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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!

21 Comments

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FinnishPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 06:30 PM
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Hi everyone! Have you memorized the Finnish alphabet yet?

FinnishPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 12:06 PM
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Hello Bret,


Thank you for your comment and for pointing out this mistake.

You are correct, Bret. Actually, in the Finnish language, there are 8 vocals (a, e, i, o, u, y, ä, ö) and 13 consonants (d, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, t, v) if foreign-based letters are not included. Please add this into your notes. I hope this did not ruin your studies as there are still loads of important information introduced here.


Let us know if you have any question.

Cheers,

Aarni

Team FinnishPod101.com

Bret
Saturday at 07:48 AM
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Am I missing something here?


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.


I'm petty sure the English alphabet has 26 letters and doing the math, 26 plus "three more letters than the English alphabet" would be 29 Finnish letters. Which is it?

FinnishPod101.com Verified
Monday at 05:10 PM
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Hi Susan,

Thank you for your question.

Pulla should be correctly pronounced as pulla, not bulla. Same goes for the word "poika". Correct pronunciation is "poy-ka", not "boy-ka".


If you have any questions, please let us know.

Thank you.


Aarni

Team FinnishPod101.com

Susan
Monday at 04:38 AM
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I'm struggling with the pronunciation aspect of a few letters. All of my Finnish relatives pronounce the "p" more like a soft "b", and the "k" more like a muffled "g". I'm not sure if it's their specific accent/dialect, (they are all from around Oulu and Haapavesi), or if it's just a quirk of my brain and the way I hear it. For instance, pulla (bread) is pronounced more like "bulla," and the word for boy "poika" sounds more like "boy-ga." Am I crazy?? ~ Susan

FinnishPod101.com Verified
Monday at 02:56 AM
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Hei Terri!


Thank you for your nice comment! We're really glad if we can help you with your studies! :smile: :heart:


About the infamous 'Ö' :wink: :

One advice I have heard, is to say the English word 'fur' - the long vowel after the 'f' sounds quite similar to the Finnish 'ö'. If written Finnish way, 'fur' would be written "föö". I hope this helps!


Parhain terveisin, Best Wishes,

Päivi

Team FinnishPod101.com

Terri
Monday at 11:58 PM
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Thank you for the lessons! These really do help when trying to read Finnish.

Its somewhat funny since Im quite good at pronouncing Finnish letters because of the similarity however the 'ö' I do struggle with.. It doesn't help much either that the letter is also in my partners last name.

Do you have any tips on how to pronounce the sound? :thumbsup:

FinnishPod101.com Verified
Saturday at 01:05 AM
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Hienoa, hyvä Adolf! :thumbsup: :smile:


Päivi

Team FinnishPod101.com

Adolf
Sunday at 10:16 PM
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Minä yritän :sweat_smile:

( i try to )

FinnishPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 11:02 PM
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Hi Jay!


Thank you for your question!

If you click on the 'Finnish Resources', there is a section called 'Finnish Basics' under which you can see the alphabet.

The pronunciation you can learn in this lesson, and in 'The Pronunciation of Vowels in Finnish.'


I hope this helps! :smile:


Päivi

Team FinnishPod101.com

Jay
Monday at 12:28 PM
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Hi what lesson can Learn the alphabet?