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40 Useful Advanced Finnish Phrases to Master


Are you at that point in your language learning where you find everyday communication in Finnish a breeze but would like to make further progress? Once you have the basics down, a logical next step is to learn some advanced Finnish phrases for professional and formal contexts. Reaching the advanced level in Finnish can be a slow journey, but the effort is worth it, especially if you’re dreaming of pursuing studies or a career in Finland.

A common stumbling block on the way to fluency is a lack of confidence in being able to use the target language. This can be true even if you’re able to understand quite a lot of what you hear and read. Memorizing and making an effort to use a range of advanced Finnish words and phrases can help you get over that hurdle faster.

Read on to learn several advanced Finnish phrases to use in academic writing, cover letters, and business meetings. And be sure to stick around until the end to learn some fun and colorful idiomatic expressions.

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It takes effort to reach the advanced level, but it’s worth it!

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Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Finnish Table of Contents
  1. Useful Phrases for Academic Writing
  2. Power Phrases for Your Cover Letter
  3. Smart Phrases for Business Meetings
  4. Advanced Idioms for Everyday Use
  5. Lopuksi

1. Useful Phrases for Academic Writing

The aim of academic writing is to aid the reader’s understanding, so this style of writing should be clear, focused, and well-structured. Student or not, you can use the advanced Finnish words and phrases below to express your thoughts and ideas more clearly and confidently.

  • Tarkoituksemme on (“Our purpose is”)
    • Tarkoituksemme on analysoida eri menetelmien tehokkuutta. (“Our purpose is to analyze the effectiveness of different methods.”)
  • Vastatakseni tähän kysymykseen (“In order to answer this question”)
    • Vastatakseni tähän kysymykseen, selvennän aluksi käsitettä lyhyellä esimerkillä. (“In order to answer this question, I will start by clarifying the concept with a brief example.”)
  • Verrattuna (“Compared to”)
    • Havaintomme olivat yllättäviä aiempiin tutkimustuloksiin verrattuna. (“Our observations were surprising compared to earlier research results.”)
  • Päinvastoin kuin (“Contrary to”)
    • Päinvastoin kuin usein uskotaan, kahvin juonti ei aiheuta nestehukkaa. (“Contrary to popular belief, drinking coffee does not cause dehydration.”)
  • Yleisesti ottaen (“Generally speaking”)
    • Yleisesti ottaen suomalaisten terveys on kohentunut uuden tutkimuksen mukaan. (“Generally speaking, the health of Finnish people has improved according to new research.”)
  • Tilastojen mukaan (“According to statistics”)
    • Tilastojen mukaan noin puolet Suomen väestöstä harrastaa sienestystä. (“According to statistics, around half of the population of Finland enjoys mushroom picking as a hobby.”)
  • On tunnettu tosiasia (“It’s a well-known fact”)
    • On tunnettu tosiasia, että unen laatu vaikuttaa hyvinvointiin monin tavoin. (“It’s a well-known fact that sleep quality affects well-being in many ways.”)
  • On tärkeää painottaa (“It’s important to emphasize”)
    • On tärkeää painottaa, että korrelaatio ei todista syy-seuraussuhteen olemassaoloa. (“It’s important to emphasize that correlation does not prove the existence of causality.”)
  • Tarkoitan tällä (“By this, I mean”)
    • Tarkoitan tällä, että lisätutkimukset ovat yhä tarpeen. (“By this, I mean that additional research is still needed.”)
  • Vastustan vahvasti ajatusta (“I’m firmly opposed to the idea”)
    • Vastustan vahvasti ajatusta varotoimenpiteiden vähentämisestä. (“I am firmly opposed to the idea of reducing precautionary measures.”)

Dive deeper into the world of higher education by learning Finnish words and phrases related to academia and living on a school campus.

A Smiling Graduate with a Scroll Diploma in Hand

2. Power Phrases for Your Cover Letter

Are you hoping to find a job in Finland? Then you’ll want to make sure that your cover letter is on point and covers all the essential information about your strengths, experience, and interest in the position.

You can use the following advanced Finnish phrases as a starting point for crafting your very own cover letter.

  • Hakea paikkaa (“To apply for a position”)
    • Olen kiinnostunut hakemaan vastaanottovirkailijan paikkaa yrityksessänne. (“I’m interested in applying for the position of a receptionist in your company.”)
  • Viitata ilmoitukseen (“To refer to an advertisement”)
    • Viittaan Helsingin Sanomissa julkaistuun ilmoitukseenne, jossa etsitte kokenutta myyntiavustajaa. (“I’m referring to your advertisement in Helsingin Sanomat in which you’re looking for an experienced sales assistant.”)
  • Olla erityisen kiinnostunut (“To be especially interested”)
    • Olen erityisen kiinnostunut tästä työstä, koska ympäristönsuojelu on lähellä sydäntäni. (“I’m especially interested in this job because conservation is close to my heart.”)
  • Vahvuudet (“Strengths”)
    • Vahvuuksiani ovat projektien johtaminen ja kyky motivoida toisia. (“My strengths are leading projects and the ability to motivate others.”)
  • Sopia hyvin tehtävään (“To be well suited for a position”)
    • Sopisin hyvin tähän tehtävään, koska olen tehokas ongelmien ratkaisija ja nautin haasteista. (“I would be well suited for this position because I’m an efficient problem solver and I enjoy challenges.”)
  • Liitteenä oleva ansioluettelo (“Enclosed resume”)
    • Kuten liitteenä olevasta ansioluettelostani näkyy, tunnen muotialan kuin omat taskuni. (“As you can see from my enclosed resume, I know the fashion industry like the back of my hand.” / Literally: “As you can see from my enclosed resume, I know the fashion industry like my own pockets.”)
  • 5 vuotta kokemusta (“5 years of experience”)
    • Minulla on yli 5 vuotta kokemusta työskentelystä terveydenhuoltoalalla. (“I have over 5 years of experience working in the field of healthcare.”)
  • Olla tarjottavaa (“To have something to offer”)
    • Keskustelisin mielelläni enemmän tästä työpaikasta sekä siitä, mitä tarjottavaa minulla on yrityksellenne. (“I would love to talk more about this job and what I have to offer to your company.”)
  • Olla valmis kertomaan lisää (“To be ready to tell more”)
    • Olen valmis kertomaan haastattelussa lisää siitä miksi sopisin erityisen hyvin juuri tähän tehtävään. (“I’m ready to tell in an interview more about why I would be suited to this position especially.”)
  • Kiitos ajastanne ja harkinnastanne. (“Thank you for your time and consideration.”)

Do you want more help with job hunting in Finland? We recommend visiting our free vocabulary list Words and Phrases for Writing Your Resume and the audio lesson A Finnish Job Interview on

Someone Looking Over a Cover Letter

Make sure your cover letter stands out for the right reasons.

3. Smart Phrases for Business Meetings

Do you want to put your best foot forward in a business meeting? Then preparation is essential. In addition to learning in advance about Finnish business culture and etiquette, you’ll also want to memorize key phrases and learn appropriate ways to express your ideas confidently in a business setting. The following list of advanced Finnish words and phrases will help you get started.

  • Ottaa asia esille (“Raise a point”)
    • Haluaisin ottaa esille seuraavan asian. (“I would like to raise the following point.”)
  • Laatia strategia (“Devise a strategy”)
    • Haluamme laatia strategian, jonka kaikki osapuolet voivat hyväksyä. (“We want to devise a strategy that all parties can agree on.”)
  • Esitys sisältää (“The submission contains”)
    • Esitykseni sisältää erittelyn projektin kustannuksista. (“My submission contains a breakdown of the project’s expenses.”)
  • Olla huomautuksia (“To have objections”)
    • Onko kenelläkään tähän ehdotukseen liittyviä huomautuksia? (“Does anyone have any objections to this proposal?”)
  • Ehdottaa (“To propose”)
    • Ehdotan kohdan 4 muuttamista. (“I propose an amendment to item 4.”)
  • Kannattaa (“To second”)
    • Kannatan esitystä. (“I second the motion.”)
  • Vastustaa (“To oppose”)
    • Vastustan esitystä. (“I oppose the motion.”)
  • Siirtyä seuraavaan kohtaan (“To move on to the next item”)
    • Siirrymme seuraavaan päiväjärjestyksen kohtaan. (“We will move on to the next item on the agenda.”)
  • Kerrata yhteenvedoksi (“To repeat” / “To sum up”)
    • Kertaan yhteenvedoksi tähän mennessä käsitellyt pääkohdat. (“To sum up, I will repeat the main points raised so far.”)
  • Loppuun käsitelty (“Closed,” or literally: “handled to the end”)
    • Asia on loppuun käsitelty. (“The matter is closed.”)

For more help, visit our vocabulary list Phrases for Doing Business Successfully or listen to our lesson Preparing for a Finnish Business Meeting.

A Smiling Woman Speaking Standing Up in a Meeting

Master key phrases in advance to feel more confident in a business meeting.

4. Advanced Idioms for Everyday Use

Idioms can be particularly baffling for language learners since they tend not to make much sense when translated word for word. However, learning idioms is an amusing and rewarding undertaking for the very same reason. What’s more, mastering idioms gives you a unique insight into the culture of your target language and is a significant step on your journey to fluency. Below are several Finnish phrases for advanced learners who would like to sound more natural in everyday conversations and familiarize themselves with Finnish culture. 

  • vetää herne nenään (literally: “to pull a pea up one’s nose” / meaning: “to get upset about something insignificant” / equivalent: “to get one’s knickers in a twist”)
    • Se oli vain vitsi! Älä vedä hernettä nenään. (“It was just a joke! Don’t get your knickers in a twist!”)
  • vääntää rautalangasta (literally: “to wrench from iron wire” / meaning: “to explain in simple terms” / equivalent: “to spell out”)
    • Täytyykö minun vääntää joka ikinen asia rautalangasta? (“Do I have to spell out every single thing?”)
  • sopia kuin nyrkki silmään (literally: “to fit like a fist to an eye” / meaning: “to fit or suit perfectly” / equivalent: “to fit like a glove”)
    • Punainen hiusväri sopii sinulle kuin nyrkki silmään. (“Red hair dye suits you perfectly.”)
  • ymmärtää yskä (literally: “to understand the cough” / meaning: “to get the hint,” “to understand”)
    • Jouko ymmärsi heti yskän ja jätti meidät kahden. (“Jouko immediately got the hint and left us alone.”)
  • ei ole kaikki muumit laaksossa (literally: “to not have all the Moomins in the valley” / meaning: “crazy” / equivalent: “to have a screw loose”)
    • Olen alkanut epäillä ettei naapurillani ole kaikki muumit laaksossa. (“I’ve started to suspect that my neighbor has a screw loose.”)
  • kaivaa verta nenästään (literally: “to dig blood out of one’s nose” / meaning: “to provoke” / equivalent: “to look for trouble”)
    • Taneli kaivoi verta nenästään kertomalla loukkaavia vitsejä. (“Taneli was looking for trouble by telling offensive jokes.”)
  • puhaltaa yhteen hiileen (literally: “to blow into one coal” / meaning: “to work together”)
    • Saamme työn valmiiksi paljon nopeammin jos puhallamme yhteen hiileen. (“We will complete the work much faster if we work together.”)
  • katsoa kuin halpaa makkaraa (literally: “to look at someone like they’re a cheap sausage” / meaning: “to look down on someone” / equivalent: “to look down one’s nose at”)
    • Anoppini katsoi minua kuin halpaa makkaraa kun tapasin hänet ensimmäistä kertaa. (“My mother-in-law looked at me down her nose when I met her for the first time.”)
  • maksaa potut pottuina (literally: “to pay potatoes as potatoes” / meaning: “to get even”)
    • Mervi maksoi potut pottuina ja murskasi Karin uusintaottelussa. (“Mervi got even and crushed Kari in the rematch.”)
  • menneen talven lumia (literally: “snows of a past winter” / meaning: “past events that are no longer important” / equivalent: “water under the bridge”)
    • Unohdetaan koko juttu; se on menneen talven lumia. (“Let’s forget the whole thing; it’s water under the bridge.”)

Do you want to learn more strange idioms? Find out what Matti kukkarossa (literally: “Matti in the purse”) means by listening to our audio lesson on common Finnish idioms or head over to our free vocabulary list Essential Idioms That Will Make You Sound Like a Native Speaker.


Onko sinulla kaikki muumit laaksossa? (“Do you have all the Moomins in the valley?”)

5. Lopuksi

In this guide, we have covered many advanced Finnish phrases that will help you express your thoughts confidently in academic essays, write winning cover letters, and participate fully in business meetings. Is there anything we didn’t touch on that you would like to see covered in the future? Do you know any great Finnish idioms we didn’t mention here? Drop a comment below to let us know!

We have plenty of resources at for advanced learners, including our official curated Level 5 pathway and a massive library of free vocabulary lists with audio recordings. Our Premium PLUS service, MyTeacher, includes 1-on-1 coaching and a personalized lesson plan, which makes it ideal for anyone who is serious about becoming fluent in Finnish.

Happy learning on!

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30+ Useful Intermediate Finnish Phrases


Reaching the intermediate level is an exciting time for a language learner. With the essential grammar and vocabulary under your belt, Finnish is finally starting to make sense and you’re within touching distance of new possibilities. Learning intermediate Finnish phrases will allow you to go beyond basic questions and statements and help you express yourself in more nuanced and varied ways!

In this guide, you will learn a variety of common intermediate Finnish phrases that you can immediately start putting to use in everyday conversations. You’ll learn how to share interesting anecdotes from your past, make plans with friends, give explanations, and more.

A Smiling Woman Talking with a Friend

Conversations in your target language get livelier when you reach the intermediate level.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Finnish Table of Contents
  1. Talking About Past Events
  2. Making and Changing Plans
  3. Explaining and Listing Reasons
  4. Making Recommendations and Complaints
  5. Reaction Phrases for Everyday Conversations
  6. Etiquette Phrases for Social and Business Settings
  7. Lopuksi

1. Talking About Past Events

When you first start learning Finnish, the focus is naturally on the present tense as you need it to communicate basic facts and ask simple questions. In fact, it’s quite possible to get by using nothing but the present tense on a short trip or in a business meeting. However, the past tense is a key to having more interesting conversations and getting to know people better. This is true whether you want to recount a special childhood memory or talk about a memorable moment from your last vacation.

Here are some examples of how you could use the past tense in Finnish:

  • Meillä oli eilen hauskaa. (“We had fun yesterday.”)
  • Se oli elämäni kamalin päivä. (“It was the most awful day of my life.”)
  • Vietimme koko viikon kesämökillä. (“We spent the entire week at the summer cottage.”)
  • Perustin yrityksen kolme vuotta sitten. (“I started a business three years ago.”)
  • Minulla oli lapsena monta lemmikkiä. (“I had a lot of pets when I was a child.”)

Read more about using Finnish tenses on the FinnishPod101 blog.

A Woman Covering Her Face with a Hand

Se oli elämäni kamalin päivä! (“It was the most awful day of my life!”)

2. Making and Changing Plans

Let’s leave the past alone for now and move on to making—and changing—future plans. Whether you’re arranging a business meeting via email or texting a friend to ask when they’re free, these intermediate phrases in Finnish will help you navigate that social dance of trying to find a mutually suitable time!

Remember that there’s no separate future tense in Finnish; we typically use the present tense when talking about future events. The context is usually enough to reveal whether someone is referring to the present or the future. 

  • Oletko vapaa tänä viikonloppuna? (“Are you free this weekend?”)
  • Voinko tuoda poikaystäväni/tyttöystäväni? (“Can I bring my boyfriend/girlfriend?”)
  • Voimmeko siirtää tapaamista? (“Can we reschedule the meeting?”)
  • Mihin aikaan sinulle sopii? (“What time is good for you?”)
  • Perjantai ei sittenkään käy minulle. (“Friday is not good for me after all.”)
  • Puhumme asiasta lisää maanantaina. (“We will talk more about the matter on Monday.”)

A Smiling Couple Holds a Present

Voinko tuoda poikaystäväni? (“Can I bring my boyfriend?”)

3. Explaining and Listing Reasons

Are you ready for more in-depth conversations? In this section, we will look at a few sample intermediate Finnish phrases you could use to provide explanations and discuss your reasons or motivations. This is often done by using subordinating conjunctions like koska (“because”) and jotta (“so that”).

  • Opettelen suomea, koska rakastuin suomalaiseen naiseen. (“I’m learning Finnish because I fell in love with a Finnish woman.”)
  • En pidä kauhuelokuvista, sillä ne aiheuttavat minulle painajaisia. (“I don’t like horror movies because they give me nightmares.”)
  • Minulla on keliakia. Siksi en syö leipää. (“I have celiac disease. That’s why I don’t eat bread.”)
  • Join muutaman oluen, joten menen taksilla kotiin. (“I drank a few beers, so I’m taking a taxi home.”)
  • Muutan takaisin Lahteen kahdesta syystä. Ensiksi, löysin sieltä hyvän työpaikan. Toiseksi, haluan asua lähempänä vanhempiani. (“I’m moving back to Lahti for two reasons. First, I found a good job there. Secondly, I want to live closer to my parents.”)

A Woman Peeking through Her Fingers

En pidä kauhuelokuvista. (“I don’t like horror movies.”)

4. Making Recommendations and Complaints

Research shows that people trust the opinions of friends and family the most when it comes to picking products and services (with online reviews being a close second). What would you recommend—or not—to your friends? In this section, we’ll show you how to rave about your favorite book or warn others about terrible customer service.

  • Suosittelen tätä kirjaa. Se on paras dekkari, jonka olen koskaan lukenut. (“I recommend this book. It’s the best whodunit I’ve ever read.”)
  • Viihdyimme tässä hotellissa erittäin hyvin. Yöpyisimme siellä ehdottomasti uudestaan. (“We enjoyed our stay in this hotel very much. We would definitely stay there again.”)
  • Oletko koskaan kokeillut nyhtökauraa? Se on yllättävän hyvää. (“Have you ever tried pulled oats? It’s surprisingly good.”)
  • Asiakaspalvelu oli tosi huonoa. En suosittele. (“The customer service was really poor. I do not recommend.”)
  • Vältä tuota sovellusta. Se ei vaikuta luotettavalta. (“Avoid that app. It doesn’t look trustworthy.”)

Four Hands with Thumbs Up

Suosittelemme! (“We recommend!”)

5. Reaction Phrases for Everyday Conversations

Reaction phrases and words are an integral part of naturally-flowing conversations. In this section, we’ll teach you a selection of responses you can use to sound more like a native speaker when chatting in Finnish.

1 – Kiva kuulla

A: Meillä oli eilen hauskaa. (“We had fun yesterday.”)
B: Kiva kuulla! Oli mukavaa, että pääsitte tulemaan. (“Nice to hear! It was pleasant that you were able to come.”)

2 – Loistavaa

A: Olemme matkalla. Nähdään pian. (“We’re on our way. See you soon.”)
B: Loistavaa! Laitoimme saunan jo kuumenemaan. (“Excellent! We already started heating up the sauna.”)

3 – Vau

A: Toteutin unelmani ja julkaisin romaanin. (“I realized my dream and published a novel.”)
B: Vau, mikä saavutus. Onneksi olkoon! (“Wow, what an achievement. Congratulations!”)

4 – Ihanko totta?

A: Isoisäni oli kuuluisa. (“My grandfather was famous.”)
B: Ihanko totta? Kuka hän oli? (“Really? Who was he?”)

5 – Voi harmi

A: En saanutkaan sitä työpaikkaa. (“I didn’t get that job after all.”)
B: Voi harmi. Toivottavasti ensi kerralla menee paremmin! (“What a pity. Hopefully the next time will go better!”)

6. Etiquette Phrases for Social and Business Settings

Good manners never go out of style, and it’s not a bad idea to memorize as many common polite phrases as you can. If you’re keen to learn more than what’s provided below, be sure to visit our YouTube channel for a quick 10-minute video lesson on how to be polite in Finnish.

  • Hyvää ruokahalua. (“Bon appetit.” Literally: “Good appetite.”)
  • Ole kuin kotonasi. (“Make yourself at home.” Literally: “Be like at your own home.”)
  • Olkaa kuin kotonanne. (“Make yourselves at home.”) plural / formal
  • Turvallista kotimatkaa. (“Have a safe trip home.” Literally: “Safe trip home.”)
  • Terveydeksi! (“Bless you!” Literally: “For health!”)
  • Kerro, jos sinulla on kysyttävää. (“Let me know if you have any questions.” Literally: “Say if you have something to ask.”)
  • Kertokaa, jos teillä on kysyttävää. (“Let me know if you have any questions.”) plural / formal

A Man Sneezing

Terveydeksi! (“Bless you!”)

7. Lopuksi

In this guide, we have listed 30+ intermediate Finnish phrases to fit numerous everyday conversations. You could simply memorize the phrases that are most useful to you, but you’ll get more out of them if you study their structure and have a go at adapting them for other contexts by using different vocabulary. Why not share your adaptation of one of the phrases in the comments below?

There’s a lot more to help you stay engaged and make progress at the intermediate level on, including plenty of free Finnish resources. Our large collection of Finnish vocabulary lists with audio recordings will make learning new words easy and help you perfect your pronunciation. Our Premium PLUS service, MyTeacher, is perfect for anyone who wants to reach fluency or would like some extra support from an experienced teacher.

Happy learning on!

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Learn Finnish with Podcasts


Frequently immersing yourself in your target language is one of the cornerstones of successful language learning. But if you don’t live in Finland, the real-life opportunities you have to hear Finnish may be very limited. 

Are you worried that this will slow your learning progress? We have good news for you: Listening to recordings of native speakers is the next best thing to having live interactions, and you can do it from the comfort of your home. Even if you don’t have the time to watch Finnish TV shows all the time, you probably do have a couple of minutes every day to listen to a podcast!

Finnish-language podcasts are not only a convenient way to increase your exposure to Finnish; they are also a highly versatile language learning tool with something to offer for every skill level. In this article, we’ll discuss how to make the most of podcasts and introduce you to 10 different Finnish-language podcasts to give your studies a boost.

A Woman Lying on the Grass with Her Eyes Closed and Listening to Something with Headphones

Enjoy podcasts wherever you are.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Finnish Table of Contents
  1. Why learn Finnish from Podcasts?
  2. The Top 10 Finnish Podcasts for Language Learners
  3. How to Make the Most of Listening to Finnish Podcasts
  4. Lopuksi

1. Why learn Finnish from Podcasts?

What are the benefits of listening to podcasts in Finnish? 

First, they’re a convenient way to immerse yourself in the language. You can download episodes of your favorite podcasts and listen to them wherever you are. You can even turn parts of your daily routine into learning opportunities, whether you’ve got half an hour to kill on your commute or are spending a couple of minutes to load the dishwasher. Podcasts are an economical learning tool, as well; there’s a large amount of content out there that’s completely free for you to enjoy!

Listening to Finnish podcasts will complement and enhance all your other language learning efforts. Whenever you listen to podcasts, you’ll improve your listening comprehension skills, be exposed to correct pronunciation and new vocabulary, and solidify your understanding of sentence structures and grammar.

Advanced-level learners have the most to gain: Podcasts offer a rich world of fascinating content in Finnish to keep learning fun and help you stay motivated. But even if you’re a complete beginner, there’s a podcast for you to enjoy. Read on!

A Smiling Student with Headphones Lying next to a Paper Graded A+

Listening to podcasts complements other language learning methods.

2. The Top 10 Finnish Podcasts for Language Learners

1 – Learn Finnish | FinnishPod101

  • Level: Absolute Beginner to Advanced
  • Theme: Education
  • Free content + Premium and Premium PLUS subscriptions

Were you aware that we offer a Finnish language learning podcast? If not, you’re in for a treat! Our frequently updated program caters to Finnish learners of all levels, so whether you’re brand-new to Finnish or are already a confident speaker, we have a wide range of fun lessons that are suitable for you.

Our episodes are geared toward boosting your confidence in speaking Finnish and include plenty of tips to help you progress faster. Our lessons feature dialogue in Finnish, vocabulary and key phrase lists, important grammar points, and cultural insights.

You can download lesson notes and transcripts to make the most of the audio and video material. If you’re a Premium subscriber, you’ll also get access to line-by-line audio, a voice recorder to help you perfect your pronunciation, and a comment section where you can chat with our teachers and ask questions.

You can learn more about how to use the different features and what makes our Finnish learning podcast the best on the FinnishPod101 YouTube channel.

FinnishPod101 Image

The FinnishPod101 podcast offers something for learners at all skill levels.

2 – Random Finnish Lesson

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Theme: Education
  • Free

Random Finnish Lesson is a podcast hosted by Finnish teacher Hanna Männikkölahti. Hanna discusses a variety of topics and interviews interesting people. She speaks slowly and clearly, using simpler Finnish than you’d hear in a podcast aimed at native speakers. Random Finnish Lesson is especially great for intermediate learners who are looking to improve their listening comprehension. New episodes are uploaded roughly every few weeks.

3 – Finnish with Armin

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Theme: Education
  • Free

Finnish with Armin is another podcast aimed at intermediate learners, especially those who are ready to move on to new challenges but aren’t quite confident enough to dive into regular podcasts yet. The podcast is hosted by Reetu, who tells stories about his life in Finland and discusses interesting topics in slow Finnish with a summary provided in English.

The program is currently idle, but the seven available episodes are worth checking out.

4 – Opi suomea!

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Theme: Education
  • Free

Opi suomea! (“Learn Finnish!”) is also ideal for intermediate-level listeners. Hosted by art student and Finnish tutor Kassu, the podcast is in slow and simple Finnish that’s easy to follow. Each episode is roughly 30 minutes long, and topics include nature, hobbies, rock music, and traditions.

5 – YLE Uutiset selkosuomeksi

  • Level: Intermediate to Advanced
  • Theme: News
  • Free

YLE Uutiset selkosuomeksi (“YLE News in Simple Finnish”) is a podcast produced by the national broadcaster of Finland. Each short episode gives a brief overview of the most important domestic and world news of the day and includes a look at the weather forecast. The Finnish in this podcast is simplified and clearly articulated, making it perfect for intermediate-level learners to follow. Because the episodes are bite-sized, it’s the ideal podcast to incorporate into your daily routine.

If you’re an advanced-level learner who’s looking for a bigger challenge, check out the regular news program (YLE Uutiset) instead.

A 7-day Weather Forecast

How’s your weather vocabulary in Finnish? Test it by listening to the weather forecast.

6 – Kaverin puolesta kyselen

  • Level: Advanced
  • Theme: Comedy
  • Free

Kaverin puolesta kyselen (“Asking for a Friend”) is one of the most popular podcasts in Finland. In each episode, the hosts Tiia Rantanen and Anna Karhunen discuss hilariously embarrassing situations—which always happened to a “friend,” in case you were wondering! 

The podcast already offers over 170 laugh-out-loud episodes, and a new one is uploaded every Friday. This program is in spoken Finnish and regularly uses slang, so it’s best for advanced-level learners and those who specifically want to immerse themselves in spoken Finnish.

7 – Tiedeykkönen

  • Level: Advanced
  • Theme: Science
  • Free 

Tiedeykkönen (literally: “Science Number One”) is a podcast for curious minds. The program explores a wide range of fascinating topics; you can expect the hosts to discuss anything from cosmology and climate to evolution and psychology. There are already almost 300 in-depth episodes of about 50 minutes each, and new ones are uploaded every Tuesday and Friday.

The information on Tiedeykkönen is presented in a way that’s easily understood by laypeople, and the Finnish is generally well-articulated and not very fast. However, some of the vocabulary can be challenging for language learners.

Five Different Science-related Pictures Edited Together

Why not listen to science podcasts to expand your mind AND improve your language skills?

8 – Jäljillä

  • Level: Advanced
  • Theme: True Crime
  • Free 

Jäljillä (“On the Trail of”) is a Finnish true crime podcast that discusses unsolved murders, serial killers, disappearances, and other criminal mysteries from around the world. The program is hosted by Tilda Laaksonen, who discusses the cases in a sensitive manner. Each episode is between 30 and 60 minutes long, and a new one is uploaded every week. Over 100 episodes are currently available. The podcast is great for Finnish learners because Tilda speaks clearly and relatively slowly.

9 – Puheenaihe

  • Level: Advanced
  • Theme: Various
  • Free

Puheenaihe (“Talking Point”) is a podcast about the most interesting topics of today. The program covers everything from science and technology to politics and psychology. Recent subjects include cancel culture, the future of the European Union, and artificial intelligence. With over 170 episodes available to date and a new one added weekly, there’s something to interest everyone.

The vocabulary used in the program is fairly advanced, so we recommend it for advanced-level learners.

10 – Jetlagissa

  • Level: Advanced
  • Theme: Travel
  • Free

Jetlagissa (“Jetlagged”) is an excellent podcast in Finnish for travel lovers. Hosted by popular Finnish travel bloggers Anna-Katri (creator of the blog Adalmina’s Adventures) and Veera Bianca (creator of the blog Veera Bianca), the program is full of funny stories from the duo’s adventurous travels in exotic locations as well as reflections on life as single 30-something women. Each episode is roughly 30 to 60 minutes long.

The podcast is currently on hiatus until foreign adventures become possible again. However, there are plenty of older episodes to dive into while waiting for new ones. This program is a great listen for advanced learners who want to get more exposure to spoken Finnish and slang.

An Airplane and a Silhouette of a Woman in Front of a Window

If you’re an advanced-level learner, there’s no reason you should limit yourself to our recommendations—you could try any podcast aimed at native Finnish speakers! There are tons of programs to discover, and your next favorite podcast could be just a click away.

  • Jakso lists a growing number of Finnish podcasts, arranged alphabetically.

  • YLE Areena is another great place to find quality podcasts in Finnish. You can sort the programs by suositellut (“recommended”), uusimmat (“latest”), suosituimmat (“most popular”), and tulossa (“coming soon”).
  • Supla collects podcasts hosted by Nelonen (“Number Four,” a Finnish TV channel).

3. How to Make the Most of Listening to Finnish Podcasts

By now, we’ve hopefully convinced you to give podcasts a try! But before you hit “play,” read our tips to make sure you reap the maximum benefit from listening to Finnish-language podcasts.

  1. Pick the right podcasts for you.

    Consider your language skills and your learning goals. It’s probably best to pick a program that you can follow comfortably at your level, and then move on to more challenging content as your skills and confidence grow.

  1. Slow down the audio.

    If you find a podcast you enjoy but struggle to keep up because the hosts speak too fast, try slowing the audio down! Look for “1x” near the play button and click or tap on it to adjust the playback speed.

  1. Keep track of new vocabulary.

    As a language learner, you already know the power of repetition when it comes to memorizing new vocabulary! Make sure that the new, interesting words you hear on Finnish podcasts stick in your mind by keeping track of them. You could write them down in a notebook to review later, or add them to the handy flashcard decks available on

  1. Make use of transcripts.

    You may not always have access to transcripts, but if you do, use them! You can read along while you listen, or return to the transcript later to review and solidify what you learned.

  1. Make podcasts a part of your daily routine.

    Making language learning a part of your daily routine is one of the key habits of successful language learners. Thankfully, podcasts are very easy to incorporate into your schedule! Why not listen to an episode on your coffee break or while folding laundry?

A Woman Walking Up Steps and Listening to Something on Her Phone

Listen to podcasts daily to immerse yourself in Finnish.

4. Lopuksi

In this guide, we looked at what podcasts can offer language learners and explored 10 interesting Finnish-language podcasts. Are you already a listener? Let us know in the comments if you have any other podcast recommendations or tips for your fellow learners.

FinnishPod101 has a lot more than just a podcast to offer. Take a look at the free resources and vocabulary lists on our website, and find even more learning content on the FinnishPod101 YouTube channel. Do you want to progress faster? Then our Premium PLUS service, MyTeacher, is for you: It gives you access to a personalized learning program and 1-on-1 coaching with a private teacher—this gives you a chance to ask lots of questions!

What are you waiting for? Create your free lifetime account today. 

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Basic Finnish Phrases for Beginners


One of the most exciting moments on any language learner’s journey is using their newly acquired skills to chat with people in the real world. If you’re a beginner, you may feel like the day you can actually speak with Finns in their native language is still far off in the future—but think again! You don’t need to have extensive knowledge of Finnish grammar or tons of vocabulary under your belt to memorize and start using the most common Finnish words and phrases for beginners.

We’re enthusiastic advocates of the “speak from day one” approach; it can really boost your confidence and motivate you to work towards your language goals! In this guide, we’ll cover all the basic phrases you need to get started: greetings, common courtesy phrases, useful expressions for dining and shopping, and phrases to use in an emergency.

Two Women Sharing a Laugh

Learning a new language is about making connections.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Finnish Table of Contents
  1. Greetings and Self-introductions
  2. Courtesy Phrases & Social Expressions
  3. Dining & Shopping Phrases
  4. Asking for Help
  5. Lopuksi

1. Greetings and Self-introductions

Greeting people and introducing yourself in Finnish is a wonderful way to break the ice when you’re interacting with Finns. This is true even if you need to switch back to English afterward!

Let’s take a look at both informal and formal Finnish greetings.

  • Hei (“Hi”)
  • Moi (“Hi”)
  • Terve (“Hello”)
  • Hyvää huomenta (“Good morning”)
  • Hyvää päivää (“Good day”)
  • Hyvää iltaa (“Good evening”)

Note that you can drop the word hyvää (“good”) from any of the above phrases! For example, you could just say Päivää (“Good day”) instead! 

  • Haloo (“Hello”) – used when answering the phone

Next, you might want to ask someone how they’re doing. Here are a few ways to do that in Finnish:

  • Mitä kuuluu? (“How are you?”) – Literally: “What is heard?”
  • Kiitos, hyvää. (“Good, thank you.”)
  • Entä sinulle? (“And you?”) – informal
  • Entä teille? (“And you?”) – formal / plural
  • Miten menee? (“How’s it going?”)
  • Oikein hyvin, kiitos. (“Really well, thanks.”)

If you want to learn a bit more about each other, here are a few classic questions to ask someone you’ve just met and how to respond to them:

  • Mikä sinun nimesi on? (“What’s your name?”) – informal
  • Mikä teidän nimenne on? (“What’s your name?”) – formal
  • (Minun) nimeni on Antero. (“My name is Antero.”)
  • (Minä) olen Reetta. (“I am Reetta.”)
  • Hauska tutustua! (“Nice to meet you!”)
  • Mistä olet kotoisin? (“Where are you from?”)
  • Olen kotoisin Suomesta. (“I’m from Finland.”)

If you want to explore this subject more, be sure to check out our guides How to Say ‘Hello’ and Other Finnish Greetings and How to Introduce Yourself in Finnish on the FinnishPod101 blog.

A Man Extending His Hand for a Handshake

Hauska tutustua! (“Nice to meet you!”)

2. Courtesy Phrases & Social Expressions

Good manners will always be appreciated wherever you go, and Finland is no exception! Learning even just a few polite words and phrases to use in various social situations can make your interactions with Finnish people go more smoothly.

To catch someone’s attention or to apologize, you can use the same word:

  • Anteeksi (“Sorry” / “Excuse me”)
  • Anteeksi, mitä kello on? (“Excuse me, what’s the time?”)
  • Anteeksi, se oli vahinko. (“Sorry, it was an accident.”)

This is an alternative way to apologize:

  • Olen pahoillani. (“I’m sorry.”)

This is how you could politely respond to an apology:

  • Ei se mitään. (“Don’t worry about it.”) – Literally: “No it nothing”

It’s also not uncommon for Finns to say “sorry” among friends. If written, the word is usually spelled sori

The word kiitos can mean either “thank you” or “please,” depending on the context. There is no separate word for “please” in Finnish.

  • Kiitos (“Thank you” / “Please”)
  • Kiitos paljon. (“Thank you very much.”)
  • Paljon kiitoksia. (“Many thanks.”)
  • Kyllä kiitos. (“Yes, please.”)
  • Ei kiitos. (“No, thank you.”)
  • Ole hyvä. (“You’re welcome.”) – Literally: “Be good.”
  • Olkaa hyvä. (“You’re welcome.”) – formal / plural
  • Ei kestä. (“Don’t mention it.”)

Learn more about Finnish customs and values on infoFinland, or join us for a 3-minute lesson on manners and practice saying thank you in Finnish.

Other useful Finnish courtesy phrases include:

  • Onnea! (“Good luck!” / “Congrats!”)
  • Onnittelut! (“Congratulations!”)
  • Hyvää syntymäpäivää! (“Happy birthday!”)
  • Tervetuloa! (“Welcome!”)
  • Kippis! (“Cheers!”) – used when raising a toast
  • Hyvää ruokahalua! (“Bon appétit!”)
  • Hyvää matkaa! (“Bon voyage!”) – Literally: “Good journey!”
  • Terveydeksi! (“Bless you!”) – Literally: “For health!” – used when someone sneezes
  • Parane pian! (“Get well soon!”)

Parting ways? Here are different ways to say goodbye in Finnish:

  • Hei hei. (“Bye-bye.”)
  • Moi moi. (“Bye-bye.”)
  • Heippa. (“Bye.”)
  • Moikka. (“Bye.”)
  • Näkemiin. (“Goodbye.”) – used in person
  • Kuulemiin. (“Goodbye.”) – used on the phone
  • Hyvää yötä. (“Good night.”)
  • Öitä. (“Night night.”)
  • Nähdään. (“See you.”)
  • Nähdään pian. (“See you soon.”)
  • Nähdään huomenna. (“See you tomorrow.”)
  • Huomiseen. (“See you tomorrow.”) – Literally: “Until tomorrow.”
  • Hyvää päivänjatkoa. (“Have a nice day.”) – Literally: “Good continuation of the day.”
  • Hauskaa viikonloppua. (“Have a great weekend.”) – Literally: “Fun weekend.”

Explore this topic in greater depth with our guide to 10 Different Ways to Say Goodbye in Finnish.

A College Student Waving Goodbye to Her Friends

Hei hei, nähdään huomenna! (“Bye-bye, see you tomorrow!”)

3. Dining & Shopping Phrases

Visiting local cafes, restaurants, and shops is one of the great pleasures of spending time in another country. In this section, we’ll cover some beginner phrases in Finnish that will help you make the most of your dining and shopping experiences in Finland. 

First, let’s look at a few ways to respond to the question Mitä saisi olla? (“What can I get for you?”): 

  • Kahvi ja pulla, kiitos. (“A coffee and a bun, please.”)
  • Haluaisin kupin kahvia, kiitos. (“I’d like a cup of coffee, please.”)
  • Saisinko lasin vettä? (“Could I get a glass of water?”)
  • Otan kupin teetä ja palan kakkua. (“I’ll have a cup of tea and a slice of cake.”)
  • Onko teillä korvapuusteja? (“Do you have cinnamon rolls?”)

Ordering at a restaurant is not much harder!

  • Saisimmeko ruokalistan? (“Can we have the menu?”)
  • Haluaisin nähdä ruokalistan. (“I would like to see the menu.”)
  • Mikä on päivän erikoinen? (“What’s today’s special?”)
  • Otan tomaattikeiton. (“I’ll have the tomato soup.”)
  • Haluaisin hampurilaisen. (“I would like to have the hamburger.”)

Visit for an audio lesson on placing an order at a restaurant or explore Finnish cuisine on our blog.

Here are a few handy phrases you could use when shopping:

  • Onko teillä sateenvarjoja? (“Do you have umbrellas?”)
  • Mistä löydän sovituskopin? (“Where can I find a fitting room?”)
  • Otan tämän. (“I’ll take this.”)

Find more Finnish shopping phrases on and visit our free vocabulary list of essential shopping words.

Finally, let’s talk about paying:

  • Paljonko tämä maksaa? (“How much is this?”)
  • Mitä olen velkaa? (“How much do I owe?”)
  • Haluaisin maksaa. (“I’d like to pay.”)
  • Lasku, kiitos. (“Check, please.”)
  • Saisimmeko laskun? (“Can we have the check, please?”)
  • Voinko maksaa luottokortilla? (“Can I pay with a credit card?”)

Tipping at a restaurant in Finland is not expected, but you may wish to round up your meal.

A Couple Ordering at a Restaurant

Mitä saisi olla? (“What would you like?”)

4. Asking for Help

What if you go out there and use all the Finnish phrases for beginners you’ve learned—but then don’t understand what the other person says to you in response? Or what if people talk a little too fast for you to follow? Take a deep breath and ask them to repeat what they said. Or ask them if they can slow down a bit! Here are simple Finnish phrases for those “lost in translation” moments:

  • Puhutteko englantia? (“Do you speak English?”) – formal / plural
  • Puhutko suomea? (“Do you speak Finnish?”) – informal
  • Kyllä, vähän. (“Yes, a little.”)
  • En puhu suomea kovin hyvin. (“I don’t speak Finnish very well.”)
  • Anteeksi, en ymmärrä. (“Sorry, I don’t understand.”)
  • Voitko toistaa mitä sanoit? (“Can you repeat what you said?”) – informal
  • Voisitteko puhua hitaammin, kiitos? (“Can you speak more slowly, please?”) – formal
  • Miten sanotaan … suomeksi? (“How do you say … in Finnish?”)

A Woman Struggling to Understand What a Man Is Saying

Anteeksi, en ymmärrä. (“Sorry, I don’t understand.”)

Another situation you may find yourself in is being literally lost—or looking for public bathrooms! So, let’s cover a couple of simple Finnish phrases for asking directions:

  • Missä rautatieasema on? (“Where is the railway station?”)
  • Anteeksi, onko täällä vessaa? (“Excuse me, is there a toilet here?”)
  • Miten pääsen täältä keskustaan? (“How do I get from here to the city center?”)

Learning essential vocabulary for directions in Finnish will help you make sense of the answers you receive!

Hopefully you’ll never need to use them, but it’s always a good idea to know the key phrases for emergencies:

  • Apua! (“Help!”)
  • Soittakaa poliisi. (“Call the police.”)
  • Tarvitsen lääkärin. (“I need a doctor.”)

Get even more prepared by going through our 8-lesson series titled Essential Finnish for Emergencies.

5. Lopuksi

In this guide, we have covered lots of Finnish beginner phrases for a variety of situations, from meeting and greeting to shopping and asking for help. This should help you navigate the most commonplace situations and give you a good foundation to build on! Are there any other basic Finnish phrases that you know and find useful? Help your fellow students learn them too by leaving a comment below.

If you’re an absolute beginner, you may worry about whether you’re pronouncing Finnish words correctly. You’ll be happy to hear that FinnishPod101 offers an extensive library of audio and video lessons as well as free vocabulary lists with audio recordings to help you with your pronunciation! And if you’re ready for more, our Absolute Beginner pathway is a great place to start your learning journey.

Happy learning on!

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150+ Advanced Finnish Words to Add to Your Vocabulary


So, you’ve reached the advanced level in your Finnish learning adventure? Congratulations! But even if you’ve made it this far, you’re probably not looking to rest on your laurels; while you may have mastered the essentials, there’s always more to learn. One of the most obvious next steps is to keep expanding your vocabulary by learning more advanced Finnish words.

Why should building your vocabulary be a top priority once you hit an advanced level? It’s simple: a wide vocabulary boosts your efforts in all other areas of language learning. Whether you want to hone your reading, writing, listening, or speaking skills in Finnish, knowing a larger range of words really helps! It makes it easier to read for pleasure and absorb information from factual texts, helps you communicate your thoughts and ideas with greater accuracy and depth, allows you to discuss more complex and specialized topics, and lets you pick up on subtle differences in meaning when you listen to others.

Learning new words can also be a fun and confidence-boosting process that helps keep boredom at bay when you hit that plateau in language learning and aren’t progressing in leaps and bounds anymore!

In this article, we’ll give you an advanced Finnish word list divided into academic, business, medical, and legal vocabularies. Finally, we will also provide some fancier alternatives to common Finnish words to help you add more variety to the way you express yourself.

A Smiling Woman Touches Her Head with Her Index Fingers

Take your Finnish skills to the next level by learning advanced vocabulary.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Finnish Table of Contents
  1. Advanced Academic Words
  2. Advanced Business Vocabulary
  3. Advanced Medical Vocabulary
  4. Advanced Legal Vocabulary
  5. Alternative Words
  6. Lopuksi

1. Advanced Academic Words

The exact definition of “academic vocabulary” depends on the context. However, the list we’ve put together here consists of advanced Finnish words that you could expect to appear in academic texts and dialogue but which wouldn’t turn up very frequently in normal day-to-day conversations. 

1 – Academic Verbs

  • analysoida (“to analyze”)
  • ylläpitää (“to sustain” / “to maintain”)
    • On tärkeää pysyä aktiivisena ja ylläpitää lihaskuntoa. (“It’s important to stay active and maintain muscle tone.”)
  • mahdollistaa (“to enable”)
  • altistaa (“to expose”)
    • Nanomateriaalit saattavat altistaa ympäristön uusille riskeille. (“Nanomaterials may expose the environment to new risks.”)
  • säädellä (“to regulate”)
  • arvioida (“to approximate” / “to estimate”)
  • täsmentää (“to clarify”)
  • havainnollistaa (“to demonstrate”)
  • tarkkailla (“to monitor”)
  • luokitella (“to classify” / “to categorize” / “to group”)
    • Eläimet voidaan luokitella selkärankaisiin ja selkärangattomiin. (“Animals can be grouped into vertebrates and invertebrates.”)
  • automatisoida (“to automate”)

2 – Academic Nouns

  • asiantuntija (“authority” / “expert” / “specialist”)
  • tiivistelmä (“abstract” / “summary”)
  • näkökulma (“perspective” / “point of view”)
    • Aihetta voi lähestyä monesta eri näkökulmasta. (“The subject can be approached from many different points of view.”)
  • ennakkoasenne (“bias” / “prejudice”)
  • käsite (“concept”)
  • asiayhteys (“context”)
    • Kirjallisuutta tulkittaessa on tärkeää ottaa huomioon asiayhteys. (“When interpreting literature, it’s important to take the context into account.”)
  • kriteeri (“criterion”)
  • olettamus (“hypothesis” / “presumption”)
  • maailmankatsomus (“worldview” / “ideology”)
  • teoria (“theory”)
  • hierarkia (“hierarchy”)

3 – Academic Adjectives

  • yksiselitteinen (“unequivocal”)
    • Vältä väärinymmärryksiä valitsemalla yksiselitteisiä termejä. (“Avoid misunderstandings by choosing unequivocal terms.”)
  • tulkinnanvarainen (“ambiguous” / “subject to interpretation”)
  • eettinen (“ethical”)
  • johdonmukainen (“logical” / “consistent” / “coherent”)
    • Pulmaan täytyy olla olemassa johdonmukainen ratkaisu. (“There must be a logical solution to the problem.”)
  • neutraali (“neutral”)

You can find more advanced Finnish words and phrases related to academia in our relevant Finnish vocabulary builder.

A Young Man in a Library

Tekstikirjoissa käytetään akateemista sanastoa. (“Academic vocabulary is used in textbooks.”)

2. Advanced Business Vocabulary

Learning advanced Finnish vocabulary related to business is highly recommended for anyone who wants to do business or work with Finns.

1 – Business Verbs

  • laskuttaa (“to invoice”)
  • hinnoitella (“to price”)
  • valtuuttaa (“to authorize”)
    • Sakari valtuutti Irmelin tekemään sopimuksen puolestaan. (“Sakari authorized Irmeli to make a contract on his behalf.”)
  • rahoittaa (“to finance”)
  • markkinoida (“to market”)
    • Tupakkateollisuus ei saa markkinoida nuuskaa terveellisenä vaihtoehtona savukkeille. (“The tobacco industry isn’t allowed to market snuff as a healthy alternative to cigarettes.”)
  • sijoittaa (“to invest”)

2 – Business Nouns

  • kilpailija (“competitor”)
  • kilpailuetu (“competitive advantage”)
  • yhtiökumppani (“partner” / “associate”)
  • markkinaosuus (“market share”)
  • tavaramerkki (“trademark”)
    • Tavaramerkki takaa tuotteen aitouden. (“A trademark guarantees a product’s authenticity.”)
  • kauppakirja (“contract of sale”)
  • alihankkija (“subcontractor”)
  • vastatarjous (“counter offer”)
  • suhdetoiminta (“public relations”)
  • asiakaspalvelu (“customer service” / “after-sales service”)
  • pääkonttori (“headquarters”)
  • sivukonttori or haarakonttori (“branch”)
  • kirjanpitäjä (“accountant”)
  • kirjanpito (“accounting”)
  • kuluttaja (“consumer”)
  • pääoma (“capital”)
  • osinko (“dividend”)
    • Osinko on voitto-osuus, jonka yritys jakaa omistajilleen. (“A dividend is a profit share that a company distributes to its shareholders.”)
  • yrittäjä (“entrepreneur”)
  • toimitusjohtaja (“executive”)
  • talouskasvu (“economic growth”)
  • konkurssi (“bankruptcy”)

Have you checked out our blog post on the top Finnish business phrases and vocabulary yet?

Two Men in Suits Shake Hands, while a Woman Takes Notes.

Tehdään sopimus. (“Let’s make a deal.”)

3. Advanced Medical Vocabulary

You no doubt already know the words lääkäri (“doctor”) and sairaala (“hospital”), but what about terms like “diagnosis” and “blood donation”?

1 – Medical Verbs

  • rokottaa (“to vaccinate”)
  • amputoida (“to amputate”)
  • desinfioida (“to disinfect”)
    • Muista desinfioida kätesi lähtiessäsi sairaalasta. (“Remember to disinfect your hands when leaving the hospital.”)
  • puuduttaa (“to anesthetize” / “to numb”)
  • nukuttaa (“to anesthetize” / “to put to sleep”)
  • luovuttaa verta (“to donate blood”)
    • Terve ihminen voi luovuttaa verta useamman kerran vuodessa. (“A healthy person can donate blood several times a year.”)
  • tutkia (“to examine”)
  • leikata (“to cut” / “to operate”)
  • pyörtyä (“to faint”)
  • kaatua (“to fall”)

2 – Medical Nouns 

  • veriryhmä (“blood type”)
  • allergia (“allergy”)
  • muistinmenetys (“amnesia”)
  • verenluovutus (“blood donation”)
  • luunmurtuma (“bone fracture”)
  • venähdys (“strain”)
  • aivotärähdys (“concussion”)
    • Aivotärähdys voi aiheuttaa päänsärkyä ja pahoinvointia. (“A concussion can cause headaches and nausea.”)
  • turvotus (“swelling”)
  • mustelma (“bruise”)
  • ruhje (“contusion”)
  • leikkaus (“surgery” / “operation”)
  • keisarinleikkaus (“Cesarean section”)
  • elvytys (“resuscitation”)
  • vastustuskyky (“immunity”)
  • nestehukka (“dehydration”)
  • diagnoosi (“diagnosis”)
  • päivystyspoliklinikka (“emergency room” / “ER”)
    • Päivystyspoliklinikat ovat auki ympäri vuorokauden. (“Emergency rooms are open round the clock.”)
  • teho-osasto (“intensive care unit” / “ICU”)
  • sydänkohtaus (“heart attack”)
  • halvaus (“stroke”) 
  • tartuntatauti (“contagious disease”)
  • resepti (“prescription”)
  • lääke (“medicine”)
  • rokote (“vaccine”)
  • lääkitys (“medication”)
  • sivuvaikutus (“side effect”)
  • parannuskeino (“cure”)
  • hoito (“treatment”)
  • näyte (“sample”)

3 – Medical Adjectives

  • hyvänlaatuinen (“benign”)
  • pahanlaatuinen (“malignant”)
  • akuutti (“acute”)
  • krooninen (“chronic”)
  • nyrjähtänyt (“sprained”)
    • Nyrjähtänyt nilkka on yleinen vamma. (“A sprained ankle is a common injury.”)
  • murtunut (“fractured”)
  • pitkälle edennyt (“advanced”)
    • Pitkälle edennyt syöpä aiheuttaa monenlaisia oireita. (“Advanced cancer causes many kinds of symptoms.”)
  • laajalle levinnyt (“widespread”)
  • turvonnut (“swollen”)

This is, of course, a very small sample of the medical words out there! If you’re ready to dive in deeper, be sure to check out the relevant Finnish word and phrase lists on We recommend these lists: Hospital Care, Medicine and Medical Treatments, and How to Describe Common Health Problems.

A Doctor Listens to a Patient’s Heart in a Hospital.

Teho-osastolla (“In the ICU”)

4. Advanced Legal Vocabulary

Legalese (lakikieli) has a reputation for being difficult to understand by anyone outside the legal sphere. Our list of Finnish legal terms won’t make you an expert at interpreting legal texts, but it will help you understand topics related to law when you come across them in newspapers, for example.

1 – Legal Verbs

  • haastaa oikeuteen (“to sue”)
    • Kunnianloukkauksesta voi haastaa oikeuteen. (“One can sue for defamation.”)
  • kuulustella (“to interrogate”)
  • todeta syylliseksi (“to convict”)
  • vapauttaa syytteestä (“to acquit”)
    • Valamiehistö vapautti hänet syytteestä. (“The jury acquitted him/her.”)
  • kavaltaa (“to embezzle”)
  • valittaa (“to appeal”)
  • todistaa (“to testify”)

2 – Legal Nouns

  • asianajaja (“lawyer”)
  • syyttäjä (“prosecutor”)
  • rike (“misdemeanor” / “minor offense”)
  • henkirikos (“capital crime”)
  • rikosrekisteri (“criminal record”)
    • Rikosrekisteri voi estää tietyillä aloilla työskentelyn. (“A criminal record can prevent one from working in certain fields.”)
  • ennakkotapaus (“precedent”)
  • kanne (“lawsuit”)
  • lahjonta (“bribery”)
  • korruptio (“corruption”)
  • ehdonalainen (“parole” / “probation”)
  • virkasyyte (“impeachment”)
  • lainsäädäntö (“legislation”)
  • perustuslaki (“constitution” / “constitutional law”)
    • Eduskunta voi tehdä muutoksia perustuslakiin. (“The Parliament can make changes to the constitution.”)
  • petos (“fraud”)
  • valamiehistö (“jury”)
  • sovittelu (“mediation”)
  • testamentti (“will” / “testament”)
  • vastuu (“liability”)
  • käräjäoikeus (“district court”)

You can learn more legal terminology by listening to our lesson The Legal System: Common Terminology. And if you happen to be really into courtroom drama and wonder what the judicial system of Finland is like, you can learn the basics on Wikipedia.

A Judge Gavel

tuomarin nuija (“judge’s gavel”)

5. Alternative Words

In this section, we’ll give you a list of words that you can try using instead of their more commonplace counterparts. If you’re studying for the Finnish language proficiency test, demonstrating that you have a varied vocabulary and can correctly use rarer words is a great way to get a higher score!

Note that while some of the words here are interchangeable, we’ve also included words that have a subtly different meaning. In the following lists, the suggested alternative term is listed first, followed by the basic word. 

1 – Alternative Verbs

  • todeta (“to state”) instead of sanoa (“to say”)
  • lahjoittaa (“to gift” / “to donate”) instead of antaa (“to give”)
  • omistaa (“to own” / “to possess”) instead of olla (“to have”)
  • menehtyä (“to perish”) instead of kuolla (“to die”)
  • ohjeistaa (“to instruct”) instead of neuvoa (“to advise” / “to direct”)
  • rohjeta (“to dare”) instead of uskaltaa (“to dare”)
  • vierailla (“to visit”) instead of käydä (“to visit”)
    • Vierailin eilen Marjukan luona. (“I visited Marjukka yesterday.”)
  • kohdata (“to meet” / “to encounter”) instead of tavata (“to meet” / “to encounter”)
  • aterioida (“to have a meal”) instead of syödä (“to eat”)
    • Sirpalla on tapana katsoa televisiota aterioidessaan. (“Sirpa is in the habit of watching television while having a meal.”)
  • uupua (“to tire”) instead of väsyä (“to tire”)
  • menetellä (“to act” in a certain way) instead of toimia (“to act”)
  • poistua (“to leave” / “to depart”) instead of lähteä (“to go” / “to leave”)
  • ennättää (“to make it” / “to have time”) instead of ehtiä (“to make it” / “to have time”)
  • kyynelehtiä (“to shed tears”) instead of itkeä (“to cry”)
  • kynäillä (“to pen”) instead of kirjoittaa (“to write”)

2 – Alternative Adjectives 

  • varakas (“wealthy”) instead of rikas (“rich”)
  • ylipainoinen (“overweight”) instead of lihava (“fat”)
  • iäkäs (“elderly”) instead of vanha (“old”)
    • Iäkkäillä ihmisillä on paljon elämänkokemusta. (“Elderly people have a lot of life experience.”)
  • erinomainen (“excellent”) instead of hyvä (“good”)
  • voimakas (“strong” / “powerful”) instead of vahva (“strong”)
  • merkillinen (“peculiar”) instead of outo (“odd”)
  • urhoollinen (“valiant”) instead of rohkea (“brave”)
  • viehättävä (“attractive”) instead of kaunis (“beautiful”)
  • huomaavainen (“considerate” / “thoughtful”) instead of kohtelias (“polite” / “courteous”)
  • tähdellinen (“significant” / “meaningful”) instead of tärkeä (“important”)
  • haastava (“challenging”) instead of vaikea (“hard” / “difficult”)
  • arkipäiväinen (“mundane” / “commonplace”) instead of tavallinen (“common” / “ordinary”)
    • Työuupumus on nykyään arkipäiväinen ilmiö. (“Burnout is a commonplace phenomenon these days.”)
  • hintava (“pricy”) instead of kallis (“expensive”)
  • edullinen (“inexpensive”) instead of halpa (“cheap”)
  • miellyttävä (“pleasing”) instead of mukava (“nice” / “comfortable”)
  • väärentämätön (“authentic” / “genuine”) instead of aito (“real”)
  • paikkansapitävä (“accurate” / “correct”) instead of tosi (“true”)
  • kauhistuttava (“frightening”) instead of pelottava (“scary”)

3 – Alternative Adverbs

  • vastaisuudessa (“in the future”) instead of tulevaisuudessa (“in the future”)
  • kaiketi (“probably”) instead of varmaan (“probably”)
  • kenties (“perhaps”) instead of ehkä (“maybe”)
  • uskomattoman (“unbelievably”) instead of todella (“really”)
    • Matias on ollut uskomattoman hyvällä tuulella viime aikoina. (“Matias has been in an unbelievably good mood lately.”)
  • kohtalaisen (“moderately”) instead of melko (“quite”)
    • Säätiedotus lupaa kohtalaisen lämmintä keliä pääsiäiseksi. (“The weather forecast predicts moderately warm weather for Easter.”)
  • etäällä (“far away”) instead of kaukana (“far away”)
  • oitis (“right away”) instead of heti (“right away”)
  • vaivihkaa (“surreptitiously”) instead of salaa (“secretly”)
  • vaivattomasti (“effortlessly”) instead of helposti (“easily”)
  • parhaillaan (“currently”) instead of nyt (“now”)
  • aiemmin (“earlier” / “previously”) instead of ennen (“before”)

4 – Alternative Prepositions and Postpositions  

  • rinnalla (“beside”) instead of vieressä (“by” / “next to”)
    • Kasper seisoo valokuvassa isänsä rinnalla. (“Kasper stands beside his father in the photograph.”)
  • tähden (“for the sake of”) instead of vuoksi (“because of”)
  • eduksi (“for the benefit of”) instead of hyväksi (“for the good of”)
    • Tämä tilanne ei ole kenellekään eduksi. (“This situation isn’t for the benefit of anyone.”)
  • vailla (“without”) instead of ilman (“without”)
  • mielestä (“in the opinion of”) instead of mukaan (“according to”)
  • ohella (“in addition to”) instead of lisäksi (“besides”)

A Pair of Glasses on Top of an Open Book

Do you look up words in a dictionary when reading a book?

6. Lopuksi

In this guide, we have listed over 150 advanced Finnish words, including both specialized and general terms. Of course, seeing a new word once doesn’t mean that you will remember it tomorrow! To help you commit this new vocabulary to long-term memory, we recommend that you add the words in this article to your own personalized spaced repetition flashcard deck. It’s also a good idea to put any new vocabulary into context; for example, write a sentence or two using the words you want to learn to speed up the learning process. 

Do you have any other tips for learning and memorizing new vocabulary? Help your fellow learners by sharing your thoughts in the comments section below!

Be sure to explore our extensive library of free vocabulary lists on too, or hop over to our free Finnish Dictionary whenever you come across new words. Finally, if you are determined to move from an advanced level to fluency in Finnish, MyTeacher provides you with efficient tools to meet your most ambitious language learning goals.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Finnish

350+ Intermediate Finnish Words You Need to Learn


In a previous blog post, we covered Finnish vocabulary for beginners. Now, it’s time to build on that foundation and expand your vocabulary with intermediate Finnish words! We’ll cover large numbers, a lot of useful nouns, verbs, and adjectives, and even some common adverbs. Are you ready to make your conversations in Finnish richer and more meaningful? Of course you are!

A Woman Smiling on Public Transport

Expanding your vocabulary opens up new opportunities to chat in Finnish.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Finnish Table of Contents
  1. Large Numbers
  2. Nouns
  3. Verbs
  4. Adjectives
  5. Adverbs
  6. Bonus Vocabulary for Intermediate Learners: Finnish “False Friends”
  7. Lopuksi

1. Large Numbers

At the beginner level, you started with the numbers from one to ten—but the time has come to get more ambitious. Learning larger numbers is essential for navigating many common life situations, such as talking about dates and handling money with confidence.

1 – From 11 to 21

  • 11      yksitoista
  • 12      kaksitoista
  • 13      kolmetoista
  • 14      neljätoista
  • 15      viisitoista
  • 16      kuusitoista
  • 17      seitsemäntoista
  • 18      kahdeksantoista
  • 19      yhdeksäntoista
  • 20   kaksikymmentä
  • 21     kaksikymmentäyksi

Are you confused about the difference between yksitoista (11) and kaksikymmentäyksi (21)? Our in-depth guide to Finnish numbers will demystify everything.

2 – Counting Up to 100

  • 30    kolmekymmentä
  • 40    neljäkymmentä
  • 50    viisikymmentä
  • 60    kuusikymmentä
  • 70    seitsemänkymmentä
  • 80    kahdeksankymmentä
  • 90    yhdeksänkymmentä
  • 100  sata

3 – To 1000 and Beyond

  • 200          kaksisataa
  • 300          kolmesataa
  • (…)
  • 900          yhdeksänsataa
  • 1,000           tuhat
  • 10,000         kymmenentuhatta
  • 100,000       satatuhatta
  • 1,000,000    miljoona

What about numbers like “four thousand four hundred and forty”? How would that look and sound in Finnish? You can find out by visiting our Finnish Numbers vocabulary list!

Someone Writing Large Numbers Inside Arrows on a Chalkboard

Aika oppia isoja numeroita! (“Time to learn big numbers!”)

2. Nouns

Get those flashcards ready! We’re about to cover a lot of essential intermediate Finnish vocabulary for talking about people, clothes, food, city living, and more. 

1 – People

  • sukulainen (“relative”)
  • veli (“brother”)
  • sisko (“sister”)
  • isoäiti (“grandmother”)
  • isoisä (“grandfather”)
  • lapsenlapsi (“grandchild”)
  • vauva (“baby”)
  • serkku (“cousin”)
  • täti (“aunt”)
  • setä (“uncle,” father’s brother)
  • eno (“uncle,” mother’s brother)
  • tyttöystävä (“girlfriend”)
  • poikaystävä (“boyfriend”)

2 – Countries 

  • Suomi (“Finland”)
  • Ruotsi (“Sweden”)
  • Norja (“Norway”)
  • Tanska (“Denmark”)
  • Islanti (“Iceland”)
  • Venäjä (“Russia”)
  • Viro (“Estonia”)
  • Ranska (“France”)
  • Saksa (“Germany”)
  • Espanja (“Spain”)
  • Italia (“Italy”)
  • Portugali (“Portugal”)
  • Kreikka (“Greece”)
  • Puola (“Poland”)
  • Yhdysvallat (“United States”)
  • Kanada (“Canada”)
  • Yhdistynyt Kuningaskunta (“United Kingdom”)
  • Australia (“Australia”)
  • Uusi Seelanti (“New Zealand”)

Is your home country not included above? Look for it on our World Countries vocabulary list, and then learn how to say what your nationality is by visiting our Nationalities vocabulary list. (As a rule of thumb, you typically add -lainen to the name of your country to get the nationality.)

Teacher and Children Looking at a Globe in the Classroom

Kuka tietää, mikä maa tämä on? (“Who knows which country this is?”)

3 – Body Parts

  • otsa (“forehead”)
  • poski (“cheek”)
  • leuka (“chin”)
  • kaula (“neck”)
  • olkapää (“shoulder”)
  • kyynärpää (“elbow”)
  • rinta (“chest”)
  • selkä (“back”)
  • vatsa / maha (“stomach”)
  • takapuoli (“backside”)
  • reisi (“thigh”)
  • polvi (“knee”)
  • sormi (“finger”)
  • varvas (“toe”)
  • kantapää (“heel”)
  • jalkapohja (“sole”)

For more words and pronunciation help, visit our Body Parts in Finnish vocabulary list.

4 – Substances

  • vesi (“water”)
  • lumi (“snow”)
  • hiekka (“sand”)
  • veri (“blood”)
  • lika (“dirt”)
  • rasva (“grease”)
  • ruoste (“rust”)
  • maali (“paint”)
  • pesuaine (“detergent”)
  • polttoaine (“fuel”)
  • muste (“ink”)
  • terva (“tar”)
  • liima (“glue”)
  • lima (“slime”)

5 – Food and Drink

  • alkupala (“appetizer” / “starter”)
  • välipala (“snack”)
  • pääruoka (“main dish”)
  • aamupala (“breakfast”)
  • lounas (“lunch”)
  • päivällinen / illallinen (“dinner”)
  • jälkiruoka (“dessert”)
  • ateria (“meal”)
  • riisi (“rice”)
  • pasta (“pasta”)
  • peruna (“potato”)
  • puuro (“porridge”)
  • salaatti (“salad”)
  • voileipä (“sandwich”)
  • jäätelö (“ice-cream”)
  • viini (“wine”)
  • olut / kalja (“beer”)
  • kahvi (“coffee”)
  • tee (“tea”)
  • maito (“milk”)
  • (tuore)mehu (“juice”)
  • juoma (“drink”)
  • alkoholi (“alcohol”)

Three Friends Eating Lunch Out Together

Lounas ystävien kanssa (“Lunch with friends”)

6 – Rooms

  • keittiö (“kitchen”)
  • olohuone (“living room”)
  • makuuhuone (“bedroom”)
  • kylpyhuone (“bathroom”)
  • vessa / WC (“toilet”)
  • eteinen (“hallway”)
  • käytävä (“corridor”)
  • hotellihuone (“hotel room”)

7 – Nature

  • laakso (“valley”)
  • kukkula (“hill”)
  • tunturi (“fell”)
  • aavikko (“desert”)
  • suo (“bog” / “swamp”)
  • lähde (“spring”)
  • lampi (“pond” / “pool”)
  • ranta (“beach” / “shore”)
  • saari (“island”)
  • saaristo (“archipelago”)
  • puro (“stream”)
  • vesiputous (“waterfall”)
  • valtameri (“ocean”)
A Small Stream in a Snowy Forest

Pieni puro lumisessa metsässä (“A small stream in a snowy forest”)

8 – City Life

  • keskusta (“city center”)
  • kaupunginosa (“district” / “neighborhood”)
  • lähiö (“suburb”)
  • katu (“street”)
  • kuja (“alley”)
  • risteys (“crossing” / “junction”)
  • suojatie (“crosswalk” / “zebra crossing”)
  • liikennemerkki (“traffic sign”)
  • liikenneympyrä (“traffic circle” / “roundabout”)
  • kerrostalo (“high rise” / “apartment building”)
  • omakotitalo (“detached house” / “single-family home”)
  • puisto (“park”)
  • satama (“harbor”)
  • silta (“bridge”)
  • patsas (“statue”)
  • ostoskeskus (“shopping center” / “mall”)

9 – Clothes

  • paita (“shirt”)
  • t-paita (“T-shirt”)
  • villapaita / neulepaita (“sweater” / “jumper”)
  • huppari (“hoodie”)
  • sukkahousut (“tights”)
  • sukka (“sock”)
  • alushousut (“underpants”)
  • housut (“pants” / “trousers”)
  • puku (“suit” / “costume”)
  • iltapuku (“evening gown”)
  • mekko (“dress”)
  • sortsit / shortsit (“shorts”)
  • takki (“jacket”)
  • hattu (“hat”)
  • pipo (“beanie” / “knit cap”)
  • käsine (“glove”)
  • kenkä (“shoe”)
  • sandaali (“sandal”)
  • yöpaita (“nightshirt” / “nightgown”)
  • pyjama (“pajamas”)
  • kravatti (“tie”)
Three Women Looking at Clothes in a Boutique Store

Vaateostoksilla (“Clothes shopping”)

3. Verbs

In our guide to beginner vocabulary, we listed 50 essential Finnish verbs. Get ready to learn over 50 more!

1 – Communication Verbs

Are you bored of using the verbs sanoa (“to say”) and puhua (“to speak”)? Lucky for you, there are countless alternatives to choose from! Try one of these next time:

  • kertoa (“to tell”)
  • ehdottaa (“to suggest”)
  • väittää (“to claim”)
  • inttää (“to insist” / “to argue”)
  • tunnustaa (“to confess”)
  • myöntää (“to admit”)
  • kieltää (“to deny” / “to forbid”)
  • lisätä (“to add”)
  • vahvistaa (“to confirm”)
  • kommentoida (“to comment” / “to remark”)
  • neuvoa (“to advise”)
  • selittää (“to explain”)
  • keskeyttää (“to interrupt”)
  • vakuuttaa (“to assert” / “to convince”)
  • olettaa (“to assume”)
  • toistaa (“to repeat”)
  • raportoida (“to report”)
  • spekuloida (“to speculate”)
  • vahvistaa (“to verify”)
  • vitsailla (“to joke”)
  • vannoa (“to swear” / “to vow”)
  • kiroilla (“to swear” / “to curse”)
  • rukoilla (“to beg” / “to pray”)
  • rohkaista (“to encourage”)
  • kehottaa (“to recommend” / “to urge”)
  • ohjeistaa (“to instruct”)
  • painottaa (“to stress” / “to emphasize”)
  • syyttää (“to accuse”)
  • komentaa (“to command”)
  • kehua (“to praise” / “to brag”)
  • loukata (“to insult” / “to offend”)
  • valehdella (“to lie”)
  • nalkuttaa (“to nag”)
  • provosoida (“to provoke”)
  • ilmoittaa (“to declare” / “to announce”)
  • vihjata (“to hint”)
  • valittaa (“to complain”)
  • varoittaa (“to caution”)
  • arvata (“to guess”)
  • jaaritella (“to ramble”)
  • paasata (“to rant”)
  • moittia (“to scold”)
  • uhkailla (“to threaten”)
  • varoittaa (“to warn”)
  • pilkata (“to mock”)
  • onnitella (“to congratulate”)
  • hurrata (“to cheer”)
  • toivoa (“to wish”)
  • lohduttaa (“to console”)
  • möläyttää (“to blurt”)
  • ihmetellä (“to marvel”)
  • puhutella (“to address”)
  • kerskailla (“to boast”)
  • kuvailla (“to describe”)
  • muistuttaa (“to remind”)
  • epäillä (“to doubt”)
  • huutaa (“to shout”)
  • kirkua (“to scream”)
  • kuiskata (“to whisper”)
  • mumista (“to mutter”)
  • änkyttää (“to stutter”)

A Group of Friends Studying Together

2 – Auxiliary Verbs

You’ve already learned the most important Finnish auxiliary verb: olla (“to be”). There are a handful of other verbs that can also take on the role of an auxiliary. These are some of the most usable ones: 

  • yrittää (“to try” / “to attempt”)
  • alkaa (“to start”)
  • aikoa (“to intend”)
  • uskaltaa (“to dare”)
  • ehtiä (“to make it” / “to have time to”)
  • jaksaa (“to manage” / “to have enough strength”)
  • päättää (“to decide”)

See the full list of Finnish auxiliary verbs on Wiktionary.

3 – Other Useful Finnish Verbs

  • rakastaa (“to love”)
  • jatkaa (“to continue”)
  • lähettää (“to send”)
  • esitellä (“to introduce” / “to present”)
  • hyväksyä (“to accept” / “to approve”)
  • kieltäytyä (“to refuse” / “to decline”)
  • toimia (“to act”)
  • pelata (“to play,” for example: games and sports)
  • leikkiä (“to play,” refers to play-acting and playing with toys)
  • valita (“to choose” / “to select”)
  • koskettaa (“to touch”)
  • voittaa (“to win”)
  • hävitä (“to lose” / “to disappear”)
  • ansaita (“to deserve” / “to earn”)
  • onnistua (“to succeed” / “to manage”)
  • muuttua (“to change”)
  • estää (“to prevent”)
  • pysähtyä (“to stop”)
  • tavata (“to meet”)
  • tuoda (“to bring”)
  • saavuttaa (“to reach” / “to achieve”)
  • valmistaa (“to prepare” / “to make”)
  • harkita (“to consider”)
  • tutkia (“to examine” / “to study”)
  • imitoida (“to imitate” / “to mimic”)
  • työntää (“to push”)
  • vetää (“to pull”)
  • pyöräillä (“to cycle”)
  • purjehtia (“to sail”)
  • lentää (“to fly”)
  • ohjata (“to steer”)
  • uida (“to swim”)
  • sukeltaa (“to dive”)
  • hypätä (“to jump”)

4. Adjectives

Learning lots of adjectives is something that students at the beginner level can put off. However, intermediate learners will definitely want to enrich their conversations with these descriptive words. 

As a friendly reminder, Finnish adjectives must agree in number and case with the nouns they modify!

1 – Describing Objects

  • sileä (“smooth”)
  • karhea (“rough”)
  • pehmeä (“soft”)
  • kova (“hard”)
  • pyöreä (“round”)
  • litteä (“flat”)
  • leveä (“wide”)
  • kapea (“narrow”)
  • kuuma (“hot”)
  • lämmin (“warm”)
  • kylmä (“cold”)
  • viileä (“cool”)
  • värikäs (“colorful”)
  • herkullinen (“delicious”)
  • makea (“sweet” / “sugary”)
  • suolainen (“savory” / “salty”)
  • mausteinen (“spicy”)
  • tyhjä (“empty”)
  • täysi (“full”)

A Glass that Is Half Empty or Half Full of Water

Onko tämä lasi puoliksi tyhjä vai puoliksi täysi? (“Is this glass half empty or half full?”)

2 – Describing People

  • vakava (“serious”)
  • ystävällinen (“friendly”)
  • töykeä (“rude”)
  • kohtelias (“polite”)
  • ylpeä (“proud”)
  • ujo (“shy”)
  • itsevarma (“confident”)
  • itsepäinen (“stubborn”)
  • omahyväinen (“smug” / “self-satisfied”)
  • utelias (“curious”)
  • antelias (“generous”)
  • itsekäs (“selfish”)
  • turhamainen (“vain”)
  • rohkea (“brave”)
  • uskalias (“daring” / “bold”)
  • äänekäs (“loud”)
  • hiljainen (“quiet”)
  • ilkeä (“mean”)
  • tuhma (“naughty”)
  • kiltti (“kind”)
  • heikko (“weak”)
  • kalpea (“pale”)
  • ruskettunut (“tanned”)

3 – Other Useful Adjectives

  • hyvä (“good”)
  • huono (“bad” / “worthless”)
  • paha (“bad” / “evil”)
  • outo / kummallinen (“strange” / “odd”)
  • kamala (“awful” / “terrible”)
  • ihana (“lovely” / “wonderful”)
  • hauska (“funny”)
  • mukava (“comfortable” / “nice”)
  • monimutkainen (“complicated”)
  • yksinkertainen (“simple”)
  • valoisa (“bright” / “light”)
  • pimeä (“dark”)
  • ainutlaatuinen (“unique”)
  • vaarallinen (“dangerous”)
  • turvallinen (“safe”)
  • ärsyttävä (“annoying”)
  • tylsä (“boring” / “dull”)
  • korkea (“high”)
  • matala (“low”) 

Our lesson Using Finnish Adjectives will explain how to apply grammatical cases (and more) to Finnish adjectives if you need a refresher on the topic. 

5. Adverbs

Adverbs are another group of words that you can mostly ignore at the absolute beginner level, but you should definitely start paying attention to them once you reach the intermediate Finnish level.

1 – Time Adverbs (When and How Often?)

  • nyt (“now”)
  • joskus (“sometimes”)
  • harvoin (“rarely”)
  • aina (“always”)
  • yleensä (“usually”)
  • jatkuvasti (“continuously”)
  • jo (“already”)
  • kauan (“a long time”)
  • uudelleen (“again”)
  • lopulta (“at last”)
  • ajoissa (“on time”)
  • myöhässä (“late”)
  • etuajassa (“early”)

A Woman at a Train Station Looking at Her Wristwatch

Hienoa, juna on etuajassa. (“Excellent, the train is early.”)

2 – Positional Adverbs (Where?)

  • jossain / jossakin (“somewhere”)
  • ei missään (“nowhere”)
  • muualla (“elsewhere”)
  • ylhäällä (“up” / “above”)
  • alhaalla (“down” / “below”)
  • päällä (“on top of”)
  • alla (“under” / “below”)
  • kaukana (“far”)
  • lähellä (“close”)

3 – Mode Adverbs (How?)

  • hyvin (“well”)
  • huonosti (“badly”)
  • nopeasti (“quickly”)
  • hitaasti (“slowly”)
  • helposti (“easily”)
  • vaikeasti (“with difficulty”)
  • hiljaa (“quietly”)
  • rauhallisesti (“calmly”)

4 – Quantity Adverbs (How Much?)

  • paljon (“a lot”)
  • vähän (“a little”)
  • tarpeeksi / riittävästi (“enough”)
  • lähes / melkein (“almost”)
  • noin (“about” / “approximately”)

If you need more Finnish adverbs in your life, you can head over to and sample our vocabulary lists Must-Know Adverbs and Phrases for Connecting Thoughts and Essential Adverbs of Frequency and Time

6. Bonus Vocabulary for Intermediate Learners: Finnish “False Friends”

As you probably know, there are many English loanwords in the Finnish language, and these are really helpful for language learners! When you see the words video (“video”) and internetti (“internet”), for example, you’ll instantly know what they mean without having to look them up in our Finnish dictionary.

However, you should stay vigilant for väärät ystävät (“false friends”). These are words that look like loanwords but actually have different meanings in English and Finnish. Keep your eye out for the following:

  • kaniini looks like “canine” but means “rabbit”
  • kumina looks like “cumin” but means “caraway”
  • greippi looks like “grape” but means “grapefruit”
  • harmonikka looks like “harmonica” but means “accordion”
  • home looks like “home” but means “mold” or “mildew”
  • motoristi looks like “motorist” but means “motorcyclist”
  • novelli looks like “novel” but means “short story”
  • undulaatti looks like “undulate” but means “budgerigar” or “budgie”
  • happi looks like “happy” but means “oxygen”
  • mappi looks like “map” but means “binder”

You’ll find more Finnish “false friends” on Jukka Korpela’s helpful list.

A Woman with a Mask in Her Hand

Varo vääriä ystäviä! (“Beware of false friends!”)


In this guide, we covered a lot of ground and listed over 350 Finnish words suitable for intermediate learners, including dozens of conversation verbs and a wide range of nouns. Were there any gaps in our selection that you’d like to see included in the future? If so, leave us a comment below—we appreciate your feedback!

If you’re still hungry for more intermediate vocabulary, visit our YouTube channel to learn how to expand your Finnish vocabulary with reading, or watch our Intermediate Finnish words and phrases video to practice your listening comprehension skills. Or come and visit us at From free vocabulary lists to the 1-on-1 MyTeacher program, we have plenty of resources to help you take your next steps toward fluency in Finnish.

Happy learning with FinnishPod101!

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Top Finnish Animal Names and Phrases


Let’s talk about Finland’s animals! In this article, we’ll teach you important Finnish animal vocabulary as well as some idiomatic animal-related terms and expressions. You’ll even find a few interesting facts about Finland’s fauna in this guide.

Tip: If you know what your preferred learning style is, you can play to your strengths and make memorizing new vocabulary a little easier. For example, if you’re primarily a visual learner, try creating your own thematic mini dictionary with pictures or watch Finnish vocabulary videos on the FinnishPod101 YouTube channel. Or, if you’re a kinesthetic learner and learn best through movement, why not challenge your friends or family to a game of charades in Finnish?

A Child Looking at a Picture Book

Learning Finnish animal names is child’s play.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Finnish Table of Contents
  1. At Home
  2. On the Farm
  3. In the Forest
  4. In the Lakes, Rivers, and the Sea
  5. Bugs and Insects
  6. Birds, Reptiles, and Amphibians
  7. Animal Body Parts
  8. Animal-Related Terms and Expressions
  9. Lopuksi

1. At Home

Let’s kick things off by learning the Finnish words for popular pets! Roughly a third of Finnish households have a pet (lemmikkieläin), with dogs and cats being the most popular pets by far. Do you keep one (or more) of the following animals as a pet?

  • koira (“dog”)
  • kissa (“cat”)
  • hamsteri (“hamster”)
  • marsu (“guinea pig”)
  • kani (“bunny”)
  • rotta (“rat”)
  • kultakala (“goldfish”)
  • kilpikonna (“tortoise”)
  • undulaatti (“budgie”)
  • papukaija (“parrot”)
Popular Pets

Suositut lemmikkieläimet (“Popular pets”)

  • When learning new words, it’s a good idea to listen to how a native speaker pronounces them. You’ll find recordings on all of our vocabulary lists, including this one on animal names.

2. On the Farm

Next up: the names of common farm animals in Finnish! 

A Cow in a Pasture

Lehmä laitumella (“A cow in a pasture”)

  • Do you remember the song Old MacDonald Had a Farm from your childhood? In Finnish, the song is known as Piippolan vaarilla oli talo (“Grandpa Piippola Had a House”).
  • We have a lesson just about farm animals to help you master this useful vocabulary set.

3. In the Forest

Finland’s forests are home to many wild animals, including a few large carnivores. Here’s what to call some of these animals in the Finnish language: 

  • karhu (“bear”)
  • susi (“wolf”)
  • kettu (“fox”)
  • hirvi (“moose”)
  • jänis (“rabbit”)
  • orava (“squirrel”)
  • ahma (“wolverine”)
  • ilves (“lynx”)
  • kärppä (“weasel”)
  • mäyrä (“badger”)
  • näätä (“marten”)
  • supikoira (“raccoon dog”)
  • hiiri (“mouse”)

A Mother Bear with Her Cubs

Karhuemo pentuineen (“A mother bear with her cubs”)

4. In the Lakes, Rivers, and the Sea

Finland has a coastline as well as plenty of freshwater habitats. You’ll find both fully aquatic and semiaquatic animals on this list.

  • kala (“fish”)
  • lohi (“salmon”)
  • ankerias (“eel”)
  • simpukka (“clam”)
  • meduusa (“jellyfish”)
  • jokirapu (“crayfish”)
  • valas (“whale”)
  • hylje (“seal”)
  • majava (“beaver”)
  • saukko (“otter”)

A Seal

Hylje elää maalla ja vedessä. (“A seal lives on land and in the water.”)

  • Pyöriäinen (“porpoise”) is the only type of whale regularly encountered in Finnish waters. Two types of seals are found in Finland: halli or harmaahylje (“gray seal”) and saimaannorppa (“Saimaa ringed seal”). The Saimaa ringed seal is only found in Lake Saimaa in Finland and is one of the most endangered seals in the world.
  • The shark and the octopus may not be native to Finland, but you can learn the Finnish words for these (and other) animals on our Marine Animals & Fish vocabulary list.

5. Bugs and Insects

Beautiful, gross, scary—insects and other creepy-crawlies elicit strong feelings in many people! Let’s learn the Finnish words for some of the most common little beasties, including Finland’s most infamous resident: the mosquito. (If you’re planning a trip to Finland in summer, you may want to come prepared!)

  • hyttynen or itikka (“mosquito”)
  • perhonen (“butterfly”)
  • kärpänen (“fly”)
  • mehiläinen (“bee”)
  • ampiainen (“wasp”)
  • muurahainen (“ant”)
  • sudenkorento (“dragonfly”)
  • leppäkerttu (“ladybug”)
  • koppakuoriainen (“beetle”)
  • hämähäkki (“spider”)
  • mato (“worm”)
  • etana (“snail”)

A Ladybug

Leppäkerttu on hyönteinen. (“The ladybug is an insect.”)

6. Birds, Reptiles, and Amphibians

Interesting fact: Did you know that reptiles (matelijat) are more closely related to birds (linnut) than to amphibians (sammakkoeläimet)?

  • joutsen (“swan”)
  • pöllö (“owl”)
  • varis (“crow”)
  • harakka (“magpie”)
  • kotka (“eagle”)
  • lokki (“seagull”)
  • käärme (“snake”)
  • lisko (“lizard”)
  • sammakko (“frog”)
  • (rupi)konna (“toad”)

Three Frogs on a Rock

Kolme sammakkoa kivellä (“Three frogs on a rock”)

7. Animal Body Parts

In this section, we’ll go over the Finnish words for important animal body parts.

  • tassu (“paw”)
  • häntä (“tail”)
  • kuono (“snout”)
  • sarvi (“horn” / “antler”)
  • turkki (“fur”)
  • siipi (“wing”)
  • nokka (“beak”)
  • pyrstö (“tail,” of birds and fish)
  • räpylä (“flipper”)
  • evä (“fin”)
  • lonkero (“tentacle”)

You now know a number of animal names in Finnish and what to call their body parts…but do you know the Finnish vocabulary for animal noises?

A Swan on the Water

Joutsenella on kauniit siivet. (“The swan has beautiful wings.”)

8. Animal-Related Terms and Expressions

There are countless idiomatic animal-related terms and expressions in Finnish. If you’re up for a challenge, see if you can incorporate a couple of the following words or phrases into your next conversation in Finnish!

1 – Nouns

  • harakanvarpaat (“chicken scratch” or “scrawl” / literally: “magpie’s toes”)
  • koiranilma (“bad weather” / literally: “dog’s weather”)
  • kissanristiäiset (“unimportant celebration” / literally: “cat’s christening”)
  • villakoira (“dust bunny” / literally: “wool dog,” which also means “poodle”)
  • karhunpalvelus (“disservice” / literally: “bear’s service”)
  • uutisankka (“canard” / literally: “news duck”)
  • sudennälkä (“ravenous hunger” / literally: “wolf’s hunger”)
  • kissanpäivät (“the life of Riley” / literally: “cat’s days”)
  • katin kontit (“nonsense” or “rubbish” / literally: “cat’s knapsacks,” an exclamation)
  • teerenpeli (“flirtation” / literally: “grouse’s game”)

2 – People

  • jänishousu (“scaredy-cat” or “chicken” / literally: “rabbit pants”)
  • verokarhu (“taxman” / literally: “tax bear,” a playful term for verottaja)
  • pahanilmanlintu (“bird of ill omen” / literally: “bad weather’s bird”)
  • työmyyrä (“workhorse” / literally: “work vole”)
  • koiranleuka (“joker” / literally: “dog’s jaw”)
  • pullahiiri (“person with a sweet tooth” / literally: “bun mouse”)
  • vastarannan kiiski (“contrarian” / literally: “ruffe of the opposite shore”)
  • susipari (“unmarried, cohabiting couple” / literally: “wolf couple”)
  • vilukissa (“person who feels cold easily” / literally: “chill cat”)
  • koekaniini (“guinea pig” / literally: “test rabbit”)
  • konttorirotta (“pen-pusher” / literally: “office rat”)
  • linssilude (“lens hog” / literally: “lens bug”)
  • vasikka (“informer” or “snitch” / literally: “calf”)
  • pöllö (“fool” / literally: “owl,” derogatory)

3 – Idioms

  • kiertää kuin kissa kuumaa puuroa (“to beat around the bush” / literally: “to circle like a cat around hot porridge”)
  • nostaa kissa pöydälle (“to bring up a difficult subject” / literally: “to lift a cat onto the table”)
  • seurata kuin hai laivaa (“to be hot on one’s heels” / literally: “to follow like a shark follows a ship”)
  • olla koira haudattuna (“something fishy” / literally: “there’s a dog buried”)
  • näyttää närhen munat (“to teach someone a lesson” / literally: “to show jay’s eggs”)
  • olla oma lehmä ojassa (“to have a vested interest in something” / literally: “to have one’s own cow in a ditch”)
  • tehdä kärpäsestä härkänen (“to make a mountain out of a molehill” / literally: “to make a bull out of a fly”)
  • tappaa kaksi kärpästä yhdellä iskulla (“to kill two birds with one stone” / literally: “to kill two flies with one hit”)
  • olla ketunhäntä kainalossa (“to have a hidden agenda” / literally: “to have a foxtail under the arm”)
  • olla käärmeissään (“to be annoyed” / literally: “to be in one’s snakes”)
  • olla kananlihalla (“to have goosebumps” / literally: “to be on chicken meat”) 

4 – Verbs

  • sikailla (“to behave badly” / from the word “pig”: sika)
  • hamstrata (“to squirrel” or “to hoard” / from the word “hamster”: hamsteri)
  • apinoida (“to ape” or “to mimic” / from the word “monkey”: apina)
  • kukkoilla (“to strut one’s stuff” / from the word “rooster”: kukko)
  • ahmia (“to wolf down” / from the word “wolverine”: ahma)
  • jänistää (“to chicken out” / from the word “rabbit”: jänis)
  • lokkeilla (“to freeload” / from the word “seagull”: lokki)
  • hevostella (“to flaunt” or “to behave arrogantly” / from the word “horse”: hevonen)

5 – Similes

  • pirteä kuin peipponen (“perky as a chaffinch”)
  • terve kuin pukki (“healthy as a horse” / literally: “healthy as a billy goat”)
  • lauhkea kuin lammas (“mild as a sheep”)
  • märkä kuin uitettu koira (“wet as a dog immersed in water”)
  • ahkera kuin mehiläinen (“industrious as a bee”)
  • kiukkuinen kuin ampiainen (“mad as a hornet” / literally: “angry as a wasp”)
  • puhdas kuin pulmunen (“clean as a whistle” / literally: “clean as a snow bunting”)
  • köyhä kuin kirkonrotta (“poor as a church mouse” / literally: “poor as a church rat”)
  • itsepäinen kuin muuli (“stubborn as a mule”)
  • uskollinen kuin koira (“loyal as a dog”)
  • lämmin kuin lehmän henkäys (“warm as cow’s breath,” used when talking about air temperature)
  • kuin täi tervassa (“extremely slow” / literally: “like a louse in tar”)

One of the best ways to learn new vocabulary is to put the words into context. Our Finnish animal words video does exactly that!

9. Lopuksi

We hope that you found this guide to Finnish animal words to be the cat’s meow! What other types of vocabulary would you like to see covered on our blog? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

FinnishPod101 offers plenty of free resources to help you on your Finnish learning adventure, including an ever-growing library of vocabulary lists complete with recordings to help you perfect your pronunciation. We are constantly adding new learning material to suit all learning styles and confidence levels, so be sure to check back often.

Happy learning on FinnishPod101!

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Essential Finnish Telephone Phrases


For language learners, having a telephone conversation in Finnish is always going to be more challenging than having a face-to-face chat. When you’re talking on the phone, you can’t pick up clues from your conversation partner’s facial expressions or body language. And if the connection is terrible, trying to make out what the other person is saying can be extra-frustrating.

However, if you find yourself afraid of making phone calls, there are ways to build your confidence and make phone conversations in Finnish easier. The first thing you should do is pick up some Finnish phone call phrases and expressions; then, you’ll need to get some real-life practice in (sorry!). 

We’ll leave the practice part up to you, but we can teach you some of the most common Finnish phone call expressions for both formal and informal contexts. 

  • One more thing: Did you know that mobile phone throwing is an actual sport? It was invented in Finland nearly two decades ago.

A Smiling Woman on the Phone

Talk on the phone with confidence!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Finnish Table of Contents
  1. Picking up the Phone
  2. Saying Who You Are
  3. Stating the Reason for Your Call
  4. Asking to Speak to Someone
  5. Asking Someone to Wait
  6. Leaving a Message
  7. Asking for Clarification
  8. Ending a Phone Call
  9. Sample Phone Conversations
  10. Lopuksi

1. Picking up the Phone

Let’s start with the absolute basics: How to answer the phone in Finnish! What should you say when you pick up the phone?

When you don’t know who’s calling you (or if you don’t know the caller well), it’s common to state your name when picking up. You can use your first name, your last name, or your full name. 

  • Minna
  • Miettinen
  • Minna Miettinen

Alternatively, you can answer with haloo (“hello”). Note that this is a “hello” that’s only used on the phone:

  • Haloo (“Hello”)

When a friend or a family member is calling, you can answer by using a variation of “hi,” such as:

  • Hei
  • Moi
  • Terve

To refresh your memory, here are more common ways to say hello in Finnish.

When answering a phone call at work, it’s customary to state the name of your workplace. You can also add your own name, a greeting, or a question.

  • Keskuskirjasto Oodi, Minna Miettinen. (“Central Library Oodi, Minna Miettinen.”)
  • Keskuskirjasto Oodi, hyvää päivää. (“Central Library Oodi, good day.”)
  • Keskuskirjasto Oodi, kuinka voin auttaa? (“Central Library Oodi, how can I help?”)

A Woman in an Office Setting Picking Up the Phone and Taking Notes

Kuinka voin auttaa? (“How can I help?”)

2. Saying Who You Are

When you’re calling someone, it’s natural to start by introducing yourself. Note that tässä and täällä both mean “here.”

  • Terhi tässä. (“Terhi here.”)
  • Terhi Salonen täällä hei. (“Terhi Salonen here, hi.”)

When answering the phone in Finnish, remember that some people like to place their last name in the genitive case in front of their first name:

  • Salosen Terhi täällä, terve. (“Terhi Salonen here, hi.” Or literally: “Salonen’s Terhi here, hi.” ) 

When introducing yourself in a professional capacity on the phone, you would typically state the name of your workplace as well:

  • Terhi Salonen Kallion Apteekista, päivää. (“Terhi Salonen from Kallio Pharmacy, good day.”)

If you didn’t catch the other person’s name, you can ask who they are using this phrase:

  •  Anteeksi, kenen kanssa puhun? (“I’m sorry, who am I talking to?”)

3. Stating the Reason for Your Call

After the greetings and introductions, the next step is to state your reason for calling. You can use these example sentences as you practice constructing your own:

  • Soittelin sellaista asiaa, että lähtisitkö kanssani elokuviin perjantaina. (“I was calling to see if you’d go to the movies with me on Friday.”)
  • Soitin kysyäkseni onko teillä yhtään avoimia työpaikkoja tällä hetkellä. (“I called to ask if you have any job openings at the moment.”)
  • Haluaisin tietää onko myymälänne jouluaattona auki. (“I’d like to know if your store is open on Christmas Eve.”)
  • Minulla olisi muutama kysymys pääsykokeesta. (“I have a couple of questions about the entrance exam.”)
  • Asiani koskee eilistä palaveria. (“I’m calling about yesterday’s meeting.”)
  • Tästä numerosta soitettiin minulle. (“I got a missed call from this number.”)
  • Yritittekö soittaa minulle aiemmin? (“Did you try to call me earlier?”)
  • Haluaisin varata ajan lääkärille. (“I’d like to book an appointment to see a doctor.”)
  • Haluan tehdä tilauksen. (“I want to make an order.”)

Visit to listen to a sample phone call to a doctor’s office.

A Woman Is Making a Call to Order from a Catalogue.

Haluan tehdä tilauksen. (“I want to make an order.”)

4. Asking to Speak to Someone

Are you trying to get hold of a specific person? Use one of these phrases to explain who you want to talk to:

  • Voisinko puhua Eemelin kanssa? (“Could I speak to Eemeli?”)
  • Haluaisin puhua Tuijan kanssa. (“I’d like to speak to Tuija.”)
  • Minulla on asiaa Jaakolle. (“I need to speak to Jaakko.”)
  • Onko Virtanen paikalla? (“Is Virtanen there?”)
  • Onko Pertti Virtanen tavattavissa? (“Is Pertti Virtanen available?”)

Learn how to say “Sorry, wrong number,” in Finnish by visiting our vocabulary list Useful Phrases for a Phone Call.

5. Asking Someone to Wait

Sometimes you need a moment while on the phone, perhaps to look something up. Use these phrases to ask the other person to wait:

  • Odottakaa hetki, olkaa hyvä. (“Please wait a moment.”)
  • Hetkinen, tarkistan asian. (“Just a moment, I’ll check.”)
  • Katsotaanpa, pikku hetki. (“Let’s see, just a moment.”)
  • Yhdistän puhelun, pysykää linjalla. (“I’ll connect the call, stay on the line.”)

6. Leaving a Message

If you didn’t manage to reach the person you wanted to talk to, you can ask the other person to leave a message or a call request for you:

  • Kertoisitko hänelle, että soitin? (“Could you tell him/her that I called?”)
  • Voisinko jättää soittopyynnön? (“Could I leave a call request?”)
  • Voitko pyytää häntä soittamaan minulle takaisin? (“Can you ask him/her to call me back?”)
  • Voinko jättää viestin? (“Can I leave a message?”)

A Woman on the Phone Takes Notes.

Voinko jättää viestin? (“Can I leave a message?”)

7. Asking for Clarification

As a non-native speaker making a call in Finnish, you might fail to understand some of what the other person is saying. In addition, a poor connection or similar issue sometimes makes it hard to communicate on the phone. Here are phrases to use when you’re struggling:

  • Haloo, kuuluuko? (“Hello, can you hear me?”)
  • En kuule sinua selvästi. Yhteys on huono. (“I can’t hear you clearly. The connection is bad.”)
  • En ymmärrä sinua. Voisitko puhua hitaammin? (“I don’t understand you. Could you speak more slowly?”)
  • Anteeksi, voisitko toistaa? (“Sorry, could you repeat?”)

8. Ending a Phone Call

There are lots of different ways to end a phone call in Finnish. For example: 

  • Asia tuli selväksi, kiitos. (“Everything’s clear, thank you.”)
  • Kiitos paljon, kuulemiin! (“Thanks a lot, goodbye.”)
  • Mukavaa päivänjatkoa. (“Have a nice day.”)
  • Minun pitää mennä. Puhutaan lisää myöhemmin. (“I have to go. Let’s talk more later.”)
  • Kiva kun soitit. Hei hei! (“It was nice that you called. Bye bye!”)
  • Oli hauska jutella. (“It was nice to chat.”) 
  • Hei hei. Kerro terveisiä Sarille! (“Bye bye. Send my love to Sari.”)
  • Moi moi, soitellaan! (“Bye bye, let’s talk again!”)

Note that just like haloo (“hello”), kuulemiin (“goodbye”) is only really used on the phone; this is because it refers specifically to hearing. In contrast, näkemiin (“goodbye”) refers to seeing.

9. Sample Phone Conversations

In this last section, you’ll see some of the Finnish phone phrases that you’ve learned in action.

In this first casual Finnish phone conversation, two friends—Sanni and Tuukka—make a plan for the weekend.

  • Sanni. (“Sanni.”)
  • Tuukka tässä, moi! (“Tuukka here, hi!”)
  • Hei Tuukka! Mitä kuuluu? (“Hi Tuukka! How are you?”)
  • Ihan hyvää, kiitos. Soittelin vaan sellaista, että oletko vapaa tänä viikonloppuna? (“I’m good, thanks. I was calling to see if you’re free this weekend?”)
  • Olen vapaa lauantaina. Miksi? (“I’m free on Saturday. Why?”)
  • Hienoa. Tavataanko brunssin merkeissä? (“Great. Shall we meet up for brunch?”)
  • No mikä ettei, tavataan vain. Onko sinulla jo paikka mielessä? (“Sure, why not, let’s meet up. Do you already have a place in mind?”)
  • Joo, Mikko suositteli minulle Korjaamoa Töölössä. Sopiiko sinulle kello yksitoista? (“Yes, Mikko recommended Korjaamo in Töölö to me. Does 11 o’clock suit you?”)
  • Kello yksitoista käy minulle hyvin. (“11 o’clock is good for me.”)
  • Loistavaa, teen meille varauksen. Nähdään lauantaina, hei hei! (“Awesome, I’ll book for us. I’ll see you on Saturday, bye bye!”)
  • Hei hei! (“Bye bye!”)

 In this second, more formal conversation, Tuukka reserves a table at a restaurant.

  • Korjaamolla, hyvää päivää. (“At Korjaamo, good day.”)
  • Tuukka Varonen täällä, hei. Haluaisin varata pöydän tälle lauantaille. (“Tuukka Varonen here, hi. I’d like to book a table for this Saturday.”)
  • Kuinka monelle henkilölle? (“For how many people?”)
  • Kahdelle henkilölle, kiitos. (“For two people, please.”)
  • Ja mihin aikaan? (“And for what time?”)
  • Kello yksitoista sopisi hyvin. (“11 o’clock would be good.”)
  • Eli pöytä kahdelle tänä lauantaina kello yksitoista. Nimellä Tuukka Varonen? (“So, a table for two this Saturday at 11 o’clock. Under the name Tuukka Varonen?”)
  • Täsmälleen. Kiitos paljon! (“Exactly. Thank you very much!”)
  • Kiitos varauksesta, hyvää päivänjatkoa! (“Thank you for the reservation, have a nice day!”)

A Staff Member Takes a Booking on the Phone.

Kuinka monelle henkilölle? (“For how many people?”)


In this guide, you’ve learned lots of formal and casual Finnish phone call expressions. We’ve covered how to answer a call, introduce yourself, state your reason for calling, end a phone conversation, and more. We hope that the idea of having a telephone conversation in Finnish feels a lot less daunting to you now!

Are there any other phrases that you think should have been covered here? Have you ever made a call in Finnish? Tell us all about it in the comments!

FinnishPod101 has a lot of free resources for learners, so be sure to stop by and explore everything we have to offer. Our Finnish vocabulary lists cover a vast range of topics and are especially helpful for practicing your pronunciation thanks to the audio recordings.

Happy learning!

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200+ Finnish Words for Beginners You Need to Learn


In this article, we’ll cover the most common Finnish words for beginners. We’ve gathered in one place all the most important pronouns, numbers, nouns, verbs, adjectives, and conjunctions that you’ll need in order to navigate simple, everyday situations in Finnish. Since our focus is on essential vocabulary, we won’t linger too much on grammar here, but we will point you in the right direction where appropriate!

Although this guide is aimed at beginners, we also warmly welcome any intermediate learners who are looking for a core vocabulary refresher. The more the merrier, so let’s get started.

Three Friends Chatting in a Cafe

A smile and a few words in Finnish could lead to new friendships.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Finnish Table of Contents
  1. Pronouns
  2. Numbers
  3. Nouns
  4. Verbs
  5. Adjectives
  6. Conjunctions
  7. Cultural Vocabulary: Finnish Holidays
  8. Lopuksi

1. Pronouns

The first set of words you should add to your Finnish vocabulary are the pronouns. There are three pronoun categories we’ll look at today—personal, demonstrative, and interrogative—and it’s a good idea to learn them sooner rather than later. 

Personal Subject Pronouns

Personal subject pronouns replace a noun as the subject of a sentence:

  • Tero puhuu suomea. (“Tero speaks Finnish.”)
  • Hän puhuu suomea. (“He speaks Finnish.”)

PersonFinnish pronounEnglish
1st person sg.minäI
2nd person sg.sinä / teyou (casual / formal)
3rd person sg.hänhe / she
1st person pl.mewe
2nd person pl.teyou
3rd person pl.hethey

Demonstrative Pronouns

Demonstrative pronouns “point” to specific inanimate objects and non-human animate objects. (However, note that in colloquial Finnish se and ne are often used to refer to people too).

tämä (“this”)nämä (“these”)
tuo (“that”)nuo (“those”)
se (“it” / “that”)ne (“they” / “them”)

Interrogative Pronouns

Interrogative pronouns are used in questions. There are three Finnish interrogative pronouns that are still in common use today:

  • kuka (“who”)
    Kuka tuo on? (“Who is that?”)
  • mikä (“what”)
    Mikä sinun nimesi on? (“What is your name?”)
  • kumpi (“which”)
    Kumpi on parempi? (“Which is better?”)

But wait, what about those other common question words? The following are interrogative adverbs rather than pronouns, but we’ll include them here as a bonus. Why not?

  • miksi (“why”)
  • missä (“where”)
  • milloin (“when”)
  • miten (“how”)

A Woman Covering Her Face with a Question Mark

Kuka minä olen? (“Who am I?”)

2. Numbers

Another key component of the Finnish language for beginners are the numbers. At the beginner level, you’ll be able to get by with the numbers from one to ten most of the time. If you’re ready for some bigger numbers though, you can always head over to our Finnish Numbers vocabulary list to learn more!

  • 1      yksi
  • 2      kaksi
  • 3      kolme
  • 4      neljä
  • 5      viisi
  • 6      kuusi
  • 7      seitsemän
  • 8      kahdeksan
  • 9      yhdeksän
  • 10    kymmenen

3. Nouns

First, the good news: Finnish nouns have no gender and there are no articles to worry about. Hurrah! Furthermore, forming the plural in the nominative case can be as simple as adding a -t:

  • auto (“a car” / “the car”)
  • autot (“cars” / “the cars”)

Now, the not-so-good news: The full story is a bit more complicated than that (and involves things like consonant gradation)! We’re not getting into all of that here, but if you’re feeling lost, we recommend getting started with our absolute beginner lesson Do All Finns Have Blue Eyes? and then working your way up to the more challenging grammar lessons.

That said, let’s go ahead and learn some more Finnish beginner words!


  • tunti (“hour”)
  • minuutti (“minute”)
  • aamu (“morning”)
  • päivä (“day”)
  • ilta (“evening”)
  • (“night”)
  • viikko (“week”)
  • kuukausi (“month”)
  • vuosi (“year”)

Days of the Week

  • maanantai (“Monday”)
  • tiistai (“Tuesday”)
  • keskiviikko (“Wednesday”)
  • torstai (“Thursday”)
  • perjantai (“Friday”)
  • lauantai (“Saturday”)
  • sunnuntai (“Sunday”)

 Note that the days of the week are not capitalized in Finnish!


  • nainen (“woman”)
  • mies (“man”)
  • tyttö (“girl”)
  • poika (“boy”)
  • äiti (“mom”)
  • isä (“dad”)
  • lapsi (“child”)
  • ystävä (“friend”)


  • lääkäri (“doctor”)
  • opettaja (“teacher”)
  • poliisi (“police officer”)
  • myyjä (“sales person”)

Not enough occupations for you? You’ll find the Finnish words for “poet,” “engineer,” and more on our list titled 20 Common Words for Occupations.

Several People Dressed in the Work Attire of Different Occupations

Mikä on sinun ammattisi? (“What is your occupation?”)

Shops and Services

  • sairaala (“hospital”)
  • koulu (“school”)
  • pankki (“bank”)
  • posti (“post office”)
  • kauppa (“shop”)
  • hotelli (“hotel”)
  • ravintola (“restaurant”)

School and Office Essentials

  • kynä (“pen” / “pencil”)
  • (pyyhe)kumi (“eraser”)
  • teroitin (“pencil sharpener”)
  • vihko (“notebook”)
  • kirja (“book”)
  • tietokone (“computer”)

Body Parts

  • pää (“head”)
  • silmä (“eye”)
  • nenä (“nose”)
  • suu (“mouth”)
  • korva (“ear”)
  • käsi (“hand”)
  • jalka (“leg” / “foot”)

For a more comprehensive list, head over to our lesson All Parts of the Body.


  • ruoka (“food”)
  • vihannes (“vegetable”)
  • hedelmä (“fruit”)
  • liha (“meat”)
  • kala (“fish”)
  • kana (“chicken”)
  • muna (“egg”)
  • leipä (“bread”)

Several Healthy Food Items

Terveellistä ruokaa (“Healthy food”)


  • koira (“dog”)
  • kissa (“cat”)
  • hevonen (“horse”)
  • lehmä (“cow”)
  • lammas (“sheep”)
  • sika (“pig”)
  • lintu (“bird”)


  • koti (“home”)
  • talo (“house”)
  • ovi (“door”)
  • ikkuna (“window”)
  • pöytä (“table”)
  • tuoli (“chair”)
  • sänky (“bed”)


  • taksi (“taxi”)
  • Linja-auto / bussi (“bus”)
  • juna (“train”)
  • lentokone (“airplane”)
  • laiva (“ship”)


  • metsä (“forest”)
  • järvi (“lake”)
  • meri (“sea”)
  • joki (“river”)
  • vuori (“mountain”)

Saimaa Lake in Finland

Saimaa on Suomen suurin järvi. (“Saimaa is Finland’s largest lake.”)

4. Verbs

In this section, we’ve listed 50 must-know Finnish verbs for beginners. Don’t worry if you don’t know much about how Finnish verbs work yet! You can quickly grasp the basics—from adding personal endings to the use of the negative verb—on You can also dive deeper into Finnish verb conjugation on Wikipedia or try Cooljugator to instantly conjugate common Finnish verbs!

Daily Routine Verbs

  • herätä (“to wake up”)
  • nousta ylös (“to get up”)
  • pukeutua (“to dress”)
  • tulla (“to come”)
  • mennä (“to go”)
  • työskennellä (“to work”)
  • opiskella (“to study”)
  • syödä (“to eat”)
  • juoda (“to drink”)
  • nukkua (“to sleep”)

A Sleepy Man Reaching for His Alarm Clock

En halua nousta vielä ylös. (“I don’t want to get up yet.”)

Conversation Verbs

  • puhua (“to speak”)
  • sanoa (“to say”)
  • kysyä (“to ask”)
  • vastata (“to answer”)
  • ymmärtää (“to understand”)
  • kuunnella (“to listen”)
  • hymyillä (“to smile”)
  • nauraa (“to laugh”)

Other Common and Useful Verbs

  • olla (“to be”)
  • tehdä (“to do”)
  • ostaa (“to buy”)
  • antaa (“to give”)
  • saada (“to get”)
  • ottaa (“to take”)
  • etsiä (“to look for”)
  • löytää (“to find”)
  • pitää (“to like”)
  • tuntea (“to feel”)
  • katsoa (“to watch”)
  • nähdä (“to see”)
  • lukea (“to read”)
  • kirjoittaa (“to write”)
  • oppia (“to learn”)
  • muistaa (“to remember”)
  • voida (“to be able to”)
  • osata (“to know how to”)
  • tietää (“to know”)
  • sulkea (“to close”)
  • avata (“to open”)
  • haluta (“to want”)
  • kävellä (“to walk”)
  • juosta (“to run”)
  • ajaa (“to drive”)
  • laittaa (“to put”)
  • käyttää (“to use”)
  • matkustaa (“to travel”)
  • soittaa (“to call”)
  • odottaa (“to wait”)
  • saapua (“to arrive”)
  • palata (“to return”)

Listen to our recordings and learn how to pronounce many of the above verbs like a native speaker on

A Mother and Two Children Enjoying a Story

Äiti lukee kirjaa. (“Mom is reading a book.”)

5. Adjectives

An adjective describes what something is like. These are essential beginner Finnish words to pick up, as they can add depth to your speech and help you better express yourself. Finnish adjectives must agree in number and case with the nouns they modify.

Describing Objects

  • pieni (“small”)
  • suuri (“large”)
  • painava (“heavy”)
  • kevyt (“light”)
  • uusi (“new”)
  • vanha (“old”)
  • likainen (“dirty”)
  • puhdas (“clean”)
  • kuiva (“dry”)
  • märkä (“wet”)

Describing People

  • kaunis (“beautiful”)
  • komea (“handsome”)
  • ruma (“ugly”)
  • pitkä (“tall”)
  • lyhyt (“short”)
  • laiha (“thin”)
  • lihava (“fat”)
  • nuori (“young”)
  • rikas (“rich”)
  • köyhä (“poor”)

Describing Emotions

  • iloinen (“joyful”)
  • onnellinen (“happy”)
  • surullinen (“sad”)
  • vihainen (“angry”)
  • yllättynyt (“surprised”)
  • kyllästynyt (“bored” / “annoyed”)
  • hämmentynyt (“confused”)

A Woman Raising Her Arms above Her Head and Smiling

Onnellinen nainen hymyilee. (“A happy woman smiles.”)

Describing the Weather

  • aurinkoinen (“sunny”)
  • pilvinen (“cloudy”)
  • sateinen (“rainy”)
  • sumuinen (“foggy”)
  • luminen (“snowy”)

Describing Colors

  • sininen (“blue”)
  • punainen (“red”)
  • keltainen (“yellow”)
  • vihreä (“green”)
  • oranssi (“orange”)
  • violetti (“purple”)
  • valkoinen (“white”)
  • musta (“black”)
  • harmaa (“gray”)

Visit our Most Common Adjectives list to expand your Finnish vocabulary even more.

Colorful Stationery

Värikkäät kirjoitustarvikkeet (“Colorful stationery”)

6. Conjunctions

Conjunctions are words that link other words or phrases together. You can get pretty far with the commonly used Finnish conjunctions below. 

  • ja (“and”)

    tyttö ja poika (“a girl and a boy”)

  • tai / vai (“or”)

    Haluatko teetä vai kahvia? (“Do you want tea or coffee?”)

    Otatko sokeria tai kermaa? (“Do you take sugar or cream?”)

    When asking questions, use vai when you expect the listener to choose one of the options. Use tai when the listener can pick any, all, or none of the options. When making statements, you can only use tai.

  • jos (“if”)

    Soita minulle, jos haluat jutella. (“Call me if you want to chat.”)

  • koska (“because”) When asking questions, use vai when you expect the listener to choose one of the options. Use tai when the listener can pick any, all, or none of the options. When making statements, you can only use tai.

    Juoksen, koska minulla on kiire. (“I’m running because I’m in a hurry.”)

  • mutta (“but”) When asking questions, use vai when you expect the listener to choose one of the options. Use tai when the listener can pick any, all, or none of the options. When making statements, you can only use tai.

    Tunnen hänet, mutta en kovin hyvin. (“I know him/her, but not very well.”)

  • että (“that”) When asking questions, use vai when you expect the listener to choose one of the options. Use tai when the listener can pick any, all, or none of the options. When making statements, you can only use tai.

    Olen varma, että pystyt siihen. (“I am sure that you can do it.”)

A Guy Running in the Forest

Juoksen, koska minulla on kiire. (“I’m running because I’m in a hurry.”)

7. Cultural Vocabulary: Finnish Holidays

Finally, the home stretch. So, let’s get festive and learn the names of some of the most popular holidays and celebrations in Finland!

  • uusivuosi (“New Year”)
  • laskiainen (“Shrovetide”)
  • ystävänpäivä (“Valentine’s Day”)
  • pääsiäinen (“Easter”)
  • vappu (“May Day”)
  • juhannus (“Midsummer”)
  • pyhäinpäivä (“All Hallows Day”)
  • itsenäisyyspäivä (“Independence Day”)
  • joulu (“Christmas”)

If you’re curious about Finnish holiday traditions, make sure you check out our Video Culture Class!

Santa Claus Holding Presents at His Feet

Joulupukki vierailee lasten luona jouluaattona.
(“Santa Claus visits children on Christmas Eve.”)

8. Lopuksi

In this guide, we covered over 200 useful words in Finnish for beginners, from essential pronouns and common nouns to the most important everyday verbs. If you can memorize the core vocabulary included here, you’ll create a solid foundation for all your further studies. Tip: Repetition is vital to committing vocabulary to long-term memory, so feel free to bookmark this page!

Did we miss any words that you expected to see here? Your questions and comments help other learners too, so feel free to share your thoughts with us below.

FinnishPod101 has a lot of free resources for you to explore, including vocabulary lists that cover a vast range of topics. If you’re not sure where to start, you can’t go wrong with our curated lesson pathways for Absolute Beginners and Beginners.

Happy learning on!

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The Top 10 Finnish Filler Words


If you’ve spent some time learning another language, you’ll know that spoken language can be very different from the standard form. Finnish learners in particular quickly notice how many words are shortened and “streamlined” in informal Finnish.

Spoken Finnish is also often littered with small, seemingly meaningless words. These “filler words” are rarely included in any academic curriculums, but they do matter—it can be hard to follow a conversation in Finnish if you’re not familiar with them.

In this article, we’ll introduce some of the most common Finnish filler words and phrases so that you can start spotting them when listening to native speakers. We’ll also guide you on how to use them yourself to make your spoken Finnish sound more natural. And finally, we’ll discuss the cons of filler words and the situations in which it’s best to avoid them.

A Woman with a Thoughtful Look on Her Face.

Using filler words gives you time to think.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Finnish Table of Contents
  1. Why do we use filler words?
  2. The Top 10 Finnish Filler Words
  3. The Pros and Cons of Filler Words
  4. Lopuksi

1. Why do we use filler words?

In this section, we’ll discuss what filler words are and why they’re used in spoken language.

1 – What are filler words?

When we take part in a discussion, we rarely plan the exact sequence of words that we’re going to use before we open our mouths. Therefore, it’s natural to pause briefly from time to time as we search for the right words while speaking.

Täytesanat (“filler words”) is a term used to classify all those relatively meaningless sounds, words, and small phrases that people use to fill the pauses in their speech. In fact, they can be removed from a sentence without changing its meaning. But that’s not to say that they serve no real purpose at all—as you’ll see below.

2 – Why do we use them?

Filler words can do a lot of things! For example:

  • They can give you a moment to think about what you’re going to say next, while signaling to others that you haven’t finished talking yet.
  • They can be used to let others know that you want to say something while someone else is still talking—a bit like putting your hand up in a classroom!
  • They can give others clues about how to interpret what you’re saying by indicating enthusiasm or uncertainty, for example.
  • They can help you be more diplomatic and polite when expressing your views.

Are you eager to get better at conversing in Finnish? Then let us teach you the Top 10 Conversational Phrases, Must-Know Expressions for Agreeing and Disagreeing, and How to Use Small Talk Phrases. You’re welcome.

2. The Top 10 Finnish Filler Words

In this section, we’ll introduce ten commonly used Finnish conversation filler words. While there is good correspondence between many Finnish and English filler words, it’s not an exact science, and the meaning of a filler word can change depending on the context. We’ll give alternative English translations and demonstrate different uses in our example sentences where possible.

Note that since filler words are primarily a part of spoken Finnish, they may have quite a few variations. Don’t worry; we’ll alert you when this is the case! And speaking of spelling, since spoken Finnish can be confusing to the uninitiated (by bending grammar rules, for instance), our example sentences are in standard Finnish.

#1 Öö (“Um” / “Uh” / “Err”)

Öö (“um” / “uh” / “err”) is the sound Finns often use when they aren’t sure what they want to say or are searching for the right word. It can also be used to express confusion or disbelief. This filler can appear at the beginning or in the middle of a sentence.

  • Mitä syötäisiin tänään? (“What should we eat today?”)
  • Syödään vaikka, öö… makaronilaatikkoa. (“How about we eat, um… macaroni casserole.”)
  • Näin viime yönä kummituksen! (“I saw a ghost last night!”)
  • Öö… oletko ihan varma? (“Err… are you absolutely sure?”)
Finnish Macaroni Casserole.

Syödään vaikka, öö… makaronilaatikkoa. (“How about we eat, um…macaroni casserole.”)

#2 Tuota (“Well” / “Actually”)

Tuota has a lot of variations. For example: tuota noin, tota, tota noi, tota nii, and so on…

As a filler word, tuota doesn’t mean anything, but it usually serves the same function as the English filler words “well” and “actually.” That is, it fills a pause when you’re thinking about what to say. Note that tuota is also the partitive form of the demonstrative pronoun tuo (“that”), though a pause or hesitation will usually make it clear that tuota is being used as a filler.

  • Tykkäsitkö eilisestä elokuvasta? (“Did you like yesterday’s film?”)
  • Se oli, tuota, parempi kuin mitä oletin. (“It was, well, better than what I expected.”)
  • Voisimmeko jutella? (“Could we talk?”)
  • Tuota… minulla on aika kiire juuri nyt. (“Actually… I’m a bit busy just now.”)

#3 Niinku (“Like”)

Niinku is the colloquial form of niin kuin (“like”). You can use this ubiquitous Finnish filler when you’re thinking of what to say next or to emphasize what you’re saying.

  • Se oli niinku huonoin kirja minkä olen ikinä lukenut. (“It was like the worst book I’ve ever read.”)

A word of caution: niinku appears on the MeNaiset magazine’s 2019 list of the most annoying words in the Finnish language. In fact, some people abhor the liberal use of niinku so much that there’s now a term to describe its overuse: ninkutus.

Excessive use of niinku would look something like this:Naapurin kissa käveli niinku suoraan ovesta sisään ja meni niinku nukkumaan meidän sohvalle. Nauroin niinku ainakin viisi minuuttia. (“The neighbor’s cat walked like straight in through the door and like went to sleep on our sofa. I laughed for like five minutes at least.”)

Woman Covers Her Ears

Beware, some Finns can’t stand niinku.

#4 Noni

Noni (also: no niin, nonni, nonnih, nonii, nonnii, and so on) is such a wonderful and versatile Finnish filler word that it should really have its own article. Alas, we’re only going to scratch the surface here.

The most fun thing about noni is that it can be used in almost any context. Whether you’re delighted or frustrated, proud or disappointed, you can begin with noni to set the tone of what you’re about to say.

  • Noni, pitihän se arvata! (“Right, should’ve guessed!”)
  • Noni, minähän sanoin sinulle! (“See, I told you!”)
  • Noni, yritähän keskittyä. (“Come on, try to focus.”)
  • Noni, hienosti tehty! (“Awesome, well done!”)
  • Noni, aloitetaan. (“Alright, let’s get started.”)

Using this Finnish filler is an art form, and once you’ve mastered it, you’ve reached the next level of Finnish! Listening to and imitating native Finns is the best way to get the stress and vowel length just right, but to help you get started, see our handy little infographic on using noni or watch stand-up comedian Ismo Leikola explain it.

#5 Siis (“So” / “Actually” / “Wait”)

Siis is another Finnish filler word with a variety of potential uses and it could be translated as “so,” “actually,” or “what” depending on the context. It can be used when you need to repeat yourself or clarify something, to emphasize what you’re saying, or to express disbelief.

  • Siis Esa lähti jo? (“So Esa left already?”)
  • Meillä on siis ihan hyvä syy olla täällä. (“We actually have a pretty good reason to be here.”)

Siis mitä?! (“Wait, what?!”)

A Surprised Boy with His Mouth Open

Siis mitä?! (“Wait what?!”)

#6 Kato (“Look”)

Kato is a colloquial form of katso (“look”). It’s commonly used when expressing an opinion or pointing out something the other person may not have considered. 

The particles -han and -pa are commonly attached to kato. In the examples below, -han expresses surprise while -pa softens the directness of the imperative.

  • Kato, makuasioista ei voi kiistellä. (“Look, there’s no accounting for taste.”)
  • Katohan, olin oikeassa sittenkin. (“Look, I was right after all.”)
  • Katopa, jos haluat menestyä, sinun pitää tehdä töitä sen eteen. (“Look, if you want to succeed, you have to work for it.”)

Read more about the uses of the Finnish particles -han and -pa on Wiktionary.

#7 Kuule (“Listen” / “Listen up”)

Kuule literally means “hear,” but it’s used like the English word “listen” and is more or less interchangeable with kato (“look”). The particles -pa and -han can also be attached to kuule.

  • Kuule, minua ei voisi vähempää kiinnostaa. (“Listen, I couldn’t care less.”)
  • Kuulepa, nyt on aika toimia! (“Listen up, now’s the time to act.”)
  • Kuulehan Sirpa, älä vertaa itseäsi muihin. (“Listen Sirpa, don’t compare yourself to others.”)

#8 Ootas ny (“Hold on”)

Ootas ny is a colloquial form of odota nyt (literally: “wait now”). You can use it when you’re trying to remember something or when you’re considering the answer to a question, for example.

  • Milloin kesäloma alkaa? (“When does the summer holiday begin?”)
  • Ootas ny… Oliko se 28. (kahdeskymmeneskahdeksas) päivä? (“Hold on… Was it the 28th?”)
  • Missä sakset ovat? (“Where are the scissors?”)
  • Ootas ny… Käytin niitä vasta vähän aikaa sitten. (“Hold on… I used them only a little while ago.”)

#9 Tiiäkkö (“You know” / “You know what”)

Tiiäkkö and tiätsä are colloquial forms of tiedätkö and tiedätkö sinä (literally: “Do you know?”). As a filler word, they can be used to emphasize a statement or to get someone’s attention.

  • Sukeltaminen on tosi hauskaa, tiiäkkö! (“Diving is really fun, you know!”)
  • Tiiäkkö, olen päättänyt muuttaa maalle. (“You know what, I’ve decided to move to the country.”)

Tiätsä Panu, ei kannata odottaa liian pitkään. (“You know what Panu, it’s not good to wait too long.”)

Two People Diving

Sukeltaminen on tosi hauskaa, tiiäkkö. (“Diving is really fun, you know.”)

#10 Tai jotai (“Or something”)

Tai jotai is the colloquial form of tai jotain (“or something”). It’s usually tagged at the end of a statement to indicate a sense of vagueness. You may also hear a longer version: tai jotai sinne päi (literally “or something in that direction”).

  • Lähetä minulle tekstiviesti tai jotai. (“Send me a text message or something.”)
  • Ehkä Tertulla oli kiire tai jotai? (“Maybe Terttu was busy or something?”)

3. The Pros and Cons of Filler Words

Now that you’ve learned some of the most popular Finnish filler words, should you try to use them as much as you can? The answer is not a simple “yes” or “no,” so let’s take a look at some pros and cons of using filler words as well as when it’s appropriate to use the occasional filler in Finnish.

1 – Use Filler Words to Sound More Authentic and Considerate

In a relaxed setting, a native Finnish speaker is very likely to use filler words. Therefore, using Finnish filler words can help your Finnish sound significantly more natural and authentic. This, in turn, could really boost your confidence as you’re honing your conversational skills.

And that’s not all: Science suggests that using filler words and discourse markers helps you come across as a more considerate and thoughtful participant in a conversation.

  • If you’re working on sounding more like a native Finnish speaker, learning these Essential Idioms will come in handy!

2 – Why You Should Not Overuse Filler Words

Now for the reasons why you shouldn’t use filler words with wild abandon in just any situation…

Remember how niinku is considered one of the most irritating words in the Finnish language? Going overboard with any filler word can rub someone you’re chatting with the wrong way.

In formal situations, the use of filler words is often thought to signal insecurity or lack of knowledge, and can distract from your message. So if you’re in a job interview or giving an important presentation, it’s best to avoid them! You could simply embrace those silent pauses instead (which may admittedly take some practice), or learn some alternative phrases that sound far better than öö (“um”) while still buying time to think. For example:

  • Pieni hetki (“Just a moment”)
  • Katsotaanpa… (“Let’s see…”)

 And while we’re on the topic of things to avoid, here are five Finnish language mistakes you don’t want to make.

A Woman being Interviewed for a Position

Työhaastattelussa. (“At a job interview.”)

4. Lopuksi

In this guide, we explored the fascinating world of Finnish filler words; you learned what they are, why people use them, and which ones are most popular. However, our list of Finnish filler words is not exhaustive by any means. Which other ones do you know of? Leave a comment below and help your fellow learners!

The best way to master using Finnish filler words is to listen to native Finnish speakers as much as possible. This will improve your ability to understand the nuances in meaning. Then pick one or two of your favorites and practice using them in real life! FinnishPod101 is designed to make learning Finnish as fun and effective as possible. Our vocabulary lists and other free Finnish resources are a great place to start if you’re new to FinnishPod101. And if you’d like access to 1-on-1 coaching with a native Finnish teacher (to improve your understanding of spoken Finnish, for example), the doors to a Premium PLUS subscription are open to you!

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