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The Top Finnish Business Phrases and Vocabulary

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We live in an increasingly global world, and you may well be doing business or working with Finnish people at some point in your life. Learning Finnish business phrases is an excellent way to make a favorable impression on your Finnish business partners and colleagues. Perhaps your mastery of Finnish will even land you your dream job in Finland one day?

In this guide, we’ll cover a range of topics, from interviewing for a job and socializing with coworkers to writing emails and dealing with invoices. Sound good? Then let’s get down to business!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Business Words and Phrases in Finnish Table of Contents
  1. Essential Business and Work Vocabulary
  2. Nailing a Job Interview
  3. Interacting with Coworkers
  4. Sounding Smart in a Meeting
  5. Business Phone Calls and Emails
  6. Dealing with Money Matters
  7. Lopuksi

1. Essential Business and Work Vocabulary

Before we look at specific situations and common business phrases in Finnish, let’s go over some core work and business vocabulary. Be sure to watch our video on Finnish Business Language on YouTube, too!

A- Work

 First, here are some basic Finnish words related to work and employment:

  • Työ (“Work”)
  • Työpaikka (“Job” / “Workplace”)
  • Ammatti (“Occupation” / “Profession”)
  • Ura (“Career”)
  • Työharjoittelu (“Internship”)
  • Etätyö (“Remote work”)
  • Ylityö (“Overtime work”)

 There are a few different ways to say “to work” in Finnish:

  • Työskennellä (“To work”)
  • Tehdä töitä (“To do work”)
  • Käydä töissä (“To go to work”)

 Here are a few other useful verbs related to work:

  • Etsiä työtä (“To look for work”)
  • Hakea työpaikkaa (“To apply for a job”)
  • Palkata (“To hire”)
  • Irtisanoa (“To fire”)
  • Irtisanoutua (“To quit”)
  • Jäädä eläkkeelle (“To retire”)

B- The Company

 Here are the Finnish words for “company” that you’re most likely to come across:

  • Yritys
  • Yhtiö
  • Firma

Each term has a different legal definition. If you’re curious, you can find out more about the legal definitions of Finnish business types on Wikipedia.

  • Nokia Oyj on tietoliikennealan yhtiö. (“Nokia corporation is a telecommunications company.”)

Here are a few other useful terms you might want to learn:

  • Osakeyhtiö (“A joint-stock company”)
  • Monikansallinen yritys (“A multinational company”)
  • Pk-yritykset – pienet ja keskisuuret yritykset (“SMB – small- and medium-sized businesses”)
  • Mikroyritys (“A micro business”)
  • Suuryritys (“A large company”)

C- The People

 Now let’s take a look at words for the different roles that people play in work and business:

  • Henkilöstö / Henkilökunta (“The staff”)
  • Työnantaja (“Employer”)
  • Työntekijä (“Employee”)
  • Työharjoittelija (“Intern”)
  • Yrittäjä (“Entrepreneur”)
  • Pomo (“The boss” Casual)
  • TJ – Toimitusjohtaja (“The CEO”) 
  • Esimies (“Superior”)
  • Päällikkö (“Manager”)

Head over to FinnishPod101’s dialogue about A Great Business Idea in Finland, and then listen to recordings of essential workplace vocabulary.

You can also find a list of occupational titles on Bab.la.

Job Interview

2. Nailing a Job Interview

Do you dream of working in Finland? Then visit This is Finland for more information about getting a job in the country. And if you’ve already set your sights on a job, we’ll guide you through some business Finnish for your työhaastattelu (“job interview”), from greetings to sending a thank-you message afterwards.

A- Greetings and Introducing Yourself

Make a good impression even before your interview starts! Use an appropriate greeting and your full name when you arrive. Here are two examples:

  • Huomenta, olen Pirjo Hänninen. Minulla on työhaastattelu kymmeneltä. (“Morning, I’m Pirjo Hänninen. I have a job interview at ten o’clock.”)
  • Hyvää päivää! Nimeni on Tapio Pääkkönen, tulin työhaastatteluun. (“Good day! My name is Tapio Pääkkönen, I’ve come for the job interview.”)

Do you need a refresher on greetings and self-introductions in Finnish? Take a look at our complete guide to Finnish greetings on FinnishPod101 or read more about introducing yourself in Finnish.

A Woman Offers Her Hand for a Handshake.

B- Talking About Your Experience and Strengths

Be ready to highlight the most relevant information about yourself during your interview. Following are some examples to help you talk about your achievements.

 Here’s how to talk about your opinnot (“studies”):

  • Minulla on kauppatieteiden maisterin tutkinto Aalto-yliopiston kauppakorkeakoulusta. (“I have a Master’s degree in economic science from the Aalto University School of Business.”)
  • Opiskelin tietotekniikkaa Oulun yliopistossa. (“I studied information technology in the University of Oulu.”)

 Here’s how to talk about your työkokemus (“work experience”):

  • Olin työharjoittelijana Nokialla neljä kuukautta. (“I was an intern at Nokia for four months.”)
  • Olen ollut Nesteellä töissä kolme vuotta. (“I have been working for Neste for three years.”)

Here’s how you could describe your professional vahvuudet (“strengths”):

  • Vahvuuksiani ovat kommunikaatio, yhteistyökyky ja joustavuus. (“My strengths are communication, ability to cooperate, and flexibility.”)
  • Olen ahkera, nopea oppimaan ja pidän asiakaspalvelusta. (“I’m hard-working, a quick learner, and enjoy customer service.”)

C- Common Job Interview Questions

Let’s face it, job interviews can be really stressful. You can take a lot of the pressure off by thinking of answers to common interview questions well ahead of time. Here are a few very common questions you might be asked:

  • Miksi hait tätä työpaikkaa? (“Why did you apply for this job?”)
  • Mikä on suurin saavutuksesi? (“What’s your greatest achievement?”)
  • Missä näet itsesi viiden vuoden kuluttua? (“Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?”)
  • Miksi meidän pitäisi palkata sinut? (“Why should we hire you?”)

 What if you didn’t quite catch the question? No problem! You can ask the interviewer to repeat what they said:

  • Anteeksi, en kuullut mitä sanoitte. (“Sorry, I didn’t hear what you said.”)
  • Voisitteko toistaa, kiitos? (“Could you repeat, please?”)

D- Asking Your Own Questions

Don’t miss your chance to ask your own questions! You’ll learn more about the position while also demonstrating that you’re genuinely interested in the opportunity. Here are a few examples to get you started:

  • Voisitteko kertoa lisää yrityksen kulttuurista? (“Could you tell me more about the company culture?”)
  • Mitkä ovat tämän työtehtävän suurimpia haasteita? (“What are the greatest challenges of this job?”)
  • Millainen perehdytysprosessi teillä on? (“What is your induction program like?”)

E- Sending a Thank-You Email

When possible, sending a short thank-you email is a good way to reiterate your interest in a position and keep you in the recruiter’s mind!

  • Kiitos eilisestä! Oli mukava tutustua ja jutella työpaikasta. Olen edelleen erittäin kiinnostunut, ja toivon että kuulen teistä pian. (“Thank you for yesterday! It was nice to meet you and talk about the job. I’m still very interested and hope to hear from you soon.”)

Why not head over to FinnishPod101’s lesson about a job interview in Finnish? You can also check out our vocabulary lists—how many of these Finnish HR and recruitment words and job titles did you already know?

3. Interacting with Coworkers

Now that you’ve got that job, it’s time to get to know your työkaverit (“coworkers”). Whether you’re expressing an opinion in a meeting or socializing after work, these are the phrases you’ll need for doing business with Finnish people in your new workplace.

Asking a Colleague for Help 

Your kollegat (“colleagues”) will be happy to help, especially when you’ve just started at a new job. Here are a few ways to ask for assistance:

  • Voitko auttaa minua? (“Can you help me?”)
  • Voisitko näyttää minulle miten…? (“Could you show me how…?”)
  • Tiedätkö kuinka tätä ohjelmistoa käytetään? (“Do you know how to use this software?”)

 Here’s how you can thank someone for their help—or praise them for a job well done:

  • Kiitos! (“Thank you!”)
  • Kiitos avustasi. (“Thank you for your help.”)
  • Hyvää työtä. (“Good work.”)
  • Erinomaista työtä! (“Excellent work!”)
A group of coworkers having a chat.

A- Raising Concerns

Effective communication in the workplace is so important, and that includes telling someone when there’s a problem. 

  • Anteeksi, mutta minua ei ole vielä koulutettu tähän tehtävään. (“I’m sorry, but I haven’t been trained for this task yet.”)
  • Mielestäni määräaika on liian lyhyt. (“The deadline is too short in my opinion.”)
  • Tässä asiakirjassa näyttäisi olevan virhe. (“There seems to be a mistake in this document.”)

B- Apologizing

Being able to admit when you’re wrong or have made a mistake is an important interpersonal skill, whether at work or at home. Let’s take a look at a couple of ways to apologize:

  • Anteeksi, olin väärässä. (“Sorry, I was wrong.”)
  • Haluaisin pyytää anteeksi. (“I would like to apologize.”)
  • Olen pahoillani. (“I’m sorry.”)

 In case you ever feel that you’ve really messed up, here are even more ways to say sorry

C- Socializing with Coworkers

Getting to know your coworkers in an informal setting can show you a whole new side of them! These are some common ways to spend time with coworkers outside the office:

  • Tavata lounaalla (“To meet over lunch”)
  • Käydä kahvilla (“To go for a coffee”)
  • Viettää iltaa (“To socialize in the evening”)

After work (afterworkit or afterit) isn’t an established phenomenon in Finland. However, where the concept is gaining ground, Friday is by far the most popular day for after work get-togethers.

Not sure what to say to your colleagues out of the office? Get the conversation started by asking questions:

  • Millä osastolla olet töissä? (“In which department do you work?”)
  • Työskenteletkö Pekan tiimissä? (“Do you work in Pekka’s team?”)
  • Kuinka pitkään olet ollut täällä töissä? (“How long have you been working here?”)

After the ice is broken, you may be able to move on to more personal topics. For more help with keeping a conversation going in Finnish, take a look at our list of the Top 15 Questions You Should Know for Conversations

Business Phrases

4. Sounding Smart in a Meeting

Meetings are a regular part of life in many workplaces. To help you get the most out of your upcoming Finnish business meetings, we’ve included some key vocabulary as well as phrases that you can use to express your opinions.

First, there are several words in Finnish for “a meeting”:

  • Kokous
  • Palaveri
  • Neuvottelu
  • Virtuaalikokous (“A virtual meeting”)

The first three are often used interchangeably, although kokous may be considered a more formal event with specific roles assigned to participants; palaveri and neuvottelu tend to be shorter in duration and more informal.

Here are a few phrases to help you participate in a discussion:

  • Saisinko puheenvuoron? (“May I speak?”)
  • Mielestäni… (“In my opinion…”)
  • Ehdottaisin, että… (“I would suggest that…”)
  • Olen täysin samaa mieltä. (“I agree completely.”)
  • Pelkään, että minun on oltava eri mieltä. (“I’m afraid I have to disagree.”)

If you want to dive even deeper into this topic, we recommend listening to our lessons on Preparing for a Finnish Business Meeting and a Finnish Business Presentation. To learn more useful phrases and improve your pronunciation, visit our handy list of Phrases for Doing Business Successfully.

 A Business Meeting.

5. Business Phone Calls and Emails

In our professional lives, we may interact with people via email and phone just as often as we talk to others face-to-face. Therefore, composing professional emails and following the correct phone etiquette are professional skills not to be neglected. In this section, we’ll talk about the best practices for conducting business in Finnish over the phone or through email.

A- Business Phone Calls

Making phone calls has been partially replaced by new communication technologies. However, phones are still around, so let’s run through how to start and end phone calls in a professional setting.

At home, Finns typically answer their phone by saying Haloo? (“Hello?”). When answering a work call, though, state your name (or company and name, when sharing a phone with others). If you take phone calls for a superior, state their name as well as yours:

  • Johtaja Matikaisen sihteeri Elli Nieminen. (“Director Matikainen’s secretary Elli Nieminen.”)

Here’s how to introduce yourself when you’re making a business call. If calling a stranger, state who you are and the company you’re working for:

  •  Täällä on Kaarina Hämäläinen Suomalaisesta Kirjakaupasta, hyvää päivää. (“It’s Kaarina Hämäläinen from Suomalainen Kirjakauppa, good afternoon.”)

 If you’re calling someone you already know well, you can be more informal:

  • Täällä on Milla Salo, terve. (“It’s Milla Salo, hi.”)
  • Milla täällä, hei. (“Milla here, hi.”)

 Here’s how you can ask to speak to another person:

  •  Voisinko puhua toimistopäällikkö Mäkiselle? (“Could I speak to office manager Mäkinen?”)

 Before getting down to business, it’s polite to ask the person you’ve called if it’s a good time for them to speak:

  •  Sopiiko puhua? (“Is this a good time to talk?”)

You can use these phrases to indicate that you’re ready to finish the phone call:

  • Hyvä, tämä tuli selväksi. (“Good, this has been sorted.”)
  • Kiitos, ei ollut muuta. (“Thank you, that was all.”)
  • Puhutaan toiste lisää. (“Let’s talk more another time.”)

 And finally, here is how you can end a phone call:

  • Kuulemiin. (“Goodbye.” Polite)
  • Kiitos, kuulemiin. (“Thank you, goodbye.”)
  • Heihei. (“Bye-bye.” Informal.)
  • Terve. (“Bye.” Informal.)

If you want a more in-depth guide to phone etiquette in Finnish, take a look at Kielikello’s guide on the topic. At FinnishPod101, you’ll also find more useful phrases for talking on the phone and a lesson on talking to family and friends on the phone.

An Office Worker Talks on the Phone.

B- Business Emails

Next, let’s focus on emails. We’ll take a look at how to open and close emails, as well as the common phrases you’re likely to need when composing a professional message.

First, begin your email by addressing the recipient by their title and name :

  • Toimistopäällikkö Matti Meikäläinen (“Office Manager Matti Meikäläinen”)
  • Toimistopäällikkö Matti Meikäläinen,
    tervetuloa….  (“Office Manager Matti Meikäläinen, welcome to…”)
  • Hei Matti, (“Hello Matti,”)

In more formal situations, you can open your email with the following examples: 

  • Hyvä Herra (“Dear Sir”)
  • Hyvä Rouva (“Dear Madam”)
  • Hyvä herra Keskinen (“Dear Mr. Keskinen”)
  • Hyvä rouva Kokkola (“Dear Mrs. Kokkola”)
  • Hyvä neiti Jokinen (“Dear Miss Jokinen”)
  • Hyvät vastaanottajat (“To whom it may concern” Multiple recipients)

Here are phrases you can use in the body of the email to explain the reason you’re writing or to make a request:

  • Kirjoitamme teille liittyen… (“We are writing to you regarding…”)
  • Kirjoitan tiedustellakseni… (“I am writing to inquire about…”)
  • Olisin kiitollinen, jos voisitte… (“I would be grateful, if you could…”)
  • Voisitteko ystävällisesti lähettää minulle… (“Would you be kind and send me…”)

 Finally, here are a couple of ways to end an email politely:

  • Ystävällisin terveisin… (“Kind regards…”)
  • Kunnioittavasti (“Respectfully”)
  • Parhain terveisin (“Best regards”)
  • Terveisin (“Regards”)

For more Finnish phrases to use in business emails and letters, take a look at these phrase lists on Bab.la.

6. Dealing with Money Matters

Does money make the world go round? Perhaps—but it definitely keeps businesses going! The topics we’ll look at in this section are: making orders, invoicing, and asking for a raise.

First, here’s a selection of essential Finnish vocabulary related to money:

  • Raha (“Money”)
  • Palkka (“Salary”)
  • Lasku (“Invoice”)
  • Maksu (“Payment”)
  • Vero (“Tax”)
  • Pankkitiedot (“Bank details”)
  • Voitto (“Profit”)
  • Liikevaihto (“Turnover”)
  • Osake (“Share”) 

A- Making Orders

A lot of companies buy from or sell to other companies. These are Finnish business phrases that will be useful if you’re handling business-to-business orders: 

  • Haluaisimme tehdä tilauksen. (“We would like to make an order.”)
  • Voisitteko vahvistaa hinnan ja toimituspäivän sähköpostitse? (“Could you please confirm the price and dispatch date by email?”)
  • Tilauksenne käsitellään niin nopeasti kuin mahdollista. (“Your order will be processed as fast as possible.”)
  • Tilauksenne on lähetetty. (“Your order has been dispatched.”) 

B- Invoicing

Do you need to deal with invoices at work? Then you’ll need to learn these key phrases in Finnish:

  • Liitteenä lasku sovituista palveluista. (“Enclosed is an invoice for the services agreed.”)
  • Maksettavissa 30 (kolmessakymmenessä) päivässä. (“Payable within thirty days.”)
  • Maksettava summa on 450 euroa. (“The total amount payable is 450 euros.”)
  • Kirjanpitomme mukaan oheinen lasku on edelleen maksamatta. (“According to our records, the attached invoice is still unpaid.”)
  • Jos olette jo lähettäneet maksun, olkaa hyvä ja jättäkää tämä viesti huomioimatta. (“If you have already sent a payment, please disregard this message.”)
A Man Looks at an Invoice.

C- Asking for a Raise

Have you been taking on a lot more responsibilities at work? It may be time to ask for palkankorotus (“a raise”)! Let’s look at Finnish phrases you can use when negotiating a new salary:

  • Haluaisin keskustella palkastani. (“I would like to discuss my salary.”)
  • Palkkatoiveeni on 3,000 euroa kuukaudessa. (“My desired salary is 3,000 euros per month.”)
  • Mitä mieltä olette pyynnöstäni? (“What do you think of my request?”)
  • Tarjouksenne kuulostaa hyvältä. (“Your offer sounds good.”)

Even if your request is declined this time, it’s important to remain polite—there’s always the next time! It may also be worth asking if there are any other benefits you could get if a raise is not possible. 

  • Kiitos kun harkitsitte pyyntöäni. (“Thank you for considering my request.”)
  • Voisimmeko ehkä keskustella muista eduista? (“Could we perhaps discuss other benefits?”)

 Visit Bab.la for more Finnish business phrases you can use when making orders and dealing with invoices.

7. Lopuksi

In this guide, you’ve learned a lot of Finnish business phrases and vocabulary, from asking your coworkers for help to negotiating a raise. Which phrases are you going to use first? 

Also remember that we have a wealth of learning materials on FinnishPod101.com. Whether you’re determined to become a fluent Finnish speaker or are just learning the language for fun, we’re continuously adding new lessons and resources for all levels, so do visit us on a regular basis.

As always, we love reading your comments, so let us know if there are any other topics you would like to see us cover!

Happy learning, and good luck with your business endeavors!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Business Words and Phrases in Finnish

Learn Finnish: YouTube Channels You’ll Love Learning With!

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Have you ever considered using YouTube to take your Finnish learning to the next level? Chances are you’re already spending some time on the site (YouTube is the second most visited website after Google, after all), so why not combine pleasure with learning by watching a few videos in Finnish?

Whether you’re in the mood for something educational or silly, there are so many great Finnish YouTube channels out there with interesting content—trust us, you won’t run out of things to watch anytime soon! And since most YouTube videos tend to be short and sweet, watching a bit here and there is something that you can easily fit into a busy schedule.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Finnish Table of Contents
  1. Learning Finnish Using FinnishPod101 and YouTube
  2. Warner Music Finland
  3. Filminurkka
  4. Suomen Stand Up Club
  5. Lasten Uutiset
  6. Visit Finland
  7. K-Ruoka
  8. Sinä osaat! Suomen kieltä kaikille
  9. Finnished
  10. Learn Finnish with Finking Cap
  11. FinnishPod101
  12. Lopuksi

1. Learning Finnish Using FinnishPod101 and YouTube

Listening practice is one of the cornerstones of language learning, and you’ll quickly notice that the more you watch and listen to videos in Finnish, the faster you pick up the rhythm of the language—not to mention all the vocabulary you’ll learn. In fact, watching video content featuring native Finns could be the next best thing after actual interactions with Finnish people. And best of all, you can watch YouTube right from the comfort of your home!  

The sheer number of videos and channels on YouTube can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start looking. Fret not: we’ve done some of the legwork for you by picking ten of the best Finnish language YouTube channels for language learners. We’ve covered several channels aimed specifically at language learners (including our very own FinnishPod101 YouTube channel) as well as a range of other channels featuring music, comedy, travel, politics, and much more.

2. Warner Music Finland

Category: Music
Level: All

Listening to music is a highly enjoyable way to immerse yourself in a new language, whether you’re a complete beginner or an advanced learner. 

If you’re looking for popular Finnish songs, YouTube has no better destination than Warner Music Finland. You’ll find many of today’s most popular Finnish artists on Warner Music Finland, and new content is uploaded on a regular basis for your listening pleasure. This channel caters mainly for fans of Finnish pop music, but keep your eye out for rap and rock artists too. And if you really like a specific artist, such as Jenni Vartiainen or Antti Tuisku, you’ll find links to their individual channels here, as well.

Make sure to watch for lyriikkavideot (“lyric videos”) while on the channel. These are especially helpful for Finnish learners since you can look at the lyrics while you’re listening to them. We recommend singing (or just humming) along to the best of your ability; studies show that it can really enhance your language learning!

3. Filminurkka

Category: Films
Level: Intermediate & Advanced

Attention, film buffs! Filminurkka is the place to go if you want to combine your passion for the big screen with Finnish learning. Here you’ll find weekly videos discussing the latest blockbusters, videos documenting Finnish film festivals (e.g. Sodankylän Elokuvajuhlat and Rakkautta ja Anarkiaa), and interviews with top Finnish actors. This may just be the best place to find commentary and discussion about Finnish movies on YouTube! 

The only subtitles you’ll see are the Finnish ones provided for trailers in other languages, so the content is best suited to intermediate and advanced learners.

4. Suomen Stand Up Club

Category: Comedy
Level: Intermediate & Advanced

If comedy is your thing, you’ll find hours of laugh-out-loud performances by talented Finnish stand-up comedians (including the internationally celebrated Ismo Leikola) on Suomen Stand Up Club. Besides laughs, the material also provides a glimpse into Finnish culture and mentality—and of course, a fabulous opportunity to practice your listening skills.

No subtitles are provided, so the content won’t be easy for beginners to follow. However, if you’re looking for something more challenging to listen to, or want to get more used to spoken Finnish, this is the perfect channel for you.

5. Lasten Uutiset

Category: News, Culture, Science, Politics
Level: Beginner & Intermediate

Lasten Uutiset (“Children’s News”) is aimed at “children who want to know” (lapsille, jotka haluavat tietää). The channel also happens to be a brilliant resource for inquisitive and curious Finnish learners of all ages! Here, you’ll find weekly videos discussing recent news as well as a range of videos on topics such as science, politics, and culture. 

Because the channel is geared toward kids, the language doesn’t get very complicated or technical. Still, it’s a fantastic way to pick up topical vocabulary. And while there are no subtitles, key phrases do appear as text in the videos.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=55J-FpnMMc4
  • Learning the Finnish words for school subjects could come in handy while watching this channel!

6. Visit Finland

Category: Travel & Culture
Level: All

Visit Finland is not just a channel for travelers aspiring to spend some time in Finland. Yes, you’ll find plenty of inspiration here for a future trip or two to this lovely country, but the channel also provides fascinating insights into Finnish culture. 

From a language-learning point of view, you’ll definitely want to check out the videos where Finns from diverse backgrounds talk about their lives—head straight to the Symphony of Extremes and Finnish People playlists. Using English subtitles will help you with comprehension while you get used to hearing dialects from different parts of Finland.

7. K-Ruoka

Category: Cuisine
Level: Intermediate & Advanced

Cooking can be a really fun way to make Finnish a part of your daily life. Try it for yourself; follow a recipe in Finnish and see just how quickly you pick up key vocabulary related to cooking and food. 

Whether you like your meals vegetarian or meaty (or if you’re craving something sweet), there’s a playlist with exciting recipes for you to try on the Finnish food YouTube channel K-Ruoka. Not sure what you fancy? Start with the Mitä tänään syötäisiin? (“What shall we eat today?”) playlist.

No subtitles are provided, but you can work out a lot by just watching as each ingredient and step is shown. You can also find the recipes on the K-Ruoka website if you want to see the written versions in Finnish.

8. Sinä osaat! Suomen kieltä kaikille

Category: Language
Level: Beginner & Intermediate

Sinä Osaat! Suomen kieltä kaikille (“You can do it! Finnish language for everyone”), hosted by a Finnish teacher named Jenni, is a great source of Finnish lessons on YouTube. We highly recommend this channel for beginners and intermediate level learners looking to take their language skills to the next level.

If you’ve just started learning Finnish, head to the Suomen kielen alkeet (Basic Finnish) playlist with English subtitles, and if you’re a bit further along in your studies, you might want to watch Jenni’s videos on Finnish verbs and grammatical cases.

9. Finnished

Category: Language
Level: Everyone

The idea behind the Finnished YouTube channel is simple: The more you listen to the Finnish (or any other) language, the more you begin to “just get it.” The emphasis is completely on developing a solid intuitive understanding of the language through repeated exposure to common vocabulary and grammar structures.

The Finnish you’ll hear on Finnished is spoken Finnish rather than standard written Finnish. The speech is slow (super-slow in absolute beginner videos!), and there are subtitles in Finnish as well as English to make it as easy as possible for viewers to understand the content.

10. Learn Finnish with Finking Cap

Category: Language
Level: Beginner & Intermediate

We haven’t forgotten about you grammar enthusiasts, either—Finking Cap is for you! Emmi’s bite-sized lessons (all you need is one to five minutes per video) discuss Finnish grammar in a straightforward and easy-to-digest way. Everything is explained in English, so you can benefit from Finking Cap’s friendly introductions to topics like vowel harmony and the partitive as soon as you feel ready to dive into Finnish grammar.

11. FinnishPod101

Category: Language
Level: Everyone

Last but not least, we’re proud to introduce the FinnishPod101 YouTube channel. You’ll find an unrivalled range of Finnish learning content on our channel, from listening practice and language learning tips to essential grammar and vocabulary.

Our videos are compiled into handy playlists so that you can easily find whichever topic you’re after, at the correct level for you. Try our short and sweet Finnish in 3 minutes videos if you’re in a hurry, or join us on our epic 24/7 lesson stream if you’ve got some time to spare. We’re constantly uploading fresh content, so be sure to click that subscribe button to get notified of new videos!

12. Lopuksi

In this round-up, we’ve given you a brief tour of some of the best YouTube channels for Finnish learners in a variety of categories, from stand-up comedy to cookery. Whatever your level of Finnish, we hope that you’ve found something here that gets you really excited about practicing your listening skills. 

While our YouTube channel is full of free content, you’ll find even more free resources on our website. In particular, we recommend our vocabulary lists (here’s one for Talking about YouTube!) to the Ultimate Finnish Pronunciation Guide, so be sure to take a moment to explore everything we have to offer.

Which Finnish YouTube channel interests you the most? Have we left out your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

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10 Different Ways to Say Goodbye in Finnish

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Once you’ve learned how to say hello, mastering how to say goodbye in Finnish should be really high up on your list of essential language skills to pick up. Knowing a few key parting phrases will help you navigate formal and informal social situations with finesse, and using the right expressions is guaranteed to leave a favorable impression.

We’ll start off with the most important Finnish words for goodbye, and then walk you through a number of other expressions that Finns use when parting in different contexts. These include phrases that emphasize your desire to see someone again and phrases that you can use to wish someone well. Once you’ve learned a couple of your favorites, it will be easy to mix and match them to get your message across!

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Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Finnish Table of Contents
  1. The Most Common Ways to Say Goodbye in Finnish
  2. Specific Ways to Say Goodbye
  3. Goodbye Gestures in Finland
  4. Lopuksi

1. The Most Common Ways to Say Goodbye in Finnish

Most Common Goodbyes

If you’re just after a quick translation for the word goodbye in Finnish, look no further. We’ll cover the most common formal and informal ways to say goodbye before moving on to other useful expressions. However, we really recommend sticking around until the end—there are numerous phrases to learn that are guaranteed to come in handy!

1 – Goodbye

When saying goodbye, there’s one word that you can safely use in almost any situation:

  • Näkemiin. (“Goodbye.”)

This expression is derived from the word nähdä (“to see”), and its literal meaning is “until seeing.” It’s a polite way to say goodbye, so you can use it whenever you’re talking to older people or those you don’t know very well.

The equivalent expression to use when ending a phone call is:

  • Kuulemiin. (“Goodbye.”)

 This one is derived from the word kuulla (“to hear”) and literally means “until hearing.”

2 – Bye

Now that we’ve covered the formal way to say goodbye, let’s see how to say a more informal “bye.” Actually,  the words in this section embody how to say hello and goodbye in Finnish—they can be used for both purposes! 

  • Hei (“Hi” / “Bye”)
  • Moi (“Hi” / “Bye”)

However, the words above can sound a little abrupt when parting, and it’s more common to use these longer variants when taking leave:

  • Hei hei (“Bye-bye”)
  • Moi moi (“Bye-bye”)

These Finnish phrases for goodbye are neutral expressions and are very common in Finland. They can be used in a variety of situations, from business meetings to coffee dates with friends.

And finally, these two words are more casual versions of hei and moi:

  • Heippa (“Hi” / “Bye”)
  • Moikka (“Hi” / “Bye”)
A Boy and a Girl Waving

Hei hei, nähdään koulun jälkeen. (“Bye-bye, see you after school.”)

2. Specific Ways to Say Goodbye

Now you know the most essential expressions, but let’s not leave it there! Now we’re going to learn a number of phrases that will take your goodbyes to the next level.

1 – See you!

The Finnish equivalent to the casual expression “see you” is the verb nähdä (“to see”) in its passive form:

  • Nähdään! (“See you!”)
  • Nähdään taas. (“See you again.”)

You can use this expression with people you know well, and whom you expect to see again sometime. Here are a few different variations you can use in case you want to be a bit more specific about when you plan to see them again:

  • Nähdään pian. (“See you soon.”)
  • Nähdään myöhemmin. (“See you later.”)
  • Nähdään huomenna. (“See you tomorrow.”)
  • Nähdään ensi viikolla. (“See you next week.”)
  • Nähdään maanantaina. (“See you on Monday.”)

You can customize that final phrase by using any other day of the week—just add the ending -na to the name of the weekday. In case you need a refresher on how to say the days of the week in Finnish, you’ll find them all on this vocabulary list.

Other verbs can also be used in a similar way. Take, for example, the humorous phrase below, using the verb törmäillä (“to repeatedly bump into something”) in the passive form:

Törmäillään! (“See you!”)

Learn more about the passive voice in Finnish on Wikipedia.

A Circled Date on a Calendar

It’s a date!

2 – Until next time!

Here are some more examples of how to say goodbye in Finland when you expect to meet someone again. In these expressions, the noun is in the illative case.

  • Ensi kertaan! (“Until next time!”)
  • Seuraavaan kertaan! (“Until next time!”)

Note that the word ensi can mean either “the first” or “the next,” depending on the context. For example, ensi-ilta refers to the premiere or opening (i.e. the first) night of a film or theater production. In contrast, seuraava always means “the next.”

Using the same form, you can also refer to meeting someone the next day, for example:

  • Huomiseen! (“Until tomorrow!”)
  • Ensi viikkoon! (“Until next week!”)

3 – Keep well.

It’s nice to wish somebody well when saying goodbye! Let’s take a look at a couple of ways to do just that.

The verb voida is used to express how someone is feeling or doing. Using the imperative mood, you can use this verb to wish someone well, particularly when you’re not going to see them for a while:

  • Voi hyvin. (“Keep well.”)

You can also use the word pärjäillä (“to be fine” / “to do okay”) when you want to wish someone well. These expressions are especially relevant when the other person is going through challenging times (though the first one can also be neutral):

  • Pärjäile. (“Hang in there.”)
  • Koita pärjätä. (“Try to hang in there.”)

Want to wish them all the best? Say this:

  • Kaikkea hyvää. (“All the best.”)

Holding Hands

Koita pärjätä. (“Try to hang in there.”)

4 – It was nice to see you.

Here’s how to tell someone that you’ve enjoyed your time with them:

  • Oli kiva nähdä. (“It was nice to see you.”)

Note that the Finnish sentence doesn’t actually include the words “it” (se) and “you” (sinä). A literal translation would be: “Was nice to see.”

Here are a couple of similar expressions:

  • Oli hauska tutustua. (“It was fun to meet you.”)
  • Oli mukava jutella. (“It was lovely to chat with you.”)

Would you like to construct more sentences like those above to suit a specific situation? Look up more verbs in Finnish on our most common verbs list.

5 – Let’s keep in touch.

Have you made a nice Finnish friend and want to chat again? Here are a few Finnish goodbye phrases you can use to say so. Remember nähdään (“see you”)? Again, we’re going to use the passive form of our chosen verb:

  • Pidetään yhteyttä. (“Let’s keep in touch.”)
  • Palataan asiaan. (“Let’s get back to it.”)
  • Palaillaan. (“Let’s get back to it.” – A casual alternative to the phrase above.)
  • Soitellaan. (“Let’s keep calling.”)
  • Kirjoitellaan. (“Let’s keep writing.”)
A Woman on the Phone

Soitellaan. (“Let’s keep calling.”)

6 – Have a nice day.

Here are a few different ways to tell someone to have a nice time as you part ways:

  • Hyvää päivän jatkoa. (“Have a nice day onwards.”)
  • Hauskaa iltaa. (“Have a fun evening.” – Used especially when the other person has special plans.)
  • Hyvää illan jatkoa. (“Have a nice evening onwards.”)
  • Hyvää yötä. (“Goodnight.”)
  • Hyvää viikonloppua. (“Have a nice weekend.”)
  • Hyvää lomaa. (“Have a nice vacation.”)

Note that the word jatko in päivän jatkoa and illan jatkoa refers to a “continuation” of the day or evening. You can use the word jatko by itself, too. This expression is suited for situations when you’re not going to see the other person for a while:

  • Hyvää jatkoa. (“All the best in the future.”)

A Smiling Older Woman at a Door.

Hyvää yötä! (“Goodnight!”)

7 – Farewell.

Tread carefully! This is an expression that you should only really use if you never expect (or intend) to see someone again:

  • Hyvästi. (“Farewell.”)

This word is derived from the word hyvä (“good”), and it’s used as a common way to wish someone well when parting. So why does it have a somewhat negative connotation now? The meaning of the word changed during wartime—because you couldn’t be sure if you would ever see your loved ones again, the expression became associated with a permanent parting of ways. Nowadays, hyvästi is rarely used in Finland, and it sounds fairly formal.

An Unhappy Couple Facing Away From Each Other.

Hyvästi means goodbye forever.

8 – Saying goodbye in an email or letter

What about saying goodbye in writing? Here are a couple of ways to close an email or letter in Finnish:

  • Terveisin. (“Best wishes.”)
  • Ystävällisin terveisin. (“Kind regards.”)
  • Rakkaudella. (“Much love.”)
  • Kiittäen. (“Thanks.”)

You can learn more Finnish expressions to use in emails and letters on here.

3. Goodbye Gestures in Finland

So now you’ve learned a lot of goodbye expressions, but what about goodbye gestures?

A simple wave of the hand works in any casual situation, whereas a brief and firm handshake is commonplace when saying goodbye in formal situations. Hugging is common among close friends, family members, and romantic partners, while French-style cheek kisses are not used in Finland.

Want to learn more about Finnish customs and manners? Read more about the topic on This is Finland.

Two Women Shaking Hands.

If in doubt, shake hands!

4. Lopuksi

In this article, you’ve learned numerous ways to say goodbye in Finnish, so you’ll never be at a loss for words when taking your leave! If you’re unsure about how to pronounce these expressions, you can find recordings of many of them on our list of the most common ways to say goodbye in Finnish, available for free on FinnishPod101.com.

While on our website, be sure to explore our other vocabulary lists (we frequently add new ones), our convenient three-minute video lessons, and our entertaining audio lessons. You can sign up for a free account to keep track of the lessons you’ve taken, or go for a Premium PLUS account to reach fluency fast with the help of an experienced Finnish teacher.

Which expressions are your favorites? Are there any other ways to say goodbye in Finnish you’ve heard that we didn’t cover? As always, we love to hear from you, so join the discussion by leaving a comment!

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Is Finnish Hard to Learn?

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Finnish has a reputation of being a difficult language to learn. But is Finnish hard to learn, really? 

The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) has come up with a difficulty ranking for language-learning based on how different each language is from English. Using this system, FSI has placed Finnish in category IV. In other words, an English-speaker would need approximately forty-four weeks (or 1,100 hours) to reach general professional proficiency in Finnish (speaking and reading).

In general, it’s the Finnish grammar that tends to put learners off. However, there are many aspects of the language that learners also find very straightforward and simple! So perhaps we should reframe the question: How easy is it to learn Finnish?

Let’s take a closer look at each side of the coin so you can decide for yourself!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Learning Finnish Table of Contents
  1. Why Finnish is a Lot Easier to Learn Than You Think!
  2. What are the Challenging Parts of Learning Finnish?
  3. I Want to Learn Finnish. Where Should I Start?
  4. A Few More Quick Tips for New Finnish-Learners
  5. Why is FinnishPod101 Great for Learning Finnish?

A Boy Having Difficulties in His Study

Does Finnish deserve its reputation as a difficult language?

1. Why Finnish is a Lot Easier to Learn Than You Think!

1 – The pronunciation is highly regular.

If you’ve ever struggled with unpredictable pronunciation and silent letters while learning a new language, you’re going to love Finnish! In general, each sound in the Finnish language corresponds to a specific letter in the alphabet. Learn these sounds and you can simply “say what you see” (with very few exceptions).

The Finnish stress pattern is also a gift to language-learners: the primary stress always falls on the first syllable of a word. So forget about awkward accent marks—you’ll find none in Finnish. 

Why not learn the Finnish alphabet from A to Z with our free eBook?

The Alphabet

Most sounds used in Finnish correspond to a specific letter.

2 – There’s no grammatical gender or articles.

If you were learning a language like French or Spanish, having to memorize the gender of each noun would certainly slow you down. Finnish-learners rejoice: You can forget all about that nonsense! There are no gendered nouns in Finnish. Even the third person singular pronoun hän (“he” / “she”) is gender-neutral, so there’s no risk of offending anyone by accidentally using the wrong pronoun.

There are no articles either. Whether you’re talking about “a dog” or “the dog,” in Finnish, it’s the same: koira.

A Male and Female Symbol

You’ll find no gendered nouns in Finnish!

3 – It’s easy to expand your vocabulary fast.

At first glance, Finnish can look completely alien to an English-speaker. However, learning new words can be surprisingly easy.

Loanwords

It won’t take long until you start spotting familiar words. Finnish has borrowed many words from other languages, and according to lexicographers, the number of English loanwords entering Finnish is growing every year. A relatively recent addition is internetti (“internet”), or netti for short. 

Compound words

Another reason you’ll be able to expand your Finnish vocabulary faster than you thought is the large number of compound words in the language. It’ll often be a breeze to work out the meaning of a compound word if you’re already familiar with the component words. 

  • jääkaappi (“fridge” – “ice + cupboard”)
  • tietokone (“computer” – “knowledge + machine”)

Derivative suffixes

Another thing that can help you pick up Finnish words quickly is to learn related words in groups. All the words in the list below are derived from the same word stem:

  • kirja (“book”)
  • kirjain (“letter” / “character”)
  • kirjasto (“library”)
  • kirjanen (“pamphlet”)
  • kirjoitus (“text” / “writing” – noun)
  • kirjailija (“writer”)
  • kirjaimellinen (“literal”)
  • kirjallisuus (“literature”)
  • kirjoittaa (“to write”)

Many of these words have been created by attaching a suffix to the word stem. For example, the word for “library” is created by applying the suffix -sto, which signifies a collection of things (books, in this case). Familiarizing yourself with some of the more common suffixes can really speed up your vocabulary learning!

Learn more about Finnish noun-forming suffixes here and find more derivational suffixes here.

A Little Girl in the Library

Kirjasto (“library”) literally means ‘a collection of books.’

 4 – There’s no future tense.

Could Finnish be any more streamlined? Yes! Because there’s no future tense. Why overcomplicate things? 

Future actions in Finnish are usually expressed using the present tense. You can work out the difference from the context or from the use of adverbs like huomenna (“tomorrow”) or ensi vuonna (“next year”).

A Woman with Artificial Intelligence

Talking about the future? Just use the present tense!

 5 – The grammar is consistent.

Few things about language-learning are as frustrating as learning a rule by heart only to trip over one exception after another. We’ll get to the challenging aspects of Finnish grammar in due course, but for now, let us just say this: Finnish grammar is typically very consistent and regular. Yes, it may take you a while to become ‘besties’ with Finnish grammar, but once you do, you’ve found yourself a very good friend that you can rely on!

 2. What are the Challenging Parts of Learning Finnish?

We’re never going to lie and say that learning Finnish is all easy. There are aspects of the language that can feel very frustrating at first—but the same is true about any language, right? The trick is to know what you’re in for, take it step-by-step, and keep the faith!

Here are a few things that make Finnish hard to learn…

1 – The notorious noun cases

English-speakers are used to relying on lots of little words, like prepositions, to convey information. In Finnish, the same is usually achieved by inflecting words. While only three noun cases are used in modern English (the subjective, the objective, and the possessive), there’s a grand total of fifteen noun cases in Finnish.

Understandably, this can make prospective Finnish-learners nervous. To illustrate the difficulties, let’s talk about cake.

  • Minä pidän kakusta. (“I like cake.”)
  • Minä haluan kakkua. (“I want cake.”)
  • Minulla on kakku. (“I have a cake.”)
  • Minä söin kakun. (“I ate a cake.”)
  • Minä olen kyllästynyt kakkuun. (“I’m sick of cake.”)

You’ve just seen five different cases (elative, partitive, nominative, genitive, and illative) in action! Wherever you turn, you’re bound to run into noun cases. But while it may take you a while to learn the rules, remember that Finnish grammar is consistent and logical. You’ve got this!

A Slice of Cake

Sick of cake—or noun cases?

2 – Say hello to even more word endings

As if noun cases weren’t enough, there are even more endings for you to learn. You have a choice of seven different clitics. They can often be combined, like this:

  •  Onkohan se totta? (“I wonder if it’s true?”)

In the example above, the ending -ko turns the verb on (“is”) into a question, while the ending -han changes the tone, making the question less pressing and direct (“I wonder if”). If using more than one clitic, you need to get the order right!

Learn more about Finnish clitics and their uses here.

A Woman with Lots of Questions on Her Head

Onkohan se totta? (“I wonder if it’s true?”)

3 – Verb conjugation

Verb conjugation is another thing that can make the Finnish language hard to learn and induce feelings of dread in new learners! In Finnish, there are six main types of verbs that all behave somewhat differently. In order to inflect verbs correctly, you’ll need to be able to recognize the different verb types and remember what changes take place when the verb is inflected.

However, we’ve got some good news, too. You’ll be glad to know that irregular verbs are very rare in Finnish! The main offenders are the verb olla (“to be”), juosta (“to run”), tehdä (“to do”), and nähdä (“to see”). Once you’ve dealt with those, you’re unlikely to come across another irregular verb.

Find a concise introduction to Finnish verbs on our website, learn more about the six different Finnish verb types in this lesson, and dive deeper into Finnish verb conjugation on Wikipedia.

Children Happy Running

Juosta (“to run”): a rare example of an irregular verb in Finnish.

4 – Consonant gradation

Consonant gradation has to do with spelling changes that affect the stem of a noun when an ending is added. It’s also considered one of the most tedious aspects of learning Finnish! However, the rules of consonant gradation are logical, so there’s no doubt that you’ll master this skill—as long as you’re willing to put in the effort.

Learn about consonant gradation here, and see more examples in this lesson.

5 – Finnish is full of long words

The Finns’ love for compound words can get out of hand sometimes. In theory, it’s possible to coin massive word monsters by combining any number of words (though four words is typically the maximum you’ll see). From a learner’s point of view, this can make some Finnish words a nightmare to make sense of.

Here are some long Finnish compound words that you might come across: 

  • käsipyyherullajärjestelmä (“hand towel roll system”)
  • pyyhkäisyelektronimikroskooppi (“scanning electron microscope”)
  • elintarviketurvallisuusvirasto (“food safety authority”)
  • kolmivaihekilowattituntimittari (“three phase kilowatt hour meter”)

As you can imagine, these are not only hard to spell, but they’re also some pretty hard Finnish words to pronounce! 

Thankfully, most compound words consist of only two words! And once you’re more comfortable with compound words, you can even start having fun with them. That is, you can create your very own compound words in Finnish, and no one will bat an eyelid as long as they make sense!

A Woman Making Funny Face

Is that a word or a tongue-twister?!

3. I Want to Learn Finnish. Where Should I Start?

1 – Define your goal.

First of all, be clear about why you want to learn Finnish! Do you want to learn a little conversational Finnish in preparation for a trip to Finland? Are you dreaming of living in Finland one day and want to pass the YKI exam? Or are you addicted to Nordic Noir and desperate to read Finnish crime novels that haven’t been translated yet?

Your learning strategy will depend on what you want to achieve, so define your goal and keep it in mind to stay motivated!

A Dart Bullseye

Stay focused on your learning target.

2 – Start with the vocabulary that you need the most.

If you’re planning to learn Finnish, you’ll want to start using the language as quickly as possible. To do just that, make sure you prioritize learning the most relevant vocabulary and expressions. Of course, what’s most relevant depends on you! Are you planning to travel around Finland? Get started with some essential travel vocabulary. Or perhaps you’re dating a Finn? Learn how to compliment him or her.

You can create personalized flashcards to help you learn your chosen words. Alternatively, get started with the 100 most common Finnish words.

A Man Travelling with Suitcase

Plan to travel in Finland? Start learning travel vocabulary, like matkalaukku (“suitcase”).

 3 – Break grammar into manageable chunks.

Finnish grammar can feel overwhelming at times, but you don’t need to take it all in right away! Focus on practicing just a few noun cases at first, and tackle the conjugation of one verb type at a time. And if you do get frustrated, remember that Finnish is a very logical and methodical language. Remain patient, and you’ll get there!

4 – Speak from day one.

You may think of speaking as one of the last steps you take in the process of learning a new language. You wouldn’t want to embarrass yourself by mispronouncing words or making grammar mistakes, right? No—we passionately advocate the exact opposite! Start speaking Finnish as soon as possible, and use every opportunity to use the words and phrases that you’re learning. This will boost your confidence and also help you learn by trial and error. Don’t ever let the fear of making mistakes hold you back.

Get started right away with these Finnish key phrases.

Friends Chatting with Each Other while Drinking

Don’t be shy! Speak Finnish from day one.

4. A Few More Quick Tips for New Finnish-Learners 

1 – Don’t give up!

Learning a language takes time and effort. If it didn’t, we’d all be polyglots! Therefore, you’re likely to get frustrated at times. If this happens to you, take a break from whatever you’re struggling with and focus on something easier (like learning new vocabulary) for a bit. And if you ever get really stuck, you can always reach out to an experienced Finnish tutor for extra help and guidance.

2 – Immerse yourself.

Boost your learning by taking every opportunity to expose yourself to Finnish. Find Finnish music and podcasts to listen to (you’re getting used to the sounds and the rhythm of the language, even if you understand very little to start with!). You should also watch YouTube videos and films in Finnish, and start reading articles and books as soon as possible. Seeing and hearing Finnish used in real life helps solidify the lessons you’ve learned in a fun and exciting way.

3 – Team up with other learners.

Sharing your triumphs and struggles, and exchanging language-learning tips with other people, can be really motivating! Why not chat with other Finnish learners on social media? Check out our Instagram and Facebook pages to engage with other learners.

4 – Make language-learning a part of your routine.

If you can make time for language-learning on a regular basis, you’ll make progress a lot faster. The best way is to schedule time to study Finnish each day. Could you fit in a lesson or two during your morning commute or your lunch break? Our language apps allow you to access Finnish lessons anywhere, and are the perfect way to incorporate Finnish-learning effortlessly into your life, no matter how busy you are!

A Man Listening Something with His Headphone

Use our app to access Finnish lessons on-the-go.

5. Why is FinnishPod101 Great for Learning Finnish?

If you’re keen to learn Finnish, FinnishPod101 has an effective learning system for learners at every level.  

1 – An integrated approach

One of the strengths of our method is combining multiple skills into a single lesson. Combining grammar notes with a listening exercise, for example, makes our lessons more organic and powerful, helping you progress faster.

2 – Plenty of free resources

Whether you’re just dipping your toes into Finnish-learning to see if it’s really for you, or are already fully committed to becoming fluent, we have a huge collection of suitable learning materials for you. Even better, a lot of our content is completely free to use.

3 – Customizable content

From customized vocabulary flashcards to lesson pathways tailored to your specific needs, our system is designed to support you and help you reach your personal learning goals, whatever they are.

4 – Extra help from a Finnish tutor

If you ever need extra support or want to take your language learning to the next level, our Premium PLUS program gives you access to a private Finnish tutor. Your tutor can help you with all aspects of language-learning, such as giving you feedback on your pronunciation and providing personalized assignments to help you test your knowledge.

A Woman Hands Up in the Air

We’ll help you succeed!

So how hard is it to learn Finnish? In this guide, we’ve discussed the notorious noun cases (among other stumbling blocks that Finnish-learners face), as well as the many ways in which Finnish can be surprisingly straightforward. Our final verdict is this: The language has its challenges, but learning Finnish is definitely doable—and also very rewarding!

What are your thoughts? Are you feeling more hesitant or reassured? Feel free to reach out to us if you want to know more about how we can help you learn Finnish!

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The 10 Most Common Finnish Mistakes That Learners Make

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Learning a new language is a great adventure. On your journey, you’ll come across many tricky sounds, some confusing grammar, and many words that seem to behave strangely for no good reason… 

But all good adventurers come prepared, and we’re here to help you prepare! That is, we’ll shine our spotlight on the ten most common Finnish mistakes, so that your journey will go that much more smoothly. In addition, knowing what Finnish mistakes to watch out for will give you an easier time making yourself understood when speaking with locals.

We’ll be looking at common pronunciation mistakes for Finnish-learners, typical mistakes in Finnish grammar, and a few other things that Finnish-learners often struggle with. Be sure to read to the end of this guide, where we’ll reveal the biggest mistake of all!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Finnish Table of Contents
  1. Long Vowels and Double Consonants
  2. Tricky Sounds
  3. Common Homonyms
  4. The Many Meanings of No niin!
  5. Postpositions
  6. The Object Trilemma: Partitive, Nominative, or Accusative?
  7. Vowel Harmony
  8. Consonant Gradation
  9. Repeating Things Unnecessarily
  10. Not Preparing for Spoken Finnish
  11. The Biggest Mistake!

A Little Boy Frustrated with His Homework

Älä huoli, kaikki tekevät virheitä! (“Don’t worry, everybody makes mistakes!”)

1. Long Vowels and Double Consonants

Have you noticed how many Finnish words sound extremely similar to each other? Often, the only difference is a double letter, so it’s very easy to mix up similar words. However, taking time to tune your ear to the sound of long vowels and double consonants—and getting your pronunciation right—is very important. A single letter can change the meaning of a word drastically.

Consider these very similar-sounding statements:

  • Tapaan Esan huomenna! (“I’m meeting Esa tomorrow!”)
  • Tapan Esan huomenna! (“I’m killing Esa tomorrow!”)

Poor Esa will surely hope you meant the first one! Here are other examples of words that look and sound very similar:

  • tuli / tuuli / tulli (“fire” / “wind” / “customs”)
  • muta / mutta / muuttaa (“mud” / “but” / “to move”)
  • tili / tiili / tilli (“account” / “brick” / “dill”)

 Here’s the rule of thumb when it comes to pronunciation: Double equals longer and stronger.

Flames Against a Dark Background

Tuli, ei tuuli! (“Fire, not wind!”)

2. Tricky Sounds

While most sounds in Finnish will present no problems for English-speakers, there are a couple that can be challenging and require some practice to get right. Trust us, with enough practice and exposure, you’ll be able to avoid an embarrassing pronunciation mistake in Finnish later on down the line.

 Let’s take a closer look at the Finnish ä, ö, y, and r!

Ä

Ä: pronounced like “a” in “that” and “cat”

Ää: pronounced like the “a” in “bad” and “sad”

Go ahead and say these words out loud:

  • äkkiä (“quickly”)
  • äiti (“mother”)
  • ääni (“sound”)
  • häät (“wedding”)

Ö

 Ö: Pronounced like “e” in “better”

Öö: Pronounced like “ea” in “earn” or “u” in “turn”

 A few words for you to practice with:

  • öinen (“nightly”)
  • ötökkä (“bug”)
  • lööppi (“headline”)
  • söötti (“cute” – colloquial) 

Y

The “y” sound is one of the trickiest for Finnish-learners to master, because it isn’t found in English. The best way to get the sound just right is to listen to recordings of Finnish words with y and repeat those words until you feel confident. 

For example, listen to the recording of tyttärentytär (“granddaughter”) on this vocabulary list.

Here are a few more words for you to practice with:

  • yksi (“one”)
  • nyt (“now”)
  • kyynel (“teardrop”)
  • tyyny (“pillow”)

R

If you’re struggling with the Finnish “r,” take heart—even many Finns get help from a speech therapist to correct their ärrävika (saying “r” incorrectly) while growing up!

If you’ve ever studied Spanish, you’ll have an advantage because the Finnish “r” is similar to the “r” sound in Spanish. The key to getting the clear sound is to really roll the “r.” You can literally feel your tongue vibrating when you’re doing it right!

Note that the Finnish “r” is made at the front of the mouth (the same place where you make the “d” sound!), while the English “r” is made further back in the mouth.

Here’s a selection of Finnish words to practice rolling your “r” with. Remember to make the sound longer when you see a double “r”!

  • ravintola (“restaurant”)
  • radio (“radio”)
  • suuri (“big”)
  • murre (“dialect”)

If you’re feeling especially brave, try this Finnish tongue-twister:

  •  Ärrän kierrän ympäri orren. (“I wrap the ‘r’ around the perch.”)

Would you like more help with your pronunciation? FinnishPod101.com has a comprehensive guide to Finnish sounds and how to master them, a Finnish alphabet page, and a relevant audio lesson.

A Little Kid Holding Snow in Hands

The Finnish sound “y” is made with rounded lips.

3. Common Homonyms

Alright, so we’ve gone on quite a bit about Finnish words that are similar to each other. Now we’re going to talk about homonyms—words that sound and look the same but have different meanings. They’re very common in Finnish!

Being aware of common homonyms means that you’re less likely to trip over them, so let’s take a look at some examples, starting with the classic kuusi palaa.

The word kuusi can mean any of these things: 

  • “Six”
  • “A fir tree” 
  • “Your moon” (kuu + the possessive suffix -si)

The word palaa can mean any of these things: 

  • “Pieces” (in the partitive case)
  • “Burns” 
  • “Returns”

Therefore, kuusi palaa can mean a fair number of things, including “six pieces” and “the fir tree is burning”!

Here are a few more words with different meanings:

  • Tuli (“fire” or “came” in third person singular)
  • Keksi (“biscuit” or “invented” in third person singular)
  • Kurkku (“cucumber” or “throat”)

Discover more Finnish homonyms on this list.

4. The Many Meanings of No niin!

If you’re spending time in Finland, you’ll probably hear no niin (or noni) uttered a lot. Many Finnish-learners are confused by the sheer range of meanings that this simple utterance can have. It can signal enthusiasm, disappointment, and irritation, for starters. You can’t simply decide that no niin means “well” or “now” and be done with it. The Finnish stand-up comedian Ismo Leikola went so far as to claim that no niin is the most important Finnish expression there is!

 Here are a few examples of no niin in action.

  • No niin, ruoka on valmista! (“Okay, the food is ready!”)
  • No niin, hieno homma! (“That’s great, well done!”)
  • No niin, taas mennään. (“Oh dear, here we go again.”)
  • No niin, aika näyttää. (“Well, time will tell.”)

5. Postpositions

In general, you’ll find that Finnish word order is not that dissimilar from the English one. Take this basic declarative sentence:

  • Mies söi omenan. (“A man ate an apple.”) 

It follows the subject + verb + object order that you’re already familiar with. 

However, there are still a few word order surprises for Finnish-learners. A case in point is Finnish postpositions, which express place, cause, time, consequence, or relation. While in English, you would say “behind the sofa” or “after school,” in Finnish, you’ll put the adposition after your noun, hence the term postposition. Note that the noun will usually be in the genitive case.

Look at these examples with the postposition underlined:

  • Sohvan takana (“Behind the sofa”)
  • Pöydän päällä (“On top of the table”)
  • Maton alla (“Under the rug”)
  • Laatikon sisällä (“Inside the box”)
  • Koulun jälkeen (“After school”)

You can learn more Finnish postpositions on Wiktionary.

Though far less common, there are a few prepositions in Finnish as well. The most useful ones to memorize are ennen (“before”) and ilman (“without”). Note that the noun is now in the partitive case.

  • Ennen joulua (“Before Christmas”)
  • Ilman apua (“Without help”)

Wait! Then we have a couple of words that can be either, such as keskellä (“in the middle of”) and lähellä (“near”)! Remember that the order affects the case of the noun. 

  • Keskellä kaupunkia (“In the middle of the city”)
  • Kaupungin keskellä (“In the middle of the city”)

Learn more vocabulary related to positions and directions on our website.

A Man Crossing His Fingers Behind His Back

Selän takana (“Behind the back”)

6. The Object Trilemma: Partitive, Nominative, or Accusative?

One aspect of Finnish grammar that scares prospective learners (and frustrates the current ones) the most is the use of numerous noun cases. We agree, it’s a lot to wrap your head around. But on the bright side, once you’ve mastered your noun cases, you’ll be well on your way to Finnish fluency!

The best approach to learning the noun cases is to focus on a few at a time and practice them a lot (and then practice them some more). Right now, we’ll focus on the tricky trilemma of choosing whether to put the object of your sentence into the nominative, accusative, or partitive case. Getting it wrong is one of the easiest mistakes in Finnish to make, but we know that you can do this!

1. The object in the partitive case

Choose the partitive when:

  • The object follows a partitive verb, such as rakastaa (“to love”), vihata (“to hate”), or odottaa (“to wait for”).
  • The object is a part of a negative sentence.
  • The object follows a number.
  • The action is taking place now and may not be fully completed.
  • The object is uncountable.

 Examples:

  • Minä rakastan sinua. (“I love you.”)
  • En halua koiraa. (“I don’t want a dog.”)
  • Sanna lukee kirjaa. (“Sanna is reading a book.”)
  • Arto juo kahvia. (“Arto is drinking coffee.”)

 2. The object in the nominative case

Choose the nominative when:

  • The object follows a verb that’s in the passive form.
  • The object follows a necessive, such as minun on pakko (“I have to”), minun täytyy (“I must”), or minun pitää (“I need”). 
  • The object follows a command.

Examples:

  • Tänään siivotaan keittiö. (“Today, the kitchen is cleaned.”)
  • Minun täytyy pedata sänky. (“I must make the bed.”)
  • Ota puhelin. (“Take the phone.”) 

3. The object in the accusative case

Finally, choose the accusative case when: 

  • The action has been fully completed.
  • The intention is to fully complete the action.

Examples:

  • Ostin kesämökin. (“I bought a summer cottage.”)
  • Aion sulkea oven. (“I’m going to close the door.”)

No niin, you’ve probably already spotted a problem here. What if several of these rules apply to the same sentence? Well, in situations like that, the partitive trumps the nominative, and the nominative trumps the accusative. So, the hierarchy looks like this:

Partitive > Nominative > Accusative

Can you think of a mnemonic to help you remember the correct order? Things get more complicated when you add things like plurals or possessive suffixes into the mix, but that is a lesson for another day! For now, keep your eye on objects and cases whenever you’re reading Finnish sentences, and see if you can work out which rule is being followed.

A Girl Reading a Book

Tyttö lukee kirjaa. (“A girl is reading a book.”)

7. Vowel Harmony

Compared to the difficulty of wrestling with the Finnish noun cases, figuring out vowel harmony is a walk in the park. Still, forgetting about vowel harmony is a common mistake in the Finnish language, so let’s take a closer look.

What exactly is vokaaliharmonia (“vowel harmony”), and why does it matter? In Finnish, vowels are grouped into front, back, and neutral vowels. 

  • Front vowels: A, O, U
  • Back vowels: Y, Ä, Ö
  • Neutral vowels: E, I

Normally, you can’t mix front and back vowels in the same word, while neutral vowels can mix with either front or back vowels. Knowing this will help you with your spelling, but more importantly, it will help you choose the right endings when you inflect words.

For example, talo (“house”) in the partitive case becomes taloa, but mörkö (“ghost”) inflected in the partitive case becomes mörköä. Words containing only neutral vowels generally take the same ending as words with back vowels. For example: vintti (“attic”) becomes vinttiä in the partitive case.

Note that there are some words that don’t follow the rules, including many loanwords.

  • konduktööri (“conductor”)
  • Olympialaiset (“Olympics”)
Olympic Rings on White Background

Vokaaliharmonia ei päde olympialaiset-sanaan.
(“Vowel harmony doesn’t apply to the word ‘Olympics’.”)

8. Consonant Gradation

Another type of error Finnish-learners make quite often has to do with astevaihtelu (“consonant gradation”). It’s something you’ll come across a lot in your Finnish studies, so it’s good to learn about it sooner rather than later!

Consonant gradation comes into play when we add an ending to a noun or a verb. There are “strong” and “weak” grades of words, and these grades determine whether the word changes or not. As you probably guessed, “strong” words don’t change while “weak” words do.

We’ll look at simple consonant gradation affecting words with the consonants K, P, and T.

Examples of words in the nominative case (the basic form), which is always strong:

  • pankki (“bank”)
  • kuppi (“cup”)
  • katto (“roof”)

The same words are also strong in the following cases:

  • Partitive: pankkia, kuppia, kattoa
  • Illative: pankkiin, kuppiin, kattoon
  • Essive: pankkina, kuppina, kattona

See? No changes there. However, when the same words are in the following cases, they become weak and drop a letter:

  • Plural: pankit, kupit, katot
  • Genitive: pankin, kupin, katon
  • Inessive: pankissa, kupissa, katossa
  • Elative: pankista, kupista, katosta
  • Adessive: pankilla, kupilla, katolla
  • Ablative: pankilta, kupilta, katolta
  • Allative: pankille, kupille, katolle
  • Translative: pankiksi, kupiksi, katoksi

That was so easy that you’ll no doubt want to know more about Finnish consonant gradation. Luckily, there’s a lot more to learn! You could start by reading this Wikipedia article or listening to this audio lesson.

A Woman with a Large Stack of Papers in Front of Her

Just doing some light reading on Finnish consonant gradation.

9. Repeating Things Unnecessarily

One mistake that many Finnish-learners make is putting a lot of effort into things like memorizing correct verb conjugation but not taking advantage of what they’ve learned! Whatever do we mean? Well, conjugating like a pro allows you to become “lazy.” That is, you can start dropping unnecessary words like minä (“I”)!

Take a look at this introduction:

  • Hei, minä olen Helena! Minä asun Oulussa. (“Hi, I’m Helena! I live in Oulu.”)

Our example is grammatically correct. However, the conjugated verb already tells us that the subject of the sentence is “I.” Therefore, you can drop it and no one will miss it!

  • Hei, olen Helena! Asun Oulussa.

Leaving out words that aren’t strictly necessary sounds more natural to Finnish ears. The same applies when you’re asking questions. Feel free to drop sinä (“you”) as well. For example:

  • Puhutko sinä suomea? (“Do you speak Finnish?”)
  • Puhutko suomea?

Listen to this audio lesson, where we chat more about this common mistake.

10. Not Preparing for Spoken Finnish

For many Finnish-learners, their first time talking to a Finn in real life comes as a shock. Why? Spoken Finnish can sound very different from standard Finnish!

In general, spoken Finnish is simply more economical than standard Finnish.

Here are some common features of spoken Finnish:

  • Syllables are dropped. 
    • e.g. mutta (“but”) becomes mut.
  • Words are ‘squished’ together. 
    • e.g. Tuutsä? (“Are you coming?”) instead of Tuletko sinä?
  • The word se (“it”) replaces hän (“he” / “she”).
  • The verb is in the passive form in the first person plural. 
    • e.g. Me ollaan koulussa. (“We are in school.”) instead of Me olemme koulussa.
  • The possessive suffix is dropped. 
    • e.g. Minun koira (“My dog”) instead of Minun koirani.

Learn more about colloquial Finnish on Wikipedia.

Two Women Chatting with Each Other on a Park Bench

Wait, are we speaking Finnish?

11. The Biggest Mistake!

No niin, we’ve finally made it to the big reveal! So, what is the biggest mistake a Finnish-learner could make? Being afraid of making mistakes! That’s right; mistakes are a part of your learning journey, so embrace them.

We certainly don’t expect you to never make any of the mistakes mentioned in this article. What we do hope, though, is that you’ve become more aware of the common pitfalls, so that you’ll notice more easily when you might have stumbled. In order to learn from our mistakes, we need to be able to notice them first!

FinnishPod101 is full of free resources to help you with your Finnish studies, so remember to make full use of them! For example, a brilliant way to perfect your pronunciation of tricky Finnish sounds is to listen to the audio recordings that accompany our vocabulary lists and repeat each word out loud!

And if you’d like an experienced teacher to help you wrap your head around consonant gradation or any other grammar rules, our Premium PLUS one-on-one coaching is perfect for you. 

However you prefer to learn, we’re cheering you on!

Before you go, let us know in the comments how many of these mistakes you’ve made before. We look forward to hearing from you!

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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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