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Lesson Transcript

Tiina: Hello everyone! Welcome back to FinnishPod101.com’s Pronunciation Series! This is lesson 4: Finnish Accents. My name is Tiina!
Reeta: And I’m Reeta! How is it going? Are you getting the hang of Finnish pronunciation? Starting to feel more confident?
Tiina: This time we’re going to go over some regional variations on pronunciation.
Reeta: Up until now, you have learned that Finnish has a set number of consonants and vowels – 13 native consonants, eight native vowels, and various diphthongs.
Tiina: Right. But we also want to tell our listeners that depending on where you go in Finland – remember, it’s a large and diverse country – people might say things entirely differently.
Reeta: So, how are we going to cover this?
Tiina: Well, we’re going to focus on two dialects – Western Finland and Eastern Finland. Why? Because these are the biggest two dialect groups in Finland. Let’s start with Western Finland.
Reeta: Okay, so in West Finland there is one distinct difference you’ll notice quite early on; the abbreviation of word final vowels.
Tiina: Yeah, the final vowel sound might just drop sometimes. Another distinguishable difference is the “d” that might change to fully trilled “r”. Like “meidän” changes to “meirän”.
Reeta: Right, many Finns find the “d” sound to be a little difficult, and in sometimes it might be pronounced as a “t” to make it easier. In this dialect though, they pronounce it as a very strong “R” sound.
Tiina: That’s right.
Reeta: Another thing quite special to each dialect is minor changes in vowels, diphthongs and rhythm. Some samples of the vowel changes are for example “tie”in standard Finnish and “tiä”, both meaning “road”, in the Western dialect. Another example is “miekka” in standard Finnish and “miakka”, both meaning “sword”, in the western dialect.
Tiina: That’s right. And what are some major changes between the Eastern Finnish dialect, and the Western dialect?
Reeta: First of all to not confuse our listeners: The Western Finnish Dialect has been influenced by Swedish and Estonian languages. Some words sound like Estonian words. The Eastern dialect has been mostly influenced by the Karelian language (in Finnish Karjala), some of the Eastern-most areas have noticeable quantities of borrowed words from Russian.
Tiina: Oh, yes that’s true.
Reeta: As for the difference in the pronunciation, the Eastern dialect has a double consonant in front of a long vowel, for example osuus, meaning “portion”, or “share”) is “ossuus”.
Tiina: I see, and do you have another example ofr that?
Reeta: Yes, sanoo in Standard Finnish, meaning “he/she says” in the Eastern dialect becomes sannoo.
Tiina: Are there any other changes in Eastern dialects?
Reeta: Yes, for example a D sound might drop off, or change to another sound. For example, pudota, in English “fall down”, is “puota”, so the d sound drops off. Or “saada” meaning “to get”, changes to “saaha”. In some cases the diphthongs change a little bit, like for example “poika” becomes “poeka” this means “boy”.
Tiina: Great! Quite a difference there. Almost like a different language. Speaking of which, some dialects can sound even more alien to foreigners.
Reeta: Yes, the dialects can have some quite distinct differences from the standard language. However the “twisting the vowels” would be very familiar to someone that speaks with an Eastern dialect.
Tiina: Sure, and the [R] sound can be slightly stronger in the western dialects and to foreigners it might even obscure the rest of the word.
Reeta: Yes, Western Finnish has a thick [R].
Tiina: So, to continue, let’s see how the pronouns change in dialects..
Reeta: Yes, to take “I” as an example again, it can be pronounced as either [minä] in standard; [mä] in Southern parts of Western dialect or Helsinki dialect (slang); [mää] in Central parts of the Eastern dialects and [mie] in many areas of the Eastern dialect.
Tiina: Hmm, notice the difference?
Reeta: Yeah. The are quite different. Then we have words like [sinä] which is the standard word for “you”.
Tiina: Right.
Reeta: [sä] is in the dialect of the Southern part of the Western dialect, as well as in a Helsinki dialect, or slang.
Tiina: (“sää) is in the Central parts of the Eastern dialects.
Reeta: And [sie] is in the dialect of many areas of the Eastern dialect.
Tiina: Yep, those are different. But they basically follow the same rule with “minä”.
Reeta: That’s true.
Tiina: Yeah, and don’t worry about learning to speak and pronounce the dialects as it is not at all necessary to make yourself understood.
Reeta: Learning to understand some of the dialects could be an advantage though.
Tiina: Well, certainly!
Reeta: Alright, well that ends our lesson on regional pronunciations!
Tiina: Make sure to keep practicing – listen over and over again if you have to!
Reeta: Let us know if you have any questions at FinnishPod101.com!
Tiina: See you next time!
Reeta: Hei hei!


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

FinnishPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 06:30 PM
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Where you come from, do you have regional dialects in your language?

FinnishPod101.com Verified
Monday at 03:00 AM
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Hei Terri!

Thank you for your comment!

I used to live in England too, but sadly didn't hear too many different dialects while I was there. Just the Mancunian one :wink:

Dialects are really interesting though, aren't they!

Parhain terveisin, Best Wishes,


Team FinnishPod101.com

FinnishPod101.com Verified
Monday at 02:58 AM
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Hei Alan!

Oh no, that's so sad to hear! I hope the Brazilian sun makes the teacher smile soon again..! :sunglasses:

Parhain terveisin, Best Wishes,


Team FinnishPod101.com

Tuesday at 12:05 AM
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I'm from England and surprisingly we have many different dialects, some are more difficult to understand then others of course. My favourite dialects from England have to be the Black county dialect and the East Anglian dialect which sounds very German in some cases.

Wednesday at 05:43 PM
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Hei, olen Brasilialainen! Minä asun "Rio-de-Janeirossa"

A teacher from the state of Minas Gerais (not too far from Rio) joined our school a couple of months ago.

He had some trouble to get confortable with the local dialect, and he thought we were mocking of him.

Too bad for him that he didn't want to adapt and decided to stay grumpy forever. o.o

FinnishPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 04:26 PM
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Hello Anya,

Yes its always a safe bet to stick to the standard dialect. It will be understood by almost everyone!



Team FinnishPod101.com

Wednesday at 10:40 PM
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It's funny, Russia is such a big country and we have almost no dialects or significant differences in pronunciation from region to region. Or so I think. :lol:

As for Finnish, I'll stick to the standard, but it's good to be aware of this. Thanks for the lesson!

Finnishpod101.com Verified
Monday at 10:44 PM
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Hi Anna!

I see, that seems to be the case in many places!

You are right, isn't it fun to know that there is so much more to learn - even about your native language?

Thank you for your comment!


Team FinnishPod101.com

Tuesday at 03:43 AM
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In Brazil, dialects and accents change from one state to another. In capital cities it's easier to understand what people say, even if there's a different accent, but cities in the countryside make your life a lot harder!

I'm from a big city in the southeast (Rio) and moved to a small city in the northeast - in the beginning I couldn't understand a word people said!

But I guess that's part of the fun of a language, right? =)