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Finnish Pronunciation

Many people believe that learning to pronounce the Finnish language is quite easy, and one of the simplest languages to learn. It is true that learning the language and correct Finnish pronunciation is easy, but that does not mean that you do not need to practice. The pronunciation is different from English, so you need to make sure that you understand those differences and are able to articulate them in your speech so you do not confuse any native Finnish speakers!

Sounds and Syllables

Finnish contains only 13 consonant sounds, which is less than many other languages contain. The consonants include d, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, and t. They have 9 vowels including a, e, i, o, u, y, ä, and ö. You will not find Finnish words that have clusters of three or more consonants together. Most of the syllables you find in the language are going to alternate. In some cases, a vowel might make a syllable. Two consonants might make a single syllable as well, although this is rare. You will start to notice this much more if you begin to write Finnish.

Less Aspiration in Finnish

First, you have to understand what aspiration is. In English, when you pronounce certain words, you will find there might be a puff of air that comes out of the mouth after pronouncing the word. The puff of air is the aspiration. Using hard sounds, such as t, p, and k will produce more aspiration. In Finnish pronunciation, you are not going to have much aspiration at all. The only letter that will have a bit of aspiration is going to be “h”. If you try to aspirate more of the consonants, as you would in English, the words are not going to sound correct, so you have to watch for this.

Another Pronunciation Difference

One of the other differences in pronunciation is in words that begin with the letter “j” in Finnish. In the Finnish language, the letter “j” has a pronunciation like “y” in English. The work joki, which means river, would have the “y” sound at the beginning, so it would sound as though you are saying “yoki” instead. Different vowels will all have their roles in the language as well.

Learning a language is about far more than memorizing grammar rules and vocabulary lists. Take the time to learn proper pronunciation and speak properly.