It’s said that the Finnish language is the hardest in the world, to learn. If you ask the Finns to confirm this, they might say that “I dunno, it’s been pretty easy to me, haha!”. Finns are such jokers. Others might say that they had more problems with Swedish, since we kinda are forced to learn that too at schools. And English, which you probably guessed already, since our grammar is impeccable.

Maybe it is difficult, maybe it’s not, but it can be fun! Let’s have some Finnish language facts, since learning is fun!

– J.R.R. Tolkien’s Elvish languages were highly influenced by Finnish.
– When the students who chose to learn Finnish at the University of Vienna were asked why, the reason for 97% of them was (Finnish) heavy metal music.
– There are words as old as 4000 years still in use in Finnish. For example luu (bone), nainen (woman), kala (fish) and elää (to live).
– Finnish uses three more letters than the standard Latin alphabet, that English uses too. Å and Ö, which we stole from Swedish, and Ä.
– There are fewer Finnish speakers than people in Finland.
– There are no gendered words or pronouns in Finnish. He or she is simply “hän”.
– No prepositions. In Finnish we put them in the end of the word connected to it. (So… past positions? End positions?)

Finnish words are very literal, here’s a few examples:

a sandwich – voileipä (butter bread)
a turtle – kilpikonna (shield toad)
a railway – rautatie (iron road)
a bra – rintaliivit (breast vests [it does make sense])
a hippopotamus – virtahepo (stream horse)
tights – sukkahousut (sock pants)
a computer – tietokone (knowledge machine)
a die – arpakuution (lottery cube)
a dragon – lohikäärme (salmon snake)

And now let’s learn a little Finnish:

hello – hei, terve or moi
goodbye – heippa, näkemiin or moikka
excuse me – anteeksi
sorry – anteeksi
thank you – kiitos
please – kiitos
mom – äiti
what is that? – mitä tuo on?
is it candy? – onko se karkkia?
can I have candy? – voinko minä saada karkkia?
it’s midnight – on keskiyö
why are you still up – miksi olet vielä hereillä
please go to bed – mene nukkumaan, jooko
pretty please – ole kiltti
mommy needs some alone time – äiti tarvitsee nyt omaa aikaa
ok fine – olkoon

And if all else fails:

You look good today, would you like some chocolate? – Näytät hyvältä tänään, haluaisitko suklaata? (Works for most Finnish Moms)

— Editors

The writer of this story is a member of the Mom of Finland community.


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