Finnish language...Suomi...many say that our language seems really difficult. Of course being a native Finn I find that hard to believe =) If you want to learn finnish, you might want to check the bottom of this page for some useful (or not that useful) phrases =)
You can also boost your swearing in Finnish too! Check out some videos where a foreigner swears in Finnish.
Tero Tolkki - MFF
Finnish (suomi or suomen kieli) is the language spoken by the majority of the population in Finland (91.7%) and by ethnic Finns outside of Finland. It is one of the official languages of Finland and an official minority language in Sweden and Norway. In Sweden, both standard Finnish and Me?nkieli, a Finnish dialect, are spoken. The Finnish dialect Kven is spoken in Norway.
Finnish is a member of the Finno-Ugric language family and is typologically between inflected and agglutinative languages. It modifies and inflects the forms of nouns, adjectives, pronouns, numerals and verbs, depending on their roles in the sentence.
Finnish is a member of the Balto-Finnic subgroup of the Finno-Ugric group of languages which in turn is a member of the Uralic family of languages. The Balto-Fennic subgroup also includes Estonian and other minority languages spoken around the Baltic Sea.
Finnish demonstrates an affiliation with the Finno-Ugric languages in several respects including:
- Shared morphology:
- case suffixes such as genitive -n, partitive -(t)a / -(t)? (< Finno-Ugric *-ta), essive -na / -n?
- plural markers -t and -i-
- possessive suffixes such as 1st person singular -ni (< Finno-Ugric *-mi), 2nd person singular -si (< Finno-Ugric *-ti).
- various derivational suffixes
- Shared basic vocabulary displaying regular sound correspondences with the other Finno-Ugric languages
Several theories exist as to the geographic origin of Finnish and the other Uralic languages, but the most widely held view is that they originated as a Proto-Uralic language somewhere around the northern Ural Mountains region. Supporters of this theory point to the fact that the Uralic languages have many similarities in structure and grammar.
It has been posited that speakers of a Finno-Ugric language have been living in the region of current Finland since at least 3000 BC. The Finns are more genetically similar to their Indo-European speaking neighbors than to the speakers of the geographically nearest Finno-Ugric language, Sami. Therefore it has been argued that a native Finnic population absorbed northward migrating Indo-Europeans who adopted the Finnic language, giving rise to the modern Finns.
Finnish is spoken by about six million people that reside mainly in Finland. There are also notable Finnish-speaking minorities in Sweden, Norway, Russia, Estonia, Canada, and the United States. The majority of Finns in Finland, 92%, speak Finnish as their first language, and Finnish is an official language in Finland. Northern S?mi, Inari S?mi, Skolt S?mi, Swedish and Russian are spoken by minorities that make up the remainder.
Finnish is one of two official languages of Finland (the other being Swedish, spoken by a 5.49% minority) and thus an official language of the European Union. It enjoys the status of an official minority language in Sweden. It is also one of the working languages of the Nordic Council. Under the Nordic Language Convention, citizens of the Nordic countries speaking Finnish have the opportunity to use their native language when interacting with official bodies in other Nordic countries without being liable to any interpretation or translation costs.
It is believed that the Balto-Finnic languages evolved from a proto-Finnic language, from which Sami was separated around 1500-1000 BC. Current research indicates there were three or more proto-Finnic dialects. The Baltic Finnic languages separated around the 1st century, but continued to influence each other. Therefore, the Eastern Finnish dialects are genetically Eastern proto-Finnic, with many Eastern features, and the Southwestern Finnish dialects have many genuine Estonian influences.
Since Finland was annexed to Catholic Sweden in the Middle Ages, the status of Finnish was for long that of an oral language. The language of business was Middle Low German, the language of administration Swedish, and religious activities were held in Latin, leaving few possibilities for Finns to use their mother tongue in situations other than daily chores.
The first known written example of Finnish comes from this era and was found in a German travel journal dating back to c.1450: Mynna tachton gernast spuho somen gelen Emyna dayda (Modern Finnish: "Min? tahdon kernaasti puhua suomen kielt?, [mutta] en min? taida"; English: "I willingly want to speak Finnish, [but] I cannot"). According to the travel journal, a Finnish bishop, whose name is unknown, was behind the above phrase.
The first comprehensive writing system for Finnish was created by Mikael Agricola, a Finnish bishop, in the 16th century. He based his orthography on Swedish, German, and Latin. His ultimate plan was to translate the Bible, but first he had to define rules on which the Finnish standard language still relies, particularly with respect to spelling. He also invented single-handedly many words such as armo "mercy" and vanhurskas "righteous". More than fifty percent of these words are still in use.
In the 19th century Johan Vilhelm Snellman and others began to stress the need to improve the status of Finnish. Ever since the days of Mikael Agricola written Finnish had been used almost exclusively in religious contexts, but now Snellman's Hegelian nationalistic ideas of Finnish as a full-fledged national language gained considerable support. Concerted efforts were made to improve the status of the language and to modernize it, and by the end of the century Finnish had become a language of administration, journalism, literature, and science in Finland, along with Swedish.
The most important contributions to improving the status of Finnish were made by Elias L?nnrot. His impact on the development of modern vocabulary in Finnish was particularly crucial. In addition to compiling the Kalevala, he acted as an arbitrator in disputes about the development of stardard Finnish between the proponents of western and eastern dialects, ensuring that the western dialects Agricola had preferred preserved their preeminent role, while many originally dialectical words from Eastern Finland were introduced to the standard language enriching it considerably.
The dialects of Finnish are divided into two distinct groups, the Western dialects and the Eastern dialects. The dialects are entirely mutually intelligible and distinguished from each other by only minor changes in vowels, diphthongs and rhythm, and therefore might be better classified as accents. For the most part, the dialects operate on the same phonology, grammar and vocabulary. There are only marginal examples of sounds or grammatical constructions specific to some dialect and not found in standard Finnish. Two examples are the voiced dental fricative found in Rauma dialect and the Eastern exessive case.
The classification of closely related dialects spoken outside of Finland is a politically sensitive issue that has been controversial since Finland's independence in 1917. This concerns specifically the Karelian language in Russia and Me?nkieli in Sweden, the speakers of which are often considered oppressed minorities. Karelian is different enough from standard Finnish to have its own orthography. Me?nkieli is a northern dialect entirely intelligible to speakers of any other Finnish dialect, which achieved its status as an official minority language in Sweden for historical and political reasons regardless of the fact that Finnish is an official minority language in Sweden, too.
The South-West dialects (lounaismurteet) are spoken in Finland Proper and Satakunta. Their typical feature is abbreviation of word-final vowels, and in many respects they resemble Estonian. The Tavastian dialects (h?m?l?ismurteet) are spoken in Tavastia. They are closest to the standard language, but feature some slight vowel changes, such as the opening of diphthong-final vowels (tie ? ti?, miekka ? miakka, kuolisi ? kualis). The Southern Ostrobothnian dialects (etel?pohjalaiset murteet) are spoken in Southern Ostrobothnia. Their most notable feature is the pronunciation of 'd' as a tapped or even fully trilled /r/. The Middle and North Ostrobothnia dialects (keski- ja pohjoispohjalaiset murteet) are spoken in Central and Northern Ostrobothnia. The Far-Northern dialects (per?pohjalaiset murteet) are spoken in Lapland. The dialects spoken in the western parts of Lapland are recognizable by retention of extraneous 'h' sounds in positions where they are not found in other dialects.
One of the Far-Northern dialects, Me?nkieli, which is spoken on the Swedish side of the border, is taught in some Swedish schools as a distinct standardized language. The speakers of Me?nkieli became politically separated from the other Finns when Finland was annexed to Russia in 1809. The categorization of Me?nkieli as a separate language is controversial among the Finns, who see no linguistic criteria, only political reasons, for treating Me?nkieli differently than other dialects of Finnish.
The Ruija dialect (Ruijan murre) is spoken in Finnmark (Finnish Ruija), in Norway. Its speakers are descendants of Finnish emigrants to the region in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The Eastern dialects consist of the widespread Savonian dialects (savolaismurteet) spoken in Savo and nearby areas, and the Karelian dialects. The South-Eastern dialects (kaakkoismurteet) are spoken in South Karelia, on the Karelian Isthmus and in Ingria. Palatalization, a common feature of Uralic languages, had been lost in Baltic-Finnic languages, but it has been reacquired by most of these languages, including Eastern Finnish, but not Western Finnish. In Finnish orthography, this is denoted with a 'j', e.g. vesj, cf. standard vesi.
The language spoken in the parts of Karelia that have not historically been under Swedish or Finnish rule is usually called the Karelian language, and it is considered to be more distant from stardard Finnish than the Karelian dialects. However, the terms Karelian and Karelian dialects are often used synonymously, primarily denoting dialects spoken on the Karelian Isthmus and in Ingria, i.e. in the Saint Petersburg area. Whether Karelian is a dialect of Finnish or a separate language is a matter of interpretation. The many refugees from Finnish Karelia, who were evacuated during World War II and resettled all over Finland, speak Savonian dialects, although their dialects in everyday speech are often referred to as Karelian.
*Note, this was taken from Wikipedia and if you want to read more about finnish language, there are plenty where this came from in Wikipedia.
Ok here comes a list of phrases you might want to know. Not sure whether you will need these ever but still...
- Finnish: Miss? on minun Koskenkorva-pullo?
- English: Where is my bottle of Koskenkorva?
- Finnish: Voisitteko soittaa jotain hyv?? musiikkia, kuten metallia?
- English: Could you play some good music, like metal?
- Finnish: Mink?takia kalja on t??ll? niin kallista?
- English: Why is the beer so expensive here?
- Finnish: Perkele!
- English: Perkele! (powerword in Finnish...gets you recognized everywhere!)
- Finnish: M? olen aivan kaatok?nniss?!
- English: I am dead drunk!
I will put more of these ridiculous phrases later =) In the meantime...if you really want to learn some finnish...here is a good resource.
Swearing in Finnish
To us Finns one of the nicest things is to hear foreigners speak our weird language. After all, finnish language is only used in Finland so we cannot expect the whole world speak it!
But whenever we go outside of Finland we do our best to spread our glorious language to the people. Well it's mostly swearing words like "Perkele" and "Vittu" we tell to people in bars or concerts. But we love it and whenever we hear someone say something in finnish, it does feel great!
And surely there are plenty of people out there who are interested of learning this weird language. And perhaps you already have learned some! But it's time to boost your vocabulary in the swearing department. As you can hear, it doesn't sound all that difficult right? My personal favourite was definately "N?nnipihan talonmies" which loosely means a "janitor for nipplearea".
Table of contents
- Geographic distribution
- Official status
- Useful phrases
- Swearing in Finnish