A photo Finnish – a grand Finnale – or How to Pronounce Finnish

How to pronounce Finnish

Only 5 million people speak it. It’s a Finno – Ugric language – Estonian and Hungarian are vaguely related, but don’t have words in common. Sounds obscure. Tolkien said discovering Finnish was like discovering bottles of amazing wine of a kind and flavour never tasted before. “It intoxicated me.”

I love the words with ää next to each other or öö eg Töölö or määrääiken.

The opera bass baritone we heard in Savonlinna was Juha Uusitalo = Youha Oossitarlo

It’s phonetic but that doesn’t make it any easier, especially if the word has 20 + letters and lots of doubled ii and uu with a sprinkling of kk. Finnish has the longest palindrome in the world- saippuakivikauppias – soapstone salesman.

The stress falls on the first syllable, unusually, so it is HELsinki, not HelSINKi. Even harder is SA(r)Vonlinna, not SavonLINna.

Jyväskylä. We stayed there and could pronounce it by Day 3. Jyväskyä = You-vass – koo – la.

Today I saw a sign on a bus stop for “Miss Farkku Suomi.” hmmm. Miss is English. Suomi means Finland. What about the middle word??! ök, i lööked it up. it’s a new film meaning Miss Blue Jeans..

But I’ve picked up very little Finnish because a) most people speak English and….b) Finns don’t speak to you much. They’re a quiet self contained lot! They don’t start up conversations or ask you questions. They definitely do NOT say “Have a nice day”!

Kiitos. (That means thank you.)

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