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Finnish 101:
The 30 Minute Crash Course in Finnish
Johanna Lahti
44 Weeks from today…
…you will have:
General Professional Proficiency in Speaking Finnish (S3)
and
General Professional Proficiency in Reading Finnish (R3)
Language Difficulty Ranking
http://www.effectivelanguagelearning.com/language-guide/language-difficulty
Category I: 23-24
weeks (575-600 hours)
Languages closely
related to English
Category II: 30 weeks
(750 hours)
Languages similar to English
German
Afrikaans, Danish, Dutch
French, Italian,
Norwegian, Portuguese,
Romanian, Spanish,
Swedish
Category III: 36 weeks
(900 hours)
Languages with linguistic
and/or cultural differences
from English
Indonesian
Malaysian
Swahili
Category IV: 44 weeks (1100 hours)
Languages with significant linguistic and/or cultural differences from English
Albanian, Amharic, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Bengali, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Burmese,
Croatian, Czech, *Estonian, *Finnish, *Georgian, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi,
*Hungarian, Icelandic, Khmer, Lao, Latvian Lithuanian, Macedonian, *Mongolian,
Nepali, Pashto, Persian (Dari, Farsi, Tajik), Polish, Russian, Serbian, Sinhala,
Slovak, Slovenian, Tagalog, *Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Uzbek, *Vietnamese,
Xhosa, Zulu
* Languages preceded by asterisks are usually more difficult for native English
speakers to learn than other languages in the same category.
Category V: 88 weeks (2200 hours)
Languages which are exceptionally difficult for native English speakers
Arabic
Cantonese (Chinese)
Mandarin (Chinese)
*Japanese
Korean
* Languages preceded by asterisks are usually more difficult for native English
speakers to learn than other languages in the same category.
Finnish?
Easy...
...even squirrels
can read it!
Finnish from times immemorial...
Elias Lönnrot
development of modern vocabulary
Kalevala
1500’s
Mikael Agricola, Father of the Finnish
language
comprehensive writing system and
Finnish language literature.
ANTEDILUVIAN TIMES
oral language: Finnish
business: Middle Low German
administration: Swedish
religious activities: Latin
1800’s
J.V. Snellman
modernization
improve the status of Finnish
...till present
Approximately 6 million speakers,
roughly 5 million live in Finland
&
Billions of squirrels
around the world
Sigurd Wettenhovi-Aspa:
Kalevala and Egypt, the Golden Book of Finland II
(1935)
• All civilization originates
from Finland
• Using intuitive permutation
wanted to prove that many
foreign names and words
can be derived from
the Finnish language
• Fennoegyptology
Common features in Finno-Ugrian languages
(Finnish, Estonian, Hungarian, Sami...)
September 23
Autumnal equinox
7:06 am
1. Absence of gender ( he, she = ‘hän’)
2. Absence of articles
3. Long words due to the structure of the language
4. Numerous grammatical cases
5. Personal possessions expressed with suffixes (koirani, koirasi, koiransa…)
6. Postpositions in addition to prepositions
7. No equivalent of the verb ‘to have’
Vocabulary and word formation
•
Since Finnish is Finno-Ugric and not Indo-European, its central vocabulary is
different from that of more common European languages:
October 10,
Day of Finnish
Literature,
American Voices!
7:48 am
•
English
German
French
Finnish
mother
Mutter
mère
äiti
sun
Sonne
soleil
aurinko
Finnish
Finnisch
finlandais
suomalainen
person
Person
personne
ihminen
Therefore, it is often difficult to guess what an unknown word means.
The primary stress of every Finnish word falls on the first syllable.
Lainasana
Loan word
• pizza/pitsa
•
psykologia
• pasta
•
teoria
• television/TV
•
laboratorio
• radio
•
sinfonia
• auto
•
ooppera
•
rokki-musiikki
The primary stress of every Finnish word falls on the first syllable.
Numerals
1 yksi – one
November 27,
Thanks Giving Day
8:49 am
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
The primary stress of every Finnish word falls on the first
syllable.
Finnish is a concise language
December 6,
Finnish Independence
Day
9:07 am
lentokonesuihkuturbiinimoottoriapumekaanikkoaliupseerioppilas
airplane jet turbine engine auxiliary mechanic non-commissioned officer student
The primary stress of every Finnish word falls on the first syllable.
Why Finnish words are so long 1: Compounding
•
•
Words look longer in Finnish because compounds are always written together as one word:
puhelinluettelo
telephone directory
matkapuhelin
mobile phone
matkakortti
travel card
Compounding is much more common in Finnish than in English, and Finnish uses a compound in
many cases where English has a separate word:
sanakirja (word+book)
dictionary
•
It helps to learn the basic words that make up these compounds (puhelin, kirja, kortti…) so you
can identify them and get a better idea of what the whole word means.
•
Words generally stay in their basic forms when part of a compound, and tend to be in the same
order as they would be in English.
Why Finnish words are so long 2: Agglutination
December 22,
Winter solstice
9:25 am
•
Long words are due to a process called agglutination: grammatical markers and
endings are joined to a word stem.
•
In many places where English uses small words like conjunctions and prepositions,
Finnish attaches suffixes directly onto the word:
talo
talo-ssa
talo-i-ssa
talo-i-ssa-ni
talo-i-ssa-ni-kin
talo-i-ssa-ni-kin-ko
house
in the house
in the houses
in my houses
also in my houses
also in my houses ?
talo - i - ssa - ni - kin - ko
also in my house-s?
The primary stress of every Finnish word falls on the first syllable.
Phonetic language
January 30,
Midway, week 22!
8:39 am
•
Neat one-to-one correspondence between sound and spelling
•
Spelling bees are useless
•
Memory and concentration contests
•
Speaking-while-inhaling contests
www.tyoehtosopimuksenyleissitovuudenvahvistamislautakunta.fi
The primary stress of every Finnish word falls on the first syllable.
Nouns and their cases (don’t panic!)
March 21,
Vernal equinox
6:19am
•
The case system is one of the most important distinguishing features
of Finnish.
•
Cases are a series of 15 endings that attach to nouns (and adjectives)
and perform different functions.
Nouns and their cases (really, don’t panic!)
Here are all 15 cases of Finnish on the noun talo ’house’:
Nominative
talo
basic form, subject
Accusative
talon
object
Genitive
talon
same as ’’s’ or ’of’
Partitive
taloa
indefinite, ’some’
Inessive
talossa
same as ’in’
Elative
talosta
same as ’out of’
Illative
taloon
same as ’into’
Adessive
talolla
same as ’on’
Ablative
talolta
same as ’off of’
Allative
talolle
same as ’onto’
Translative
taloksi
change of state
Essive
talona
similar to ’as’
Instructive
taloin
similar to ’by means of ’
Abessive
talotta
same as ’without’
Comitative
taloineen
same as ’with’, rare
The good news:
•
You will never have to remember their
names (Finnish people can’t either).
•
People will still understand you if your
object has no -n on it by mistake.
•
The ones on the bottom are really,
really rare (comitative = 0.1%).
The primary stress of every Finnish word
falls on the first syllable.
When you are about to face a noun
Stay calm, please do not panic:
•
Is it possible to avoid using the noun?
•
Yes -> then don’t use
•
No -> self confidence is your key to success
Good sounding language
May 1,
vappu
5:16 am
No restrictions to the number of consecutive vowels!
Köyliöläisen yötyöläisen hääyöaie.
A wedding night intention of a night-time worker from Köyliö.
The primary stress of every Finnish word falls on the first syllable.
Consonant / vowel length as a distinctive
feature
June 21,
Summer solstice
3:54am
•
Kokoa kokoon koko kokko!
•
Koko kokkoko?
•
Koko kokko!
Minä tapaan sinut huomenna.
I’ll see you tomorrow.
Minä tapan sinut huomenna.
I’ll kill you tomorrow.
The primary stress of every Finnish word falls on the first syllable.
July 3, 2015, 4:03 am!
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
järki = reason, sense, intelligence
järjestää = organize
järjestelmä = organization
järjestelmällinen = organized
järjestelmällistyttää = organizationalize
epäjärjestelmällistyttää = unorganizationalize
epäjärjestelmällistyttämätön = having unreflectional attention to
antiunorganizationalize
epäjärjestelmällistyttämättömyys = unreflectional attention to
antiunorganizationalize
epäjärjestelmällistyttämättomyydellä = with unreflectional attention to
antiunorganizationalize
epäjärjestelmällistyttämättömyydellään = with his unreflectional
attention to antiunorganizationalize
epäjärjestelmällistyttämättömyydelläänkö = is it with his unreflectional
attention to antiunorganizationalize?
epäjärjestelmällistyttämättömyydelläänköhän = I wonder if it is
possible, with his unreflectional attention to antiunorganizationalize?
epäjärjestelmällistyttämättömyydelläänköhänkään? = I wonder if it is
possible, even with his unreflectional attention to
antiunorganizationalize?
Missä on suomen kurssi?
Where is (the) Finnish course?
Language courses and online courses (CIMO)
http://www.cimo.fi/programmes/finnish_language_and_culture/summer_co
urses_in_finland/other_finnish_language_courses
Summer Universities
http://www.kesayliopistot.fi/koulutustarjonta/finnish_language_courses/cale
ndar_finnish_language_courses
www.finnishcourses.fi
Minä haluan puhua suomea
Minä haluaisin puhua suomea.
I’d like to speak Finnish.
Voisitko puhua suomea?
Could you speak Finnish, please?
The primary stress of every Finnish word falls on the first syllable.
Learners of Finnish
Orava
Reads immediately,
never speaks
Johanna
Couple yrs of
practice before
speaks,
nearly 7 years
before reads
Prof. Aikhenvald
More than 10 yrs
Learners of Finnish
Fulbrighters
44 weeks