When Finns Speak, Everybody Listens- it’s just that nobody else understands!
By Bill Farmer (Knight-Ridder newspapers)
“Finnish is easy. All you do is tape-record English and then play it backwards.” (quote from somewhere in Berlitz Language School)
The language itself is like the Finns themselves – it has nothing to do with Russia or
Sweden, despite their proximity.
Finnish, I think, was invented by an ancient king who commanded the people in his dominion to speak
like him upon the penalty of death. The monarch’s name I shall give as Toivo I, or Toivo the Stutterer. It was Toivo’s
lingual philosophy that ‘why use one letter when two or three would do.’
Take the word for cigarette lighter. It is savukkeensytytin, which is the reason why so many Finns carry matches.
When the Finns start a word they see how many foreigners they can weed out on the first syllable.
Take the Finnish word for “93”. The first three letters are “yhd”.That eliminates a lot of competition right there.
For the full Finnish word for “93” I would advise you fasten your seat belts and put on your crash helmet.
Here it goes – “yhdeksankymmentakolme”.
According to Berlitz, that is pronounced simply: “EWHdayksaenKEWMmayntaeKOALmay”. Finns have died of old age trying to count to 100.
Part of the problem with the Finnish language is that Finns don’t mess around with little bitsy words at all. If they are going to use
the word “the” or “a” or “by” they just stick it onto a nearby word as an ending.
And don’t think you are going to get away with not pronouncing every letter, either. Nothing is
wasted in Finnish. Sometimes, when they use a couple or three vowels in a
row, they’ll put two little dots over the tops of some of them just to break the monotony. Those little dots mean something.
In the word “pencil sharpener”, which is spelled “kynanteroittin”, they put two little dots over the “a” and that means it is pronounced
like an “a” and an “e” slopped together. It also means that you are going to find a lot of dull pencils in Finland.
It is the only language I know of where phonetic spelling is more complicated than regular
spelling. for example, To say “pencil sharpener” in Finnish, you should start with a bottle of good
Finnish beer. Take a deep breath, roll back your eyes and say: “KEWnae” (run the “a” and “e” together
now, remember?) “nTAYR” (stop here and have a sip of beer) “roa” (then comes a very, very small “i” that fools a lot of people,
but, without it the word means “spinach” or something entirely different from “pencil sharpener”) “ttin” (more beer,
please). Okay, all together now “KEWnaenTAYroaittin!”
>There here now, wasn’t that easy? Where’s the bottle opener?
During a recent visit of Finland I never saw a crossword puzzle. The papers weren’t large enough to cover both horizontal and vertical I guess.
The word for “no” is “ei” pronounced “aye”, which means yes in English, and the word “hyva” as in “hyvaa paivaa” (means good day) means
hello and “hyvasti” (goodbye – a deravative of “Hyva”) (with two little dots side by side over both “a” ‘s or “ae-ae”)
depending on what direction you’re going.
Now the word for “yes” is simple. It is “kylla”. The trouble is, nobody uses it. They all say “joo”
or “yoa” or “yo”, which naturally, is not Finnish at all,but is Swedish. To say “yes, yes” they all say
joo – joo” = “yo-yo”.I can’t imagine what the finnish word for actual “yo-yo” is, but it must be dandy-dandy.
Finnish is related to Hungarian by a previous marriage.
That’s why the second language of Finland is, of course, Swedish.
Thank God, everyone speaks English, however, so don’t worry if you ever go there.
For an emergency, I tried to learn the Finnish expression for “Get me a doctor, quick”, which is “noutakaa nopeasti laakari”, with the dots
over the “a”s in the word laakari (doctor) but by the time I memorized it I was well again.
And you thought English was a hard language to learn!
Lauri Markkanen is Arizona Wildcats’ only sure thing in this year’s NBA Draft
The novice had only trained on wheels before arriving in Finland to compete in the Nordic world ski championships
ST. LOUIS (USBWA) – The U.S. Basketball Writers Association has selected the Arizona’s Lauri Markkanen as its Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week for games ending the week of Sunday, Jan. 22. The USBWA’s weekly honor is presented by Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook.
As the Pac-12 Conference Player of the Week, Markkanen was nominated for the weekly award, which was chosen by a representative of the USBWA board of directors from a list of Division I conference players of the week. This is the eighth season that the USBWA has selected a national player of the week.
Markkanen, 7-0 forward from Jyväskylä, Finland, averaged 20.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in a road sweep of USC and UCLA, shooting 14-of-22 from the field (.636) and 8-of-10 (.800) behind the arc. His game-high 23 points (8-12 FG, 5-6 3FG) at USC marked the 11th game this season he has led the Wildcats in scoring. He followed up with 18 points (6-10 FG, 3-4 3FG) to help Arizona win at No. 3 UCLA for its best true road win over a ranked opponent since downing No. 1 Stanford in March 2001.
Markkanen’s performance helped the Wildcats extend their winning streak to 12 games and to remain unbeaten in conference play (7-0). Monday, Markkanen was included in the USBWA’s Oscar Robertson Trophy (National Player of the Year) and Wayman Tisdale Award (National Freshman Player of the Year) midseason watch lists.
Since the 1958-59 season, the USBWA has named a National Player of the Year. In 1998, the award was named in honor of the University of Cincinnati Hall of Famer and two-time USBWA Player of the Year Oscar Robertson. It is the nation’s oldest award and the only one named after a former player.
Barcelona, February 23, 2017: Finland is the global tech superpower. Supported by early access to new technologies, Finland and Finnish companies will be displaying their latest solutions and digital innovations at the Mobile World Congress 2017 (MWC 2017). Meet the Finnish Minister of Transport and Communications, Ms. Anne Berner, at the Finland pavilion on Monday 27th at 5pm.
For a country like Finland, a collaborative home field is key for being ahead in the new digital ballgame, where the development of new technologies like 5G, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Internet of Things and Virtual Reality drive all the players in the technology field to move forward at a remarkable pace.
“Ultimately the mutual interaction of 5G, AI, IoT as well AR and VR will be the real game changer. For this reason, we provide Finnish SMEs access to these developing technologies earlier than our competitors do. Our model enables new innovations for the common good as well as for Finnish companies to stay on the cutting edge of the development. That’s our digital footprint,” explains Anne Berner, Finnish Minister of Transport and Communications.
The book RAIVAAJA KYMMENEN VUOTTA has been digitized by Raivaaja Foundation.
The book was originally printed by the Publishing Company in January 1915 to mark the 10th year since the beginning of the “crazy enterprise”. A few pages of the digitized book are available on http://www.raivaaja.org and include photos, diagrams, and details (in Finnish) of the founding and first years of the newspaper which also established the very successful Workers Credit Union in 1914 (http://www.wcu.com/home/about-us/history)
“Synkkä Metsä / Dark Forest ”
Chicago based professional jazz saxophonist Juli Wood has recorded a CD of Finnish folk songs played in jazz styles. All four of her grandparents immigrated to the US from Finland and settled in Minnesota.
“All of my grandparents immigrated to the US from Pohjonmaa in the early 20th century. They were from Oulu, Haapajarvi, Pyhajarvi, and Alavieska.They ended up in Duluth MN and the Iron Range. I have been traveling to Finland almost every summer for the last 15 years to play jazz music with some wonderful Finnish musicians in Helsinki, Tampere and Turku. My parents were great supporters of the Salolampi language camp in Bemidji MN. I’ve been there several times with my mother, Miriam Hendrickson. At Salolampi I heard many of the folk songs that are on my CD. Because I’m a professional jazz saxophonist, I decided to record the Finnish folk songs as instrumental pieces in jazz styles.Here’s a link to hear some samples on my website – www.juliwoodsax.com People wishing to purchase “Synkkä Metsä / Dark Forest ” can send a $20 check or money order ( includes postage and handling )to Juli Wood, 5806 N Artesian Ave, Chicago , IL 60659. Kiitos ! Juli Wood”
Morley Safer, a CBS television correspondent who brought the horrors of the Vietnam War into the living rooms of America in the 1960s and was a mainstay of the network’s news-magazine “60 Minutes” for almost five decades, died on Thursday at his home in Manhattan. He was 84. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/19/business/media/morley-safer-dies.html
While more renown for his other more serious reporting, he introduced “Tango Finlandia” to the world in 1993 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgcyf11Lgao) noting all those well known Finnish traits disappear on the dance floor. His Tango piece has spawned academic research: http://www.academia.edu/8852306/Cultural_frames_Loci_of_intercultural_communication_asynchrony_in_a_CBS_60_Minute_news_segment