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: Is the Finnish alphabet the same as the English alphabet?
Kati: And what are the differences?
Michael: At FinnishPod101.com, we hear these questions often. In the following situation, Katri Koski , a kindergarten student, is studying the alphabet with her mom, Kati Koski. She sees an unfamiliar letter and asks,
"What letter is that?"
Katri Koski: Mikä kirjain tuo on?
Dialogue
Katri Koski: Mikä kirjain tuo on?
Kati Koski: Se on å, ruotsalainen o.
Michael: Once more with the English translation.
Katri Koski: Mikä kirjain tuo on?
Michael: "What letter is that?"
Kati Koski: Se on å, ruotsalainen o.
Michael: "It's å, the Swedish o."

Lesson focus

Michael: In this conversation, we hear Katri Koski say,
Kati: Mikä kirjain tuo on?
Michael: "What letter is that?" to which Kati Koski responds,
Kati: Se on å, ruotsalainen o.
Michael: "It's å, the Swedish o."
Michael: In this lesson, we'll talk more about the Finnish alphabet and how it may be similar or different from the English alphabet.
Michael: The Finnish alphabet
Kati: aakkoset
Michael: is based on a Latin script, which means that, in large part, it will look familiar to native English speakers and other native speakers of Latin-based languages. In total, Finnish consists of 29 letters. The first 26 letters are identical to the English alphabet in writing. In addition, the Finnish alphabet also includes the letters of
Kati: å, ä,
Michael: and
Kati: ö.
Michael: You may also see the letters
Kati: š (hattu-s)
Michael: and
Kati: ž (hattu-z).
Michael: The vowel letters
Kati: ä
Michael: and
Kati: ö
Michael: as well as the Swedish
Kati: å
Michael: are known as the
Kati: ääkköset.
Michael: It's good to notice that for the Finns these letters are just a normal part of the alphabet, and they are not considered to be diacritics, like, for example, in the Hungarian language. The
Kati: ä
Michael: sounds like the "a" in the English word "cat," and is always pronounced
Kati: ä.
Michael: For example, "mother" is
Kati: äiti
Michael: in Finnish, and "sound" is
Kati: ääni.
Michael: The
Kati: ö
Michael: sounds like "ur" in the British English "further" and is pronounced
Kati: ö.
Michael: For example, an "owl" is
Kati: pöllö
Michael: in Finnish, and "to find" is
Kati: löytää.
Michael: The letter
Kati: å
Michael: is read as "Swedish o," or
Kati: ruotsalainen O
Michael: in Finnish. It appears in Swedish names in Finland, like
Kati: Åbo
Michael: meaning "Turku," or
Kati: Åland,
Michael: meaning the Åland Islands.
Unlike English, diacritics are used in conjunction with specific letters to emphasize the sound of a letter in a specific context. Furthermore, certain letters, such as
Kati: š (hattu-s)
Michael: and
Kati: ž (hattu-z),
Michael: tend to only be used with words that are non-native to the Finnish language, or loanwords. Usually, the diacritics are retained in some foreign-based proper names, like
Kati: l,
Michael: but, many times, the diacritics are ignored, and you will very rarely come across these in normal daily life in Finland.
The Finnish vowels are pronounced a little differently than the English ones. "A" is pronounced like the vowel in the English word "car." It can be found in the Finnish words
Kati: aamu,
Michael: which means "morning" and
Kati: auto,
Michael: which means "a car." "E" is pronounced like the vowel in the English word "they." It can be found in the Finnish word
Kati: etana,
Michael: which means "a snail." "I" is pronounced like the vowel in the English word "me." It can be found in the Finnish word
Kati: kiitos,
Michael: which means "thank you."
"O" is pronounced like the vowel in the English word "boats." It can be found in the Finnish word
Kati: orava,
Michael: which means "a squirrel."
"U" is pronounced like the vowel in the English word "you" with the diphthong "ou." In Finnish, it can be found in
Kati: tuuli,
Michael: which means "wind," or
Kati: tuli,
Michael: which means "fire."
"Y" is pronounced a little bit like the vowels in the English word "you." It can be found in the Finnish words
Kati: kyllä,
Michael: which means "yes," or
Kati: yö,
Michael: which means "night."
Another speciality of the Finnish language is the double vowel and double consonant phenomenon. You will not, however, find Finnish words that have clusters of three or more consonants together.
The double vowels and consonants just become long sounds, and it is really important to notice the doubles because the meaning of the word changes often if one vowel or consonant is left out.
For example,
Kati: kuka
Michael: is "who," whereas
Kati: kukka
Michael: is "flower."
Kati: tuli
Michael: is "fire" and
Kati: tuuli
Michael: is "wind."
Michael: Another difference between Finnish and English is in aspiration. In English, when you pronounce certain words, you will find there might be a puff of air, aspiration, that comes out of your mouth after pronouncing a word. Using hard sounds, such as "t," "p," and "k" will produce more aspiration. In Finnish, you are not going to have much aspiration at all. The only letter that will have a bit of aspiration is going to be "h." Let's listen to a few examples:
Kati: teekuppi
Michael: "tea cup,"
Kati: piirakka
Michael: "pie,"
Kati: kissanpentu
Michael: "kitten," and
Kati: hattu
Michael: "a hat."
Michael: Another difference in pronunciation is in words that begin with the letter "j." In the Finnish language, the letter "j" has a pronunciation like "y" in English. For example, the word
Kati: joki,
Michael: which means "river," sounds almost as though you are saying "yoki" with a "y" instead.
Cultural Insight/Expansion
Kati: Mikael Agricola
Michael: was a Finnish Lutheran clergyman, who is known as the "father of literary Finnish." He reformed the Finnish church, translated the New Testament and other documents into Finnish, and set the basis for modern Finnish spelling through his work. The first work he published was the
Kati: Abckiria,
Michael: the "ABC book," which was the first book written in Finnish, published in 1543.
During that time, the written Finnish language looked a lot different than now. Letters like "W," "G," "X," "Z," "C," and "B" were used often, whereas these letters are nowadays used mainly in loanwords and are almost never seen in modern Finnish words.
Here's an example from Agricola's ABC book:
Kati: Oppe nyt wanha ia noori, joilla ombi Sydhen toori,
Michael: which means "Learn now the old and the young, who have a renewed heart." This would nowadays be written and pronounced
Kati: Opi nyt vanha ja nuori, jolla on sydän tuore.
Michael: and another example:
Kati: Catzo, lue, etzi, ia tutki, eij, senwooxi silmes puhke,
Michael: which means "Watch, read, seek and search, your eyes will not burst, because of that." This would now be written and pronounced
Kati: Katso, lue, etsi ja tutki, ei sen vuoksi silmäsi puhkea.

Outro

Michael: Do you have any more questions? We're here to answer them!
Kati: 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.

Do you have any questions about the Finnish language?