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Lesson Transcript

Jessi: Hello, and welcome to Finnish Survival Phrases, brought to you by FinnishPod101.com. This course is designed to equip you with the language skills and knowledge to enable you to get the most out of your visit to Finland. You'll be surprised at how far a little Finnish will go. Now, before we jump in, remember to stop by FinnishPod101.com and there you'll find the accompanying PDF and additional info in the post. If you stop by, be sure to leave us a comment!
Finnish Survival Phrases lesson 7 - Use English to Your Advantage in Finnish
Reeta: In this lesson, we'll cover another extremely important phrase: "Can you speak English?" Using this phrase as opposed to speaking English at someone is important for many reasons. For one, if the party you're speaking to doesn't understand English, at least they'll be able to understand what you're asking. Furthermore, it shows a lot of respect on your part, because you've made an effort to learn even a little bit of the language. For these reasons and many more, we're going to cover this very important phrase.
In Finnish, "Can you speak English?" is Puhutko englantia? Let’s break it down, Puhutko englantia. Once more, Puhutko englantia.
The first word puhutko means "Do you speak?" It is composed of the verb puhua in the second person singular and the interrogative suffix ko. After this comes englantia, which means "in English" in Finnish.
The phrase that we just learned is informal. This means you can use the above phrase in situations with young people or with people you know.
When you're speaking to older people, it's more polite to use formal speech. In that case you will say Puhutteko englantia?
Puhutteko is composed of the second person plural of the verb puhua and the interrogative suffix. While the difference seems small, it is very significant.
Let’s break the whole phrase down, Puhutteko englantia. Once more, Puhutteko englantia.
Before we move on, please remember that puhutteko followed by a word for a language is the formal way to ask if somebody speaks that language, while puhutko again followed by a word for a language is the informal way to ask "do you speak" that language. Puhutko is more direct. Do not use it with people you don't know or with elders.
Now for a change, let's try a different language: German. "Can you speak German?" is Puhutko saksaa?
The word for "German" is saksaa. Let’s break it down, saksaa. Here, just the word for the language changes; the rest is the same.
When you ask somebody if they speak another language besides Finnish, you might get the answer in Finnish. Here are few ways they might answer this question. "Yes I do speak English" would be Kyllä minä puhun englantia.
This phrase could be made shorter, just by saying "Yes": Kyllä.
Or by saying "Yes, I do speak": Kyllä puhun.
If the answer is negative, Finns could say "No, I don't speak (it)": Ei, en puhu.
Or just simply "I don't": En.
As you have noticed, the verb conjugation is different for all six personal pronouns. So the personal pronoun can be omitted because the verb clearly expresses the subject of the phrase. For example, Kyllä minä puhun englantia can be said as just Puhun englantia.
Ok, to close out today's lessons, we’d like you to practice what you have just learned. I’ll provide you with the English equivalent of the phrase and you’re responsible for shouting it out loud. You’ll have a few seconds before I give you the answer, so Onnea! which means “Good luck!” in Finnish.
“Do you speak English? (formal)” - Puhutteko englantia?
“Do you speak English?” - Puhutko englantia?
“Yes, I do speak English” - Kyllä minä puhun englantia.
“No, I don't speak.” - Ei, en puhu.
Jessi: Alright! That's going to do it for today. Remember to stop by FinnishPod101.com and pick up the accompanying PDF. If you stop by, be sure to leave us a comment!

24 Comments

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FinnishPod101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
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Hi listeners, are there any tricks that you have for improve your Finnish listening skills? (for example: by listening to Finnish music, etc)

Share with us here!!

FinnishPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 06:02 PM
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Hello Colleen,


Thank you for your question. Yes, it is an important sentence when you stay in Finland a while.

"I only speak a little Finnish" in Finnish is "puhun vain vähän suomea"


Let us know if you have any questions.

Cheers,

Aarni

Team FinnishPod101.com



Colleen
Sunday at 06:41 AM
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I am going to Finland in a few months and will only know basics by then. How can I say "I only speak a little Finnish" or something similar? I want to be prepared just in case someone assumes I can speak more than I am able to.


kiitos!!

Colleen

FinnishPod101.com Verified
Saturday at 04:51 PM
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Ole hyvä, Luca P. Gentile 😄

Hienoa, jos voin olla avuksi.


Let us know if you have any question.

Cheers,

Aarni

Team FinnishPod101.com


Luca P. Gentile
Tuesday at 01:35 PM
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Jo, totta. Kiitos

FinnishPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 12:30 PM
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Hi Luca,

Thank you for your question.


Do you mean the word "puhuisitko"? If so, then it means "could you please talk". So, it is nice, friendly form.

Example: Could you speak more slowly, please. "Puhuisitko hitaammin, kiitos". The formal form would be "puhuisitteko"


If you have any questions, please let us know.

Thank you.

Aarni

Team FinnishPod101.com

Luca P. Gentile
Thursday at 01:06 AM
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Kiitoksia Aarni,


so ¨Puhusitko¨ does not exist apparently?


I was wondering cause I guess that with the ¨voit¨ there is also the -itko postfix, if I don´t remember wrongly:


Voisitko

Voitko

Voisitteko

FinnishPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 11:46 AM
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Hei Luca,


Kiitos kysymyksestäsi ja kommentistasi sekä linkistä!

"Puhutko" (Informal) is correct. Myös "puhutteko" (formal) is correct too. You can use the word "puhutko" also if you want to be friendly. 😄

Great you found what you were looking for! Happy learning!


If you have any questions, please let us know.

Thank you.

Aarni

Team FinnishPod101.com

Luca Gentile
Wednesday at 09:39 PM
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PS. Minä loydan yle podcast URL, se on Radio ¨Yle Uutiset selkosuomeksi¨


https://feeds.yle.fi/areena/v1/series/1-3981818.rss?lang=fi&downloadable=true

Luca Gentile
Wednesday at 09:32 PM
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Kiitos Paivi!


Minä yritän "selkokieliset uutiset", se on tosi make!

Ylessa siellä on tämä nimi: ¨Selkouutiset¨

Se on harmi ei olen podcast.


Onko on oikea:

Puhutko Informal

?Puhusitko? Friendly

Puhutteko Formal



Kiitos! :-)

FinnishPod101.com Verified
Friday at 07:01 PM
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Moi Luca!


I don't think there is a station especially to help you with Finnish (except for maybe some independent ones?), but have you tried listening to the "selkokieliset uutiset", news broadcasted in slow speech, from Yle?


The form "puhutteko" ('do you..?' in plural) is a polite form of speech, and "puhutko" (do you..?' in singular) is a more colloquial form of speech. When we want to be polite in Finnish, we use the plural, and when it's ok to be colloquial or casual, we use the singular. Using the plural used to be more common and also expected! Nowadays people are becoming more casual even with strangers, and even in business. 😮


Best Wishes,

Päivi

Team FinnishPod101.com