Dialogue

Vocabulary

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Lesson Transcript

INTRODUCTION
(taken from Lesson Details in lesson notes)
Gina: Hi everyone, I’m Gina! Welcome back to FinnishPod101.com. This is Absolute Beginner Season 1, Lesson 5 - How are you Doing in Finland?
Paula: Hei! I'm Paula.
Gina: In this lesson, you’ll learn to ask how someone is, and how to reply when someone asks you how you are.
Paula: This conversation takes place at home. Liisa and Helen are not very close, and they will be speaking in standard Finnish.
Gina: Okay. Let's listen to the conversation.
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Gina: What was that phrase Liisa used when Helen asked how she was?
Paula: Tässähän tämä menee.
Gina: What does that even mean? She didn’t seem too willing to tell Helen how she was doing! Is that normal?
Paula: Actually yes, it’s very normal. That’s one of the top phrases you’ll hear people using. If I translate it literally, it would be something like “Well, this is going along here”. It’s a kind of non-committal vague reply that’s used when you don’t want to go into details.
Gina: I see. But why don’t you want to commit yourself to letting the other person know if you’re doing well or not?
Paula: I’m not sure, but it may have something to do with the fact that traditionally, it wasn’t socially acceptable to boast about your happiness. And, on the other hand, people may not be willing to admit that they’re not doing so well. So it’s better to use a vague reply in all cases, especially if you don’t know the other person very well.
Gina: That’s quite interesting.
Paula: Also, there are always people who will tell you more details about their life than you want to know. And it may also happen, if you do know the other person well, that they start with a non-committal phrase, but then go on to tell you about some dramatic change that has just happened in their life, good or bad.
Gina: I see. So it can be a bit complicated! Let’s move on to the vocabulary.
KEY VOCAB AND PHRASES
Gina: Let's have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Paula: The first word is ‘kuulua’.
Gina: This word is a verb that translates as “to be heard”. What gets translated as a passive in English is actually incorporated in the verb itself.
Paula: That’s right. It’s related to the verb ‘kuulla’, or “to hear”, but when you use ‘kuulua’, you don’t need to say anything about who - if anyone - does the hearing.
Gina: Okay, and what’s our second word?
Paula: Our second word is not a word by itself, it’s just something that can be attached to a word. It’s the particle ‘-han’/’-hän’.
Gina: And it has nothing to do with the third person singular pronoun?
Paula: No. It’s a particle that’s attached to a word for emphasis. For example, you can say ‘Jussihan on tänään iloinen’.
Gina: The translation would be something like “I say, Jussi is quite happy today”, right?
Paula: Exactly. This particle also follows vowel harmony, so you have ‘Jussihan’, but if you attach it to ‘tämä’, you get ‘tämähän.’
Gina: That’s good to know. Now it’s time for the grammar.
GRAMMAR POINT
Gina: In this lesson, you’ll learn about different ways of asking how someone is and replying to that question.
Paula: That’s certainly something you need to be able to do. Let’s start with the phrase Liisa used first - ‘Mitä kuluu?’ This is the most common way of asking how someone is. It starts with the partitive form ‘mitä’, and then there is the verb ‘kuulua’, which we already looked at in the vocab section.
Gina: The literal translation would be something like “What is heard?” but a more natural translation would be “What’s new?” or “How are you?” When would you use this?
Paula: This is a very neutral question that can be used at any time. And the standard answer would be ‘Kiitos hyvää’, which is literally “Good, thank you”. If you’re feeling really good, you can add ‘oikein’, which means “really”, and say ‘Kiitos oikein hyvää’.
Gina: So that would be “Very good, thank you.” What are some other ways you can answer, if you don’t want to say you’re well?
Paula: Well, you can say ‘Tässähän tämä menee’, as Liisa said in the dialogue. As we already saw, it’s literally something like “Well, this is going along here”. Very often, though, the verb ‘menee’ is omitted, so you just say ‘Tässähän tämä’.
Gina: That certainly sounds vague enough for me. Any other phrases?
Paula: You can also say ‘Siinähän se’. That’s just like ‘tässähän tämä’, except for that ‘tässähän’ is replaced by ‘siinähän’ and ‘tämä’ is replaced by ‘se’. The meaning - or meaninglessness - is the same. And here, too, you can also use the longer version ‘Siinähän se menee’.
Gina: And when would you use these? Are they casual?
Paula: Well, in a job interview I’d recommend ‘Kiitos hyvää’, but in most other situations these are quite usable.
Gina: OK. Any other options?
Paula: ‘Mikäs tässä’ is also a commonly used answer. It means something like “No problem, I’m hanging in here”.
Gina: Alright. Are there any other common questions our listeners could use?
Paula: Sure. Another common question is ‘Miten menee?’, which is literally “How is it going?” You can use it as such, or you can add something in the middle to ask specifically about that. For example, in the dialogue we had ‘Miten koulussa menee?’
Gina: Oh yes, “How is it going at school?” What other things can you add in the middle?
Paula: You could say ‘Miten töissä menee?’ for “How is it going at work?” or ‘Miten kotona menee?’ for “How is it going at home?”
Gina: And would you reply with the same answers as to the previous question?
Paula: Almost. You can use the other answers, but instead of ‘Kiitos hyvää’ you’ll have to say ‘Kiitos hyvin’, which is literally “Well, thank you”. The word ‘Miten’ in the question is an adverb, so you’ll need an adverb also in the reply.
Gina: OK. What if I want to say “I’m great?” Is that even possible?
Paula: (laughs) Certainly it is. You can say ‘Loistavasti!’ when someone asks ‘Miten menee?’ Again, this is an adverb, so you can’t use it with ‘Mitä kuuluu?’
Gina: Okay! In the dialogue, we also had a phrase that was translated as “How about you?”. What was that?
Paula: ‘Entä itsellesi?’ This is used when you want to ask the same question from the other person, which is, of course, a polite thing to do. Learn it as a set phrase for now.
Gina: OK. Listeners, a quick quiz before we wrap up. Paula is going to ask how you are. Your task is to reply with an appropriate phrase.
Paula: Mitä kuuluu?
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Paula: If you replied with either ‘Kiitos hyvää’ or one of the vague phrases, that was correct!

Outro

Gina: Okay, that’s going to do it for this lesson. Make sure to check the lesson notes, and we’ll see you next time!
Paula: Hei hei!

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