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Lesson Transcript

Gina: Hi everyone, I’m Gina! Welcome back to FinnishPod101.com. This is Absolute Beginner Season 1 , Lesson 19 - Do all Finns have Blue Eyes?
Paula: Hei! Minä olen Paula.
Gina: In this lesson, you’ll learn to talk about personal characteristics, such as hair and eye color. We’ll use the grammar focus from the previous lesson, and introduce the nominative plural.
Paula: This conversation takes place at home. Emmi and Helen are friends, but not particularly close friends. They’ll be speaking in standard Finnish.
Gina: Okay, let's listen to the conversation.
Gina: So, they were talking about looks. I think many of our listeners have the impression that all Finns have blue eyes and blond hair. Paula, what do you say about that?
Paula: Oh yes, that’s the stereotype, indeed. And of course, there’s a reason for it. There are a lot of people like that in Finland.
Gina: But not everyone is blond with blue eyes?
Paula: Definitely not. There are a lot of people with brown eyes, and their number will increase over time, because brown eyes are caused by a dominant gene.
Gina: I see. What about the hair color?
Paula: Well, there are some people with naturally black or red hair, but it’s quite rare, really. I’d say the most common hair color for adults is a kind of grayish light or mid-brown. It’s called maantien väri, or “dirt road color”.
Gina: Hmm, that doesn’t sound like a flattering description.
Paula: That’s right. A lot of Finnish women dye their hair regularly.
Gina: Okay. Let’s have a look at the vocabulary.
Gina: Let's have a closer look at the usage of some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Paula: The first word is ‘yhtään’, and it means “any” or “none”. It’s only used in negative sentences or questions. So you’d say ‘Kulhossa ei ole yhtään sokeria...’
Gina: … “There isn’t any sugar in the bowl”...
Paula: or ‘Onko kulhossa yhtään sokeria?’
Gina: “Is there any sugar in the bowl?”
Paula: And even in the question, you’re kind of expecting that there may not be any.
Gina: What’s the word you’d use in an affirmative sentence to say that there is some of something?
Paula: Well, you could use ‘jonkin verran’, which is our next word. It means “some” or “somewhat”. It’s only used in affirmative sentences, not in negative sentences. It’s possible to use it in questions, but then the assumption is that there should be some, and you’re just confirming.
Gina: Okay. What’s next?
Paula: The next word is ‘hius’, or “hair”. The thing to remember with this word is that it’s only used to talk about the hair that people have on top of their head.
Gina: Oh, so it’s not used for the hair on other parts of your body, or animal hair?
Paula: That’s right. Also, unlike in English, hius always refers to a single hair. If you want to talk about all the hair a person has, you’ll have to use the plural form.
Gina: Okay. Now let’s move on to the grammar.
Gina: In this lesson, we're going to use the adessive case we learned in the previous lesson, to talk about physical characteristics.
Paula: The adessive is the Finnish way of indicating possession. If you think it’s strange to use the case meaning “on top of” to indicate possession, just think about the English idiom “I don’t have any money on me”.
Gina: In order to talk about certain personal characteristics, we’ll need the nominative plural form, so that’s going to be the grammar focus of this lesson.
Paula: The nominative plural ending is the single letter ‘-t’, so you’ll need the stem that ends in a vowel. And just like in some of the other cases, there may be some consonant changes in the stem.
Gina: Okay. Let’s see some examples. What’s the nominative plural of the word “book”?
Paula: The stem is ‘kirja’, and the nominative plural is ‘kirjat’, adding the letter t to the end of the word.
Gina: Okay. How about “table”?
Paula: “Table” is ‘pöytä’ in Finnish, and the stem you’ll need is ‘pöydä-’ so the plural is ‘pöydät’.
Gina: Now, let’s take our target phrase “I have...” something.
Paula: We’ll start with ‘Minulla on...’ followed by the thing we’re talking about. Of course, you can change ‘minulla’ to any other pronoun or noun you like, but let’s keep it simple for now.
Gina: How would you then say, “I have blue eyes”?
Paula: “Blue” is ‘sininen’ and “eye” is ‘silmä’, so in the plural they’ll be ‘siniset silmät’. All together it’s ‘Minulla on siniset silmät’.
Gina: Okay. How about “I have black hair”?
Paula: “Black” is ‘musta’, so it’ll be ‘Minulla on mustat hiukset’.
Gina: Listeners, it’s your turn. I’ll say a sentence, and your job is to say it in Finnish using this pattern. First sentence - “I have red hair”.
Paula Remember that “I have” is ‘Minulla on.’ The singular form of “red” is ‘punainen’ and the stem you’ll want is ‘punaise-’. The singular of “hair” is ‘hius’.
Paula: Minulla on punaiset hiukset.
Gina: The next one is “I have brown eyes”.
Paula: Here’s a hint. The singular form of “brown” is ‘ruskea’, and the singular of “eye” is ‘silmä’.
Paula: Minulla on ruskeat silmät.
Gina: It’s getting a bit boring, just talking about hair and eyes... So let’s take something different. The next sentences is “I have long legs”.
Paula: “Long” is ‘pitkä’ and “leg” is ‘jalka’. The stem you’ll want for ‘jalka’ is ‘jala-’.
Paula: Minulla on pitkät jalat.
Gina: Well, how did you do? I hope it wasn’t too bad.
Paula: Please tell us what you look like in the lesson comments. It’s a great way to practice. You can also describe your family members or friends so you get more practice with the adessive case, as well.


Gina: Okay, that’s going to do it for this lesson. Thanks for listening, and see you next time!
Paula: Hei hei!