Page name: Finnish Classroom [Logged in view] [RSS]
2008-02-01 01:47:38
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Finnish Classroom

Teacher: [Elmiira]



1. [Juliel]
2. [Santa Claus]
3. [Close Tightly]
4. [sairas_tytto]


Lesson 1.1

Generally about Finnish

Finnish is a hard language to learn for foreign people, because of few easily understandable things:
a) Finnish doesn't belong in the same language groups as English, German and Swedish (Germanic and Romanic language groups, etc). Finnish belongs to the group Finno-Ugric languages along with Estonian and Hungarian.
b) The pronunciation. Some letters (r, y, ö) are difficult.
c) Dialects and actually speaking Finnish. Finnish has a completely different rhythm, and Finns never speak the actual written language but we ALL speak a some sort of dialect. Recognizing and understanding dialects is very hard, and sometimes we can't even understand each other.
d) The amount of word forms, i.e. cases. An English noun has 0 cases (unless the ending 's counts as a case), but in Finnish we have 14 or 15 cases, for both nouns and ajectives. The cases replace the English prepositions like "for", "to", "from" etc. Finnish has postpositions though (they are like prepositions, but they come after the main word). (Finnish has one preposition too, "ennen" = "before".) And I haven't even mentioned the verbs yet! They have cases AND moods, etc...

[Gastogh] also brings to attention Omniglot:

And there's also a page where you can actually find excercises:
Don't mind the music...


Lesson 1.2


In Finnish, the words are written just like they are pronounced, and vice versa. There are very few exceptions.

All Finnish words have the emphasis on the FIRST syllable. In English they are wherever they happen to be. In Finnish, every SINGLE word has emphasis in the beginning of the word.

Help for how to pronounce all the letters. The bold letters are the part in question.

a: sun
b: ban (usually comes out as p)
c: sad (a rare letter)
d: dead (Finns don't like d and usually either pronounce it as r, t, h or leave it out)
e: dead
f: fix
g: gut
h: help
i: pee
j: yell
k: cat (no h's like in most English words with k's)
l: log
m: mom
n: hun
o: boy
p: pee (no h's)
q: cat (a rare letter)
r: rot (you're supposed ro "roll the r", like in Spanish)
s: sad (only one kind of s, pronounced much like sh)
t: tan (no h's)
u: poo
v (w): vet (Finns pronounce both v and w as v, and w is a rare letter)
x: box (rare letter, we use "ks")
y: like Swedish y, German ü, French u (no equivalent in English)
z: lots, sit (rare letter)
(å: Swedish o (pronounced like the other o), just because Swedish is the second official language of Finland, not really used in Finnish)
ä: cat
ö: like German and Swedish ö, French eu (think of the British English way to pronounce the vowel part in the word "first", that's as close as we can get)

- Pronunciation of all letters added by [Veltzeh]

Ok... so maybe it's not gonna help a lot of you, but maybe it will... so Finnish 'ö' is pronounced like German 'ö' or French 'eu' and Finnish 'y' is pronounced like German 'ü' or French 'u'...
- [ Juliel ]


Lesson 2

Basic words

Then, the basics:

Yes = Kyllä
No = Ei
Right = Oikea
Left = Vasen
Thank You = Kiitos
You're welcome = Ole hyvä
Help! = Apua!

And easily you can construct "No thanks" like this: "Ei + kiitos = Ei kiitos"


In other laguages there usually is an own word for the numbers from 1 to 12 and after that combinations of these words. In Finnish there's an own word for just the numbers from 1 to 10. After that the numbers are cinstructed like the following:
Eleven = Yksitoista (One of the second)
meaning the first of the 2nd bunch of ten.
Twelve = Kaksitoista (Two of the second)
And so on until twenty. After that it's even more simple:
Twenty-three = Kaksikymmentäkolme
Twenty-four = Kaksikymmentäneljä
Thirty-four = Kolmekymmentäneljä
And so on.


Lesson 3


In the Germanic (or Romanic) languages there are usually two "genders" for words, "den" and "det" as in Swedish, "la" and "le" in French, or "die", "das" and "der" in German. In English WORDS doesn't have genders, but people do, as in "she" and "he". But in Finnish there is none of these. There is only one word for person, "hän", which means "he/she". (Usually in spoken language we Finns use the word "se" which is "it", even when talking about people.)


Lesson 4

Noun forms, i.e. cases

Finnish doesn't have any prepositions (to, from, on etc.) (except for one, "ennen") and only a few postpositions. We express the different forms of nouns with cases. There are also no articles.
I will be using the noun "auto" (a car) to demostrate the cases.

1. the nominative case: auto = a car
2. the genitive case: auton = car's / of a car (car's tires / tires of a car)
3. the essive case: autona = as a car
4. the partitive case: autoa = a car (when you're doing something to a car "I'm washing the car")
5. the translative case: autoksi = into a car (when something becomes a car)
6. the inessive case: autossa = in a car
7. the elative case (elatiivi, not found in the dictionary): autosta = from a car (from inside the car)
8. the illative case: autoon = into a car (to inside a car)
9. the adessive case: autolla = by a car (when someone comes by a car) OR on the car (something is on the car)
10. the ablative case: autolta = from a car OR from on the car
11. the allative case: autolle = for a car (he did a redo for a car) OR on the car (he put something on the car)
12. the abessive case: autotta = without a car
13. the comitative case: autoineen (plural, no singular form) = with his/her car/cars
14. the instructive case: autoin (plural, no singular form) = by/with cars (they showed it with cars) (this is difficult to explain, anyone know a better way?)

(15. the accusative case (the linguists are debating whether Finnish has this case or not, which on my opinion is silly, because it seems to be there...): auton = a car (when the car is an object: "I bought a car"))


Lesson 5

Noun forms (multiple)

The same as previous, but just with multiple subjects. The names of the cases are the same, so I don't bother writing them all again.

1. autot = cars
2. autojen = cars' / of cars (Cars' tires / tires of cars)
3. autoina = as cars
4. autoja = cars (when you're doing something to cars "I'm washing the cars")
5. autoiksi = into cars (when a group of something becomes cars)
6. autoissa = in cars
7. autoista = from cars (from inside the cars)
8. autoihin = into cars (to inside cars)
9. autoilla = by cars (when some people come by cars) OR near cars OR on the cars (something is on the cars)
10. autoilta = from cars (from near the cars) OR from on the cars
11. autoille = for cars (he did a redo for the cars) OR on the cars
12. autoitta = without cars
13. autoineen = with his/her car/cars
14. autoin = by/with cars (they showed it with cars)

(15. the accusative case: autoja = cars (when the car is an object: "I bought cars"))


Lesson 6

Personal pronouns

The pronouns that answer to the question "who?" = "kuka?".

I = minä
you (singular) = sinä
he/she = hän
we = me
you (plural) = te
they = he

They form cases like the other nouns, but they have special accusatives ("whom?" = "kenet?")

me = minut
you = sinut
her/him = hänet
us = meidät
you = teidät
them = heidät


Lesson 7.1


In Finnish, verbs have six (seven, if you count the "teitittely" which I can't translate... forms depending on the person/subject.
There is only one irregular verb, "be" = "olla".

The personal pronoun isn't necessary.

I am = (minä) olen
you are = (sinä) olet
s/he is = (hän) on (this is the only irregular one, otherwise it would be "olee")
we are = (me) olemme
you are = (te) olette
they are = (he) ovat

Same with a normal verb, "drive" = "ajaa":
I drive = (minä) ajan
you drive = (sinä) ajat
s/he drives = (hän) ajaa
we drive = (me) ajamme
you drive = (te) ajatte
they drive = (he) ajavat

With negative sentences the verb doesn't conjugate, but the negative word "ei" does:
I do not drive = (minä) en aja
you do not drive = (sinä) et aja
s/he does not drive = (hän) ei aja
we do not drive = (me) emme aja
you do not drive = (te) ette aja
they do not drive = (he) eivät aja


Lesson 7.2


Finnish verbs have four tenses: present tense, imperfect (past) tense, perfect tense and pluperfect (past perfect) tense. Note that there is no future tense. The future tense in English can be translated into Finnish with the present tense.

Presentation of all tenses, with the verb "drive" = "ajaa":

I drive = (minä) ajan
you drive = (sinä) ajat
s/he drives = (hän) ajaa
we drive = (me) ajamme
you drive = (te) ajatte
they drive = (he) ajavat

I drove = (minä) ajoin
you drove = (sinä) ajoit
s/he drove = (hän) ajoi
we drove = (me) ajoimme
you drove = (te) ajoitte
they drove = (he) ajoivat

Imperfect for the verb "olla" = "be" (we need it with pluperfect):
I was = (minä) olin
you were = (sinä) olit
s/he was = (hän) oli
we were = (me) olimme
you were = (te) olitte
they were = (he) olivat

The perfect tense is formed with the Finnish "olla" (="be") verb (unlike in English, in which they are formed with the "have" verb).

I have driven = (minä) olen ajanut
you have driven = (sinä) olet ajanut
s/he has driven = (hän) on ajanut
we have driven = (me) olemme ajaneet
you have driven = (te) olette ajaneet
they have driven = (he) ovat ajaneet

I had driven = (minä) olin ajanut
you had driven = (sinä) olit ajanut
s/he had driven = (hän) oli ajanut
we had driven = (me) olimme ajaneet
you had driven = (te) olitte ajaneet
they had driven = (he) olivat ajaneet


Lesson 8

I won't give you more grammar right now cause there is quite a lot already. Some basics. Well, then I thought I could make a lesson to learn some words. So, I will write a little very simple "conversation" in Finnish and then the same in english. (Then I'm not sure is it fine if i give you somekind of "homework" to practise. I mean something which would be useful to you, but you don't really "have" to do it, only if you want and find it useful. If this is bad, just say.)

In finnish:
Maija ja Kalle tapaavat linja-autoasemalla.

Maija: Hei!
Kalle: Hyvää päivää! Mikä sinun nimesi on?
Maija: Minun nimeni on Maija. Mikä sinun nimesi on?
Kalle: Minun nimeni on Kalle. Olen yhdeksäntoista vuotias. kuinka vanha sinä olet?
Maija: Minä olen 18 vuotta vanha. Mitä sinulle kuuluu?
Maija: Minulle kuuluu hyvää, kiitos! Mitä sinulle kuuluu?
Kalle: Minullekin kuuluu hyvää.
Maija: Hienoa! Tiedätkö, koska lähtee linja-auto Helsinkiin?
Kalle: Kello kolmelta. Miksi lähdet Helsinkiin?
Maija: Kiitos! Minun ystäväni asuu Helsingissä. Minä menen tapaamaan häntä.
Kalle: Ok. Minä lähden Turkuun. Minä asun Turussa. Mitä kello on?
Maija: Kello on nyt vartin yli kaksi.
Kalle: Linja-auto Turkuun lähtee nyt! Minä lähden. Oli hauska tavata!
Maija: Kiitos, samoin. Näkemiin!
Kalle: Näkemiin!

and the same in english:
Maija and Kalle meet at the bus station.

Maija: Hi!
Kalle: Good afternoon! What's your name?
Maija: My name is Maija. What's your name?
Kalle: My name is Kalle. I am nineteen years old. How old are you?
Maija: I am eighteen years old. How are you?
Maija: I'm fine, thank you! How are you?
Kalle: I am fine too.
Maija: Great! Do you know, when does the bus to Helsinki leave?
Kalle: At three o'clock. Why do you go to Helsinki?
Maija: Thank you! My friend lives in Helsinki. I go to meet her/him.(If you say that in finnish you don't know which sex is the friend.)
Kalle: Ok. I go to Turku. I live in Turku. What time is it?
Maija: It's now quarter past two.
Kalle: Bus to Turku leaves now! I go. It was nice to meet you!
Maija:Thank you, same here. See you!
Kalle: See you!

Okay. That was the conversation. Some very simple sentences as you see. Now I will explain some things in the text.
-Kalle and Maija are two very usual finnish names, Kalle is male and Maija female name.
-Helsinki is the capital of Finland. It is in the southern coast of Finland.
-Turku is another bigger city of Finland. It was the capital before Helsinki.
-Finnish people use the word "bussi" instead of linja-auto quite often too. But linja-auto is the official word.
-When asking "how are you?" you can also leave the word 'sinulle' away, and say "Mitä kuuluu?"
-If you have something more you want to ask, please do.

Then the "homework" I talked about. You don't have to do this, but if you do, then send it to me as a private message and I will correct it and tell what went wrong and what was right.

Tell these things about you in finnish:
-your name
-how old are you
-where do you live

Then you have a friend. You are going to visit her/him.
Tell the following:
-What is your friends name
-how old is your friend
-Where does your friend live
-When will your bus there leave (use the same times as in the text cause if you don't know how to say it)

These sentences are not in the conversation I wrote. Try to build them by using the igrammar given on this page and the centences in the text. I give you an example.

Maija said: Minä menen tapaamaan häntä. (I go to see her/him.) You should say your friend, who's name is Ville, goes to see her/him. You go to look up how to say the werb "menen" (I go) in the form 'he goes'. You find it from the example 'drive' where reads He drives is Hän ajaa. Then you write "Ville menee tapaamaan häntä." I know this can be hard. But I will help if you try. :)


Test for categorizing the contents of this page:
Generally about Finnish
Finnish nouns
Finnish verbs


Back to Languages or the Elftown Academy


Past teachers: [willy]

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2004-01-04 [Lavilia]: yeah I am done

2004-05-17 [Talvikki]: Just a picky comment about pronunciation from a little linguistics student...Finnish 'r' is actually like French 'r' not Spanish (Spanish trilled 'r' is at the front of the mouth, French and Finnish 'r' are at the back). An easier sound to make in my opinion, or maybe I'm just used to it :P

2004-07-08 [Macek]: Ahhhh, so many things to read before I can join! Well, gotta start up soon =) Very nice class, indeed!

2004-07-30 [Elmiira]: you said you don't know the word for "teitittely", checked from my euro translator, it was there "formal addressing"... I don't know if it helps anything, just said...

2004-10-16 [Aikon I]: can i join, i know i'm really late ;p

2005-02-17 [Elmiira]: is something going on here? there was said that this room needs a teacher?

2005-02-17 [Sunrose]: It does :)

2005-04-05 [Elmiira]: I maybe could teach, but the problem is that I'm don't really find myself good enough.. I could try though but it would just mess everyones head :D

2005-04-05 [Sunrose]: LOL! I think you'd do just fine :)

2005-04-05 [Elmiira]: well, maybe then.. but.. I'm not really sure what should I do then..

2005-04-05 [Sunrose]: Make lessons, answer questions...stuff like that :p

2005-04-06 [Elmiira]: well.. if it is fine, maybe I could at least try...

2005-04-06 [Sunrose]: Of course! ^^

2005-04-07 [Aikon I]: please do try... i really wanna learn the language

2005-04-21 [Elmiira]: well, sorry it took so long, I had my exam week and much more things after I promised.. well, I made my first lesson. Ask more and tell if it was all worth nothing..

2005-07-07 [empty__house]: Just a quick note about the third column - Ukrainian is a Slavic language, not Finno-Ugric.

2005-07-09 [Elmiira]: okay, thank you. :) I didn't write that but I didn't know it either..

2005-10-27 [uguisu]: Yes, Finnish is not an easy language. I feel kind of sorry for te forgein students........Finnish is a devilish language.......Mutta ihan kivahan sitä on puhua, että eipä sen puoleen.^^

2005-11-28 [Sahraminkukka]: Uhm... Just a little comment, ajaa and ajavat must have hän and he before them, and in the other hän and he verbs and tenses... My teacher was very clear about that...

2006-01-18 [Elmiira]: well.. I think yes.. It sounds maybe a bit weird to hear "Ajaa kotiin." better would be "Hän ajaa kotiin" :)

2006-04-27 [Alistaireen]: Heya! Try write Finnish somewere in the ElfWood thats good homework... ;) Suomi on helppoa, ja kun osasi pienenä suomea Englantikin oli helppo oppia

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