Saturday, July 20, 2013

Satu on koulussa

Text is taken from Hyvä-parempi-paras: Soome keele õppekomplekt algajaile by Karre Sark and published by Kirjastus Iduleht

So it has been a long time indeed! After I did well getting 90% in both my Lithuanian and Estonian exams I had to focus my energies on my job as a proofreader, teaching, university work and also my doctoral research. That left no time for studying Finnish. However, it seems that I might be moving to Finland next year to live and work and thus I have decided to return to my study of the language.

Here is the first audio text from one of my Finnish textbooks.

Satu on koulussa ensimmäisellä luokalla. Hänen koulunsa sijaitsee Köyliössä. Köyliö on Suomen kunta, joka sijaitsee Länsi-Suomessa. Aamulla Satu kävelee kouluun. Joskus sää on kylmä ja tuulee. Usein sataa. Kun sade loppuu, tekee auringonpaiste taas iloiseksi. Satu pitää koulusta, koska siellä on mukavia kavereita ja kivoja opettajia. Satu tykkää äidinkielestä ja matematiikasta. Hänestä myös kuoluruoka on hyvää.

Satu on koolis esimeses klassis. Ta kool asub Köyliös. Köyliö on Soome vald, mis asub Lääne-Soomes. Hommikul Satu jalutab kooli. Mõnikord ilm on külm ja tuuline. Sageli sajab vihma. Kui sadu lakkab, teeb päikesepaiste teda taas rõõmsaks. Satule meeldib kool, sest seal on toredaid sõpru ja vahvaid õpetajaid. Talle meeldib emakeel ja matemaatika. Tema meelest on koolisöök ka hea.

Satu is in first grade in school. Her school is located in Köyliö. Köyliö is a Finnish municipality situated in Western-Finland. In the morning Satu walks to school. Sometimes the weather is cold and it is windy. It often rains. When the rain stops the sunshine makes Satu happy again. Satu likes school as she has good friends and nice teachers there. Satu likes Finnish and maths. She also thinks the food at school is good.

Some vocab. differences to note:

Nouns, adjectives adverbs:

Fin: luokka, aamu, joskus, usein, aurinko, iloinen, kaveri, äiti, ruoka
Est: klass, hommik, mõnikord, sageli, päike, rõõmus, sõber, ema, söök
Eng: class, morning, sometimes, often, sun, happy, friend, mother, food

Finnish iloinen 'happy' is not to be confused with Estonian ilus 'beautiful', though they share a common origin. Iloinen is a combination of ilo 'joy, delight' plus the suffix -inen, which transforms nouns into adjectives. Wiktionary says that Finnish ilo is cognate with Estonian ilu 'beauty', and possibly also Livonian īla ('nature') and Pite Sami âllo ('urge').

Students of Finnish will be reminded of the Finnish verb syödä 'eat' when seeing the Estonian noun söök 'food'. The verb is sööma and from the root can be formed such words as söödik 'glutton', söögiraha 'food money', söögilaud 'dining table' and söökla 'diner, cafeteria' etc.

Despite Estonian hea being the 'normal' translation of Finnish hyvä it should be noted that the words hää and hüva also exist in Estonian, often appearing in reference to old traditions and elements of Southern Estonian life and culture. Take the following sentence:

Vanema on küpsetanud pannkooke ja muud hüva rooga.
Grandmother has cooked pancakes and other good food.

Here you can see the word hüva used rather than the standard word hea. Anyone who has studied Estonian will know the words hästi 'well' and häid, plural partitive of hea, which clearly contain hää. The above sentence also contains another 'old' word, roog (gen. sg. roa, part. sg. rooga). This word is often found on menus - eelroad 'starters, appetizers'. (It is a bit confusing that the sg. part. is rooga as it might be misread as roo + -ga, the Estonian comitative marker. There is a word in Estonian whose genitive is roo, it's the homonym roog, the shortened form of pilliroog 'reed'. Pill is the Estonian for 'musical instrument' [pillimees 'player, musician'], 'weeping' [pillima 'to weep, cry'] or 'pill [drug]').

My wife shared with me an old Estonian expression parents used to tell their children (incase they become too happy for too long ;-) ) which contains the word pill in its meaning of weeping: Pill tuleb pika ilu peale 'Weeping follows great joy'. What's this? Rõõm is the standard Estonian translation of the word 'joy' (see rõõmus above), but here we see ilu meaning 'joy'. Ilo anyone?

The lesson here I suppose is that even though the standard translations of 'food' in the two languages are ruoka and toit (though söök in the text above) and 'joy' is ilo and rõõm, scratch the surface and you discover a word like roog and older meanings of words like ilu.


The Estonian ilm translates as 'weather' but Finnish ilma can be translated often as 'air'. Contrast Finnish ilmankuivain (ilma 'air' + kuivain 'drier/dehydrator') with Estonian õhukuivati (õhu 'air' + kuivati 'drier/dehumidifier'). See here for Estonian ilma and Finnish ilman.

Above you will notice that Joskus sää on kylmä ja tuulee 'Sometimes the weather is cold and it is windy' is translated as Mõnikord ilm on külm ja tuuline 'Sometimes the weather is cold and windy'. Finnish speakers will recognise tuuline as Finnish tuulinen. My wife tells me that there isn't really an Estonian verb equivalent for Finnish tuulla. 'Wind' is tuul in Estonian and tuuli in Finnish.

In the text above 'it rains/ it is raining' is given as sataa in Finnish and vihma sajab (inf. sadama) in Estonian. It would also be possible to say sataa vettä in Finnish and simply sajab in Estonian. Vettä is the partitive of vesi 'water' (vesi, vett in Estonian) while vihma is the partitive of vihm 'rain' (sade, sadetta in Finnish [sadu in Estonian translates as 'shower' as in ilm keerab sajule 'it looks like rain (lit. weather turns to shower)']).

However, unlike in English the phrase 'it's snowing' translates into Finnish and Estonian as sataa lunta and sajab lund. The phrase 'it is drizzling' is rendered as sataa tihkua in Finnish and tibutab vihma in Estonian. The Finnish verb tihkua means 'percolate, seep' whereas the Estonia tibutama means 'drizzle'.

My wife tells me there is an Estonian verb tihkuma 'sob, whimper'. Other verbs or expression to convey the same are nuuksuma and vaikselt nutma 'cry quietly'. The Eesti keele rahvasõnaraamat gives the definition of nuuksuma as nuttes häälekalt sisse hingama 'to audibly inhale whilst crying'.


Fin: sijaita - sijaitsee
Est: asuma - asub
Eng: lie, be situated, be located

Of course, Finnish also has the verb asua - asuu 'reside, stay, dwell', as in Missä asuu sinun perheesi? 'Where does your family live?'

Fin: kävellä - kävelee
Est: jalutama - jalutab
Eng: walk

Wiktionary says that kävellä is derived from käydä 'walk', the latter being cognate with Estonian käima 'walk, move, go'.

The last thing I will point out in this post is the Finnish sentence Hänestä myös kuoluruoka on hyvää 'She also thinks that the food at school is good'. The reason why it's hyvää and not hyvä (i.e. part. and not nom. case) was explained to me by an acquaintance of mine Standalone adjectival or nominal predicates in Finnish sentences expressing definition or identification are usually in the partitive, cf. Pojat ovat poikia = Poisid on poisid (Boys will be boys). EDIT: See the comment on this issue below by Atte.

It's not possible to use this structure in Estonian * Temast on koolisöök ka hea. We have to render it as T(em)a meelest 'from her mind'. There is also, however, in Finnish the phrase olla mieltä 'to be of an opinion', as in Mitä mieltä minä olen kiusaamisesta 'What I think about bullying' (kiusaaminen 'bullying, harressment' (kiusa 'bother, nuisance' [kiusata 'tease, bother, pester, pick on etc.']) + -minen suffix to form verbal nouns, as in kirjoittaa 'write' to kirjoittaminen 'writing', syödä 'eat' to syöminen 'eating').

(Mä pidän vs. Mulle meeldib is discussed here)

I hope you enjoyed this post. Until the next time!

Näkemiin! Nägemist!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Uudised / News

Terve kaikille!
Tere kõigile! / Hi all!

As you have noticed this blog has been very quiet lately! The reason for this is that since September I have been learning Lithuanian at the university. I have been using some of my spare time to practise by blogging/posting in the language on Journey into Lithuanian. The course lasted a semester (14 weeks) and in January 2013 there will be the end of course exam.

Then, once that hurdle has been jumped I will study my Estonian for taking the Estonian language B1 state exam in February 2013. Eventually I want to be comfortable enough in Estonian to sit the B2 exam (maybe also in 2013).

Don't expect any any new posts here until March, until after I sit the B1 exam. In the meantime I want to focus on my Lithuanian and then on my Estonian.

Hyvää Joulua ja onnellista uutta vuotta!
Häid jõulupühi ja head uut aastat!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Friday, September 28, 2012

two dialogues

These dialogues are taken from Tilanteesta toiseen: A Finnish Course (From one situation to another) by Salli-Marja Bessonoff and Eila Hämäläinen. The book is well worth getting as it is full of dialogues and other texts complete with lists of the new vocab and grammar explanations. There is also a number of appendices at the back of the book as well as a grammar summary for each chapter.

1: Asiakas kysyy neuvoa

Asiakas: Anteeksi, osaatteko te sanoa, missä täällä on posti?
Myyjä: Posti on aika kaukana, tuon puiston ja torin takana. Se on Torikadulla. Minulla on tässä kartta ja voin näyttää, missä se on.
Asiakas: Ahaa, tuossa. Kiitos. - Voinko minä ostaa tämän kartan?
Myyjä: Valitettavasti minulla on vain tämä, mutta tuolla aseman ulkopuolella on infopiste. Sieltä saatte kartan.
Asiakas: Aha. Ai tuolla päin?
Myyjä: Niin, tuosta ovesta.
Asiakas: Kiitos. Näkemiin.
Myyjä: Näkemiin.

1. Klient küsib nõu.

Klient: Vabandage, kas saaksite öelda, kus postkontor asub?
Müüja: Postkontor on üsna kaugel, tolle pargi ja väljaku taga. See paikneb Väljaku tänaval. Mul on kaart olemas ja võin Teile näidata, kus see on.
Klient: Ahaa, sealpool. Aitäh. - Kas ma saaksin selle kaardi osta?
Müüja: Kahjuks on mul see ainuke, aga jaamast väljas asub infopunkt. Sealt saaksite kaardi.
Klient: Ahaa, selles suunas?
Müüja: Jah, sellest uksest välja.
Klient: Aitäh teile. Nägemist.
Müüja: Nägemist.

1. A customer asks for advice.

Customer: Excuse me, can you tell me where the post office is?
Seller: The post office is quite far, behind that park and square. It's on Square Street. I have this map and I can show (you), where it is.
Customer: Ah, there. Thank you. - Can I purchase that map?
Seller: Unfortunately I only have this one, but outside the station there is an information point. You can get a map there.
Customer: Ah, this way?
Seller: Yes, out this door.
Customer: Thank you. Bye bye.
Seller: Bye bye.

2. Väärinkäsitys

A: Päivää. Minä ostaisin nämä suklaarasiat.
M: Kaksi rasiaa... Yhdeksän euroa.
A: Mutta eikö se ole vain neljä ja puoli euroa? Minulla on tämä ilmoitus.
M: Anteeksi, mikä ilmoitus?
A: Tässä on, että "kaksi yhden hinnalla".
M: Saanko katsoa? Nyt en oikein ymmärrä... Ai jaa. Kuulkaa, tämä on kaupan mainos. Meillä ei ole tällaista tarjousta.
A: No voi hyvänen aika! Miten minä nyt näin erehdyin?
M: Sattuuhan sitä. Kauppa taitaa olla jo kiinni, mutta... Tarjous on voimassa vielä huomenna. Ehditte vielä saada ne rasiat huomenna.
A: Juu, niin. Kiitos ja anteeksi nyt.
M: Ei se mitään.

2. Arusaamatus

K: Tere. Palun need šokolaadikarbid.
M: Kaks karpi... Üheksa eurot.
K: Kas see ei peaks olema ainult neli eurot ja viiskümmend senti? Mul on see kuulutus.
M: Vabandage, aga mis kuulutusest te räägite?
K: Siin see on, "kaks ühe hinnaga"
M: Kas saaksin seda näha? Ma ei saa aru, mis... Ah jaa. Kuulge, see on poekuulutus. Meil kahjuks ei ole sellist pakkumist.
S: Isver, kui rumal minust! Kuidas ma võisin teha sellise vea?
M: Pole viga, juhtub ikka. Pood on vist juba kinni, aga...  Homme on pakkumine veel kehtiv. Saaksite need karbid homme.
S: Tõesti. Tänan ja palun veelkord vabandust.
M: Pole tänu väärt.

2. Misunderstanding

C: Hello. I would like to buy these boxes of chocolate.
S: Two boxes... Nine euro.
C: But isn't it just four and a half euro? I have this advert.
S: Excuse me, what advert?
C: Here it is, "two for the price of one".
S: May I have a look? I don't quite understand....Ah yes. This is a advertisement from a store. We do not have such an offer.
C: Stupid me! How did I make such a mistake?
S: These things happen. The store is probably already closed, but... The offer will still be valid tomorrow. You'll be able to get those boxes tomorrow.
C: Indeed. Thanks and apologies.
S: Don't worry about it.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

pappi raiskama

Thanks to Loiks on for this gem.

Not to be confused are the Estonian:

Ma lähen linna pappi raiskama.

with the Finnish:

Lähden linnaan pappia raiskaamaan.

The Estonian simply means 'I am going to the city to spend some dosh' whereas the Finnish is much darker - 'I am going to the castle to violate a priest'.

The meaning of the Estonian raiskama is 'to waste, squander': taskuraha tühja-tähja peale raiskama 'to waste pocket money on rubbish'.

Also, you can use the word raisk! for 'damn! blast!' but is more vulgar than the English equivalent.

Papp in Estonian has three meanings: 1) cardboard, 2) dosh, moola, dough (slang word for cash), 3) priest.

The Estonian equivalent of the Finnish above is:

Ma lähen lossi pappi värgistama.

Loss is the Estonian word for 'castle' and vägistama is 'to violate'.

I don't know what a good translation of the Estonian above would be. Maybe a native speaker would offer a suggestion.

My attempt is:

Lähden kaupunkiin tuhlaamaan rahaa.

I don't know the informal Finnish for cash...

The folks on The Finland Forum have given me the following:

Slang terms for cash: fyrkka, fyffe, hillo, paalu, pätäkkä

and for the translation:

Meen stadiin polttaan fygee.

Lähden kaupungille tuhlailemaan.

Courtesy of jahasjahas:

If we want to go one step further:

lossi = cable ferry, väristää = to shiver (transitive)

Lähden lossi pappia väristämään.

I'll go to the cable ferry to shiver the priest.

The fun never stops on this blog! :-)


Additional comments by ainurakne on Aitäh!

There are two different words of raisk. One declenates raisk - raisu - raisku and is the short form of raiskamine (for example: ajaraisk = waste of time), the other declenates raisk - raisa - raiska and is used, as you said, for swearing/cursing (another word with the same meaning is raibe), but its original meaning should be something like 'not very fresh corpse' (raisasööja/raipesööja = an animal who doesn't usually kill, but eats already dead animals).

Loss is most likely a German loan, native (and probably older) words for a castle are for example linnus and kindlus - those two are mostly defensive structures, but, for me, loss is more like a pompous building for kings and such.

Also, to violate is not the only meaning of vägistama. Vägistamine is mostly 'millegi vägisi tegemine' = using force to do or achieve something, doing something forcefully / with (brute) force. It comes from vägi, which is like force or strength (either physical or magical) and nowadays also an armed force or an army. For example, if you are a person who uses brute force to tighten nuts and bolts, then you 'vägistad mutreid ja polte' - an action that usually causes something to break

Friday, June 15, 2012

exercises on the perfect

Present simple to present perfect

mä tulen ----------- mä oon tullut
ma tulen ----------- ma olen tulnud
I'm coming ----------- I have come

se hakee ----------- se on hakenut
ta toob ----------- ta on toonud
s/he is fetching ----------- s/he has fetched

ne saapuu ----------- ne on saapunut
nad saabuvad ----------- nad on saabunud
they are arriving ----------- they have arrived

Ootsä Hesassa? ----------- Ootsä ollut Hesassa?
Kas oled Helsingis? ----------- Kas oled Helsingis olnud?
Are you in Helsinki? ----------- Have you been in Helsinki?

mä avaan ikkunan ----------- mä oon avannut ikkunan
ma avan akna ----------- ma olen akna avanud
I will open the window ----------- I have opened the window

me avataan ikkuna ----------- me ollaan avattu ikkuna
me avame akna ----------- me oleme akna avanud
we are opening the window ----------- we have opened the window

me tullaan ----------- me ollaan tultu
me tuleme ----------- me oleme tulnud
we are coming ----------- we have come

hän tarvitsee apua ----------- hän on tarvinnut apua
tal on abi vaja ----------- tal on abi vaja olnud
s/he needs helps ----------- s/he has needed help

Mistä se saa rahaa? ----------- Mistä se on saanut rahaa?
Kust kohast saab ta raha?  ----------- Kust kohast on ta raha saanud?
Where is he getting money (from)? ----------- Where has he gotten money (from)?

se pakenee ----------- se on paennut
ta põngeneb ----------- ta on põgenenud
he is escaping ----------- he has escaped

Affirmative and negative

Ootsä lähettänyt kirjeen? ----------- Etsä ole lähettänyt kirjettä?
Kas sa oled teate jätnud? ----------- Ega sa ei ole teadet jätnud?
Have you left a message? ----------- Have you not left a message?

Se on lähtenyt. ----------- Se ei ole lähtenyt.
Ta on läinud. ----------- Ta ei ole läinud.
She has left. ----------- She has not left.

Mä olen huomannut sen. ----------- Mä en ole huomannut sitä.
Ma olen seda märganud. ----------- Ma ei ole seda märganud.
I have noticed it. ----------- I have not noticed it.

Ne on sanonut jotain. ----------- Ne ei ole sanonut mitään.
Nad on midagi öelnud. ----------- Nad ei ole midagi öelnud.
They have said something. ----------- They have not said anything.

Mä oon nähnyt sen jo. ----------- En mä ole vielä nähnyt sitä.
Ma olen juba teda näinud. ----------- Ma ei ole veel teda näinud.
I have already seen her/ him. ----------- I have not yet seen him/ her.

Me ollaan jo puhuttu siitä. ----------- Me ei olla vielä puhuttu siitä.
Me oleme juba rääkinud sellest. ----------- Me ei ole veel rääkinud sellest.
We have already spoken about it. ----------- We have not yet spoken about it.

Mä olen tavannut hänet. ----------- Mä en ole tavannut hänet.
Ma olen temaga kohtunud. ----------- Ma ei ole temaga kohtunud.
I have meet him/ her. ----------- I have not met him/ her.

Thanks to ainurakne on for corrections!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Finnish present perfect

The Finnish present perfect is constructed along the following lines:

pronoun + present of olla + past active participle (-nut/-neet)

Notice how in English the auxiliary verb is have but in Finnish it is olla. Estonian is the same in that its aux. v. is also olla.

FOR: Minä olen kirjoittanut hänelle.
COL: Mä oon kirjoittanut sille.
E: Ma olen kirjatanud talle.
I have written to him/her.

Remember that in Finnish there is the difference between formal and colloquial registers visible above in both the forms of the pronouns and the aux. v. and below in the pronoun.

FOR:  Hän on tullut takaisin.
COL: Se on tullut takaisin.
E: Ta on tulnud tagasi.
S/he has returned.

An interesting thing about Finnish is the presence of a plural form of the past active participle with the ending -neet. This is something that Estonian does not have.

Compare the following:

Polite singular: Te olette tullut takaisin.
You (sg.) have come back.
Plural: Te olette tulleet takaisin.
Ye/Y'all have come back.

In Estonian this is simply:
Te olete tulnud tagasi.
Context will tell us if it is plural or singular polite.

F: Mä oon aina unelmoinut elämästä teatterissa.
E: Ma olen alati unistanud elust teatris.
I have always dreamt of a life in (the) theatre.

F: Oletteko te asuneet Helsingissä kauan?
E: Kas te olete kaua Helsingis elanud?
Have you lived in Helsinki for long?

Things get a little complicated in the 1st person plural (me) because of the use in colloquial Finnish of the impersonal (passive/ indefinite).

Here we use:
1) The indefinite form of the verb olla.
2) The past passive participle (not the past active participle as above!)

COL: Me ollaan jo puhuttu tästä.
FOR: Me olemme jo puhuneet tästä.
E: Me oleme juba rääkinud sellest.
We have already talked about this.

COL: Me ollaan juotu kaikki oluet.
FOR: Me olemme juoneet kaikki oluet.
E: Me oleme kõik õlled ära joonud.
We have drunk all the beer.

Present perfect of the verb ostaa 'buy, purchase'. In bold is the colloquial form and in brackets the formal or polite form(s).

1sg: mä oon ostanut (minä olen ostanut)
2sg: sä oot ostanut (sinä olet ostanut / te olette ostanut)
3sg: se on ostanut (hän on ostanut)

1pl: me ollaan ostettu (me olemme ostaneet)
2pl: te olette ostaneet
3pl: ne on ostanut (he ovat ostaneet)

Thanks to ainurakne on for corrections!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

privatives and past passive participles

Below are examples of Finnish privates and past passive participles.


Notice that in some cases the Estonian form matches the Finnish (työtön - töötu) but in others Estonian makes use of the abessive case with its suffix -ta (eg. virheeton in Fn. but vigadeta in Et.).

loppu -------- loputon
E: lõpp -------- lõputu
end -------- endless

kenkä -------- kengätön
E: king -------- kingata
shoe -------- shoeless

työ -------- työtön
E: töö -------- töötu
work -------- jobless, unemployed

polku -------- poluton
E: tee -------- teeta
path -------- pathless

hammas -------- hampaaton
E: hammas -------- hambutu
tooth -------- toothless

maku -------- mauton
E: maitse -------- maitsetu
taste -------- tastless

muoto -------- muodoton
E: vorm -------- vormitu
shape, form -------- shapeless, formless

lumi -------- lumeton
E: lumi -------- lumetu
snow -------- snowless

aurinko -------- auringoton
E: päike -------- päikeseta
sun -------- sunless

virhe -------- virheetön
E: viga -------- veata [without mistake]/veatu [flawless]
mistake -------- errorless

olematu [olemata = not come to be/pass yet]

kirjutamata [kirjutamatu = unwriteable]

pesemata [pese(ta)matu = unwashable]

toores [raw] (küpsetamata [unbaked])



E: lugemata = unread, uncounted; lugematu/loendamatu = uncountable; loetamatu = unreadable

Past passive participle







searched for





vajatud (but cf. tarvis 'need')




famous, well-known

kasutatud, tarvitatud


Back and forth

rakentamaton -------- rakennettu
ehitamata -------- ehitatud
unbuilt -------- built

maalattu -------- maalaamaton
värvitud -------- värvimata
painted -------- unpainted

keittämätön -------- keitetty
 toores -------- küpsetatud
uncooked -------- cooked

kuorittu -------- kuorimaton
kooritud -------- koorimata
peeled -------- unpeeled

Thanks to ainurakne on for corrections!