Dialogue

Vocabulary

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Lesson Transcript

Michael: What is Finnish slang like?
Anni: And is it commonly used?
Michael: At FinnishPod101.com, we hear these questions often. Imagine the following situation: Miia Maeki uses a slang expression Ben Lee has never heard before.
Miia Mäki: Nälä!
Dialogue
Ben Lee: Täällä on tosi kuuma.
Miia Mäki: Nälä!
Ben Lee: Mitä se tarkoittaa?
Miia Mäki: Se tarkoittaa "no älä."
Michael: Once more with the English translation.
Ben Lee: Täällä on tosi kuuma.
Michael: "It's really hot in here."
Miia Mäki: Nälä!
Michael: ""Nälä!""
Ben Lee: Mitä se tarkoittaa?
Michael: "What does that mean?"
Miia Mäki: Se tarkoittaa "no älä."
Michael: "It means "Oh, you don't say!""

Lesson focus

Michael: Slang is an aspect of language that isn't usually taught in the classroom, but it can be important for becoming proficient. Slang is defined as a set of words and expressions that are regarded as very informal. Nevertheless, they can be useful, since they can help someone to better convey feelings and implied concepts. Slang is usually an aspect of the colloquial language, and, for this reason, it changes really quickly or differs from subculture to subculture. In Finnish, "slang" is
Anni: slangi
Michael: In this lesson, we'll talk about some of the most common Finnish slang words and expressions.
[Recall 1]
Michael: Let's take a closer look at the dialogue.
Do you remember how Miia Maeki says "Nälä?"
(pause 4 seconds)
Päivi as Miia Mäki: Nälä!
Michael: This expression is derived from
Anni: No älä!
Michael: which literally means "Well don't!" However, when used as a slang expression, it means "You don't say!" In English, this expression is used to sarcastically show surprise at something. It's the same in Finnish, but, at the same time, it's also used to express agreement. For instance, if your friend says,
Anni: Olispa jo ruokatunti.
Michael: "I wish it was lunch time already," you can agree by saying,
Anni: Nälä!
Michael: or "Exactly!"
[Summary]
Michael: So far, you've learned that slang is an important aspect of colloquial language. It is often limited to small groups, and it can change quickly or become obsolete.
Expansion/Contrast
Now, let's look at some examples of Finnish slang. Let's start with some slang words associated with family. The first word is
Anni: broidi [SLOW] broidi
Michael: This is Finnish for "brother" and is also used as a slang word. Think of it as the English expression "bro," such as in this sentence,
Anni: Se oli vitsi, broidi.
Michael: "I'm just messing with you, bro." Our second word is
Anni: systeri [SLOW] systeri
Michael: This is Finnish for "sister" and is also used as a slang word that means the same thing. And, yes, it's more like the word "sis" in English. Here's an example:
Anni: Miten menee, systeri?
Michael: This means "What's up, sis!" Now, onto our third slang word, but this time, let's talk about food!
Anni: safka [SLOW] safka
Michael: This one literally means "food," but, as a slang expression, it's equivalent to the English "chow" or "grub," such as in
Anni: Täällä on kaikenlaista safkaa.
Michael: or "We got all kinds of chow for you here." Now, let's move on to some dessert.
Anni: jätski [SLOW] jätski
Michael: This word comes from the word for "ice cream"
Anni: jäätelö
Michael: And you can use it in a question like
Anni: Kuka haluu jätskii?
Michael: "Who wants some ice cream?" I know I do, but, first, why don't we move on to some random slang words? Our next word is
Anni: muija [slow] muija
Michael: which is a colloquial and informal way to speak of a "woman" or a "girl," and is often used by young people to their female friends. Be careful though, as this word may also be somewhat derogatory if used in the wrong context!
The male equivalent for this is
Anni: äijä [SLOW] äijä
Michael: which roughly means the same as a "geezer" or a "dude." In some areas in Finland, this word is also used when talking about "grandpa." Next, we have
Anni: massi [SLOW] massi
Michael: which originally meant a small pouch or bag, but which, as a modern day slang word, means "money."
Anni: Mulla ei oo enää yhtään massii.
Michael: "I have no more money left." We also have the expression
Anni: juppi [SLOW] juppi
Michael: which means "yuppie." The term "yuppie" means "young urban professional" in English, but, in Finnish, it has an even deeper meaning. The word can be used to describe a person who grew up in the city, can be pompous, and is quite clumsy at manual tasks. Be careful when using this, as it can carry with it a derogatory meaning. So be sure that you remember to
Anni: kelata [SLOW] kelata
Michael: or "think," before you say anything! This verb is related to the noun "reel," "coil" or "spool," and means that you think or remember something. For example,
Anni: Mä oon kelannu sitä juttua koko yön.
Michael: "I've been thinking about that thing for the whole night."
And, finally, we have the word,
Anni: hypettää [SLOW] hypettää
Michael: This one is a loan word from English and means "to hype up" or "to boost." You can use this to say that something is spoken about in a very positive and energetic manner.
Anni: Mun sisko on hypettäny sen synttäreitä jo yli viikon!
Michael: "My sister has been hyped up about her birthday for a week now!"
Michael: We've been talking about regular Finnish slang, but what about something more interesting like slang abbreviations? There are a few Finnish slang words that come in the form of abbreviations. You'll hear these words often used by teenagers, especially in text or social media. Let's start with
Anni: EMT
Michael: This one is an abbreviation for
Anni: En mä tiedä [SLOW] En mä tiedä
Michael: which means "I'm not sure." Here's an example sentence for that:
Anni: Missä äiti on? EMT. Kaupassa kai.
Michael: "Where's mom?" "I don't know. In the supermarket I guess." Another one would be
Anni: EVM
Michael: which stands for
Anni: Ei voi muistaa [SLOW] Ei voi muistaa
Michael: This one literally means "Can't remember." Let's try to use that in a sentence:
Anni: Mitä koulussa oli ruuaksi? EVM.
Michael: "What was for lunch at school?" "I can't remember." And, lastly, we have the expression,
Anni: EVVK
Michael: This is an abbreviation for
Anni: Ei vois vähempää kiinnostaa [SLOW] Ei vois vähempää kiinnostaa
Michael: or "I couldn't care less."
Anni: Siis EVVK. Tosi tylsä leffa.
Michael: "Like, I couldn't care less. Such a boring movie."
Cultural Insight/Expansion
Michael: Historically speaking, Finnish slang can be divided into the "old slang"
Anni: vanha slangi
Michael: and the "new or modern slang"
Anni: uusi slangi
Michael: The old slang was common until the mid 20th century, and nowadays mostly only some older and original inhabitants of Helsinki can understand it. Many people consider the pre 1960's slang to be the only ‘real' Helsinki slang.
Michael: The sentence "Think, how easy it would be to clean here!" in standard Finnish is
Anni: Mieti, kuinka helppoa täällä olisi siivota!
Michael: and, in the old Helsinki slang, it would be
Anni: Kelaa, kui iisii täl ois stedaa!
Michael: In this example, the adjective
Anni: iisi
Michael: is from the English word "easy," and the verb
Anni: stedata
Michael: is from a Swedish word which means "to clean."
The new slang has evolved along with the rise of various different youth subcultures, and it continues to change. One new addition to the vocabulary is
Anni: ramu
Michael: which comes from another slang word
Anni: ragemutsi.
Michael: The first part of this word is from the English verb "to rage" and second part
Anni: mutsi
Michael: is originally a loan from the German word for "mother." The meaning of
Anni: ramu
Michael: is therefore a very angry, raging mother. In other words, you better clean that room before Mom gets mad!!

Outro

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

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