Survival Finnish

I have (eventually) started learning Finnish. It’s not really something that I will ever really put on my resume though. Otherwise, this might happen:

Finnish scene from “Confessions of a Shopaholic”

“But didn’t you pick up some Finnish in your day-to-day life in Finland?” I hear you ask.

“Well, yes and no.” I would answer which would actually serve two purposes… Purpose number one: to say “Well, I kinda have and kinda haven’t because I spend all my time with exchange students whose linga franca is English and also many people in Finland speak English.” Purpose number 2: to tell you what I can say and understand in Finnish… yes = “joh” – like when a Xhosa speaking person is surprised and they say joh joh joh, its sounds similar to that and no = ei – like hey, but without the h and a little bit more depressing sounding.

Other than that, I know:

Anntaksi = Sorry or excuse me

Kiitos = thank you

Ole Huova = It’s a pleasure

and then there are English words that get Finnisherized by putting an i at the end of the word (again, just like Xhosa, but the opposite.) so that the words look like this in Finnish:

taksi

bussi

filmi

hotelli

banaani

presedentii

tomaatti

oliivi

but Finnish a little bit more complicated than that.

I found out in my course that there are no articles (a, the, an) and no grammatical gender (hallelujah!). So how do you know what’s going on in a sentence? You look at the ending of the noun or the verb. If you want to say “IN the car”, you say “auto+SSA”. If you want to say “YOU speak”, you say “puhu+T”. If you want to say “do YOU speak”, you say “puhu+T+ko” (ko is the question word). What does this remind me of? XHOSA! Yes, Xhosa. Wikipedia says “Finnish is a member of the Finnic group of the Finno-Ugric family of languages. The Finnic group also includes Estonian and other minority languages spoken around the Baltic Sea.” But I think I have proved that there is DEFINITELY a link between Finnish and Xhosa, so maybe Wikipedia (and the entire world) should change its definition.

Finnish also puts words together to make very long words. Here are some that I have seen around the place…

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