Dialogue

Vocabulary

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Lesson Notes

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Lesson Transcript

INTRODUCTION
Gina: Hi everyone, Gina here! Welcome to FinnishPod101.com. This is Absolute Beginner Season 1, Lesson 2 - Talking About Others in Finnish.
Paula: Hei! I'm Paula.
Gina: In this lesson, you’ll learn about verb forms, and how to talk about other people.
Paula: The conversation takes place at the home of Helen’s Finnish host family.
Gina: There are three young people speaking, but they have not met before and will be speaking standard Finnish.
Paula: Let's listen to the conversation.
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Gina: What do you think about this conversation? Is this how young people speak?
Paula: Well, they’re using a form of Finnish called standard Finnish. It’s not exactly the way young people usually speak to their friends. Actually, few people really speak standard Finnish, though there are individual differences.
Gina: So why do we use standard Finnish here, if nobody uses it?
Paula: Oh, people do use it. It’s just that it’s used more in writing than in casual conversation. It’s the kind of Finnish that’s taught at school, and the kind of Finnish you see in newspapers and other writing. You will also hear it on TV and in the radio, and whenever people try to use polished language. It’s common to all Finns, unlike spoken Finnish, which varies by region.
Gina: So there’s no standard spoken Finnish?
Paula: Well, there is a kind of neutral variety of spoken Finnish that isn’t considered a regional dialect, even though it’s based on the Finnish spoken in the Helsinki area. But if you go to other parts of Finland, you’ll hear people using their local dialects. And if you want to use Finnish for any other purpose than casual conversation, you really have to know standard Finnish. That’s why we chose to start with standard Finnish, even though it may sound a bit bookish in the conversations.
Gina: Okay. I suppose we’ll have to look into spoken Finnish in more advanced levels once we have the basics down.
Paula: Yes. There’s more information in the lesson notes, so be sure to check them out.
Gina: Okay, let’s get to the vocabulary.
KEY VOCAB AND PHRASES
Gina: Let's have a closer look at the usuage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Paula: Our first vocab item is a the singular personal pronoun ‘hän’.
Gina: You mean a word like “he” or “she” in English?
Paula: Exactly.
Gina: But you only have one of them, while English has two.
Paula: That’s because Finnish doesn’t make a distinction between men and women. Both “he” and “she” are translated as ‘hän’.
Gina: That’s quite convenient, really. In English, you always have the problem of how to refer to someone in a politically correct way when you don’t know the person’s sex.
Paula: That’s right. You don’t have that problem in Finnish.
Gina: And otherwise, the pronoun is used just like in English?
Paula: Well, almost. In English, it’s common to use ‘he’ and ‘she’ for animals, especially pets, but in Finnish we don’t usually do that. Animals are referred to with the pronoun ‘se’, which corresponds to “it” in English.
Gina: OK. Our second vocab item is the new greetings ‘hei’ and ‘terve’. They are more casual than ‘Hyvää päivää’.
Paula:
‘Hei’ and ‘terve’ are more common in casual situations than ‘Hyvää päivää’ or ‘Hyvää iltaa’, especially among young people. But I’d say they’re neutral rather than casual, and they’re usable even in business situations.
Gina: Is there anything special our listeners should know about them?
Paula: Well, it’s not really something they have to know, but it might be interesting to know that ‘terve’ actually means “healthy”.
Gina: Oh yes, and we kind of saw it in lesson 1, didn’t we?
Paula: Yes, it’s the first part in ‘tervetuloa’, or welcome. The second part of ‘tervetuloa’ is a form of the verb ‘tulla’, or “to come”, just like in the English “welcome”.
Gina: That’s interesting. ‘Hei’ doesn’t have any specifica meaning, does it?
Paula: No, it’s just like English “hi” or “hello”. Another common greeting is ‘moi’. It’s a bit more casual than ‘hei’. Many people also modify these basic greetings and say things like ‘heippa’, ‘moikka’, or ‘moro’.
Gina: OK, listeners, now you have many greetings to choose from, and you can impress any Finns you happen to meet. Let’s move on to grammar.
GRAMMAR POINT
Paula: In this lesson, you’ll learn about the verb forms used to describe when one person is doing something now.
Gina: What do you need to make the correct forms?
Paula: First of all, you need the verb stem. Later on, you’ll learn how to find the stems of new verbs, but for the time being we’ll be providing the stems, so don’t worry.
Gina: OK. What else?
Paula: Then we’ll need one of three endings – there are separate endings for “me”, “you”, and “him or her”.
Gina: OK. Which verb will we be looking at?
Paula: Our first verb is ‘olla’, “to be”. The stem of this verb is ‘ole-’.
Gina: Let’s run through the conjugation. How do you say “I am”?
Paula: Minä olen. Minä olen.
Gina: And “you are”?
Paula: Sinä olet. Sinä olet.
Gina: And “he or she is”?
Paula: Hän on. Hän on.
Gina: Hmmm.. what happened to the stem ‘ole-’...?
Paula: Well, this verb is a bit irregular. The first and second persons are regular, but the third person is irregular. But it will come up all the time, so you’ll definitely learn it quickly.
Gina: The first person form had an ‘n’ at the end, and the second person had a ‘t’. What would be a regular third person ending?
Paula: The regular third person ending of a verb of this type would be the same as the last vowel of the stem.
Gina: I think we need an example.
Paula: Okay. Take the verb ‘tulla’, “to come.” Its stem is ‘tule-’, and the singular forms are ‘minä tulen’, ‘sinä tulet’, ‘hän tulee’.
Gina: I can see the third person ending is going to cause problems! The quality of the vowel doesn’t change, you just hold it longer, right?
Paula: Exactly. The stem is ‘tule-’ with one letter ‘e’ at the end, and the third person is ‘tulee’, with two letter ‘e’s at the end. The pronunciation reflects this with the length of the sound. ‘Tule-’, ‘tulee’. But don’t worry about remembering all these different conjugations now, you’ll get the hang of it when you hear more examples. You can also check the lesson notes for more information and examples.
Gina: OK, listeners. Time to practice. I’m going to say some things in English. Please say the Finnish translation in a loud, clear voice. Paula will give the correct answer after a few seconds. First of all, do you remember how to say “you are”?
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Paula: Sinä olet.
Gina: And now a sentence using that - “You are a doctor”.
Paula: Here’s a hint - “doctor” is ‘lääkäri’.
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Paula: Sinä olet lääkäri.
Gina: Now, how do you say “Jussi is”?
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Paula: Jussi on
Gina: And a full sentence - “Jussi is a boy”.
Paula: A hint - “boy” is ‘poika’.
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Paula: Jussi on poika.
Gina: Let’s do one more to review what we learned last time. What is “I am” in Finnish?
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Paula: Minä olen
Gina: And how about the sentence “I am Mary”?
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Paula: Minä olen Mary.
Gina: Good work, everyone!

Outro

Gina: That’s it for this lesson. Thanks for listening and see you next time!
Paula: Bye, or Hei hei! as we say in Finnish

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