now would you? That’s a sin more deadly than wearing a bathing suit to the sauna! Instead of the English “half past”, Finnish logic works more in the lines of “half to”. The word for “half” is puoli.

Kello on puoli viisi.
It is half past four.

Busy bee

The expression for being busy or in a hurry, falls into the same group as being hungry or thirsty. You need the lla on structure to be able to make it to your train on time.

Onko sinulla kiire?
Are you busy/in a hurry?

If you need a moment before getting to something else, hetki, “moment”, is a good way to explain your inability to focus on what someone is saying or a short silence on the phone. If you want to emphasize something taking only a very short while, you can attach pieni to your hetki.

Pieni hetki! Minulla on kiire.
Just a moment! I’m busy.

Vocabulary
kello clock, watch, time (when telling the time)
aamu morning
päivä day
ilta evening
night
iltapäivä afternoon
kalenteri calendar
minuutti minute
sekunti second (time)
hetki moment (time)
kiire business, hurry
myöhä late
väsynyt tired
seisoa to have stopped (clock, watch)
yksitoista eleven
kaksitoista twelve
puoli half
joka every (determiner)
paljonko what (time)
tasan even, exactly (time)
melkein almost

Outdoors 1 updated 2021-02-16

No formalities, just order

The heaviest words tend to go first in Finnish sentences. If a noun begins a sentence, the translation is most likely graced with a definite article.

Puu on tuolla.
The tree is over there.

If you put the place first, the tree becomes not as well known as its place. It’s then translated with an indefinite article attached to it. You also need a formal subject for the English sentence. Usually, this stand-in subject is “there”. The actual place goes at the end, since Finnish doesn’t use formal subjects.

Tuolla on puu.
There is a tree over there.

Sentences like this are most common with the verb olla but as long as there is a place tied to the subject, most verbs can be used in this sentence type. Here it’s “to grow” that’s hugging a tree.

Täällä kasvaa puu.
There is a tree growing over here.

Let’s let a verb hug a dog. Everyone likes hugging dogs.

Lähellä istuu koira.
There is a dog sitting nearby.

In questions, the word order is also changed and the article in the English translation changes. Let’s verb hug a moose. That’s pretty much the only way you can hug one.

Elääkö hirvi lähellä?
Does the moose live nearby?

Elääkö lähellä hirvi?
Is there a moose living nearby?

Sometimes “there” is not the ideal translation but “it” or even “here” works better depending on the meaning. This happens particularly often when tässä is the first word to appear in the sentence.

Tässä on yksi marja.
There is one berry right here.
(pointing out the location of one berry)

Tässä on yksi marja.
It/This/This one has one berry.
(a bush or a dish or something else not a human nor an animal has one berry)

Tässä on yksi marja.
Here is one berry.
(someone is giving you one berry)

Being able to have something is a quality reserved for people and animals in Finnish. You have to be able to know you have something to be able to have it. If a plant has a leaf, tässä is used. The plant doesn’t have the leaf. The leaf exists in the plant. If a bunny or a child has a leaf, sillä is used. They can have a leaf because they know they can.

Puussa on iso punainen lehti.
There is a big red leaf in the tree.
(trees are neither humans nor animals)

Sillä on pieni lehti.
It has a small leaf.
(an animal has a leaf)

Hänellä on vihreä lehti.
S/he has a green leaf.
(a person has a leaf)

A bit like that

The words “as” or “like” used in English to make sometimes poetic and usually not so poetic similes resemble the Finnish kuin in the way they work.

Kuu on kuin pyöreä juusto.
The moon is like a round cheese.

Kuu on punainen kuin veri.
The moon is (as) red as blood.

A few moos

The word for “a few” is muutama. It’s considered to be so little that whatever there is a few of and the agreeing verb are in the singular.

Tuolla seisoo muutama lehmä.
There are a few cows standing over there.

This is abNORmal

The Finnish word for “nor” is formed by adding the ending KÄ in the negative verbs.

Pronoun Verb Nor
minä en enkä
sinä et etkä
hän ei eikä
me emme emmekä
te ette ettekä
he eivät eivätkä

The negative verb is used twice: first like in any negative sentence and then abNORmally with KÄ.

Tämä ei ole kissa eikä ilves.
This is neither a cat nor a lynx.

Emme ole saunassa emmekä metsässä.
We are neither in the sauna nor in the forest.

Vocabulary
sieni mushroom, fungus
kuusi spruce
helmi pearl
lehti leaf
susi wolf
hirvi moose
meri sea
joki river
lumi snow
taivas sky
suo bog
tammi oak
kuu moon
veri blood
vadelma raspberry
pilvi cloud
tähti star
onni happiness
rauha peace
syvä deep
vaarallinen dangerous
turvallinen safe
tyyni calm, placid
kirkas bright
sinivalkoinen blue and white
märkä wet
korkea tall (not humans)
muutama a few
-kä nor
kuin as-as, like
rauhassa some peace and quiet, in peace

Phrases 2 updated 2021-02-21

I expect your forenoon shall be fine

All longer greetings are partitive objects. Finns wish someone a good morning or an evening, but we’re lazy about it and use only the object. We are a bit quaint when it comes to morning greetings. Instead of aamu, the most common word for “morning”, we opt for the old-fashioned huomen, “forenoon”.

Hyvää huomenta!
Good morning!

Hyvää huomenta is used before noon and Hyvää iltaa after 6pm. While using the word iltapäivä, “afternoon”, in a greeting is possible, usually people wish each other a good day rather than an afternoon between noon and 6pm.

Hyvää päivää!
Good day!

“Good night” is mainly about retiring to bed at the end of the day.

Hyvää yötä!
Good night!

In service situations, Finns wish for “a good continuation of the day” once they have bought their strawberries or sold their phones.

Hyvää päivänjatkoa!
Have a nice day!

Aussi rules

As if our greetings weren't short enough already, Finns are koalas rather than kangaroos when it comes to adjectives in them. We don’t bounce around wasting energy but prefer to stick to one tree for as long as we can. So G’day!

Huomenta/Päivää/Iltaa!
Morning/Day/Evening!

If you do choose the kanga style and include the hyvää in your greeting, the answer will probably exclude it in koala style.

– Hyvää iltaa. – Iltaa.
–Good evening. – Evening.

yötä and päivänjatkoa are more likely to be bouncy roos and keep the adjective.

What’s up (or down)?

Asking the question “How are you?” is easy; answering it is less simple. First, an actual answer explaining how you are is expected. Second, Finns are an honest but shy lot. We like to keep our personal space and try to respect that of others if we don’t know the person well. When someone asks us how we are, the answer needs to be honest, modest, and nonintrusive. Answering “Fine, thank you” would be bragging.

The most common way to ask “How are you?” is Mitä kuuluu?, which literally means “What is heard?”. The most common answer is “nothing”, or in more idiomatic English “nothing special”.

– Mitä kuuluu? – No ei (tässä) mitään.
– What’s up? – Well nothing special.

What if things really are so well that answering “nothing” would be a downright lie but you don’t want to sound like you’re boasting? The word ihan, “pretty”, is appropriately modest for such purposes. Unlike the optimistic melko, which would be translated with the same word, ihan is pessimistic. If melko is adjective +1, then ihan is adjective -1.

–Mitä kuuluu? – Ihan hyvää, kiitos.
– How are you? – Pretty well, thanks.

If you leave ihan out, you better be absolutely ecstatic.

kai means “maybe” but in practice it’s translated as “I guess” in phrases like these. tässä is a filler word that makes the answer sound more jovial.

– No, mitä kuuluu? – Ei kai tässä mitään.
– Well, what’s up? – Not much, I guess.

Right and wrong

Things can be right or wrong. Things are done in the right or wrong way. People with opinions are either IN the right or IN the wrong. That “in” means that the inessive with its SSA ending is the one to judge your opinion.

Tuo on väärä talo.
That’s the wrong house..

Tämä sana on väärin.
This word is wrong.

Olet oikeassa.
You’re right.

Running late

The time of the day can be myöhä, “late”, but if the bus is running late, you think you’re not going to make it to your lecture on time, or you’re apologizing because you showed up on that lecture late, you are IN the late, myöhässä.

Anteeksi, että olen myöhässä.
I’m sorry I’m late.

Just in case you meet a bear

If your friend wants to slide down the most difficult piste on the slopes despite being an average skier, you can tell them to be careful by using the command form of the verb olla and the adjective varovainen, “careful”.

Ole varovainen!
Be careful!

If you’re extremely worried about whatever reckless thing your friend is about to do, you can use the expression ole kiltti to emphasize your concern.

Ole kiltti ja ole varovainen.
Please be careful.

If your friend is crossing a road and you see a car not slowing down, you can warn your friend about the immediate danger by shouting Varo!.

Varo! Auto!
Watch out! Car!

If the car you warned your friend about hits you, or you drop into 20 feet deep well (that would be 6.1 meters in human measurements), or you face some other horrid ordeal like running out of coffee, you shout apua, “help”.

Apua! Kahvi on loppu!
Help! We’re out of coffee!

Vocabulary
huomen forenoon
päivänjatko continuation of a day
varovainen careful
varma sure, certain
lähin closest
varoa to watch out
kuulua to be heard
nähdä to see
missä where (relative)
ei-mitään nothing
pian soon
ihan pretty, rather
kai maybe, I guess
myöhemmin later
apua help

Tech updated 2021-02-24

Things counted and uncounted for

Think about how the following sentences are different in terms of what their function in a conversation is? What are you trying to say with these sentences?

I have a phone.
I have a Finnish phone.
Why do you have a phone?
Do you have a phone?
Do you have a Finnish phone?
I don’t have a phone.
Why don’t you have a phone?
Why don’t you have a Finnish phone?

The goal these sentences have is important, because that goal determines whether "phone" in the partitive or looks like the nominative in the Finnish translations of these sentences.

In the first two sentences “phone” resembles the nominative. It’s a countable noun that is minulla, “on me”. You could add the word yksi, “one”, in the sentence without changing the grammar. It would change the meaning of the sentence though, from there being a phone which happens to be Finnish to emphasizing there being one Finnish phone among many phones.

Minulla on (suomalainen) puhelin.
I have a (Finnish) phone.

The question beginning “why” also has “phone” that looks like the nominative for the same reason: it’s a countable noun and there’s clearly only one of them.

Miksi sinulla on puhelin?
Why do you have a phone?

When you ask whether someone has a phone, it’s important to make a distinction between whether you’re asking if someone has a phone available to use right now, or whether you want to know if someone owns a phone at all. In the first case, you’re clearly talking about ONE specific phone so the word looks like the nominative; in the latter case, you’re talking about ANY phone someone might have so the partitive is used.

Onko sinulla puhelin?
Do you have a phone (with you)?

Onko sinulla puhelinta?
Do you have a phone (at all)?

In negative sentences, “phone” is in the partitive. In Finnish, you always ask whether someone doesn’t have any, never whether someone doesn’t have one.

Minulla ei ole puhelinta.
I don’t have a phone.

Miksi sinulla ei ole (suomalaista) puhelinta?
Why don’t you have a (Finnish) phone?

This also applies to objects in all sentences. In a negative sentence, the object is always in the partitive.

En halua tuota kameraa.
I don’t want that camera.

Emme osaa käyttää tätä sovellusta.
We don’t know how to use this app.

Wörk wörk wörk

pätkiä, literally “to cut a long thing into small pieces”, is a verb used with failing connections, whether you’re talking about a video, a film, your net connection, or a phone call. Haloo? is used as “hello” when you have trouble hearing someone calling you, although some people also use it to answer their phone. ääni means “voice”.

Haloo? Ääni pätkii taas.
Hello? You’re breaking up again.

Video pätkii.
The video is buffering.

Netti pätkii.
The/My net is cutting in and out again.

“plugged in” is seinässä, literally, “in the wall”, in Finnish.

Onko se edes seinässä?
Is it even plugged in?

Mayday!

voida means “may” or “can”. It’s often used to ask for permission to do something. It should be kept separate from osata, “can”, which is about knowing how to do something.

Voinko käyttää puhelinta?
May/Can I use the phone?

Osaatko käyttää puhelinta?
Can you/Do you know how to use the phone?

Vocabulary
seinä wall
laturi charger
tabletti tablet
läppäri laptop
kamera camera
akku battery
puhelin phone
mikrofoni microphone
pistoke power plug
tulostin printer
sovellus app
netti net (IT)
meemi meme (IT)
video video
peli game
ääni voice, sound
prinsessa princess
hidas slow
nopea quick, fast
suosittu popular
toimia to work
pätkiä to cut in and out
lainata to borrow, to loan
pelata to play (a game)
käyttää to use
pitää needs to be
voida may, can, to be able to
päällä on
edes even
seinässä plugged in

Restaurant updated 2021-03-16

Time to have something to eat

Finns eat their two larger meals of the day relatively early in comparison to most other Europeans. lounas, “lunch”, is usually eaten at noon or earlier. päivällinen, “dinner”, happens around 5pm, or even at 4pm if there are small children in the family. We have been conditioned by our free school lunches, practical workplace cafeterias, and steady working hours into eating our meals at those hours. When the clock hands reach the right number, involuntary drooling and tummy grumbling begins.

terassi is the Finnish word for an outdoors eating or drinking area, whether it’s for the customers of a café, a restaurant, or an ice cream kiosk. It’s also the name for an outdoors biergarten. After the winter, when the first terassi appears on a sidewalk or a marketplace, it’s officially the first day of the summer, or at least terassikausi, “terrace season”. Even if it’s completely covered in snow the following day.

The conditional kids need their daddy

The Finnish word for “daddy” is ISI; -ISI- is the marker for the conditional. Well-behaved, polite children rely on their daddy when they go to a restaurant or some place where being polite is valued. The father of six has a lot to do.

The stem for group 2 verbs, the ones that end in -DA, is formed by dropping the three final letters of the 1st infinitive.

saada -> sa-
voida -> vo-

Daddy helps his kids to connect with their personal stuff, which comes at the end. The third kid feels that personality is for sissies and has no personal ending.

Pronoun Conditional
minä sa-isi-n
sinä sa-isi-t
hän sa-isi
me sa-isi-mme
te sa-isi-tte
he sa-isi-vat

In English, these verbs are usually translated with the "would" + infinitive structure. But since Finnish does not have a separate word for “could”, some verbs, verbs like saada and voida are often translated with "could" instead. In fact in service situations those are the most common translations.

Saisimmeko lisää leipää, kiitos?
Could we get some more bread, please?

Voisitteko suositella viiniä?
Could you recommend a wine?

In some fixed phrases “can” is the best translation for the conditional form of saada.

Päivää. Mitä saisi olla?
Good day. What can I get you?

Another phrase found in English language is the verb structure “would like to”. In Finnish, similar situations are handled with the conditional forms of haluta to want. This family belongs in the 4th verb group and its conditional stem is formed by dropping out T. Finns prefer coffee anyway.

haluta -> halua-

Once again, daddy keeps his family together. The third kid is a bit of a rebel and has no personal ending.

Pronoun Conditional
minä halua-isi-n
sinä halua-isi-t
hän halua-isi
me halua-isi-mme
te halua-isi-tte
he halua-isi-vat

Haluaisitteko vielä jotain?
Would you like to have something else?

Together as many

The communal plural is used to refer to companies, congregations, knitting associations, and other communities, including restaurants. It also exists in English, but it’s worth noting that while it’s hard to spot in the second person plural in English, in Finnish you can recognise it by the verb form.

Me olemme kiinni.
We are closed.

Onko teillä sushia?
Do you have sushi?

Heillä on uusi kokki.
They have a new cook.

More plural stuff

The polite phrase ole hyvä is used to address only one person. If you’re talking to a group of people, you should use olkaa hyvä.

Ruokalistat, olkaa hyvä.
Here you are, your menus.

Think before you choose your "think"

ajatella is about involuntary thinking, the type that happens automatically. If you need to consider something on purpose, the verb is miettiä.

Haluaisimme vielä miettiä vähän aikaa.
We would like to think for a while longer.

Vocabulary
ravintola restaurant
terassi terrace
keittiö kitchen
tarjoilija waiter
kokki cook
ruokalista menu
lounas lunch
päivällinen dinner
lasku check, bill
virhe mistake, error
annos portion, dish
lusikka spoon
riisi rice
viini wine
pasta pasta
pitsa pizza
sushi sushi
keitto soup
appelsiini orange (fruit)
olut beer
vessa restroom, toilet
kallis expensive
paikallinen local
saada to get
miettiä to think (over), to consider
suositella to recommend
yhtään any (at all)
jossa in which

City updated 2021-03-29

Whenever there’s trouble it’s always you three

Consonant gradation is a phenomenon related to plosives, the sounds represented in the Finnish alphabet by the letters K, P, and T. Whenever they appear near the end of the word, the word goes through stem changes before getting attached to case endings. Of the most common cases, only the partitive and the essive don’t have consonant gradation. Most other cases have it in both the singular and the plural. It also affects the nominative plural.

Gradated by some VikiNGs

In NK-NG type gradation, a noun or an adjective that ends in NK followed by a single vowel, K turns into G. The NG is pronounced as a long [ŋː], as in the Spanish word “tango”. What can I say? VikiNGs like dancing.

The VikiNG gradation happens in the nominative plural.

viikinki -> viikingit the Vikings
sänky -> sängyt the beds

It also happens in the inessive singular.

Helsinki -> Helsingissä in Helsinki
kaupunki -> kaupungissa in the/a city

It doesn’t, however, happen in the partitive singular.

viikinki -> viikinkiä
kaupunki -> kaupunkia

And this is what the fearsome VikiNGs look like in action.

Miksi nuo viikingit laulavat Helsingissä?
Why are those Vikings singing in Helsinki?

Miksi viikingit tanssivat keskellä kaupunkia?
Why are the Vikings dancing in the middle of the city?

Studies

The verb opiskella, “to study”, can only refer to studying related to an educational institution, especially to a university, a polytechnic, or a vocational school. So if you want to tell a new acquaintance that you are in fact a Viking studying history in Oslo, or that you can’t go loot England because you have to study, opiskella is your verb. If you want to talk about your Finnish studies on Duolingo, you have to use some other verb. The object is always in the partitive.

He opiskelevat historiaa Oslossa.
They study history in Oslo.

Minä opiskelen englantia yliopistossa.
I study English at the/a university.

Relatively many

The relative conjunction joka, “who/which/that”, declines in case and number. Its nominative plural form is jotka and it’s used instead of a subject. Comma warning!

Minulla on kaksi ystävää, jotka asuvat Berliinissä.
I have two friends who live in Berlin.

Koirat, jotka kävelevät puistossa, murisevat hiljaa.
The dogs (which are) walking in the park are growling quietly.

Someone somewhere

The nominative form of “someone” is joku.

Joku tanssii keskellä katua.
Someone is dancing in the middle of the/a street.

The word for “somewhere” is jossain.

Voi ei! Viikingit on jossain lähellä!
Oh no! The vikings are somewhere near!

A couple of numbers

The word pari, “a couple (of)”, behaves like a number: it’s followed by whatever there is a couple of in the partitive singular.

Tässä kaupungissa on pari miljoonaa asukasta.
There are a couple of million inhabitants in this city.

It shouldn’t be confused with the noun pari, which refers to a couple in the chocolate and roses sense.

Pari istuu puistossa ja syö jäätelöä.
The/A couple is sitting in the park eating ice cream.

Crowded

The word ruuhka is used to describe problems that arise during the rush hour. If you want to complain about Vikings taking over your metro station, “crowded” is a good translation.

Metrossa on ruuhkaa.
The metro is crowded.

If you’re moaning about cars, “traffic jam” is the best expression.

Olemme ruuhkassa.
We’re in a traffic jam.

What a beautiful exclamation!

Much like in English, the question word mikä, “what”, can also be used to start exclamations.

Huh! Mikä ruuhka!
Whoa! What a traffic jam!

Vocabulary
asukas inhabitant
katu street
yliopisto university
keskusta city center
metro metro(politan rail)
hotelli hotel
ruuhka traffic jam
historia history
kemia chemistry
näytelmä play (theatre)
elokuva movie
sarja series
maalaus painting
viikko week
karanteeni quarantine
tyhjä empty
opiskella to study (in an educational institution)
katsella to watch
miljoona million
joku someone
jossain somewhere
jotka who, that, which (relative)

Shopping updated 2021-03-29

A splash of color

Väri Color
musta black
valkoinen white
harmaa grey
ruskea brown
sininen blue
punainen red
keltainen yellow
violetti purple
oranssi orange
vihreä green

In Finnish, violetti is the default word for something that mixes red and blue, whereas in English “purple” has similar connotations. oranssi refers only to the color orange and never to the fruit.

To ask the color of something, you need the question word minkävärinen, “of-what-colored”. It’s followed by a noun or a pronoun representing the thing the color of which is the topic of the discussion. If that thing is the object of the sentence, the question word is often in the partitive: minkäväristä.

Minkävärinen paita se on?
What color shirt is it?

Minkäväristä paitaa etsit?
What color shirt are you looking for?

Size up the KOKOnuts

The word for “size” is koko. It should not be confused with the adjective koko, “the whole”. The size related question word is minkäkokoinen, “of-what-sized”. In the object position it often wears the partitive cloak: minkäkokoista.

Minkäkokoinen talo se on?
What size house is it?

Minkäkokoista takkia etsit?
What size coat/jacket are you looking for?

If you are dealing with a system of sizes, like the ones used for clothes and shoes for example, you can use mitä kokoa instead of the nominative form question word.

Mitä kokoa tämä mekko on?
What size is this dress?

The NENemy of adjectiveS

The stem of all evil is marked by S for NEN words. All cases apart from the angelic nominative singular have to deal with this horror.

italialainen -> italialais-
sveitsiläinen -> sveitsiläis-

A nefarious E is added before the foul T can be poured into the cups of the nominative plural.

italialais + e + t = italialaiset

The question word millainen gets the same horrifying treatment, resulting in the grotesque and deformed millaiset.

– Millaiset housut sinulla on? – Ne ovat mustat ja italialaiset.
– What kind of pants do you have on? – They are black and Italian.

NA NA NA!

The essive endings could be a catchy tune from a pop song: NA/NÄ. The closest thing in English is the preposition “as” but sometimes other prepositions work better as a translation. When you need to know whether something can be found in a certain color, you need the essive form of that color.

Onko teillä tätä vyötä ruskeana?
Do you have this belt in brown?

Hundreds and hundreds

The word for “a hundred” is sata. You can get larger numbers by adding another much smaller number before it and adding A at the end.

kaksi + sata + a = kaksisataa 200
viisi + sata + a = viisisataa 500

Vocabulary
paita shirt
lasit (eye) glasses
housut pants
vyö belt
kravatti tie
takki coat, jacket
hattu hat
mekko dress
kenkä shoe
koru piece of jewelry
sormus ring
timantti diamond
muoti fashion
väri color
ale sale
sovituskoppi fitting room
koko size
euro euro
violetti purple
kirjava multi-colored, colorful
ruma ugly
istua to fit
sovittaa to try on
auttaa to help
olla ostoksilla to be shopping
minkäkokoinen what size
minkävärinen what color
sata 100
kaksisataa 200
kolmesataa 300
neljäsataa 400
viisisataa 500
kuusisataa 600

Outdoors 2 updated 2021-03-31

Word magic

Words have power. Old Finnish magic focused on words: if you can define something perfectly, you can control it. Moreover, if you use a word you can’t control, you invite ruin to yourself and your kin. While most modern Finns are unaware of such ideas when we speak our language, you can still hear it and see it in Finnish words and grammatical structures. The ring finger is known as nimetön, “nameless”, in Finnish for it was the finger for performing magic and its name was avoided. The most powerful god of the Finns of old is known as Ukko, “Old Man”, and his true name has been forgotten for no one dared to utter it. Oksi, The Bear, has a hundred names, so that there’s no chance of offending the King of Forest. Even today, we prefer to use karhu, one of the many euphemisms for the great furry one.

The old wizard v. the young wizard

Words that end in I can be divided into two groups. There are younger words the age of which can be counted in hundreds and older words the age of which can reach thousands.

The young words ending in I are like the magic of a young upstart wizard who can bring only one spell into the partitive battle: you add A or Ä at the end depending on the magical rules of vowel harmony.

kahvi + a = kahvia coffee
siili + ä = siiliä hedgehog

The old words that end in I are incantations of seasoned fighters when it comes to partitive battles. The most often used spell merely changes the I at the end of the stem into a more elegant E while the ending is still A/Ä.

Nominative Partitive English
hiki hike-ä sweat
järvi järve-ä lake
kivi kive-ä rock, stone
mäki mäke-ä hill
lehti lehte-ä leaf
pilvi pilve-ä cloud
tähti tähte-ä star

Juoksen ylös mäkeä.
I’m running up the hill.

Minä rakastan tuota järveä.
I love that lake.

Then to more demanding spells! Words that end in LI, NI, or RI need to get rid of the I for the incantation to work. A knowledgeable witch finishes the spell with TA/TÄ.

Nominative Partitive English
hiiri hiir-tä mouse
kieli kiel-tä language
pieni pien-tä small
saari saar-ta island
sieni sien-tä mushroom
suuri suur-ta large

Keittiössä juoksee kaksi pientä hiirtä.
There are two small mice running in the kitchen.

If the word ends in SI, the two letters are dropped completely. A skillful sorcerer ends these spells with TTA/TTÄ.

Nominative Partitive English
kuusi kuu-tta six
susi su-tta wolf
uusi uu-tta new
vesi ve-ttä water
viisi vii-ttä five

Haluan lisää vettä.
I want (some) more water.

If your magic word ends in MI or HI, you have more options. Some spells prefer adding A/Ä to an E stem while others drop I at the end to make room for TA/TÄ. Some spells work no matter which you choose! In those cases the wizard’s personal aesthetic preferences come into play. If you drop the I at the end and add TA/TÄ, a preceding M turns into an N.

Nominative Partitive English
lumi lun-ta snow
suomi suome-a Finnish
Suomi Suome-a Finland
vuohi vuohe-a, vuoh-ta goat

Tuolla on paljon lunta.
There is a lot of snow over there.

The spellcasting master class for the Order of Väinämöinen: some incantations ending in SI don’t care about magical rules but make their own rules.

Nominative Partitive English
lapsi las-ta child
kaksi kah-ta two
kuusi kuus-ta spruce
veitsi veis-tä, veitse-ä knife
yksi yh-tä one

Etsimme yhtä tai kahta hyvää kuusta.
We're looking for one or two good spruces.

And finally, two things so violent that even wizards are afraid of them; two things that are almost impossible to control. These words are so powerful that they defy the vowel harmony and take whatever ending they want!

Nominative Partitive English
meri mer-ta sea
veri ver-ta blood

Talo on lähellä merta.
The house is near the sea.

The RECKONing

luulla is one of the many Finnish verbs that can be translated as “to think''. ajatella is about involuntary thinking that we can’t control; miettiä is about really putting your mind to something and trying to figure things out on purpose; luulla is used to express uncertainty. It’s about speculation and can also be translated with “to reckon” and sometimes with “to suppose”.

Luulen, että tuo marja on myrkyllinen.
I reckon/think that berry is poisonous.

Vocabulary
hiiri mouse
saari island
tie road
toivoa to hope, to wish
huomata to notice
seurata to follow
kuunnella to listen
luulla to reckon, to suppose, to think
kun when
joten so, hence, therefore
alas down

Vacation updated 2021-04-02

To have THE thing

When you use the LLA ON structure, the order of the words affects the article in the English translation. The earlier something appears the more important or better known it is. If the noun appears on the right side of the verb, it’s most likely translated with the indefinite article “a(n)”.

Minulla on kirja.
I have A book.

If the noun is on the left side, it’s always translated with the definite article “the”.

Kirja on minulla.
I have THE book.

It’s also possible to have “the things” on the left. The verb agrees with those things and is in the 3rd person plural.

Kirjat ovat minulla.
I have THE books.

Passit ovat minulla.
I have THE passports.

If you have “things” rather than “THE things”, you would need a far more complicated form of the noun on the right side. We do not yet teach such a form.

TSETSE verbs

In Group 4, most verbs in the end in vowel + T + vowel, like maalata, siivota, or haluta, have a stem formed by removing the T from the 1st infinitive.

Maalaan taloa.
I’m painting the house.

Me haluamme lisää kahvia.
We want more coffee.

Verbs that end in ITA/ITÄ in the 1st infinitive attract flies though, tsetse flies to be exact. These verbs form Verb Conjugation Group 5. You form the stem by first cutting off the TA/TÄ at the end.

tarvita -> tarvi- to need
sijaita -> sijai- to be located
häiritä -> häiri- to bother, to disturb

Then you add the buzzing TSE and finally the personal ending. In the 3rd person singular you double the E at the end to get the double vowel needed in all verb groups.

Pronoun Verb English
minä tarvi-tse-n I need
sinä tarvi-tse-t you need
hän tarvi-tse-e s/he needs
me tarvi-tse-mme we need
te tarvi-tse-tte you (all) need
he tarvi-tse-vat they need

Hotelli sijaitsee Helsingissä.
The hotel is located in Helsinki.

Minä tarvitsen tuota karttaa.
I (will be) need(ing) that map.

The negative forms of Group 5 verbs include the TSE.

Emme tarvitse karttaa.
We don’t need a map.

Vocabulary
avain key
lippu ticket, flag
pyyhe towel
kirja book
passi passport
sandaali sandal
suksi ski
sauva ski pole
pipo beanie, knit cap, winter hat
termari thermos
kampa comb
saippua soap
lompakko wallet
deodorantti deodorant
vesipullo water bottle
lääkkeet meds, medicine, medications
eväät packed meal
uikkarit swimwear
kuulokkeet headphones
varjo shadow, shade
aurinko sun
täysi full, complete
toinen other, another
sijaita to be located
tarvita to need
häiritä to bother, to disturb
paistaa to shine (the sun)
onneksi good thing, luckily, thankfully

Hobbies updated 2021-04-08

Meanwhile in Finland

Finns are an unusually musical people with eclectic tastes. A Finn is more likely to know how to play an instrument than a person from any other nation in Europe; more than half of Finns can play at least one instrument. We also have more choirs and heavy metal bands per capita than any other nation in Europe, although the current trend is towards pop music. Most pubs and bars have karaoke equipment although whether the word “musical” can be used in connection to the most likely end result is under debate. Classical music is also popular and our education system regularly produces world class singers, composers, and conductors.

Our taste in sports may seem exotic to most other nations although our number one sports hobby is still soccer, just like everywhere else. The most followed sport is ice hockey though. Basketball, volleyball, track and field, and cross-country skiing are also popular. It should be noted than when people from English speaking countries speak of “skiing”, they usually mean Alpine skiing, laskettelu, whereas Finns will probably be thinking about cross-country, hiihto. Our national sport is pesäpallo, “nestball”, which is distantly related to baseball and cricket. Motorsports and swimming have their fans too. Most Finns know how to swim.

Finns travel more than any other nation in Europe. Many of us are also into knitting, crocheting, and carpentry, the basics of which we learn in comprehensive school. Many Finns are also avid birdwatchers. Cooking, baking, gardening, drawing, and painting have had a dip in popularity but are becoming more common again. Many Finns have a library card, but while we enjoy reading, we are sadly not particularly interested in languages.

”To hobby”

English has many words which work as both a noun and as a verb. It’s possible to copy something and to have a copy of something; you can suspect someone and be a suspect; you are able to use some paint to paint something. The Finnish verb harrastaa is almost impossible to translate into English. The best way to grasp its meaning is to take the noun “hobby” and use it like an imaginary verb: “to hobby”. The actual translation varies depending on the context, although sometimes the clumsy “to have as a hobby” is sadly the best translation available.

Nämä pingviinit harrastavat jääkiekkoa.
These penguins have ice hockey as a hobby.

Harrastatko sinä balettia?
Is ballet your hobby?

Moreover, Finns are not “good at” things but “good in” things. The inessive is used to imply talent at something – or the lack of it.

Sinä olet hyvä pokerissa.
You are good at poker.

Minä olen tosi huono jalkapallossa.
I’m really bad at soccer/football.

No buts!

It’s common to combine the conjunction mutta with the following verb whenever that verb is a negative one. The A at the end of mutta is dropped and the negative verb is attached to what remains.

Pronoun Verb
minä mutt-en
sinä mutt-et
hän mutt-ei
me mutt-emme
te mutt-ette
he mutt-eivät / mutt-eivat

Notice that the merge doesn’t necessarily affect the negative verbs in any way. This means that both mutteivat and mutteivät are possible for the 3rd person plural, the form being one of the few Finnish words to defy the vowel harmony.

Olen hyvä urheilussa, mutten osaa pelata koripalloa.
I am good at sports, but I don’t know how to play basketball.

He osaavat pelata jääkiekkoa, mutteivat/mutteivät pokeria.
They know how to play ice hockey but not poker.

NENergetic plural

The stem for words that end NEN in the nominative singular ends in S.

suomalainen -> suomalais-
amerikkalainen -> amerikkalais-

This S stem is used with all other forms, including the nominative plural form. The plural T is tied to the stem by an energetic E.

Nuo amerikkalaiset hait pelaavat jääkiekkoa.
Those American sharks play ice hockey.

Note that in Finnish amerikkalainen usually refers to someone or something from the USA rather than from any place in the Americas.

Vocabulary
jalkapallo soccer, football
koripallo basketball
pesäpallo nestball
jääkiekko ice hockey
hiihto (cross-country) skiing
ralli rally (driving)
urheilu sport
urheilija sportsperson, athlete
pokeri poker
karaoke karaoke
kitara guitar
piano piano
viulu violin
kuoro choir
baletti ballet
ooppera opera
musiikki music
biisi (pop, rock) song
matkailu traveling (noun)
hai shark
pingviini penguin
huuhkaja eagle owl
leijona lion
huono bad
uida to swim
ajaa to drive (vehicle)
neuloa to knit
soittaa to play
harrastaa to have (as) a hobby
svengata to groove, to swing
kaikki all (determiner)
miten how

Phrases 3 updated 2021-04-08

Again or again?

Finnish has several words which could be translated as “again”. While these words are often interchangeable, there are situations when some of them do not work. Here are two of these words: taas and uudelleen.

uudelleen is used when there’s a distinct pattern in the repetitive action but things are not done exactly the same way. Repeating an exercise in a Finnish course is a good example. You may have made mistakes in the previous run or just generally want to do things better the second time around. Hoping to meet someone again is another example. You don’t want to repeat everything exactly the same way but you want to stick to certain rules about how human interaction works.

Nähdään pian uudelleen!
See you again soon!

taas is more about tendencies in long term. It often has the “here we go again” mindset implied with it.

Hän on taas myöhässä.
S/he is late again.

Sometimes both are possible but while Finnish makes a distinction between the two sentences, the context is everything in the English ones. You can test which is which by trying to add the word “once” in the English sentence. While you can’t use that in the actual translation, adding it into a sentence that’s a translation for a sentence with the word uudelleen without making the sentence sound odd is incredibly unlikely.

Hän laulaa laulua taas.
S/he is singing the song (once) again.
(s/he has a habit of singing the song and is at it again)

Hän laulaa laulua uudelleen.
S/he is singing the song again.
(s/he just sung the song and is repeating the action)

Time to say goodbye

It’s incredibly rare to say “nice to meet you” in the beginning of a conversation in Finland. It’s far more common to use that expression at the end of a conversation. We don’t think meeting someone is nice either; we think it’s fun!

Oli hauska tutustua.
It was nice meeting you.

Notice the continuous verb form above, “meeting”. It’s been chosen because tutustua means “to meet” in the sense “to get to know someone” and you only use the verb after you’ve met someone for the first time.

Vocabulary
tutustua to get to know, to meet
tehdä to do, to make
kunto condition
uudelleen again
entä how about
ohi over, past

35 skills with tips and notes

 
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