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Lesson Transcript

Tiina: Welcome to FinnishPod101.com! I’m Tiina.
Reeta: Mitä kuuluu? My name is Reeta.
Tiina: And welcome to our Pronunciation Series. In this lesson we’re going to start with the basics and slowly work our way up!
Reeta: That’s right, first we’ll talk about what Finnish sounds are made of.
Tiina: Now, Finnish has slightly fewer sounds than English.
Reeta: There are, all in all, 19 consonant sounds, 9 vowels and various diphthongs that usually constitute the base of the language.
Tiina: Right, and with that many sounds, there are some sounds that don’t exist in English as well.
Reeta: For example… the"ä" sound. “äiti”... which means “mother”.
Tiina: There is actually a similar sound in the English language, for example in the word “that”.
Reeta: That’s true. The next sound is slightly thicker though, “ö.” Like “yö”, meaning “night”.
Tiina: This one doesn’t exist in English at all, and might be a little bit tougher to pronounce than “ä.” “ö” sounds little like “e” in “the” and the “o” in “word”. Can you say it once more.
Reeta: “löyly.” It means the “steam and heat in a sauna” in English.
Tiina: Yes, a common image of Finland, isn’t it?
Reeta: Certainly. Finns love the sauna, and actually sauna is maybe the only Finnish word that has spread around the world. However, don’t be so heavy on the pronunciation.
Tiina: Ok, thanks for your advice.
Tiina: Anyway, shouldn’t we get on with the main part of this lesson, namely the alphabet?
Reeta: Sounds like a good idea. But remember, we’re only going over the native consonants right now. We’ll go over vowels and diphthongs in a later lesson.
Tiina: That’s right. Let’s get into it. First, we have "-D," which is pronounced much like the "-D" in English. [D]. Sometimes Finns might pronounce it as T as well. A Finnish word that uses this sound is for example “syödä”, meaning “to eat”.
Reeta: Next we have "-H," which sounds like an English “H” as well. This is for example in Finnish word “huhtikuu”, meaning “April”.
Tiina: Then we have “-K” like in “kello” meaning clock or watch. K is pronounced like the ‘c’ in “clock” or the ‘k’ in “like”. As it happens, Finnish has a lot of double consonant words. Words where there is a double “-k” would be like “c-k” in English.
Reeta: Right, double “-k” is like the “c-k” in “bucket” for example. A good sample from Finnish is “kukka”, meaning “flower”. Next is “-L” as in the English “light.” A Finnish example is “lamppu”, meaning “lamp.”
Tiina: Then we have M like in the English “mother”. In Finnish this is “mustikka”, “blueberry.”
Reeta: Next is N like the English ‘N’ in “name”. In Finnish this is appears in the word “nimi” meaning “name.”
Tiina: Alright, next we have “ng” [ŋ], like in “sung” or “ringing” which is a little bit of a nasal sound, and is in the words “kengät” (“shoes”) or “langat” (meaning “threads”) in Finnish.
Tiina: Then there is "p” as in “perspire.”....a Finnish example is “pallo”, a “ball”.
Tiina: Next we have the “r.” Now, this causes trouble for some people. You roll it quite strongly in Finnish. “r”. For example “ruusu”, meaning “rose”.
Tiina: Hmm, I think I am seeing an end soon. “S” as in “sun”. in Finnish “sauna”. This one we understand. It means “sauna.”
Reeta: Great example! Next is quite an easy one – “t” like in... “tea” naturally?! in Finnish “tee” meaning “tea”.
Tiina: Moving on. “v” as in “vain.” a Finnish example is “valo”, meaning “light”.
Reeta: Yes!! And that concludes the list of consonant sounds in the Finnish language.
Tiina: Oh, and remember this has nothing to do with the written “alphabet” as the Finnish alphabet only consists of 27 letters.
Reeta: Only?
Tiina: Well there are three more letters than the English alphabet but still it can’t compare with all the sounds both languages contain.
Reeta: Right. Well, it’s only a matter of practice anyway.
Tiina: Yes, so make sure to practice these over and over until you really get the hang of them! The best way to improve pronunciation is through practice.
Reeta: So keep practicing!
Tiina: And see you next time at FinnishPod101.com!
Reeta: Hei hei!