Dialogue

Vocabulary

Learn New Words FAST with this Lesson’s Vocab Review List

Get this lesson’s key vocab, their translations and pronunciations. Sign up for your Free Lifetime Account Now and get 7 Days of Premium Access including this feature.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Notes

Unlock In-Depth Explanations & Exclusive Takeaways with Printable Lesson Notes

Unlock Lesson Notes and Transcripts for every single lesson. Sign Up for a Free Lifetime Account and Get 7 Days of Premium Access.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript

Michael: What is compounding in Finnish?
Anni: And what is the longest Finnish word?
Michael: At FinnishPod101.com, we hear these questions often. Imagine the following situation: Ben Lee is always happy to learn something new about the Finnish language. He asks Miia Maeki.
"What's the longest word in Finnish?"
Ben Lee: Mikä on suomen kielen pisin sana?
Dialogue
Ben Lee: Mikä on suomen kielen pisin sana?
Miia Mäki: Se on "lentokonesuihkuturbiinimoottoriapumekaanikkoaliupseerioppilas."
Michael: Once more with the English translation.
Ben Lee: Mikä on suomen kielen pisin sana?
Michael: "What's the longest word in Finnish?"
Miia Mäki: Se on "lentokonesuihkuturbiinimoottoriapumekaanikkoaliupseerioppilas."
Michael: "It is "aircraft jet turbine engine auxiliary mechanic non-commissioned student.""

Lesson focus

Michael: In this lesson, you will be learning about compound words in Finnish. Compound words are words that have been formed by putting two or more full words together. Sometimes, these words can get quite lengthy, which, naturally, leads one to wonder what the longest word in Finnish is.
[Recall 1]
Michael: Let's take a closer look at the dialogue to find out.
Do you remember how Ben Lee says "What's the longest word in Finnish?"
(pause 4 seconds)
Päivi as Ben Lee: Mikä on suomen kielen pisin sana?
[Recall 2]
Michael: Now, let's take a look at our second sentence.
Do you remember how Miia Maeki says "It is "aircraft jet turbine engine auxiliary mechanic non-commissioned student?""
(pause 4 seconds)
Päivi as Miia Mäki: Se on "lentokonesuihkuturbiinimoottoriapumekaanikkoaliupseerioppilas."
Michael: That word you heard right there is the longest word in Finnish, and it's 61 letters in length! To break this word down, you need to first understand that compounds in Finnish follow a rule referred to as the "Right Hand Head Rule." In grammar, what this means is that the rightmost morpheme in a compound word is always the head or nucleus of that word. In this case, the head is the word
Anni: oppilas
Michael: which means "pupil." This word is modified by the words preceding it. Moving to the left, it is followed by the word
Anni: aliupseeri,
Michael: which stands for "non-commissioned officer." Then, there's the word
Anni: apumekaanikko
Michael: which means "assistant mechanic." Next, we have the word
Anni: suihkuturbiinimoottori
Michael: which is also a compound word meaning "jet turbine engine." And, finally, there's the word
Anni: lentokone
Michael: which means "aircraft." All of these give us the longest word in Finnish. Don't worry though, this word is very rarely—if ever—used, so it's completely ok if you find this particular word hard to memorize.
[Summary]
Michael: So far, you've learned about compound words in Finnish. These are formed when two or more words are combined. The rightmost word, or the last word, is called the "head." This is the most important part of the compound word, with the words preceding modifying its meaning. Another thing you need to remember is that the most common types of compound words in Finnish are those that are composed of two underived nouns. One such example is the word
Anni: puistotie
Michael: which means "parkway." Here, the root or head word is
Anni: tie
Michael: which means "road" or "way." It is then modified by the word
Anni: puisto
Michael: which means "park." Another example would be the word "footrest,"
Anni: jalkatuki
Michael: which combines the words
Anni: tuki
Michael: which means "support" and
Anni: jalka
Michael: which means "foot." Here's another one:
Anni: tiedonala
Michael: Here, we have the head word
Anni: ala
Michael: which means "field" or "area." It is modified by the word,
Anni: tiedon
Michael: which means "knowledge's." Taken literally, we get "knowledge's field." Properly translated, we get "field of knowledge" or "discipline."
Expansion/Contrast
Michael: Sometimes, one of the nouns in a Finnish compound word is also a compound word itself. For instance, we have the word
Anni: huonekalutehdas
Michael: Here, the head word is
Anni: tehdas
Michael: or "factory." It is preceded by the word
Anni: kalu
Michael: or "object." This word is modified by the word
Anni: huone
Michael: which means "room," giving us the compound word
Anni: huonekalu
Michael: which literally means "room object," or, more appropriately, "furniture." When compounded with the original head word, we get the word
Anni: huonekalutehdas
Michael: "furniture factory."
And, in case you're wondering, some Finnish compounds combine nouns with adjectives. For instance, you have the word
Anni: extreme-urheilu
Michael: which is composed of the noun
Anni: urheilu
Michael: or "sport," and the adjective
Anni: extreme
Michael: or "extreme," a loan word from English. This gives us "extreme sport."
Michael: Another example of compound words, where adjectives are used, would be
Anni: mustasukkainen
Michael: which is formed from the adjective
Anni: musta
Michael: or "black," and
Anni: sukkainen
Michael: which means "socked," or "with socks." This compound adjective
Anni: mustasukkainen
Michael: actually means "jealous!"
Cultural Insight/Expansion
Michael: Theoretically speaking, there is no limit to the length of compound words that one can form using the Finnish language. However, compound words with more than three components are rarely used in Finnish and are anecdotal at best, some of them invented just for the sake of having fun. Many of them have meanings that can be quite amusing too. For instance, there's the word
Anni: hyppytyynytyydytys
Michael: It sounds funny when pronounced because it has a funny meaning, which is "bouncy cushion satisfaction." It's that satisfying feeling you get when you settle down on a really cushiony seat.

Outro

Michael: Do you have any more questions? We're here to answer them!
Anni: Hei hei!
Michael: See you soon!

1 Comment

Hide
Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

FinnishPod101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
Pinned Comment
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

What Finnish language questions do you have?