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10 Essential Finnish Language Questions & How to Answer Them

Have you ever stopped to think just how often we ask questions on a daily basis? Questions are incredibly helpful in our everyday lives—and doubly so when we’re speaking a foreign language! Learning Finnish conversational questions and answers will not only help you navigate practical situations (like finding a bank) while you’re in Finland, but it’ll also allow you to converse more naturally with Finns in social situations.

This guide will introduce you to the basics of forming questions in Finnish. After that, we’ll cover the ten most useful questions in Finnish for beginners. And of course, we’ll go over a number of ways to answer each question, so that you can always be ready with a reply!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Finnish Table of Contents
  1. How to Ask Questions in Finnish
  2. The 10 Most Common Questions in Finnish
  3. Conclusion

Asking and answering questions keeps a conversation going!

1. How to Ask Questions in Finnish

Before you learn the ten most common Finnish language questions, we’ll take a brief look at the two main ways to form questions in Finnish.

A – Creating closed questions

Closed questions—questions that can be answered with a “yes” or “no”—are very easy to form in Finnish! All you need to do is take a statement, place the verb at the beginning, and add -ko or -kö to the end of the verb.

The correct ending is determined by vowel harmony. The rule of thumb is: if the word contains back vowels (a, o, u), choose -ko; if the word contains front vowels (ä, ö, y) or only neutral vowels (i, e), choose -kö.  

Here are a few examples:

  • Se on totta. (“It is true.”)

Now, begin the question with the verb (on) and add the correct ending (-ko) to the verb.

  • Onko se totta? (“Is it true?”)

Another example:

  • Sinä pidät kahvista. (“You like coffee.”)
  • Pidätkö sinä kahvista? (“Do you like coffee?”)

Let’s see how you can answer this important question!

i- Affirmative Answers

When the answer is “yes,” you can simply use the word kyllä (“yes”), or the colloquial joo. It’s also common to simply repeat the verb and drop the word kyllä altogether—just remember to conjugate the verb correctly!

  •  Pidätkö sinä kahvista? (“Do you like coffee?”)

    Kyllä. (“Yes.”)
    Pidän. (“Yes.” Literally: “I like.”)

ii- Negative Answers

When the answer is ei (“no”), things get a little bit trickier. It’s important to remember that the negative verb in Finnish is conjugated in the six personal forms, like this: en, et, ei, emme, ette, eivät. We’ll take a look at three different ways to say that you don’t like coffee.

1. Use ei (“no”), the conjugated form of the negative verb, and the main verb:

    Ei, en pidä kahvista. (“No, I don’t like coffee.”)

2. Use the conjugated form of the negative verb and the main verb:

    En pidä. (“No.” Literally: “I don’t like.”)

3. Use just the conjugated form of the negative verb:

    En. (“No.” Literally: “I don’t.”)

Ei, en pidä kahvista. (“No, I don’t like coffee.”)

B – Finnish Question Words

Finnish question words (we’re sorry to say) are not as straightforward as the English ones. One reason for this is that some of the Finnish question words are inflected and have multiple cases. For a beginner, it’s best to focus on the most common question words first. You can dive into the deep end after you’ve mastered the basics!

 1. Kuka? / Ketkä? (“Who?” Singular / Plural)

  •  Kuka on Suomen pääministeri? (“Who is Finland’s prime minister?”)
    Sanna Marin. (“Sanna Marin.”)
  •  Ketkä ovat tulossa mukaan? (“Who is coming along?”)
    Sini ja Pekka. (“Sini and Pekka.”)

 2. Mikä? / Mitä? (“What?”)

  •  Mikä se on? (“What is it?”)
    Se on kissanpentu. (“It’s a kitten.”)
  • Mitä sinä sanoit? (“What did you say?”)
    Sanoin, että haluan mennä ulos. (“I said that I want to go out.”)

(Note that mikä usually refers to defined, concrete things, while mitä usually refers to uncountable, abstract things.)

 3. Missä? (“Where?”)

  •  Missä sinä asut? (“Where do you live?”)
    Asun Oulussa. (“I live in Kallio.”)

 4. Miksi? (“Why?”)

  •  Miksi et soittanut minulle? (“Why didn’t you call me?”)
    Koska unohdin, että lupasin soittaa. (“Because I forgot that I promised to call.”)

 5. Milloin? (“When?”)

  •  Milloin lentokone laskeutuu? (“When does the airplane land?”)
    Puolen tunnin päästä. (“In half an hour.”)

6. Kuinka? / Miten? (“How?”)

  •  Miten voin auttaa? (“How can I help?”)
    Voit auttaa viemällä roskat ulos. (“You can help by taking the trash out.”)
  •  Kuinka kuumaa saunassa on? (“How hot is it in the sauna?”)
    Saunassa on 80 astetta. (“It’s 80 degrees in the sauna.”)

Note that in most cases, kuinka and miten are interchangeable with no difference in meaning. So pick your favorite!

Mitä sinä sanoit? (“What did you say?”)

2. The 10 Most Common Questions in Finnish

With a bit of practice, you’ll be able to form endless closed Finnish language questions. In addition, learning the most important question words by heart will be of great help in all of your Finnish interactions. Pretty neat, huh?

Now we’ll focus on the ten most common Finnish conversational questions and answers that you’re bound to use sooner or later.

1 – What’s your name?

You’ve met a Finnish person—wonderful! Let’s get to know them. This is how you ask “What’s your name?” in Finnish, and how you can answer the same question.

  •  Mikä sinun nimesi on? (“What’s your name?”) – Casual
  • Mikä teidän nimenne on? (“What’s your name?”) – Formal

To answer this Finnish question, you could simply state your name. But to give a full answer, say: Minun nimeni on… (“My name is…”). You can also drop the word minun because the possessive suffix in nimeni  already communicates whose name you’re talking about.

    Minun nimeni on Anna. (“My name is Anna.”) 
    Nimeni on Anna. (“[My] name is Anna.”)

 On our website, you can find more handy Finnish phrases to use when introducing yourself.

2 – Where are you from?

Finns will be curious about where you’re from—and perhaps you’re curious about which city your Finnish friend comes from. This question covers both situations:

  • Mistä sinä olet kotoisin? (“Where are you from?”) – Casual
  • Mistä te olette kotoisin? (“Where are you from?”) – Formal

Note: In Finnish language questions, the pronouns are sometimes left out, as the verb already gives information about the pronoun. For example, “Where are you from?” can simply be expressed as Mistä olet kotoisin? or Mistä olette kotoisin?

 You can also be more specific:

  • Mistä maasta (sinä) olet kotoisin? (“Which country are you from?”)
  • Mistä päin Suomea sinä olet kotoisin? (“Which part of Finland are you from?”)
  • Mistä kaupungista sinä olet kotoisin? (“Which city are you from?”)

Answers to the previous questions start with Olen kotoisin… (“I’m from…”). The place (country, region, or city) will usually be in the elative case (-sta/-stä), although the names of some towns may be in the adessive case instead (-lta/-ltä).

    Olen kotoisin Saksasta. (“I’m from Germany.”)
    Olen kotoisin Pohjois-Karjalasta. (“I’m from North Karelia.”)
    Olen kotoisin Tampereelta. (“I’m from Tampere.”)

Mistä maasta sinä olet kotoisin? (“Which country are you from?”)

What about India and Argentina? Learn the Finnish names of some other countries on FinnishPod101.com.

3 – Do you speak Finnish?

Here’s another question you may find yourself asking and answering a lot when meeting new people:

  • Puhutko sinä suomea? (“Do you speak Finnish?”) – Casual
  • Puhutteko te suomea? (“Do you speak Finnish?”) – Formal
  • Puhutko sinä englantia? (“Do you speak English?”)

Remember those tips we covered about answering closed questions? Now’s a good time to review them! Simple answers look like this:

    Kyllä, puhun suomea. (“Yes, I speak Finnish.”)
    Ei, en puhu englantia. (“No, I don’t speak English.”)

These answers indicate how well you speak the language in question:

    Kyllä, mutta vain vähän. (“Yes, but only a little.”)
    Kyllä, jonkin verran. (“Yes, some.”)
    Kyllä, puhun suomea sujuvasti. (“Yes, I speak Finnish fluently.”)
    Kyllä, englanti on äidinkieleni. (“Yes, English is my mother tongue.”)

Look up the Finnish names of thirty-eight different languages with our free vocabulary list

4 – How are you?

Vaihdetaan kuulumisia! (“Let’s exchange news!”) 

When we ask someone how they are in Finnish, we use the verb kuulua (“to be heard”).

  • Mitä sinulle kuuluu? (“How are you?”) – Casual
  • Mitä teille kuuluu? (“How are you?”) – Formal
  • Mitä kuuluu? (“How are you?”)

The typical answer that suits most situations is simply composed of kiitos (“thank you”) and Minulle kuuluu hyvää (“I’m good”). With close friends and family, you can go into more detail!

    ► Kiitos, minulle kuuluu hyvää. (“I’m good, thank you.”)
    Kiitos ihan hyvää. Entä sinulle? (“Pretty good, thank you. What about you?”)

Here’s an alternative way to ask the question:

  • Miten menee? (“How’s it going?”)

    ► Hyvin, kiitos. (“I’m well, thank you.”)
    ► Ei hassummin. Entä sinulla? (“Not bad. How about you?”)

Learn more relevant Finnish phrases, and listen to this audio lesson to learn how to give a vague answer when you don’t feel like sharing!

5 – What do you do for a living?

When talking with someone, work will often come up as a topic. Here are a few different ways you can ask someone about their work or profession:

  • Mikä sinun ammattisi on? (“What’s your profession?”) – Casual
  • Mikä teidän ammattinne on? (“What’s your profession?”) – Formal

Answering this one is easy! Just put together Olen (“I am”) and your profession. For example:

    Olen valokuvaaja. (“I’m a photographer.”)
    Olen myyntiapulainen. (“I’m a sales assistant.”)
  • Mitä (sinä) teet työksesi? (“What do you do for a living?”) – Casual
  • Mitä (te) teette työksenne? (“What do you do for a living?”) – Formal

The answer to this one is also pretty straightforward. Note that the subject in these answers is in the partitive case. 

    Opetan ruotsia. (“I teach Swedish.”)
    Kävelytän koiria. (“I walk dogs.”)
  • Millä alalla (sinä) olet töissä? (“What field do you work in?”) – Casual
  • Millä alalla (te) olette töissä? (“What field do you work in?”) – Formal

Begin your answer with Olen töissä (“I work [in]”) followed by your ala (“field”) in the adessive case.

    Olen töissä muotialalla. (“I work in fashion.”)
    Olen töissä IT-alalla. (“I work in IT.”)

Olen valokuvaaja. (“I’m a photographer.”)

Learn even more Finnish words for different occupations on our website! 

6 – What are your hobbies?

Meet the verb harrastaa. It refers to doing something you’re interested in on a regular basis, usually in your free time. All of that packed into one little word! Think of it as “enjoy something (as a hobby).” (By the way, the word for “a hobby” is harrastus.)

  • Mitä sinä harrastat? (“What do you enjoy as a hobby?”) – Casual
  • Mitä te harrastatte? (“What do you enjoy as a hobby?”) – Formal
  • Mitä harrastuksia sinulla on? (“What hobbies do you have?”) – Casual
  • Mitä harrastuksia teillä on? (“What hobbies do you have?”) – Formal
  • Mitä (sinä) teet vapaa-ajallasi? (“What do you do in your free time?”) – Casual
  • Mitä (te) teette vapaa-ajallanne? (“What do you do in your free time?”) – Formal

To answer any of the above questions, you can use the verb harrastan (“I enjoy as a hobby”) or another verb like pelaan (“I play”), followed by the activity in the partitive case. For example:

    Harrastan kansantanssia ja maalausta. (“I enjoy folk dancing and painting.”)

    Pelaan jääkiekkoa. (“I play ice hockey.”)

Pelaan jääkiekkoa. (“I play ice-hockey.”)

Learn more Finnish words for different hobbies, and ace your pronunciation with the help of the audio recordings.

7 – What time is it?

Imagine that you’ve just landed at the Helsinki-Vantaa airport after a long flight and want to double-check the local time. Or maybe someone just asks you what the time is! No problem. If that happens, you’ll already have learned how to ask and answer questions about time in Finnish.

Note that when talking about the time, Finns say kello (“clock”) instead of aika (“time”).

These three questions are interchangeable:

  • Mitä kello on? (“What time is it?”)
  • Kuinka paljon kello on? (“What time is it?”)
  • Paljonko kello on? (“What time is it?”)

You can begin with Kello on (“The time is”) or Se on (“It is”), but it’s also fine to simply state the time!

    Kello on kymmenen aamulla/illalla. (“It’s ten a.m./p.m.”)
    Kello on tasan kaksitoista. (“It’s exactly twelve o’clock.”)
    Se on puoli neljä. (“It’s half past three.” Literally: “It’s half four.”)
    Se on varttia vaille kuusi. (“It’s a quarter to six.”)
    Viisi minuuttia yli yhdeksän. (“Five minutes past nine.”)

Pay close attention to puoli (“half”) here. While in English, 3:30 is “half past three,” in Finnish it’s puoli neljä (“half four”)!

Here’s more useful Finnish vocabulary related to time, and here’s another list for numbers in Finnish.

Kello on tasan 12 (kaksitoista). (“It’s exactly twelve o’clock.”)

8 – What are you doing? 

Here’s how you can ask somebody what they’re doing in Finnish, and how to answer the question yourself.

  • Mitä sinä teet? (“What are you doing?”) – Casual
  • Mitä te teette? (“What are you doing?”) – Formal or plural

You could answer this with just one word, for example Juoksen (“I’m running”), but your answer will often consist of a verb and an object in the partitive case.

    Opiskelen suomea. (“I’m studying Finnish.”)
    Katson televisiota. (“I’m watching TV.”)
    Syömme aamupalaa. (“We’re eating breakfast.”)

    Suunnittelemme huomista retkeä. (“We’re planning tomorrow’s trip.”)

Syömme aamupalaa. (“We’re having breakfast.”)

 9 – How do you say this in Finnish? 

Can’t remember a word in Finnish? Want to learn a new expression? Here’s how you can ask your Finnish friends to teach you specific words and phrases!

  • Mitä tämä on suomeksi? (“What is this in Finnish?”)
  • Mitä on “parliament” suomeksi? (“What is ‘parliament’ in Finnish?”)
  • Miten sanotaan “it’s complicated” in Finnish? (“How do you say ‘it’s complicated’ in Finnish?”) 

The key words to remember here are on suomeksi (“is in Finnish”). Not complicated at all!

    ► “Parliament” on suomeksi eduskunta. (“‘Parliament’ is ‘eduskuntain Finnish.”)
    ► “It’s complicated” on suomeksi “se on monimutkaista.” (“‘It’s complicated’ is ‘se on monimutkaista’ in Finnish.”)

10 – How much is it? 

If you’re spending any amount of time in Finland, you’ll most likely need to buy (ostaa) something, so it’ll be useful to know how to ask for prices! 

Confusingly, the verb we’re using this time, maksaa, means both “to cost” and “to pay”! To ask “how much,” you can use the words kuinka paljon or mitä or paljonko.

  • Kuinka paljon se maksaa? (“How much does it cost?”)
  • Anteeksi, mitä tämä maksaa? (“Excuse me, what does this cost?”)
  • Paljonko maksaa kuppi kahvia? (“How much does a cup of coffee cost?”)

The phrase you’ll want to memorize is Se maksaa… (“It costs…”). However, it’ll be useful to be aware of a few alternatives too:

    Se maksaa 5 (viisi) euroa. (“It costs 5€.”)
    Se tekee yhteensä 10 (kymmenen) euroa. (“It’s 10€ altogether.”)
    Hinta on 12 (kaksitoista) euroa/päivä. (“The price is 12€/day.”)

Watch this short video on FinnishPod101.com to learn more about the Finnish currency (euro) and how to talk about prices.

Kuinka paljon se maksaa? (“How much is it?”)

3. Conclusion

In this guide, we’ve covered a simple way to turn a statement into a question, the basic Finnish question words, and the ten most common questions you’ll want to memorize before your next Finnish conversation.

To practice, try writing a Finnish question and answer from this article in the comments section. We look forward to seeing how you do! 

We hope you’re feeling more confident asking and answering questions and that you’re just buzzing to go out there and use your skills in real life. Keep practicing—we’ll see you back at FinnishPod101.com soon for another Finnish lesson!

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Finnish Language Exam for Proficiency (YKI) 2020 Guide

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Whether you’re looking for more information about the official Finnish Language Proficiency Test (YKI), or are already busy studying for the exam, our comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about the test.

We’ll start by looking at the benefits of taking this test and how you can register for it. Then we’ll dive into the details about the test itself, and wrap up with useful tips on preparing for the YKI!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Study Strategies in Finnish Table of Contents
  1. What is YKI?
  2. How Do You Pass the YKI?
  3. Conclusion

1. What is YKI?

YKI (Yleinen Kielitutkinto) is the National Certificate of Language Proficiency in the Finnish language. The YKI test is intended for adults who wish to demonstrate their Finnish language skills, and anyone is welcome to sign up for the exam. (Note that YKI tests are also offered in eight other languages.)

But how long is the YKI test valid? The official certificate—issued by the University of Jyväskylä and sanctioned by opetusministeriö (the Finnish Ministry of Education)—remains valid for life, making it an excellent way to prove your proficiency in Finnish.

A- What are the levels of the YKI exam?

The test follows a standardized format that’s in accordance with the requirements of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). The three proficiency levels of YKI—basic, intermediate, and advanced—can be further divided into six proficiency levels that correspond to the classification system of CEFR.

  • CEFR A1 – National Certificate 1 (Basic)
  • CEFR A2 – National Certificate 2 (Basic)
  • CEFR B1 – National Certificate 3 (Intermediate)
  • CEFR B2 – National Certificate 4 (Intermediate)
  • CEFR C1 – National Certificate 5 (Advanced)
  • CEFR C2 – National Certificate 6 (Advanced)

The “basic” YKI test level is intended for people who can handle everyday situations in Finnish. The “intermediate” level is for people who can speak the language with some confidence. The “advanced” level is for people who speak the language extremely well. Familiarize yourself with the requirements for each level in order to decide which one is most appropriate for you before registering.

It may also be good to take a test to determine your current proficiency level. If you’re lucky enough to have access to a Finnish language professional, you could ask them to help assess your level.

B- Why should you take the YKI exam?

Passing the exam and getting your hands on an official YKI certificate can come in handy in several situations, such as if you plan to:

  • Study in a Finnish university
  • Apply for a job in Finland
  • Qualify for a language bonus at your job
  • Apply for a Finnish citizenship

Always check to see if you need a certificate at a specific level before taking the test! For example, if you want to apply for a Finnish citizenship, you’ll need to pass both the written and oral components of your YKI exam at the intermediate level (proficiency level 3 or 4).

If, at this point, you’ve realized that you don’t actually need an official YKI certificate, but would still love to take a Finnish test online, consider completing a free language portfolio test on FinnishPod101.com. The exam is available to Premium PLUS subscribers—simply ask your teacher, who’ll be very happy to help!

Someone Holding a Small Finnish Flag

You need to pass the YKI language test to apply for Finnish citizenship.

C- What’s included in the YKI Finnish language test?

The YKI Finnish language exam includes the following sections:

1. Tekstin ymmärtäminen (Reading comprehension)

2. Kirjoittaminen (Writing)

3. Puheen ymmärtäminen (Listening comprehension)

4. Puhuminen (Speaking)

Each section is timed, and the exam will take 3.5 to 4 hours to complete at the basic and intermediate levels, and 5 to 6 hours at the advanced level. No score is given—your certificate will simply state at which level you passed the exam.

The YKI focuses on practical, everyday situations, such as making a GP appointment or writing a letter to a friend. In other words, it’s not necessary to be familiar with any special jargon or the Finnish culture to pass the language test.

Find more details about the different components of the YKI test on the University of Jyväskylä website. You’ll also find useful YKI test samples there that will help you become familiar with the types of texts, recordings, and questions that you’re likely to come across when you take the real exam.

D- How and where do you take the test?

The YKI Finnish language test is offered in dozens of test centers across Finland. (Unfortunately, you can’t do the test outside of Finland!)

You can find the YKI test dates and locations for all upcoming tests here. Choose your language (suomi) and your level in order to see where and when future tests will be held.

Take note of the registration period, and be aware that the intermediate-level (keskitaso) tests are hugely popular, so try to sign up as soon as possible!

When registering, contact the test center directly by phone or email to confirm that they have some places left. If they do, you can go ahead and submit a registration form and arrange to pay the registration fee.

Registration fees are as follows:

  • Basic Level: 100 euros
  • Intermediate Level: 123 euros
  • Advanced Level: 160 euros

Finally, if you have special needs, such as dyslexia or a hearing impairment, you can request special arrangements to help you complete the test. You’ll need to fill in an extra form and submit it alongside a medical certificate (or an equivalent document) when registering for your test.

2. How Do You Pass the YKI?

Language Skills

Now let’s take a look at the different sections of the official Finnish language test in more detail. We’ll cover the YKI test format, what you’ll need to know about each part of the exam, and how you can best prepare in advance to boost your chances of success.

1 – Reading Comprehension

Duration: 60 minutes, 6 exercises

The Test

In the reading comprehension part of the test, you’ll read six different texts and answer questions about them. The types of texts you might encounter include letters, emails, adverts, newspaper articles, and stories. 

You’ll be answering a combination of multiple-choice questions, true-or-false questions, and open-ended questions. At the advanced level, you may also be asked to write a short summary of a text. 

Pro-Tips

  • Make sure you answer every question, even when you’re not sure about it—incorrect answers are not penalized.
  • Remember that you only have about ten minutes per text.

How to Practice

  • Keep reading a variety of written material, from blogs to comics, on a number of different subjects.
  • Newspaper articles are a YKI staple, so make sure some of your reading material is from sites like Selkosanomat (a news site in simple, uncomplicated Finnish).
  • For more of a challenge, read Helsingin Sanomat (Finland’s largest subscription newspaper).
A Woman Reading a Book

Reading a wide range of material is one of the best ways to prepare for YKI.

2 – Writing

Duration: 55 minutes, 3 exercises

The Test

In the writing part of the exam, you’ll be asked to compose three different texts. The subject matter of these tasks varies, but depending on your level, you might be asked to write an informal message, an opinion piece, or a job application. The last task is typically an opinion piece—you’ll be given two topics to choose from.

Pro-Tips

  • You must complete all three tasks to pass this section.
  • Make sure your handwriting is legible!
  • Writing text that’s understandable and written in an appropriate tone is more important than perfect grammar.
  • Jot down a brief outline before you start writing each piece.

How to Practice

  • Plan in advance how you’re going to structure different types of texts, and compose letters, emails, and opinion pieces.
  • Learn and memorize various ways of expressing an opinion in Finnish.
  • Read real-life opinion pieces and reviews.

If you’re a Premium PLUS subscriber, ask your teacher to give you feedback on your practice pieces.

Someone Writing in a Journal

Why not start a journal in Finnish to practice your writing skills?

3 – Listening 

Duration: around 40 minutes, 7 questions

The Test

In the listening comprehension part of the test, you’ll listen to four different recordings. The types of recordings you may hear include announcements, commercials, interviews, and conversations. At the basic and intermediate levels, you’ll listen to each recording twice.

Pro-Tips

  • Answer all questions, even when you’re not sure—incorrect answers are not penalized.
  • Pay attention to the instructions on the tape as well as those in your answer booklet.
  • Although the recordings focus on everyday situations, be aware that you may hear different dialects and slang words.

How to Practice

  • Make use of FinnishPod101’s large selection of audio and video lessons.
  • Tune into a Finnish radio station as often as you can! Get started with Selkouutiset at Yle Areena (news in simple Finnish), or head over to Yle Puhe for interesting discussions on everything from cookery and the environment to politics and sports.
  • To put your comprehension skills to the test, try out these exercises.
  • Find a Finnish TV show or cartoon that you enjoy watching so you can improve your listening skills almost effortlessly!
A Woman Smiling and Listening to Something with Headphones

When you’ve got that ‘passed the listening test’ feeling!

4 – Speaking

Duration: around 25 minutes, including the preparation

The Test

The speaking section of the test takes place in a language lab. There are four parts, which include taking part in a recorded conversation and preparing a speech about a specific topic.

At the advanced level, the test also includes a face-to-face interview, which will be filmed.

Pro-Tips

  • Always say something—it’s better to make mistakes than to stay quiet!
  • Try to avoid giving extremely short answers.
  • Enunciate and speak loudly.
  • Stick to the correct topic.
  • Check your answer booklet to find out how long you’ll be speaking in each part.

How to Practice

  • When listening to the radio or watching a TV show, come up with your own answers and comments in response to what you hear.
  • If you can practice with a native Finnish speaker, do it as often as you can!
  • Speak out loud to practice your Finnish pronunciation.

If you’re a Premium PLUS subscriber, record yourself and have your teacher evaluate your pronunciation.

A Woman Giving a Speech

The more you practice in advance, the more confident you’ll feel on the big day!

3. Conclusion

You’ve now made it to the end of our YKI guide and should have a pretty good idea if this Finnish language proficiency test is for you! And if you’re all fired up and determined to pass the exam, rest assured that your hard work will pay off. So keep practicing those reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills.

FinnishPod101.com has a large range of valuable resources, from vocabulary lists to fun audio lessons, to help you become confident in every aspect of the Finnish language. And if you’d prefer tailored one-on-one tuition and guidance from an experienced Finnish teacher, our Premium PLUS learning system has everything you need to ace the YKI exam.

Which part of the exam do you think will be the easiest for you? Which part do you feel the most nervous about?

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A Candle in the Dark: St. Lucy’s Day in Finland


The dreary, freezing Finnish winters are not without their joys! In Finland, like many other countries around the world, the winter season also means the arrival of seasonal fun and heartwarming holidays.

St. Lucy’s Day is one such holiday, acting as a symbolic light in the dark for the country. In this article, you’ll learn about the origins of this holiday, how it’s celebrated today, and more fun facts. 

Are you ready? Let’s get started.

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1. What is Saint Lucy’s Day?

A Little Girl Dressed as the Lucia Maiden

In Finland, St. Lucia’s Day is a Catholic holiday that takes place each year on December 13. 

It’s observed in commemoration of Saint Lucy, a fourth-century Christian martyr often associated with valo (“light”) and well-known for her good deeds. She is also known as being the patron saint of the blind and the visually impaired.

According to legend, Lucy had taken a vow of virginity, but her mother wanted her to marry and arranged a marriage for her. Lucy angered the man she was to marry by openly rejecting the idea of marriage, driving him to inform the government officials of her Christian status. She was then poorly treated and murdered for her beliefs. Another story claims that she once helped other Christians who were hiding in dark catacombs by wearing a crown of lighted candles on her head and bringing supplies to them.

Today, Finns see St. Lucy as being light in the pimeys (“darkness”), a connotation especially powerful in a country that often sees long days of darkness contrasted by long days of light. In fact, the name “Lucia” is derived from the Latin word for light: ‘lux.’ The saint’s name could also be translated, in Finnish, as Valotar.

This holiday is more popular in other Nordic countries than it is in Finland. The Finns were introduced to this holiday by the Swedes, who had been introduced to it by Christian missionaries years before. Even today, St. Lucia’s Day tends to be more popular among Swedish-speaking areas of Finland than anywhere else in the country.

    → Do you want to brace yourself for the cold winter days of Finland? See our vocabulary lists for Winter and Winter Clothes!

2. How to Celebrate St. Lucia’s Day 

The Saint Lucy’s Day Procession

There are several St. Lucy’s Day celebrations and traditions in Finland. 

The most important of them all is the choosing of the Lucia-neito (“Lucia-maiden”), a young woman chosen from a selected few. She dresses in a valkoinen (“white”) dress with a punainen (“red”) sash; the white represents purity and light, while the red represents St. Lucy’s martyrdom. The chosen Lucia-maiden is crowned on the steps of the Helsinki Cathedral and then proceeds to participate in the procession around Helsinki. Later, she goes on to perform a number of good deeds, such as visiting hospitals, prisons, and children’s homes to sing and hand out Lucia buns. Finally, the maiden is able to visit the President of the Republic.

Throughout the country, schools often have their own unofficial contests for Lucia-maiden. The winner will dress similarly to how the official maiden does, and take part in a local procession or play. 

The Lucia pulla (“bun”) is the most popular food item on this holiday. These St. Lucy’s Day buns are made with saffron and are often handed out to loved ones to make the holiday more enjoyable for everyone! 


3. Songs of the Sea

Each year, the crowned Lucia-maiden sings a song called Santa Lucia. You may be surprised to find out that this song doesn’t refer to the saint at all!

This was originally an Italian tune sung by fishermen to describe the beauty of Santa Lucia’s seascape. 

4. Essential Finnish Vocabulary for St. Lucia’s Day

An Elf Figurine

Let’s review some of the vocabulary words from this article!

  • Valkoinen – “White”
  • Punainen –  “Red”
  • Tonttu – “Elf”
  • Pyhimys – “Saint”
  • Valo – “Light”
  • Kynttilä – “Candle”
  • Pimeys – “Darkness”
  • Pulla – “Bun”
  • Kulkue – “Procession”
  • Lucia-neito – “Lucia maiden”

Remember that you can find each of these words along with their pronunciation on our St. Lucy’s Day vocabulary list.

Final Thoughts

While St. Lucy’s Day isn’t as popular in Finland as it is in other Nordic and heavily Catholic countries, it still marks a significant date for much of the country. 

We hope you enjoyed learning about St. Lucia’s Day with us, and that you were able to take away some valuable cultural information. If you want to learn even more about Finnish culture and the language, FinnishPod101.com has several blog posts we think you’ll find interesting:

Learning a new language isn’t easy, but you’re already on the right track. With FinnishPod101.com, you can learn Finnish in the fastest, easiest, and most fun way possible with lessons for learners at every level. Create your free lifetime account today, and see how much your skills improve. 

Happy St. Lucia’s Day from the FinnishPod101 team!

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Start Conversing with 10 Common Finnish Sentence Patterns

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Are you eager to start speaking in Finnish, but worry that you’ll need to tackle a ton of complex grammar rules first? You’ll be glad to hear that the best way to learn a language is actually to jump straight in and start speaking it as soon as possible. And learning the most common Finnish sentence patterns is a great way to start!

Our guide will walk you through the top ten sentence patterns that you’ll be using again and again in everyday conversations with Finns. We’ll be keeping things fairly basic so that you can get started fast!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Finnish Table of Contents
  1. Linking Two Nouns: A is B
  2. Describing Things: A is [Adjective]
  3. Expressing “Want”: I Want (to)…
  4. Expressing “Need”: I Need (to)… / I Have to…
  5. Expressing “Like”: I Like (to)… / I Love (to)…
  6. Confirming That You Can Do Something: I Can…
  7. Stating How You’re Feeling: I Am… / I Feel…
  8. The 5 Ws (Who, What, When, Where, Why) and How
  9. Asking for Permission: Can I…? / Could I…?
  10. Turning a Statement into a Question: Do You…?
  11. Final Thoughts

1. Linking Two Nouns: A is B

Sentence patterns

Here’s a very simple Finnish language sentence structure that allows you to link two nouns. The verb we’re using is olla (“to be”).

  • Matti on ystäväni. (“Matti is my friend.”)
  • Siskoni on insinööri. (“My sister is an engineer.”)
  • Tämä on työpaikkani. (“This is my workplace.”)
  • Helsinki on Suomen pääkaupunki. (“Helsinki is Finland’s capital city.”)
  • Se oli hyvä idea. (“It was a good idea.”)

Notice the use of the possessive suffix -ni in the first three examples. In these examples, the possessive suffix stands for the English word “my.” You can also add the word minun (“my”) and say minun ystäväni (“my friend”), but it isn’t necessary. 

For more about Finnish possessive suffixes, look at the relevant section of this Wikipedia page.To get you started on creating more sentences like those above, take a look at our collection of 100 Finnish core words. And here, you can find how to conjugate the verb olla (“to be”) for even more possibilities.

Helsinki, Finland’s capital

Helsinki on Suomen pääkaupunki. (“Helsinki is Finland’s capital city.”)

2. Describing Things: A is [Adjective]

We’ll stick to the verb olla (“to be”) for now, but this time, we’ll use it with an adjective.

  • Henri on komea. (“Henri is handsome.”)
  • Tämä auto on uusi. (“This car is new.”)
  • Huomisen tapaaminen on erittäin tärkeä. (“Tomorrow’s meeting is extremely important.”)
  • Sinä olet todella ystävällinen. (“You are really friendly.”)
  • Elokuva, jonka katsoimme eilen, oli pelottava. (“The film we watched yesterday was scary.”)

But wait, what if you want to say that A is not B? In that case, you need to inflect the negative particle ei (“no”) and use the present base form of olla (“to be”):

  • Minä en ole kotona. (“I am not home.”)
  • Sinä et ole opiskelija. (“You are not a student.”)
  • Se ei ole totta. (“It’s not true.”)
  • Me emme ole lomalla. (“We are not on holiday.”)
  • Te ette ole nukkumassa. (“You are not sleeping.” – plural or polite singular “you”)
  • He eivät ole valmiita lähtemään. (“They are not ready to go.”)

Why not put together some of your own Finnish phrases and sentences? Get creative using this list of the most common Finnish adjectives!

a large chair, small table, and cactus plant

Minä en ole kotona. (“I am not home.”)

3. Expressing “Want”: I Want (to)…

Whether you’re in a restaurant or at a friend’s place, being able to say what you want in Finnish will come in handy for sure! We’ll use the verb haluta (“to want”), and will cover a direct way (expressed with the indicative mood) and a more polite way (expressed with the conditional mood) to express want:

  • Minä haluan… (“I want…”)
  • Minä haluaisin… (“I would like…”)

Here are some Finnish sentence examples:

  • Minä haluan hernekeittoa. (“I want pea soup.”)
  • Minä haluan nähdä sinut. (“I want to see you.”)
  • Minä haluan tulla mukaan. (“I want to come along.”)

And a few examples using the more polite haluaisin (“I would like”):

  • Minä haluaisin tilata. (“I would like to order.”)
  • Minä haluaisin ehdottaa jotakin. (“I would like to suggest something.”)
  • Minä haluaisin että tulet häihimme. (“I would like you to come to our wedding.”)

Tip: It’s fine to drop the word minä (“I”) in these examples, because it’s already obvious from the conjugation of the verb that you’re talking about yourself.

And of course, it can be equally important to say when you don’t want something! Simply replace haluan (“I want”) with en halua (“I don’t want”).

  • En halua lähteä ulos tänään. (“I don’t want to go out today.”)

Fancy trying some traditional Finnish dishes (besides pea soup)? Learn more about Finnish food in this lesson.

Sentence components

4. Expressing “Need”: I Need (to)… / I Have to…

Being able to say what you need is even more important than being able to express what you want! Just think of how often you end up looking for a bathroom in an unfamiliar city…

We’ll tackle “I need” and “I need to” separately. First, let’s take a look at how to use the verb tarvita (“to need”) with a noun. 

  • Tarvitsen kahvia. (“I need coffee.”)
  • Tarvitsen lisää aikaa. (“I need more time.”)
  • Tarvitsemme parempia ideoita. (“We need better ideas.”)
  • Tarvitsen uuden passin. (“I need a new passport.”)
  • Tarvitsemme vastauksen pian. (“We need an answer soon.”)

In the first three examples, the noun is in the partitive case, and in the last two, the accusative case. (Learn more about Finnish noun cases on Wikipedia.)

Next, we’ll take a look at how to say that you need to do something. It’s a bit more complicated! 

Construct a sentence like this: 

The subject of the sentence in the genitive case, e.g. minun / sinun / meidän (“my” / “your” / “our”) + pitää / täytyy (“have to”) + a verb in the infinitive form.

  • Anteeksi, minun pitää lähteä. (“Sorry, I have to leave.”)
  • Minun pitää käydä vessassa. (“I have to go to the toilet.”)
  • Sinun täytyy tehdä jotakin. (“You have to do something.”)
  • Sinun täytyy harjoitella lisää jos haluat onnistua. (“You have to practice more if you want to succeed.”)
  • Meidän täytyy vain yrittää uudestaan. (“We just have to try again.”)

Not a fan of coffee? Learn words for other drinks in Finnish.

A woman yawning and holding a cup of coffee

Minä tarvitsen kahvia! (“I need coffee!”)

5. Expressing “Like”: I Like (to)… / I Love (to)…

Are you eager to get talking about all the things you enjoy and are passionate about? Then this section is for you!

The verbs we’ll focus on are pitää or tykätä (“to like”) and rakastaa (“to love”).

Let’s take a look at some examples of the Finnish sentence structure using pitää (“to like”) + a noun in the elative case:

  • Minä pidän hänestä. (“I like him/her.”)
  • Minä pidän intialaisesta ruoasta. (“I like Indian food.”)
  • Minä pidän raittiista ilmasta. (“I like fresh air.”)
  • Minä pidän haastavista lautapeleistä. (“I like challenging board games.”)
  • Minä pidän oluesta, mutta juon mieluummin viiniä. (“I like beer, but prefer to drink wine.”)

A common way to express that you like doing something in spoken language is to use the verb tykätä (“to like”) + a verb in the infinitive form:

  • Minä tykkään laittaa ruokaa. (“I like to cook.”)
  • Minä tykkään herätä aikaisin. (“I like to wake up early.”)
  • Minä tykkään poimia marjoja. (“I like picking berries.”)
  • Minä tykkään kuunnella rock-musiikkia. (“I like to listen to rock music.”)
  • Minä tykkään neuloa sukkia lapsilleni. (“I like to knit socks for my children.”)

If you truly love something or want to emphasize just how much you like it, you can use the verb rakastaa (“to love”) + a noun in the partitive case or a verb in the infinitive form:

  • Minä rakastan sinua. (“I love you.”)
  • Minä rakastan perhettäni. (“I love my family.”)
  • Minä rakastan puhua filosofiasta samanhenkisten ihmisten kanssa. (“I love to talk about philosophy with like-minded people.”)

 Dating a Finn? Then you’ll need this lesson on romantic words!

a family eating ice cream at the mall

Minä rakastan perhettäni. (“I love my family.”)

6. Confirming That You Can Do Something: I Can…

A word of warning: Finns are usually very modest and aren’t fans of excessive bragging! However, there are situations in which it’s very useful to be able to state that you can do something.

All of these three verbs mean “can,” but note the slight differences in meaning:

  • Osata (“have the skills to”)
  • Pystyä (“have the ability to”)
  • Voida (“to be willing to”)

Let’s look at some specific examples:

  • Minä osaan uida. (“I can swim.”)
  • Minä osaan puhua suomea. (“I can speak Finnish.”)
  • Minä pystyn siihen! (“I can do it!”)
  • Minä pystyn olemaan hiljaa, jos todella yritän. (“I can be quiet if I really try.”)
  • Minä voin auttaa sinua. (“I can help you.”)
  • Minä voin tulla sinua asemalle vastaan. (“I can come and meet you at the station.”) 

These sports are popular in Finland—can you play any of them?

 7. Stating How You’re Feeling: I Am… / I Feel…

Letting others know how we feel can be really important sometimes! And sometimes, it’s very simple. Just look at these straightforward examples:

  • Minä olen onnellinen. (“I am happy.”)
  • Minä olen surullinen. (“I am sad.”)

However, when talking about how you’re feeling (especially physically), you’ll typically want to use the following sentence structure:

Minulla on (“I have”) + a noun in the nominative case, such as nälkä (“hunger”). 

Let’s take a look at some examples:

  • Minulla on nälkä. (“I am hungry.”)
  • Minulla on huono olo. (“I am feeling unwell.”)
  • Minulla on ikävä sinua. (“I miss you.”)

Learn more words and phrases to describe how you’re feeling, and prepare for emergencies by learning these important phrases.

a kid holding a fork and knife in his hands at the dinner table

Minulla on nälkä. (“I am hungry.”)

8. The 5 Ws (Who, What, When, Where, Why) and How

Whether you need to ask for directions or want to get to know someone better, learning how to ask questions should be a top priority for anyone learning Finnish! We’ll get you started by covering the most important question words and how to use them.

  • Kuka (“Who”)
  • Mikä / Mitä (“What”)
  • Milloin (“When”)
  • Missä (“Where”)
  • Miksi (“Why”)
  • Miten (“How”)

Note that question words can be singular or plural, and used in different cases—we’ll keep things simple and focus on the most basic ones here. FinnishPod101.com has more relevant lessons on how to use question words that you can check out, though. Why not start with the word “what”?

 Here are the question words we mentioned in action: 

  • Kuka on Suomen presidentti? (“Who is Finland’s president?”)
  • Mikä on hyvä lahja 5-vuotiaalle? (“What is a good gift for a 5-year-old?”)
  • Mitä tämä tarkoittaa? (“What does this mean?”)
  • Milloin pääset töistä? (“When do you get off work?”)
  • Missä haluaisit tavata? (“Where would you like to meet?”)
  • Miksi et tullut juhliimme? (“Why didn’t you come to our party?”)
  • Miten pääsen täältä keskustaan? (“How do I get from here to the city center?”)

To figure out whether to use mikä or mitä (“what”), follow this rule of thumb: Use mikä when the subject is concrete, defined, or countable. Use mitä when the subject is abstract, undefined, or uncountable.Get even more confident in your question-asking skills by learning the top fifteen questions in Finnish with FinnishPod101.com.

a man and woman on bikes looking at a map

Miten pääsen täältä keskustaan? (“How do I get from here to the city center?”)

9. Asking for Permission: Can I…? / Could I…?

Finns appreciate good manners, and knowing how to ask for something politely will always help you make a good first impression. 

The verbs we’re going to use are saada and voida.

  • Saanko…? (“Can I…?”)
  • Saisinko…? (“Could I…?”)
  • Voinko…? (“Can I…?”)
  • Voisinko…? (“Could I…?”)

 Here are a few examples. (Using the equivalent of “could I” is more polite.)

  • Saanko ehdottaa jotakin? (“Can I suggest something?”)
  • Saisinko ruokalistan? (“Could I have the menu?”)
  • Voinko tulla sisään? (“Can I come in?”)
  • Voisinko puhua kanssasi? (“Could I talk with you?”)

 Learn more about manners and the power of “thank you” in Finland on our blog.

10. Turning a Statement into a Question: Do You…?

Here’s a neat trick that you can use to turn a statement sentence in Finnish into a question. First, take a simple sentence like the ones we looked at earlier in this article:

  • Hän on suomalainen. (“He/she is Finnish.”)

Now, switch the verb and the noun around and add -ko or -kö to the verb (use -kö if the verb also contains ä or ö; otherwise, stick to -ko), and your question looks like this:

  • Onko hän suomalainen? (“Is he/she Finnish?”)

Here are a few more examples:

  • Sinä syöt lihaa. (“You eat meat.”) > Syötkö sinä lihaa? (“Do you eat meat?”)
  • Sinä pidät koirista. (“You like dogs.”) > Pidätkö sinä koirista? (“Do you like dogs?”)
  • Hän lukee sanomalehtiä. (“He/she reads newspapers.”) > Lukeeko hän sanomalehtiä? (“Does he/she read newspapers?”)
  • Elina osti leipää. (“Elina bought bread.”) > Ostiko Elina leipää? (“Did Elina buy bread?”)

Who knew Finnish sentence patterns could be this easy? Why not try your hand at forming more questions like the ones above? Look up more common Finnish verbs in FinnishPod101’s guide to the fifty most common Finnish verbs.

11. Final Thoughts

You’ve now learned the ten most useful Finnish sentence patterns, and are hopefully feeling excited about going out there and using them in real life! 

Keep practicing those skills, and do visit FinnishPod101.com anytime to further increase your vocabulary, learn correct pronunciation, and brush up on your grammar!

If you have any questions about this lesson, or if we didn’t cover a sentence pattern you want to know, don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments. We’ll do our best to help!

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Finnish Keyboard: How to Install and Type in Finnish

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You asked, so we provided—easy-to-follow instructions on how to set up your electronic devices to write in Finnish! We’ll also give you a few excellent tips on how to use this keyboard, as well as some online and app alternatives if you prefer not to set up a Finnish keyboard.

Log in to Download Your Free Finnish Alphabet Worksheet Table of Contents
  1. Why it’s Important to Learn to Type in Finnish
  2. Setting up Your Computer and Mobile Devices for Finnish
  3. How to Activate an Onscreen Keyboard on Your Computer
  4. How to Change the Language Settings to Finnish on Your Computer
  5. Activating the Finnish Keyboard on Your Mobile Phone and Tablet
  6. Finnish Keyboard Typing Tips
  7. How to Practice Typing Finnish

1. Why it’s Important to Learn to Type in Finnish

A keyboard

Learning a new language is made so much easier when you’re able to read and write/type it. This way, you will:

  • Get the most out of any dictionary and Finnish language apps on your devices
  • Expand your ability to find Finnish websites and use the various search engines
  • Be able to communicate much better online with your Finnish teachers and friends, and look super cool in the process! 

2. Setting up Your Computer and Mobile Devices for Finnish

A phone charging on a dock

It takes only a few steps to set up any of your devices to read and type in Finnish. It’s super-easy on your mobile phone and tablet, and a simple process on your computer.

On your computer, you’ll first activate the onscreen keyboard to work with. You’ll only be using your mouse or touchpad/pointer for this keyboard. Then, you’ll need to change the language setting to Finnish, so all text will appear in Finnish. You could also opt to use online keyboards instead. Read on for the links!

On your mobile devices, it’s even easier—you only have to change the keyboard. We also provide a few alternatives in the form of online keyboards and downloadable apps.

3. How to Activate an Onscreen Keyboard on Your Computer

1- Mac

1. Go to System Preferences > Keyboard.

2. Check the option “Show Keyboard & Character Viewers in Menu Bar.”

3. You’ll see a new icon on the right side of the main bar; click on it and select “Show Keyboard Viewer.”

A screenshot of the keyboard viewer screen

2- Windows

1. Go to Start > Settings > Easy Access > Keyboard.

2. Turn on the option for “Onscreen Keyboard.”

3- Online Keyboards

If you don’t want to activate your computer’s onscreen keyboard, you also have the option to use online keyboards. Here are some good options:

4- Add-ons of Extensions for Browsers

Instead of an online keyboard, you could also choose to download a Google extension to your browser for a language input tool. The Google Input Tools extension allows users to use input tools in Chrome web pages, for example.

4. How to Change the Language Settings to Finnish on Your Computer

Man looking at his computer

Now that you’re all set to work with an onscreen keyboard on your computer, it’s time to download the Finnish language pack for your operating system of choice:

  • Windows 8 (and higher)
  • Windows 7
  • Mac (OS X and higher)

1- Windows 8 (and higher)

  1. Go to “Settings” > “Change PC Settings” > “Time & Language” > “Region & Language.”
  2. Click on “Add a Language” and select “Finnish.” This will add it to your list of languages. It will appear as suomi with the note “language pack available.”
  3. Click on “suomi” > “Options” > “Download.” It’ll take a few minutes to download and install the language pack.
  4. As a keyboard layout, you’ll only need the one marked as “Finnish – suomi.” You can ignore other keyboard layouts.

2- Windows 7

  1. Go to “Start” > “Control Panel” > “Clock, Language, and Region.”
  2. On the “Region and Language” option, click on “Change Keyboards or Other Input Methods.”
  3. On the “Keyboards and Languages” tab, click on “Change Keyboards” > “Add” > “Finnish.”
  4. Expand the option of “Finnish” and then expand the option “Keyboard.” Select the keyboard layout marked as “Finnish.” You can ignore other keyboard layouts. Click “OK” and then “Apply.”

3- Mac (OS X and higher)

If you can’t see the language listed, please make sure to select the right option from System Preferences > Language and Region

1. From the Apple Menu (top left corner of the screen) go to System Preferences > Keyboard.

2. Click the Input Sources tab and a list of available keyboards and input methods will appear.

3. Click on the plus button, select “Finnish,” and add the “Finnish” keyboard.

Adding a system language

5. Activating the Finnish Keyboard on Your Mobile Phone and Tablet

Texting and searching in Finnish will greatly help you master the language! Adding a Finnish keyboard on your mobile phone and/or tablet is super-easy.

You could also opt to download an app instead of adding a keyboard. Read on for our suggestions.

Below are the instructions for both iOS and Android mobile phones and tablets.

1- iOS

1. Go to Settings > General > Keyboard.

2. Tap “Keyboards” and then “Add New Keyboard.”

3. Select “Finnish” from the list.

4. When typing, you can switch between languages by tapping and holding on the icon to reveal the keyboard language menu.

2- Android

1. Go to Settings > General Management > Language and Input > On-screen Keyboard (or “Virtual Keyboard” on some devices) > Samsung Keyboard.

2. Tap “Language and Types” or “ + Select Input Languages” depending on the device and then “MANAGE INPUT LANGUAGES” if available.

3. Select “suomi” from the list.

4. When typing, you can switch between languages by swiping the space bar.

3- Applications for Mobile Phones

If you don’t want to add a keyboard on your mobile phone or tablet, this is a good app to consider:

6. Finnish Keyboard Typing Tips

Typing in Finnish can be very challenging at first! Therefore, we added here a few useful tips to make it easier to use your Finnish keyboard.

A man typing on a computer

1- Computer

  • If you don’t have access to a virtual keyboard, the Finnish letter “Ä” can be written as “ae” and “Ö” can be written as “oe.” This system is used internationally in official documents (such as passports and ID cards) and even in sports competitions. 

2- Mobile Phones

  • Like before, if you don’t have access to a virtual keyboard, the Finnish letter “Ä” can be written as “ae” and “Ö” can be written as “oe.” On a mobile keyboard, though, these characters should appear as options if you press and hold the “A” and “O” keys, respectively.

7. How to Practice Typing Finnish

As you probably know by now, learning Finnish is all about practice, practice, and more practice! Strengthen your Finnish typing skills by writing comments on any of our lesson pages, and our teacher will answer. If you’re a FinnishPod101 Premium PLUS member, you can directly text our teacher via the My Teacher app—use your Finnish keyboard to do this!

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Premium PLUS: The Golden Ticket for Language-Learning

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Do you remember the moment you fell in love with languages?

Do you desire to learn or advance in Finnish quickly and effectively?

Then you need a Finnish tutor.

A common question that first-time language-learners ask is “Where do I begin?” The answer? Guidance.

For native English-speakers who want to learn Asian languages, for example, timelines provided by the U.S. Foreign Service Institute can appear discouraging. However, defeating these odds is not unheard of. If you want to beat the odds yourself, one of the best learning options is a subscription to Premium PLUS from Innovative Language.

As an active Premium PLUS member of JapanesePod101.com and KoreanClass101.com myself, I have an enjoyable experience learning at an accelerated pace with at least thirty minutes of study daily. The following Premium PLUS features contribute to my success:

  • Access to thousands of lessons
  • A voice recorder 
  • Spaced-repetition system (SRS) flashcards
  • Weekly homework assignments
  • A personal language instructor

As someone who decided to make Japanese her second language one year ago, I am extremely grateful for Premium PLUS.

Allow me to emphasize on how these Premium PLUS features strengthen my language studies.

Gain Unlimited Access to Audio and Video Lessons!

Woman learning a language with Premium PLUS on a tablet

As a Premium PLUS member, I have full access to the lesson library and other Premium features. Best of all, I’m not limited to one level; I can learn to my heart’s content with upper-level courses.

There are lessons on various topics that tackle crucial language-learning elements, such as:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Listening
  • Speaking
  • Conversation

Specifically, there are pathways. Pathways are collections of lessons that center on a specific topic. Some Innovative Language sites, like JapanesePod101.com, even have pathways geared toward proficiency tests. For example, the JLPT N3 Master Course pathway.

Because of the abundance of lessons, I’ve found pathways in the lesson library to help me prepare for certain events. Thanks to the “Speaking Perfect Japanese at a Restaurant” pathway, I spoke fully in Japanese while dining in Japan. Additionally, I participated in conversations at language exchange meetups in South Korea after completing the “Top 25 Korean Questions You Need to Know” pathway.

Each lesson has lesson notes, which I read while simultaneously listening to the audio lesson. This strategy enables me to follow along on key points. Lesson notes generally contain the following:

  • Dialogue
  • Vocabulary
  • Grammar points
  • Cultural insights

As someone who’s constantly on-the-go, I heavily benefit from mobile access to lessons. Podcasts and lesson notes are available on the Innovative Language app and/or Podcasts app for iOS.

All lessons and their contents are downloadable. Prior to my flights to Japan and South Korea, I downloaded lessons on my iPhone. The apps make learning more convenient for me during my commutes.

Practice Speaking with the Voice Recording Tool!

a young man practicing his pronunciation with a microphone headset

Pronunciation is an essential ingredient in language-learning. Proper pronunciation prompts clear understanding during conversations with native speakers.

Prior to learning full Korean sentences, my online Korean language tutor assigned the “Hana Hana Hangul” pathway to me. It demonstrated the writing and pronunciation of Hangul, the Korean alphabet. Throughout this pathway, I submitted recordings of my Hangul character pronunciations to my language teacher for review.

I was given a similar task on JapanesePod101.com with the “Ultimate Japanese Pronunciation Guide” pathway. My Japanese language teacher tested my pronunciation of the Japanese characters kana. My completion of the two pathways boosted my confidence in speaking.

Speaking is one of the more challenging components of learning a language. The voice recording tool in particular was a great way for me to improve my speaking skills. Further, because the lesson dialogues are spoken by native speakers, I’m able to practice speaking naturally.

This feature is also available for vocabulary words and sample sentences. Being able to hear these recordings improves my pronunciation skills for languages like Japanese, where intonation can change the meaning of a word entirely. The voice recorder examines my speed and tone. I also follow up by sending a recording to my online language tutor for feedback.

A great way to boost one’s speaking confidence is to shadow native speakers. During the vocabulary reviews, it’s helpful for me to hear the breakdown of each word; doing so makes a word that was originally difficult to even read a breeze to say!

Some lessons create opportunities to speak your own sentences. For example, the “Top 25 Korean Questions You Need to Know” pathway presents opportunities to answer questions personally. This helps you gain the ability to give answers as the unique individual you are.

Example Scenario:

The host asks the following question:

어디에 살고 있습니까?

eodieseo salgo isseumnikka

“Where do you live?”

If you live in Tokyo, you would readily say the following:

도쿄에 살고 있습니다.

Tokyo-e salgo isseumnida.

“I live in Tokyo.”

Increase Your Vocab with Spaced-Repetition Flashcards and More!

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Imagine having a conversation with a native speaker and hesitating because you lack a solid vocabulary base.

Premium PLUS offers various features to expand learners’ vocabulary, including Free Gifts of the Month. FinnishPod101’s free gifts for April 2020 included an e-book with “400 Everyday Phrases for Beginners,” and the content is updated every month. When I download free resources like this, I find opportunities to use them with co-teachers, friends, or my language tutors.

An effective way to learn vocabulary is with SRS flashcards. SRS is a system designed for learning a new word and reviewing it in varying time intervals.

You can create and study flashcard decks, whether it’s your Word Bank or a certain vocabulary list. For example, if you need to visit a post office, the “Post Office” vocabulary list for your target language would be beneficial to study prior to your visit.

In addition to the SRS flashcards, each lesson has a vocabulary slideshow and quiz to review the lesson’s vocabulary.

There’s also the 2000 Core Word List, which includes the most commonly used words in your target language. Starting from the 100 Core Word List, you’ll gradually build up your knowledge of useful vocabulary. These lists can be studied with SRS flashcards, too.

With the SRS flashcards, you can change the settings to your liking. The settings range from different card types to number of new cards per deck. Personally, I give myself vocabulary tests by changing the settings.

After studying a number of flashcards, I change the card types to listening comprehension and/or production. Then I test myself by writing the translation of the word or the spoken word or phrase.

The change in settings allow me to remember vocabulary and learn how to identify the words. This is especially helpful with Japanese kanji!

Complete Homework Assignments!

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Homework assignments are advantageous to my language studies. There are homework assignments auto-generated weekly. They range from multiple-choice quizzes to writing assignments.

Language tutors are readily available for homework help. Some writing assignments, for instance, require use of unfamiliar vocabulary. In such cases, my language teachers assist me by forwarding related lessons or vocabulary lists.

In addition to these auto-generated homework tasks, language tutors customize daily assignments. My daily homework assignments include submitting three written sentences that apply the target grammar point of that lesson, and then blindly audio-recording those sentences. My personal language tutor follows up with feedback and corrections, if needed.

Your language tutors also provide assignments upon requests. When I wanted to review grammar, my Korean teacher sent related quizzes and assignments. Thus, you are not only limited to the auto-generated assignments.

Every weekend, I review by re-reading those written sentences. It helps me remember sentence structures, grammar points, and vocabulary to apply in real-world contexts.

Furthermore, I can track my progress with language portfolios every trimester. It’s like a midterm exam that tests my listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills.

Get Your Own Personal Language Teacher!

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My language teachers cater to my goals with personalized and achievable learning programs. The tangible support of my online language teachers makes it evident that we share common goals.

Once I share a short-term or long-term goal with my teacher, we establish a plan or pathway that will ultimately result in success. I coordinate with my teachers regularly to ensure the personalized learning programs are prosperous. For example, during my JLPT studies, my Japanese language tutor assigned me practice tests.

Your language tutor is available for outside help as well. When I bought drama CDs in Japan, I had difficulty transliterating the dialogue. My Japanese teacher forwarded me the script to read along as I listened.

Additionally, I often practice Korean and Japanese with music. I memorize one line of the lyrics daily. Every time, I learn a new grammar point and new vocabulary. I add the vocabulary to my SRS flashcards, locate the grammar in the Grammar Bank, and study the associated lessons online.

I send my teachers the name of the songs, making them aware of my new goal. One time, my song for Korean was “If You Do” by GOT7. My Korean teacher revealed that she was a huge fan of GOT7 like me! For Japanese, it was “CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA,” also known as the Dragonball Z theme song. My Japanese teacher excitedly told me that she sang the song a lot as a kid!

A remarkable thing happened to me in South Korea. I was stressed about opening a bank account with limited Korean. I sought help from my Korean teacher. She forwarded me a script of a bank conversation.

After two days, I visited the local bank. It all started with my opening sentence:

은행 계좌를 만들고 싶어요

eunhaeng gyejwaleul mandeulgo sip-eoyo.

I want to open a bank account.

Everything went smoothly, and I exited the bank with a new account!

The MyTeacher Messenger allows me to share visuals with my teachers for regular interaction, including videos to critique my pronunciation mechanisms. I improve my listening and speaking skills by exchanging audio with my teachers. In addition to my written homework assignments, I exchange messages with my language teachers in my target language. This connection with my teachers enables me to experience the culture as well as the language.

Why You Should Subscribe to Premium PLUS

It’s impossible for me to imagine my continuous progress with Japanese and Korean without Premium PLUS. Everything—from the SRS flashcards to my language teachers—makes learning languages enjoyable and clear-cut.

You’re assured to undergo the same experience with Premium PLUS. You’ll gain access to the aforementioned features as well as all of the Premium features.

Complete lessons and assignments to advance in your target language. Increase your vocabulary with the “2000 Core Word List” for that language and SRS flashcards. Learn on-the-go with the Innovative Language app and/or Podcasts app for iOS users.

Learning a new language takes dedication and commitment. The Premium PLUS features make learning irresistibly exciting. You’ll look forward to learning daily with your language tutor.

As of right now, your challenge is to subscribe to Premium PLUS! Complete your assessment, and meet your new Finnish teacher.

Have fun learning your target language in the fastest and easiest way!

Subscribe to Posted by FinnishPod101.com in Feature Spotlight, Finnish Language, Finnish Online, Learn Finnish, Site Features, Team FinnishPod101

Telling Time in Finnish – Everything You Need to Know

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What’s your relationship with the clock like? Does it run your day from a morning alarm to a cut-off chime for bed, or are you more of a go-with-the-flow type, letting your mood and emotions decide how much you fall in line with time?

Understanding time in Finnish is an important part of your studies. As humans, our lives are filled with habits and schedules. From waking up and going to work or gym, to missing rush hour traffic on our way home, we’re always aware of time. We have routines around coffee breaks, meetings, soccer games and vacations. In fact, time can seem rather capricious – going slowly, going fast, sometimes against us, other times on our side – like a force that has a life of its own.

In science, time is often referred to as a fourth dimension and many physicists and philosophers think that if we understood the physics of the universe, we would see that time is an illusion. We sense an ‘arrow’ or direction of time because we have memories, but really time is just a construct that humans have created to help make sense of the world. 

On the other hand, poets through the ages have written impassioned thoughts about time, depicting it as both a relentless thief and an immensely precious resource, not to be wasted at any cost.

Well, poets and scientists may have their views, but in our everyday lives there’s the question of practicality, isn’t there? I mean, if you have plans and want things to happen your way, there’s a certain amount of conforming to the human rules of time that you can’t avoid. 

In ‘The Little Prince’ by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the prince has a rose that he falls in love with, and he tenderly protects it with a windscreen and places it under a glass dome on his tiny planet.  I love this quote from the book:  “It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”  If we truly love something, we spend time with it and not a second of that time could ever be seen as wasted. I feel that way about horses, my children, travel and learning languages

With that in mind, I’d like to take you on a journey into ‘time’ from a Finnish perspective. It’s fun, it’s informative and it’s a basic necessity if you’re learning the language – especially if you plan to travel. FinnishPod101 has all the vocab you need to fall in love with telling time in Finnish, and not a minute will be wasted.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Time Phrases in Finnish Table of Contents
  1. Talking about Time in Finnish
  2. How to Tell the Time in Finnish
  3. Conclusion

1. Talking about Time in Finnish

As a traveler, your primary need for knowing how to read the hour in Finnish will be for transportation schedules: the bus, train, airplane, ferry, taxi… whatever you plan to use to get from A to B, it won’t wait for you! Fortunately, it’s really not complicated. You already have a firm grasp of time in English and you know you’ll need to reset your watch and phone to the local time. Great – that means you’ll have the correct time on your person. 

We’re so used to just looking at our phones for the time, that it’s easy to take this convenience for granted and forget some travel basics: in a foreign country, times won’t always be written digitally. If you see the time written in words, it’ll be the same challenge to you as hearing it spoken: you’ll need to be familiar with the language. 

You may be surprised at how often ‘time’ comes into conversation. Learning the Finnish terms for time will help you when you have to call a taxi, ask about opening and closing times of events and tourist attractions, restaurants and bars and even late-night food cafes.

My biggest annoyance when traveling is not being able to get coffee and amazingly, even at nice hotels this has happened more times than I care to think about. I’ll be up late planning something, writing my blog or chatting and when I go looking for coffee downstairs, I’m told the kitchen is closed or the ‘coffee lady’ has gone to sleep. Frustrating!

If you’re doing a homestay or at a youth hostel or backpackers, there will probably also be a limited timeframe for when you can grab dinner. Do you know how to ask when it’s time to eat in Finnish? I’ve learned that it’s vital to know how to make my queries clearly understood to accommodation staff and for me to clearly understand their answers. Perfect your ‘time in Finnish’ translations early on – you’ll thank me. 

At FinnishPod101, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of Finnish time words and phrases to get you going. 

Pedestrians in a city

1- Morning – aamu

Morning is the time when we wake up from our dreamworld, hopefully fully rested and restored; we brew the first delicious cup of coffee for the day and watch the sunrise as we prepare for another glorious twelve hours of life. No matter what happened the day before, a new morning is a chance to make everything right. 

I like these quiet hours for language practice, as my mind is clear and receptive to learning new things. I start by writing the Finnish time, date and word of the day on my whiteboard, then get back under the covers for an engrossing lesson.

Time in the morning is written as AM or A.M., which stands for ante meridiem – meaning ‘before midday’ in Latin.

Person typing with coffee next to them

2- Evening – ilta

Evening is the part of night when we’re still awake and doing things, winding down from the day. Whether you enjoy a tasty international dinner with friends, go out to see a show, or curl up on the couch with a Finnish snack and your favorite TV series, evening is a good time to forget your worries and do something that relaxes you. If you’re checking in with your Facebook friends, say hi to us, too!  

Evening is also an ideal time to catch up on your Finnish studies. The neighbourhood outside is likely to be quieter and time is yours, so grab a glass of wine or a delicious local tea, and see what’s new on your Mac App or Kindle

3- Daytime – päiväsaika

Daytime is defined as the period from early morning to early evening when the sun is visible outside. In other words: from sunrise to sunset.  Where you are in the world, as well as the season, will determine how many daylight hours you get. 

Interestingly, in locations north of the Arctic Circle and south of the Antarctic Circle, in summertime the sun does not sink below the horizon within a 24-hour period, bringing the natural phenomenon of the midnight sun.  You could only experience this in the north, though, because there aren’t any permanent human settlements south of the Antarctic Circle.

4- Nighttime – yö

Nighttime is all the hours from sunset to sunrise and depending on where in the country you are, people may be partying all night, or asleep from full-dark. 

In the same northernmost and southernmost regions where you can experience a midnight sun, winter brings the opposite phenomenon: the polar night. Can you imagine a night that lasts for more than 24 hours? 

Girl sleeping; moon and starry sky

5- Hour – tunti

An hour is a unit of time made up of 60 minutes and is a variable measure of one-24th of a day – also defined by geeks as 3 600 atomic seconds. Of all the ‘time’ words we use on a daily basis, the hour is the most important, as time of day is typically expressed in terms of hours. 

One of the interesting methods of keeping time that people have come up with is the hourglass. Although the origins are unclear, there’s evidence pointing to the hourglass being invented around 1000 – 1100 AD and one of the ways we know this, is from hourglasses being depicted in very old murals. These days, with clocks and watches in every direction we look, they’re really only used symbolically to represent the passage of time. Still – a powerful reminder of our mortality and to seize the day. In his private journal, the Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius, wrote: “You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.”

An hourglass with falling sand

6- Minute – minuutti

Use this word when you want to say a more precise time and express minutes in Finnish. A minute is a unit of time equal to one sixtieth of an hour, or 60 seconds. A lot can happen in the next 60 seconds. For example, your blood will circulate three times through your entire vascular system and your heart will pump about 2.273 litres of blood. 

7- O’clock – kello

We use “o’clock” when there are no minutes and we’re saying the exact hour, as in “It’s two o’clock.”

The term “o’clock” is a contraction of the term “of the clock”. It comes from 15th-century references to medieval mechanical clocks. At the time, sundials were also common timekeepers. Therefore, to make clear one was referencing a clock’s time, they would say something like, “It is six of the clock” – now shortened to “six o’clock”.

We only use this term when talking about the 12 hour clock, though, not the 24 hour clock (more on that later!) The 12-hour clock can be traced back as far as Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt. Both an Egyptian sundial for daytime use and an Egyptian water clock for nighttime use were found in the tomb of Pharaoh Amenhotep I. Dating to c.1500 BC, these clocks divided their respective times of use into 12 hours each. The Romans also used a 12-hour clock. Daylight was divided into 12 equal hours and the night was divided into four watches. 

These days, the internet has made it very easy to know what the time is in any part of the world.  Speaking of which, why not add the Finnish time zone clock to your laptop?

Many different clocks

8- Half past – puoli

When the time is thirty minutes past the hour, in English we say “half past”. Just like the hour, the half-hour is universally used as an orientation point; some languages speak of 30 minutes before the hour (subtraction), whereas others speak of 30 minutes after the hour (addition). 

9- AM – aamulla

As mentioned earlier, AM is the abbreviation of the Latin ante meridiem and means before midday. Using ‘AM’ as a tag on your time simply tells people you’re speaking about a time in the morning. In some countries, morning is abbreviated to “AM” and you’ll see this on shop signs everywhere, announcing the opening hour. A typical shop sign might read something like this:

“Business hours are from 7AM to 6PM.” 

Woman in a shop, adjusting the shop sign

10- PM – iltapäivällä

PM is the abbreviation of the Latin post meridiem and means after midday. Along with ‘AM’, you’ll usually find ‘PM’ on store signs and businesses, indicating the closing hours. It’s advisable to learn the difference between the two, since some establishments might only have one or the other on the sign. For example, a night club sign might say: 

“Open from 10 PM until late.” 

11- What time is it now? – Paljonko kello on nyt?

Here’s a very handy question you should memorize, as you can use it in any situation where you don’t have your watch or phone on you. This could be on the beach, in a club, or if you’re stuck anywhere with a flat phone battery. It happens at home, so it can happen when you’re traveling! 

Woman on the phone, looking at her watch

12- One o’clock – kello yksi

One o’clock, or 1 PM, is the average lunch time for many people around the world – at least, we try to get a meal in at some point between midday and 2 PM.  In terms of duration, the nations vary: Brazililans reportedly take the longest lunch breaks, averaging 48 minutes, whereas Greece reports an average break of only 19 minutes. Historically, Greeks were known for their very leisurely lunch breaks, so it just goes to show how fast the world is changing. If you’re curious about what to expect in Finland, try asking our online community about lunch time in Finnish.

13- Two o’clock – kello kaksi

In his last days, Napoleon Bonaparte famously spoke of “Two o’clock in the morning courage” – meaning unprepared, spontaneous  courage. He was talking about soldiers who are brave enough to tumble out of bed in an instant, straight into action, without time to think or strategize. Do you think you have what it takes? I’m pretty sure all mothers know this feeling!

14- Three o’clock – kello kolme

3 AM can be perceived as the coldest time of day and is not an hour we want to wake up, but meteorologists will tell you that the coldest time is actually half an hour after sunrise. Even though the sun is peeking over the horizon, the solar radiation is still weaker than the earth’s infrared cooling to space.

Clock pointing to 3 o'clock

15- Four o’clock – kello neljä

Do you know anyone who purposely gets up at 4 o’clock in the morning? As crazy as it sounds, there is something to be said for rising at 4 AM while the rest of the world sleeps. If you live on a farm, it might even be normal for you. I know that whenever I’m staying in the countryside, rising early is a lot easier, because there’s a satisfying reason to do so: watching a sunrise from a rooftop, with uninterrupted views, can’t be beat! It’s also likely that you’ll be woken by a cock crowing, or other animals waking to graze in the fresh pre-dawn air. 

In the world of business, you’ll find a small group of ambitious individuals – many entrepreneurs – who swear by the 4 o’clock in the morning rise. I’m not sure I like that idea, but I’d wake up at 4 AM if it was summer and I had my car packed for a vacation!

16- Five o’clock – kello viisi

What better way to signal the transition between work and play than the clock hands striking 5 o’clock? It’s the hour most working people look forward to each day – at least, those who get to stop working at 5 PM.  Meanwhile, millions of retired folks are taking out the wine glasses, as 5 PM is widely accepted as an appropriate time to pour the first glass. I don’t know how traditional your families are, but for as long as I’ve been alive, my grandparents have counted down the milliseconds to five o’clock, and the hour is announced with glee.

A sunset

17- Six o’clock – kello kuusi

This is the time many working people and school kids wake up in the morning. In many parts of the world, 6 o’clock is also a good time to watch the sunrise, go for a run or hit the hiking trails. 

18- Seven o’clock – kello seitsemän

Health gurus will tell you that 7 o’clock in the morning is the best time to eat your first meal of the day, and 7 o’clock in the evening is the time you should eat your last meal. I’ve tried that and I agree, but it’s not always easy!

19- Eight o’clock – kello kahdeksan

8 o’clock in the morning is the time that most businesses open around the world, and the time most kids are in their first lesson at school – still full of energy and willing to participate. Interestingly, it’s also the time most babies are born in the world!  In the evening, 8 o’clock is many young children’s bedtime and the time for parents to watch the evening news. 

Smiling boy in school with his hand up

20- Nine o’clock – kello yhdeksän

It’s good to occasionally sleep late on a weekend and for me, this means waking up at 9 AM. If you’re traveling in Finland and staying at a hotel, planning to sleep late means politely requesting to not be woken up by room service.

21- Ten o’clock – kello kymmenen

10 o’clock in the morning is a popular time to conduct business meetings, and for first break time at schools. We’re usually wide awake and well into our day by then.  But what about the same hour at night? Modern people are often still awake and watching TV at 10 PM, but this isn’t exactly good for us. Experts say that the deepest and most regenerative sleep occurs between 10 PM and 2 AM, so we should already be sound asleep by ten o’clock. 

In advertising, have you ever noticed that the hands of the clock usually point to 10:10? Have a look next time you see a watch on a billboard or magazine. The reason? Aesthetics. Somehow, the human brain finds the symmetry pleasing. When the clock hands are at ten and two, they create a ‘smiley’ face and don’t cover any key details, like a logo, on the clock face. 

22- Eleven o’clock – kello yksitoista

When I see this time written in words, it makes me think of the hilarious Academy Award-winning very short film, “The Eleven O’Clock”, in which the delusional patient of a psychiatrist believes that he is actually the doctor. 

Then there’s the tradition of ‘elevenses’ – tea time at eleven o’clock in the morning. Strongly ingrained in British culture, elevenses is typically a serving of hot tea or coffee with scones or pastries on the side. It’s a great way to stave off hunger pangs before lunch time arrives. In fact, if you were a hobbit, ‘Elevenses’ would be your third meal of the day!

23- Twelve o’clock – kello kaksitoista

Twelve o’clock in the daytime is considered midday, when the sun is at its zenith and the temperature reaches its highest for that day; it’s written as 12 noon or 12 PM. In most parts of the world, though, this doesn’t happen at precisely 12 PM. ‘Solar noon’ is the time when the sun is actually at its highest point in the sky. The local or clock time of solar noon depends on the longitude and date. If it’s summertime, it’s advisable to stay in the shade during this hour – or at least wear good quality sunblock.

Midnight is the other ‘twelve o’clock’, of course. Midnight is written as 12 AM and is technically the first minute of the morning. On the 24-hour clock, midnight is written as 00:00. 

Sun at noon in a blue cloudy sky

2. How to Tell the Time in Finnish

Telling the time

Using a clock to read the time in Finland is going to be the same as in your own country, since you’re dealing with numbers and not words. You’ll know the time in your head and be able to say it in English, but will you be able to say it out loud in Finnish? 

The first step to saying the time in Finnish is knowing your numbers. How are you doing with that? If you can count to twelve in Finnish, you’re halfway there! We’ve already covered the phrases you’ll need to say the exact hour, as in “five o’clock”, as well as how to say “half past”. What remains is the more specific phrases to describe what the minute hand is doing.

In everyday speech, it’s common to say the minutes past or before the hour. Often we round the minutes off to the nearest five. 

Then, there’s the 24-hour clock. Also known as ‘military time’, the 24-hour clock is used in most countries and, as such, is useful to understand. You’ll find that even in places where the 12-hour clock is standard, certain people will speak in military time or use a combination of the two.  No doubt you’ve also noticed that in written time, the 24-hour clock is commonly used.  One of the most prominent places you’ll have seen this is on airport flight schedules.

Airport flight schedule

Knowing how to tell military time in Finnish is really not complicated if you know your numbers up to twenty-four. One advantage of using the 24-hour clock in Finnish, is there’s no chance of confusing AM and PM.

Once you know how to say the time, it will be pretty easy to also write the time in Finnish. You’re already learning what the different hours and minutes look and sound like, so give yourself some writing practice of the same. 

3. Conclusion

Now that you understand the vocabulary for telling time in Finnish, the best thing you can do to really lock it down is to just practice saying Finnish time daily. Start by replacing English with Finnish whenever you need to say the time; in fact, do this whenever you look at your watch. Say the time to yourself in Finnish and it will become a habit. When learning a new language, the phrases you use habitually are the ones your brain will acquire. It feels amazing when that turning point comes!

To help yourself gain confidence, why don’t you make use of our various apps, downloadable for iPhone and iPad, as well as Android? Choose what works best for you. In addition, we have so many free resources available to supplement your learning, that you simply can’t go wrong. Some of these are:

If you prefer watching your lessons on video, check out our YouTube channel – there are hundreds of videos to browse. For those of you with Roku, we also have a TV channel you can watch.

Well, it’s time for me to say goodbye and for you to practice saying the time in Finnish. Look at the nearest clock and try to say the exact time, down to the seconds. See you again soon at FinnishPod101!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Time Phrases in Finnish

Essential Vocabulary for Directions in Finnish

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Do you know your left from your right in Finnish? Asking for directions can mean the difference between a heavenly day on the beach and a horrible day on your feet, hot and bothered and wondering how to even get back to the hotel. Believe me – I know! On my earlier travels, I didn’t even know simple terms like ‘go straight ahead’ or ‘go west,’ and I was always too shy to ask locals for directions. It wasn’t my ego, but rather the language barrier that held me back. I’ve ended up in some pretty dodgy situations for my lack of directional word skills.

This never needs to happen! When traveling in Finland, you should step out in confidence, ready to work your Finnish magic and have a full day of exploring. It’s about knowing a few basic phrases and then tailoring them with the right directional words for each situation. Do you need to be pointed south in Finnish? Just ask! Believe me, people are more willing to help than you might think. It’s when you ask in English that locals might feel too uncertain to answer you. After all, they don’t want to get you lost. For this reason, it also makes sense that you learn how to understand people’s responses. 

Asking directions in Finland is inevitable. So, learn to love it! Our job here at FinnishPod101 is to give you the confidence you need to fully immerse and be the intrepid adventurer you are.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Around Town in Finnish Table of Contents
  1. Talking about position and direction in Finnish
  2. Getting directions in Finnish
  3. Conclusion

1. Talking about position and direction in Finnish

Have you ever tried saying the compass directions of north, south, east and west in Finnish? These words are good to know, being the most natural and ancient method of finding direction. In the days before GPS – before the invention of the compass, even – knowing the cardinal directions was critical to finding the way. Certainly, if you were lost somewhere in the mountain regions now and using a map to navigate, you’d find them useful. Even more so if you and a Finnish friend were adrift at sea, following the stars!

In most situations, though, we rely on body relative directions – your basic up, down, left and right, forward and backwards. Most cultures use relative directions for reference and Finnish is no exception. Interestingly, in a few old languages there are no words for left and right and people still rely on cardinal directions every day. Can you imagine having such a compass brain?

A black compass on a colored map

Well, scientists say that all mammals have an innate sense of direction, so getting good at finding your way is just a matter of practice. It’s pretty cool to think that we were born already pre-wired to grasp directions; the descriptive words we invented are mere labels to communicate these directions to others! Thus, the need to learn some Finnish positional vocabulary. So, without further ado… let’s dive in.

1- Top – huippu

If planting a flag at the top of the highest mountain in Finland is a goal you’d rather leave for  adrenaline junkies, how about making it to the top of the highest building? Your view of the city will be one you’ll never forget, and you can take a selfie  for Twitter with your head in the clouds. 

man on the top rung of a ladder in the sky, about to topple off

2- Bottom – pohja

The ‘bottom’ can refer to the lower end of a road, the foot of a mountain, or the ground floor of a building. It’s the place you head for after you’ve been to the top!

What are your favorite ‘bottoms’? I love the first rung of a ladder, the base of a huge tree or the bottom of a jungle-covered hill. What can I say? I’m a climber. Divers like the bottom of the ocean and foxes like the bottom of a hole. Since you’re learning Finnish, hopefully you’ll travel from the top to the bottom of Finland.

3- Up – ylös

This is a very common and useful word to know when seeking directions. You can go up the street, up an elevator, up a cableway, up a mountain… even up into the sky in a hot air balloon. It all depends on how far up you like to be!

Hot air balloons in a blue cloudy sky

4- Down – alas

What goes up, must surely come down. This is true of airplanes, flaming arrows and grasshoppers – either aeronautics or gravity will take care of that. In the case of traveling humans who don’t wish to go down at terminal velocity, it’s useful to know phrases such as, “Excuse me, where is the path leading back down this mountain?”

5- Middle – keskikohta

In Lord of the Rings, Tolkien’s characters live in Middle-earth, which is just an ancient word for the inhabited world of men; it referred to the physical world, as opposed to the unseen worlds above and below it. The ancients also thought of the human world as vaguely in the middle of the encircling seas.

When we talk about the ‘middle’, we’re referring to a point that’s roughly between two horizontal lines – like the middle of the road or the middle of a river. While you’re unlikely to ask for directions to the ‘middle’ of anything, you might hear it as a response. For example, “You’re looking for the castle ruins? But they’re in the middle of the forest!”

Castle ruins in a forest

6- Center – keskusta

Although similar in meaning to ‘middle’, this word is more specific. Technically, it means the exact central point of a circular area, equally distant from every point on the circumference.  When asking for directions to the center of town, though, we don’t mean to find a mathematically-accurate pinpoint!

Bull’s eye on a dartboard

7- Front – etuosa

The front is the place or position that is seen first; it’s the most forward part of something.  In the case of a hotel, the front is going to be easy to recognize, so if you call a taxi and are told to wait “in front of the hotel”, you won’t have a problem. It’s pretty cool how just knowing the main Finnish directional words can help you locate something if there’s a good landmark nearby.

8- Back – takapuoli

I once rented a house in a charming little street that was tucked away at the back of a popular mall. It was so easy to find, but my boss took three hours to locate it from 300 meters away. Why? Well, because she spoke no English and I had no clue what the word for ‘back’ was. All she heard, no matter which way I said it, was “mall, mall, mall”.  As a result, she hunted in front of and next to the mall until she was frazzled. 

Knowing how to describe the location of your own residence is probably the first Finnish ‘directions’ you should practice. This skill will certainly come in handy if you’re lost and looking for your way home. 

9- Side – puoli

If the place you’re looking for is at the ‘side’ of something, it will be located to the left or the right of that landmark. That could mean you’re looking for an alleyway beside a building, or a second entrance (as opposed to the main entrance). 

As an example, you might be told that your tour bus will be waiting at the right side of the building, not in front. Of course, then you’ll also need to understand “It’s on the right” in Finnish.

Jeepney taxi parked at the side of a building

10- East – itä

If you’re facing north, then east is the direction of your right hand. It’s the direction toward which the Earth rotates about its axis, and therefore the general direction from which the sun appears to rise. If you want to go east using a compass for navigation, you should set a bearing of 90°. 

We think of Asia as the ‘East’. Geographically, this part of the world lies in the eastern hemisphere, but there’s so much more that we’ve come to associate with this word. The East signifies ancient knowledge and is symbolic of enlightenment in many cultures.

Monks reading on a boulder in front of a Buddha statue

11- West – länsi

West is the opposite to east and it’s the direction in which the sun sets. To go west using a compass, you’ll set a bearing of 270 degrees. 

If you were on the planet Venus, which rotates in the opposite direction from the Earth (retrograde rotation), the Sun would rise in the west and set in the east… not that you’d be able to see the sun through Venus’s opaque clouds. 

Culturally, the West refers mainly to the Americas and Europe, but also to Australia and New Zealand, which are geographically in the East. The Western way of thinking is very different to that of the East. One of the most striking differences is individualism versus collectivism. In the West, we grew up with philosophies of freedom and independence, whereas in the East concepts of unity are more important. 

Food for thought: as a traveler who’s invested in learning the languages and cultures of places you visit, you have an opportunity to become a wonderfully balanced thinker – something the world needs more of.

12- North – pohjoinen

North is the top point of a map and when navigating, you’d set a compass bearing of 360 degrees if you want to go that way. Globes of the earth have the north pole at the top, and we use north as the direction by which we define all other directions.

If you look into the night sky, the North Star (Polaris) marks the way due north. It’s an amazing star, in that it holds nearly still in our sky while the entire northern sky moves around it. That’s because it’s located nearly at the north celestial pole – the point around which the entire northern sky turns. Definitely a boon for lost travelers!

The North Star with the Big Dipper in a night sky

13- South – etelä

South is the opposite of north, and it’s perpendicular to the east and west. You can find it with a compass if you set your bearings to 180 degrees. 

The south celestial pole is the point around which the entire southern sky appears to turn. In the night sky of the southern hemisphere, the Southern Cross is a very easy to find constellation with four points in the shape of a diamond. If you come from the southern hemisphere, chances are your dad or mum pointed it out to you when you were a kid. You can use the Southern Cross to find south if traveling by night, so it’s well worth figuring it out!

14- Outside – ulkona

This word refers to any place that is not under a roof. Perhaps you’ve heard talk about some amazing local bands that will be playing in a nearby town on the weekend. If it’s all happening outside, you’ll be looking for a venue in a park, a stadium or some other big open space. Come rain or shine, outside definitely works for me!

A young woman on someone’s shoulders at an outdoor concert

15- Inside – sisällä

I can tolerate being inside if all the windows are open, or if I’m watching the latest Homeland episode. How about you? I suppose going shopping for Finnish-style accessories would be pretty fun, too, and that will (mostly) be an inside affair. 

16- Opposite – vastakkainen

This is a great word to use as a reference point for locating a place. It’s right opposite that other place! In other words, if you stand with your back to the given landmark, your destination will be right in front of you. 

17- Adjacent – läheinen

So, the adorable old man from next door, who looks about ninety-nine, explains in Finnish that the food market where he works is adjacent to the community hall on the main road. ‘Adjacent’ just means next to or adjoining something else, so… head for the hall! 

While you’re marveling at the wondrous and colorful displays of Finnish food, think about how all of these delicious stalls lie adjacent to one another. Having a happy visual association with a new word is a proven way to remember it!

Outdoor food market fruit display

18- Toward – kohti

To go toward something is to go in its direction and get closer to it. This word can often appear in a sentence with ‘straight ahead’, as in:

“Go straight ahead, toward the park.”

If you’ve come to Finland to teach English, you might have to ask someone how to find your new school. Depending on what town you’re in, you could simply head toward the residential area at lunch time. You’ll see (and probably hear) the primary school soon enough – it will be the big fenced building with all the kids running around the yard!

19- Facing – vastatusten

If you look at yourself in a mirror, you’ll be facing your reflection. In other words: you and your reflection look directly at each other.  Many plush hotels are ocean-facing or river-facing, meaning the main entrance is pointed directly at the water, and the beach out front faces the hotel. 

20- Beside – vieressä

I know of a special little place where there’s a gym right beside a river. You can watch the sun go down over the water while working out – it’s amazing. What’s more, you can park your scooter beside the building and it will still be there when you come out.

21- Corner – kulma

I love a corner when it comes to directions. A street corner is where two roads meet at an angle – often 90 degrees – making it easier to find than a location on a straight plane. 

“Which building is the piano teacher in, sir?”

“Oh, that’s easy – it’s the one on the corner.”

The key to a corner is that it leads in two directions. It could form a crossroads, a huge intersection, or it could be the start of a tiny one-way cobblestone street with hidden treasures waiting in the shadow of the buildings.

A white and yellow building on the corner of two streets

22- Distant – kaukainen

When a location is distant, it’s in an outlying area. This Finnish word refers to the remoteness of the site, not to how long it takes to get there. For that reason, it’s a very good idea to write the directions down, rather than try to memorize them in Finnish. Even better, get a Finnish person to write them down for you. This may seem obvious, but always include the location of your starting point! Any directions you’re given will be relative to the exact place you’re starting from.

Man lost on a dusty road, looking at a road map and scratching his head

23- Far – kaukana

This word has a similar meaning to the previous one, but it speaks more about the fact that it will take some time to get there. If you’re told that your destination is “far”,  you’ll no doubt want to go by public transport if you don’t have your own vehicle. Get your hands on a road map and have the directions explained to you using this map. Don’t hesitate to bring out the highlighters. 

24- Close – lähellä

This word is always a good one to hear when you have your heart set on a very relaxing day in the sun. It means there’s only a short distance to travel, so you can get there in a heartbeat and let the tanning commence. Remember to grab your Nook Book – learning is enhanced when you’re feeling happy and unencumbered. Being close to ‘home’ also means you can safely steal maximum lazy hours and leave the short return trip for sunset! 

A smiling woman lying in a hammock on the beach

25- By – mennessä

This word identifies the position of a physical object beside another object or a place. A Bed and Breakfast can be ‘by the sea’ if it’s in close proximity to the sea. 

‘By’ can also be used to describe the best mode of transport for your route, as in:

“You can get there by bus.”

26- Surrounding – ympäröivä

If something is surrounding you, it is on every side and you are enclosed by it – kind of like being in a boat. Of course, we’re not talking about deep water here, unless you’re planning on going fishing. Directions that include this word are more likely to refer to the surrounding countryside, or any other features that are all around the place you’re looking for.

A polar bear stuck on a block of ice, completely surrounded by water.

27- All sides – kaikki puolet

Another useful descriptive Finnish term to know is ‘all sides’. It simply means that from a particular point, you will be able to see the same features to the front, back and sides of you. It doesn’t necessarily imply you’ll be completely surrounded, just more-or-less so. Say, for example, you’re visiting the winelands for the day. When you get there, you’ll see vineyards on all sides of you. How stunning! Don’t neglect to sample the local wines – obviously. 

28- Next to – vieressä

The person giving you directions is probably standing next to you. The place being described as ‘next to’ something is in a position immediately to one side of it. It could refer to adjoining buildings, neighbouring stores, or the one-legged beggar who sits next to the beautiful flower vendor on weekdays. ‘Next to’ is a great positional term, as everything is next to something! 

“Excuse me, Ma’am.  Where is the train station?”

“It’s that way – next to the tourist market.”

29- Above – yläpuolella

This is the direction you’ll be looking at if you turn your head upwards. Relative to where your body is, it’s a point higher than your head. If you’re looking for the location of a place that’s ‘above’ something, it’s likely to be on at least the first floor of a building; in other words, above another floor.

‘Above’ could also refer to something that will be visible overhead when you get to the right place. For example, the road you’re looking for might have holiday decorations strung up from pole to pole above it. In the cities, this is very likely if there’s any kind of festival going on.

View from below of a carnival swing, with riders directly above the viewer

30- Under – alla

Under is the opposite of above, and refers to a place that lies beneath something else. In the case of directions in Finnish, it could refer to going under a bridge – always a great landmark – or perhaps through a subway. In some parts of the world, you can even travel through a tunnel that’s under the sea!

Of course, you might just be missing your home brew and looking for an awesome coffee shop that happens to be under the very cool local gym you were also looking for. Nice find!

2. Getting directions in Finnish

The quickest and easiest way to find out how to get where you’re going is simply to ask someone. Most people on the streets of Finland won’t mind being asked at all and will actually appreciate your attempt to ask directions in Finnish. After all, most tourists are more inclined to ask in their own language and hope for the best. How pedestrian is that, though?

Asking directions

I know, I know – you normally prefer to find your own way without asking. Well, think of it like this: you obviously need to practice asking questions in Finnish as much as you need to practice small talk, counting, or ordering a beer. Since you can’t very well ask a complete stranger if they would please help you count to five hundred, you’ll have to stick with asking directions!

We spoke earlier about body relative directions and these tend to be the ones we use most. For example:

“Turn left.”

“Go straight.”

“Turn right.” 

Remember, too, that your approach is important. Many people are wary of strangers and you don’t want to scare them off. It’s best to be friendly, direct and get to the point quickly.  A simple ‘Hi, can you help me?” or “Excuse me, I’m a bit lost,” will suffice. If you have a map in your hand, even better, as your intentions will be clear. 

The bottom line is that if you want to find your way around Finland with ease, it’s a good idea to master these basic phrases. With a little practice, you can also learn how to say directions in Finnish. Before you know it, you’ll be the one explaining the way!

3. Conclusion

Now that you have over thirty new directional phrases you can learn in Finnish, there’s no need to fear losing your way when you hit the streets of Finland. All you need is a polite approach and your own amazing smile, and the locals will be excited to help you. It’s a chance for them to get better at explaining things to a foreigner, too. Most will enjoy that!

I advise keeping a few things handy in your day pack: a street map, a highlighter, a small notebook and pen, and your Finnish phrasebook. It would be useful to also have the Finnish WordPower app installed on your phone – available for both iPhone and Android

Here’s a quick challenge to get you using the new terms right away. Can you translate these directions into Finnish?

“It’s close. Go straight ahead to the top of the hill and turn left at the corner. The building is on the right, opposite a small bus stop.”

You’re doing amazingly well to have come this far! Well done on tackling the essential topic of ‘directions’ – it’s a brave challenge that will be immensely rewarding. Trust me, when you’re standing at a beautiful location that you found just by knowing what to ask in Finnish, you’re going to feel pretty darn good.

If you’re as excited as I am about taking Finnish to an even deeper level, we have so much more to offer you. Did you know that we’ve already had over 1 billion lesson downloads? I know – we’re blown away by that, too. It’s amazing to be bringing the world’s languages to people who are so hungry for learning. Let me share some of our best options for you:

  • If you haven’t done so already, grab your free lifetime account as a start. You’ll get audio and video lessons, plus vocabulary building tools. 
  • My favorite freebie is the word of the day, which will arrive in your inbox every morning. Those are the words I remember best!
  • Start listening to Finnish music. I’m serious – it really works to make the resistant parts of the brain relax and accept the new language. Read about it here for some tips.
  • If you enjoy reading, we have some great iBooks for your daily commute.
  • If you have a Kindle and prefer to do your reading on a picnic blanket,  there are over 6 hours of unique lessons in Finnish for you right there.

That’s it for today! Join FinnishPod101 to discover many more ways that we can offer you a truly fun and enriching language learning experience. Happy travels!

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Learn the Best Compliments in Finnish for Any Occasion

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What would you say to lift the spirits of a special person you know? No doubt, you have dozens of kind words that come to mind in English, but do you know many compliments in Finnish?

A compliment can be described as a polite expression of praise, admiration, encouragement or congratulations. It’s sometimes used in absolute sincerity and sometimes to flatter, but either way, human beings love to receive compliments!

Table of Contents

  1. The Importance of Compliments
  2. Compliments you always want to hear
  3. Conclusion

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1. The Importance of Compliments

Giving and receiving compliments is so important in society, that you can be considered rude if you’re a person who never acknowledges anyone. We all need to hear words of affirmation to feel good about ourselves or our achievements, whether big or small. Life is full of daily challenges that can feel overwhelming sometimes – both in terms of the things we have to accomplish and the way we look at the world.

Call it vanity, but it’s a basic human need to hear kindness and appreciation from other people. In the same way, we need to be giving out some of that kindness and helping others to feel good about themselves. Remember the saying “It’s better to give than to receive”? Well, that applies to compliments in a big way. The cool thing is that when you’re generous with your words, you more than likely will invite the same back from people.

So, where did this wonderful idea originate? The word ‘compliment’ has its origins in the mid-17th century; back then it meant ‘fulfilment of the requirements of courtesy’. There was a time when it was normal to compliment others upon meeting for the first time. In some cultures, that’s still the norm. If only we could have more of that today!

If you think about how much it means to receive a genuine compliment from someone whose opinion matters to you, it’s easy to reverse that and realize they probably feel the same way. There is no way around this: it’s vital to pay compliments to each and every person who is a part of your life, and to do so regularly and with sincerity.

2. Compliments you always want to hear

Smiling cat toys

The nuances in the type of personal compliments you’ve been hearing all your life are so deeply present with you by now, that you have a very specific emotional response to each of them. It will be a little different for each of us, since we’ve had different input from the people around us since childhood – especially from family and close friends – but we’re individually used to certain words and as a result, we can detect when they’re spoken with sincerity. How we perceive and receive compliments from specific people has a lot to do with how much we value them, too.

Put yourself in a foreign country and suddenly you’re having to think about the words you’re hearing, doing mental and emotional arithmetic to determine the speaker’s intent. It’s tricky business! When you’ve only been learning Finnish for a little while, you’ll get the gist, but some of the speaker’s truth might be lost on you.

Can you see where I’m going with this? When it comes to compliments in Finnish, do yourself a great favor and use them often. Learn the real meaning and impact of what you’re saying, and you’ll be able to start feeling those squishy emotional responses in no time. You’ll also be able to pay genuine compliments in Finnish that will win people over and earn you a valued place in their hearts.

A compliment in Finnish culture is as important as one in any other culture – perhaps even more so. Part of fitting into your new community means having a likeable and approachable nature, so bring on the compliments and start winning people over!

FinnishPod101 has fifteen great compliments to teach you for various situations. Enjoy!

Five hands giving a thumbs up against a cloudy blue sky

1- You’re handsome. – Olet komea.

Do you know how to compliment a guy in Finnish? This is one of the best Finnish compliments you can pay a man if you want to make him feel attractive. What man doesn’t like to hear that he’s handsome? The younger generation may see it as quite an old-fashioned word, yet men of all ages respond well to “You’re handsome”.

There are many other ways to tell a guy that he’s good-looking, of course, but these particular words carry a timelessness that is only ever good. It doesn’t have any subtle meanings or flirtatious implications, so it’s pretty safe to say to a man who you have no romantic intentions with. Of course, it certainly can also be said romantically! As with most things, it’s all in the way you do it.

Girl kissing her laughing beau on the cheek

2- Great job! – Hienoa työtä!

When you’ve worked really hard at something, you want your efforts to be appreciated. There isn’t one of us who doesn’t feel that way. You might know you’ve done a great job, but you need to know that other people have noticed and are appreciative of your effort. Otherwise, why bother giving it your all? Part of our basic makeup as humans is the need to be pleasing to others.

How much more so in a work environment, where your performance could determine the trajectory of your career? We seek validation from our bosses mainly because this is vital information that tells us whether we’re heading for success or failure.

Smiling woman giving a thumbs-up

3- Your resume is impressive. – Ansioluettelosi on vaikuttava.

It’s pretty much a given that attending a job interview is going to be nerve-wracking and the first thing you want to be sure of is that your resume looks good to the interviewer. Hearing the above words will give you hope and help you to relax before the questions start. In other words, these are important Finnish praise words to know if you’re job-hunting. Next time you’re being interviewed by a Finnish boss, listen for these words, as they’re a positive sign.

In my experience working abroad, I found that the most important requirement interviewers had was just that they like me. By the time you get to the interview, you’ve already been screened, so what’s next in the deciding factor? It’s simple: chemistry. The energy between two people is a huge factor in how well you’ll work together, and that magic happens in the first ten minutes. First impressions go a long way!

Man and woman in an interview

4- Your inside is even more beautiful than your outside. – Olet sisäisesti vielä kauniimpi, kuin ulkoisesti.

Isn’t this just a wonderful compliment to hear? It sure is, and that makes it equally wonderful to give. If you meet someone who has a heart of gold, use these words!

Most women love to be complimented on their external beauty, but being seen as attractive can feel like a burden if it’s the only thing people notice. When paying compliments in Finnish to a woman, try to think of her personality and what her perception of your words will be. Women want different things from different people, and someone who cares about you will care a lot about how you see her on the inside. Looks are fleeting; the people we trust to stick around forever are those who’ve seen beneath the surface and still want in.

It seems to be true that the more self-aware and ‘conscious’ a person is, the more they’re going to appreciate being valued for their place and importance in this world, above their looks. Men or women – we’re the same in this way. It doesn’t mean you should stop telling people that they’re physically beautiful, just that you should balance it with thoughtful observations about the person’s character. Psychologically, we crave this balance and without it, insecurity gets a foot in the door.

Men are no different. Compliments directed to a man’s inner core are highly prized by guys. For his self-esteem, he needs to know he is valued for who he is deep down.

Pair of people enjoying themselves at a party

5- You make me want to be a better person. – Saat minut haluamaan olla parempi ihminen.

Do you know someone who inspires you so much, that their mere existence makes you want to move those metaphorical mountains and become the absolute best version of yourself?

This phrase is a lovely thing to say to someone who you care about on a personal level. It’s the kind of compliment reserved for the few special individuals who mean so much to us, that our greatest desire is to have them see us ‘becoming’ – not for anyone’s profit, but just for the sake of love and personal growth.

You might feel this way about a romantic partner, a very close friend or a family member. If you feel this way, don’t hold it in! That person needs to hear it. You will make them feel good and help them to know that the love they put into nurturing your heart is noticed. Chances are, they feel the same way about you.

When you look for the good in others, you start to see the good in yourself. It takes a bit of thought to come up with a string of kind words that convey maximum positive truth about the other person; in those moments, you’re being unselfish and considering their needs before your own. I genuinely believe that paying someone a heartfelt compliment is an act of self-love. After all, giving is more important than receiving. When you give out compliments that are true, you do the world a service and create beauty in your circle. What’s more, you invite reciprocated words of affirmation – whether from the same person, or someone else. When you give, it will inevitably come back to you.

Pair of women hugging and laughing

6- That jacket looks nice on you. – Tuo takki näyttää hyvältä ylläsi.

Men secretly love to be complimented on their clothes. Yup – it makes a man feel good to hear these words, especially since a favorite jacket is something he’ll wear often in cooler weather or to work. If the fabric brings out his eyes, tell him!

Learning some practical and more specific Finnish compliments like this one is a great idea, because it shows that you’ve actually thought about what you’re saying. Noticing details about a person’s outfit and commenting on them comes across well to the hearer and sounds more sincere than “You look good.” Think about the last time someone noticed your outfit, and you’ll know just what I mean. It makes you feel more confident as you go about your day.

Man showing off a jacket in front of a camera

7- I know that it was a tough project, but your performance exceeded my expectations. – Tiedän, että se oli rankka projekti, mutta suorituksesi ylitti odotukseni.

In the work environment, it’s vital to know some Finnish praise words that encourage, uplift and express real appreciation. In this sense, compliments can be a form of leadership; a good leader helps his or her team to grow by building them up and pushing them on.

If you hear these Finnish words, you can rest assured that your boss is very pleased with your work. If you’re a teacher at a Finnish high school, this is also a great phrase to encourage learners with when they’ve worked hard on a project.

8- You’re smart! – Olet fiksu!

Smart, clever, brainy – these are all synonyms for intelligence and one of the best compliments you can give. Everybody likes being thought of as smart, so here’s a compliment that can be used in both casual and formal settings. We say this to boost the self-esteem of kids, to praise our friends when they have good ideas and to express awe of a colleague in the workplace.

Being ‘smart’ can mean you make good choices in general, that you have a particular area you excel in, or even that you have an above-average IQ.

Everybody likes the idea of having a high IQ, but it’s not as simple to determine what that even means as we once thought. When I was studying to work in Asia, there was a lot of buzz about Multiple Intelligences Theory as a more accurate determination of intelligence than traditional IQ testing. The theory was developed by Doctor Howard Gardner and the critical reception was complex, to say the least.

Gardner argues that there is a wide range of cognitive abilities, but that there are only very weak correlations among them. For example, a child who learns to multiply easily is not necessarily more intelligent than a child who has difficulty with this task; the child who seems better at art might actually understand multiplication at a fundamentally deeper level. Humans have different learning styles; if one appears to have difficulty grasping a certain concept, the first step is to change the teaching approach.

We’re all smart in our own way, so remind your reflection of that each morning!

Young man holding a solved rubik's cube

9- You are an awesome friend. – Olet mahtava ystävä.

On a more personal note – how good does it make you feel to hear that your friend appreciates you? I’d say it’s right up there with the best kinds of ‘thank you’. Knowing this, it makes sense to learn this phrase in Finnish and use it next time your Finnish friend has done something selfless and amazing for you. Let them know with this compliment in Finnish and make their day.

The lovely thing about using these words is that they encourage even more acts of kindness and support from friends. When you put effort and energy into a friendship and aren’t afraid to share sentiments of love, such as this phrase, chances are the friendship will go the distance. If your sojourn in Finland is more than a few weeks, you’re going to need a good friend or two, so hold on to this friendly phrase!

Two dogs running together, holding one stick

10- You have a great sense of humor. – Sinulla on hyvä huumorintaju.

Did you know that chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos, and orangutans engage in social laughter? It’s true! Laughter is an important form of social play that connects us and helps to relieve tension. It’s nice being around someone who makes us laugh or who finds us amusing.

I have a weird sense of humor that many people don’t get, but those who do seem to end up cry-laughing a lot in my presence and somehow that makes them my favorite humans. I’ve learned who I can and can’t be funny with. Have you had a similar experience?

Being able to tell someone that you like their sense of humor is important in your social circle. In fact, take these words along with you on a date. If he or she cracks you up, they will definitely appreciate hearing you say so in Finnish.

11- Your smile is beautiful. – Hymysi on kaunis.

When paying aesthetic compliments in Finnish, especially to a woman you don’t know very well, try to avoid talking about her body and say something like “Your smile is beautiful”, instead. It’s a guaranteed winner! It can be tricky complimenting women in this modern world, where ladies don’t always feel safe, but that’s no reason to stop expressing admiration altogether. Choose your words wisely and you’ll be well on your way to making their day!

Let’s not exclude men from this compliment, though – it’s an excellent choice for a guy you like and feel safe with. In fact, the beauty of this compliment is that you can say it to pretty much anyone, of any age, and it will likely be well-received. Next time you want to make a homeless person smile – this is the better word choice!

Compliments

12- I love your cooking. – Rakastan ruokiasi.

If there’s one form of praise we can’t leave out, it’s how to give kudos for someone’s culinary skills. Finnish compliments for food are a must if you want to be invited back for another home-cooked dinner at the home of the local masterchef. As much as the street food is to die for, nothing beats the experience of an authentic home-cooked meal in Finland. Be sure to read up on basic dining etiquette before you go, and don’t forget to download the Finnish WordPower app to your phone so you can confidently ask the cook for tips.

Man in a kitchen, tossing food in a wok

13. You have good taste. – Sinulla on hyvä maku.

My sister is one of those people who’d rather be complimented on her taste than on her personality, brains or looks. Do you know someone like that? It’s usually the girl or guy in your group who’s always well-dressed and probably has a full-on feng shui vibe in their home. If you meet someone in Finland who loves their labels, only wears real leather and whose hair is always on-fleek, here’s a compliment they will appreciate.

To have good taste means knowing what is excellent and of good quality, with an eye for detecting subtle differences that make something genuine or not. People with good taste can discern what others find appealing, and tend to impress with their aesthetic choices. This friend will be the one you’ll go to when you aren’t sure what jacket to buy for your interview, or what gift to choose for your hosts.

So, is good taste about social conventions, or the genuine value of an item? Well, since it can refer to taste in music, art, design and fine wines as well as style choices, I think it’s an interesting combination of both. What do you think?

Well-dressed woman drinking red wine in a restaurant

14- You look gorgeous. – Näytät upealta.

“Gorgeous” makes me think of powder blue lakes, newborn babies, wild horses and Terrence Hill in the 80’s. Synonymous with ‘stunning’, it’s a word that means something beyond beautiful and as such, it’s one of the ultimate words of admiration. The vocabulary.com dictionary suggests reserving this word for the kind of looks that take your breath away; in other words, save it for someone special – like a date you adore and definitely want to see again.

Does that mean you can only tell a captivating date that they look gorgeous? Of course not. You can say “You look gorgeous” to a friend dressed up to meet their beau, a child tolerating a bunny suit for the school play, or to anyone special who needs a confidence boost. As long as you’re being sincere, this is a wonderful phrase to express admiration.

Woman in a billowing red dress

15- You have a way with words. – Osaat asettaa sanasi oikein.

There’s always that one person in the group who’s great at articulating deep thoughts, writing intriguing social media posts or comforting others when they’re feeling low. Your companion with this skill is likely very empathetic and although the words seem to come easy for them, they might find it difficult to be vulnerable.

When your friend or lover has let their guard down and shown you that soft place, don’t be afraid to tell them that it’s good, because they need to hear it. “You have a way with words” is a meaningful phrase that lets them know they’ve made a positive impact and their words are wanted. Your kind compliment will ensure that their eloquent words keep coming.

Positive feelings

3. Conclusion

Next time you’re traveling or working in Finland, keep an ear open for the compliments you’ve learned, as they might be aimed at you! If you’re taking time to listen to native speakers on our YouTube channels or with Audio Books, it will also help a lot with the accent. Familiarizing yourself with the sound of compliments in the Finnish culture is important for your journey and will make your overall experience more meaningful.

Being acknowledged by others helps us to feel accepted and secure, and these are two things we all want to feel when venturing into unfamiliar territory. Remember that although compliments have more impact in your own language, it’s only because you’ve spent a lifetime hearing them and have become accustomed to the fullness of their meaning. You can get there with Finnish, too – it just takes a little time.

Don’t forget the golden rule: give more than you receive! Paying compliments to the people you meet will not only give you excellent language practice, but the reward will be new friendships and positive vibes.

Here are a few more ways you can practice daily:

  • Chat online with the guys and gals in our learning community. Nothing beats real-time information on how people are currently speaking. It’s a good way to hear some Finnish colloquialisms.
  • Take time out to read. Reading is an excellent way to develop photographic memory of how the phrases look in Finnish. We have both iBooks and Kindle books to choose from.
  • There are also some fantastic free podcasts you can listen to on iTunes. They promise to get you speaking after the very first lesson.

One last thought I want to leave you with: don’t forget to receive a compliment with grace. You deserve to hear good words, so get used to smiling and just feeling the kindness with gratitude.

Well, time for me to go! I hope you’ve enjoyed learning these useful compliments with us at FinnishPod101 today. Now, go out and find some cool people who need to hear them!

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Get Angry in Finnish with Phrases for Any Situation!

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Anger is a natural response to pain of some sort; when you’re angry, you’re angry with a cause and want someone to pay! It’s so much harder when you’re traveling, because your routines are off-kilter, there’s culture shock to deal with and the smallest problems can seem overwhelming. How do you handle someone who’s just pushed your last button?

At home, we often have a go-to person who is good at calming us down, but emotions are tricky to deal with in a foreign country. Sometimes people may treat you unfairly, but you’re completely baffled as to why. You have to remember that people in Finland think differently to how you do and it’s not impossible to inadvertently cause offense. Don’t stress about it too much, because you’ll adapt! Once you feel at home in Finland and people get to know you, it will be easy to flow with the local rhythm and handle tensions well.

This brings us to two obvious reasons why you should learn some angry phrases in Finnish: first, so you can understand when you’ve upset a Finnish person, and second, to have the vocabulary to tell a person off when they absolutely have it coming. Not only will you be far more likely to solve the problem if you know some appropriate angry Finnish phrases, but you’ll probably earn some respect, too! At FinnishPod101 we’re ready to help you articulate those feelings.

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Table of Contents

  1. Finnish phrases to use when you’re angry
  2. Feeling negative in Finnish
  3. Conclusion

1. Finnish phrases to use when you’re angry

Okay, so you’ve had a very frustrating day at your new teaching job in Finland and all you want to do is chill on your bed with ice-cream and a Nook Book, but you come home to find your landlord in your apartment, apparently doing an inspection of your personal possessions. How do you handle it? Do you have an angry Finnish translation for “What the heck are you doing?”

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about confronting someone in their own country, it’s to press the pause button on my reactions and think first! Is my first thought worth expressing? Sometimes, you need to think like a chess player: if I make this move, what will happen next?

It’s always better to think ‘win-win’ in Finland. A good tactic is to keep a mental note of your personal speed limit before engaging. After all, you want a positive outcome!

So, do you know how to say “I am angry” in Finnish? You will – FinnishPod101 is about to teach you how to get mad! Here are fifteen great angry phrases in Finnish.

1- It’s none of your business. – Se ei kuulu sinulle.

As a foreigner in Finland, you’ll be a topic of interest. While most folks understand boundaries, there’s always that one individual who doesn’t!

Sometimes you feel that a person is getting way too involved in your affairs, and this expression is a commonly-used one for letting them know that. If said calmly and firmly, while looking them in the eye, it should do the trick and even earn you some respect.

Angry Blonde Girl Holding Up Her Hands to Warn Someone Away

2- I’m upset. – Olen järkyttynyt.

I find this phrase useful for times when I need to express annoyance to someone I can’t afford to lose my temper with. A boss, for instance. As long as you say it without yelling, this can be a polite way of letting someone know that you are feeling bad and that you want those feelings validated. No matter what has happened, the result is that you are troubled and need some time to get over it. Depending on how you say it, “I’m upset” can also be a subtle invitation for the other party to address the problem.

3- You’re not listening to me. – Et kuuntele minua.

Isn’t this the most frustrating thing? You’re in a situation where you’re telling someone why you’re mad at them, but they just won’t look at the story from your point of view. Rather than resort to bad language, try to convince them to take a breather and hear you out. This expression is a great way to ask someone to stop talking and to listen to you properly.

Asian Couple Fighting Head-to-Head, Woman Blocking Her Ears

4- Watch your mouth. – Varo suutasi.

Where have you heard this before? Let your mind go back to all the times you were cheeky and disrespectful in your youth… that’s right – it was your parents! If you’re on the receiving end, this angry phrase means that you said something you shouldn’t have. It has an authoritative, challenging tone and it implies that there could be consequences if you don’t stop.

So, when can you use it? Well, be careful with this one; it may very well get you in trouble if not used with caution. It can also be seen as very rude if used on anyone you don’t actually have authority over!

5- That’s enough. – Tuo riittää.

Depending on your tone of voice when you say this, you could be calmly telling someone to stop doing what they’re doing, or you could be sternly ordering them to stop. In Finnish, as in English, tone is key when it comes to making yourself understood. Just don’t be saying this to anyone, as it carries an authoritative tone and would be seen as rude if said to an older person.

Angry School Mistress Shaking a Ruler As If Reprimanding

6- Stop it. – Lopeta.

One of the more common imperatives in any language, this is a basic way to warn somebody that you don’t like what they’re doing and want them to stop. You can use it in most situations where a person is getting under your skin. Often, “Stop it” precedes some of the weightier phrases one resorts to if the offender doesn’t stop and anger escalates. For this reason, I always add a “Please” and hope for the best!

7- Cut it out. – Lopeta.

In fact, this phrase is actually the same as the previous one in Finnish! I think parents and teachers everywhere, throughout time, have heard variations of this expression of annoyance for as long as we’ve had tweens and teens on Earth! It’s a go-to command, thrown about frequently between siblings and peers, to stop being irritating. You’d generally use this on people you consider your relative equals – even though in the moment, you probably consider them low enough to stomp on!

8- What the heck are you doing? – Mitä hemmettiä sinä teet?

Here’s an interjection for those instances when you can scarcely believe what you’re seeing. It denotes incredulity ranging from mild disbelief to total disgust or dismay. You would typically use this when you want an action to stop immediately, because it’s wrong – at least, in your perception of things.

It may be worth remembering that the English word “heck” doesn’t have a direct translation in Finnish – or in other languages, for that matter; most translations are more accurately saying “What the hell.” We say “heck” in English as a euphemism, but that word is thought to come from “hex” – an ancient word for “spell” – so I don’t know which is better!

9- Who do you think you are? – Kuka luulet olevasi?

I avoid this expression as it makes me nervous! It’s quite confrontational. I’m reminded of the time a clerk in a busy cellular network service store was being rude to me and a rich-looking man came to my rescue, aiming this phrase at the clerk loudly and repeatedly. At first, I was relieved to have someone on my side, but I quickly grew embarrassed at the scene he was causing.

Using this phrase has a tendency to make you sound like you feel superior, so take it easy. The irony, of course, is that someone who provokes this response is taking a position of authority or privilege that they aren’t entitled to! Now you look like two bears having a stand-off.

They call this an ‘ad hominem’ argument, meaning the focus has shifted from attacking the problem, to attacking the person. So, is it a good phrase to use? That’s up to you. If you’re in the moment and someone’s attitude needs adjusting – go for it!

Man and Woman Arguing, with White Alphabet Letters Coming from the Man’s Mouth and White Question Marks Above the Woman

10- What?! – Mitä?!

An expression of disbelief, this is frequently said mid-argument, in a heated tone, and it means you cannot believe what you’re hearing. In other words, it conveys the message that the other person is talking nonsense or lying.

11- I don’t want to talk to you. – En halua puhua sinulle.

This is a great bit of vocab for a traveler – especially for a woman traveling solo. Whether you’re being harassed while trying to read your Kindle on the train, or hit on by a drunk man in a bar, chances are that sooner or later, you will encounter a character you don’t wish to speak to.

The most straightforward way to make the message clear is to simply tell them, “I don’t want to talk to you”. If you feel threatened, be calm and use your body language: stand straight, look them in the eye and say the words firmly. Then move away deliberately. Hopefully, they will leave you alone. I’d go so far as to say learn this phrase off-by-heart and practice your pronunciation until you can say it like a strong modern Finnish woman!

Highly Annoyed Redhead Girl Holding Up Her Hands As If to Say “Stop!”

12- Are you kidding me? – Vitsailetko?

To be ‘kidding’ means to joke with someone in a childlike way and it’s used both in fun and in anger. Like some other expressions, it needs context for the mood to be clear, but it pretty much conveys annoyed disbelief. You can use it when a person says or does something unpleasantly surprising, or that seems unlikely to be serious or true. It’s a rhetorical question, of course; try to familiarize yourself with how it sounds in Finnish, so next time it’s aimed at you, you don’t hunt your inner Finnish lexicon for an answer!

Dark-haired Girl Giving a Very Dirty Look, with One Hand on Her Hip and Holding a Gift Box with Apparent Disgust

13- This is so frustrating. – Tämä on niin turhauttavaa.

Another way of showing someone you have an intense battle going on inside, is to just tell them you’re terribly frustrated and feeling desperate to find a solution. Use this expression! It can be a useful tool to bring the other person into your headspace and maybe even evoke some degree of empathy from them. More polite than many others, it’s a sentence that seems to say, “I beg you to work with me so we can resolve this!”

Asian Man Yelling, Bent Forward, with His Hands Held Up Next to His Head

14- Shut up. – Turpa kiinni.

The use of the phrase “shut up” to signify “hold one’s tongue” dates back to the sixteenth century and was even used by Shakespeare as an insult – with various creative twists! It’s been evolving ever since and there are variations in just about every language – proving that no matter where you come from, angry emotions are universal!

One example of old usage is a poem Rudyard Kipling wrote in 1892, where a seasoned military veteran says to the troops: “Now all you recruities what’s drafted to-day, You shut up your rag-box an’ ‘ark to my lay.”

Well, when I was twelve and full of spirit, I was taught that nice girls don’t say this. “Shut up” is an imperative that’s considered impolite; it’s one of those expressions people resort to when they either can’t think of better words to use, or simply can’t bear to listen to any more nonsense. Either way, it’s at the lower end of the smart argument scale. Like all angry phrases, though, it does have its uses!

15- So what? – Entäs sitten?

When you don’t believe the other person’s defense argument legitimizes or justifies their actions, you might say these words. Basically, you’re telling them they need to come up with better logic!

Another time you could use this one, is when you simply don’t care for someone’s criticism of you. Perhaps you don’t agree with them, or they’re being unfair and you need to defend your position. “So what?” tells them you feel somewhat indignant and don’t believe you’re in the wrong.

2. Feeling negative in Finnish

Negative Feelings

What was the most recent negative emotion you felt? Were you nervous about an exam? Exhausted and homesick from lack of sleep? Maybe you felt frightened and confused about the impact COVID-19 would have on your travel plans. If you’re human, you have days when you just want the whole world to leave you alone – and that’s okay!

When you’re feeling blue, there’s only so much body language can do. Rather than keeping people guessing why you’re in a bad mood, just tell them! Your Finnish friends and colleagues will be much more likely to give you your space (or a hug) if they know what’s wrong. Not only that, but it’s nice to give new friends the opportunity to be supportive. Bring on the bonding!

The fastest way to learn to describe negative feelings in Finland, is to get into the habit of identifying your own mood daily in Finnish. Here’s an easy way: in your travel journal, simply write down the Finnish word for how you feel each morning. You can get all the words directly from us at FinnishPod101. Remember, also, that we have a huge online community if you need a friend to talk to. We’ve got you!

3. Conclusion

Now that you know how to express your bad feelings in Finnish, why not check out some other cool things on our site? You can sign up for the amazing free lifetime account – it’s a great place to start learning!

And really – make the most of your alone time. After all, it’s been proven that learning a new language not only benefits cognitive abilities like intelligence and memory, but it also slows down the brain’s aging. So, on those days when you just need to be away from people, we have some brain-boosting suggestions that will lift your spirits:

  • Have you heard of Roku? A Roku player is a device that lets you easily enjoy streaming, which means accessing entertainment via the internet on your TV. We have over 30 languages you can learn with Innovative Language TV. Lie back and enjoy!
  • If you like your Apple devices, we have over 690 iPhone and iPad apps in over 40 languages – did you know that? The Visual Dictionary Pro, for example, is super fun and makes learning vocab easy. For Android lovers, we have over 100 apps on the Android market, too.
  • You can also just kick back on the couch and close your eyes, letting your headphones do the work with our audiobooks – great for learning the culture while you master the language. Similarly, if you’re more of a reader, we have some fantastic iBooks that are super interesting and fun for practicing your daily conversation skills.

Whatever your learning style (or your mood), you’ll find something that appeals to you at FinnishPod101. Come join us!

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