Monday, December 31, 2012

Being happy in Finnish

Just like in other languages, there are different words for expressing different happiness in Finnish:


  • Minä haluan vain olla onnellinen. - I just want to be happy. 
  • Oletteko te onnellisia yhdessä? - Are you happy together?
  • En ollut onnellinen edellisessä suhteessani. - I wasn't happy in my previous relationship.


  • Sait mitä halusit. Oletko nyt tyytyväinen? - You got what you wanted. Are you happy now?
  • En ole tyytyväinen tähän tulokseen. - I'm not content with this result. 
  • Oletko tyytyväinen uuteen työpaikkaasi? - Are you satisfied with your new job?

Happiness is onni or onnellisuus. Luck is also onni, but in spoken language, it is often säkä or tuuri.

  • Mitä onni on? - What is happiness?
  • Olipa onni, että lompakko löytyi. - What a luck that the wallet was found.
  • Onni onnettomuudessa. -  Luck in an accident; Every cloud has a silver lining. 
  • Onnea tenttiin! - Good luck with the exam!
  • Miten sulla on aina noin hyvä säkä!? - How come you always have such a good luck!?

Congratulating in Finnish:

If you'd like to be happier in life, check out The Happiness Project. It's really, really good.

Onnellista uutta vuotta kaikille tämän blogin lukijoille!  Happy new year to all the readers of this blog!

Sunday, December 23, 2012


Here's a post about laatikko, an awesome 3-in-1 word!  If you are having a traditional Finnish Christmas dinner, you just cannot avoid it. Or them. These are the three most common meanings for laatikko:

a box

  • Mitä tuossa laatikossa on? - What's in that box?
  • Voitko viedä tuon pahvilaatikon kellariin? - Can you take that cardboard box to the basement?

a drawer

a casserole, a hot dish baked in the oven

  • Oletko tehnyt tämän laatikon itse? - Did you make this casserole yourself?
  • Kaikkia laatikoita pitää maistaa. - One has to taste all casseroles. (Not true.)
  • Tykkäätkö maksalaatikosta rusinoiden kanssa vai ilman? - Do you like the liver casserole with or without raisins? (This is a weirdly big deal for some people.)

Typical Christmas casseroles:

Other favourites:

  • liha-makaronilaatikko - casserole with macaroni and ground beef
  • kaalilaatikko - cabbage casserole
  • liha-perunasoselaatikko - a hot dish with leftover mashed potatoes and groud beef

Hyvää ruokahalua! - Bon appétit!

p.s. Here's another post about the names of Finnish containers.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Dating Finns

Finnish media is always very excited when a foreign celebrity is publicly smooching with a Finn. At the moment, the most famous miniä, daughter-in-law, seems to be Paris Hilton, and the most popular ex-vävy, ex-son-in-law, Adam Lambert. I wonder if they have found this blog yet!

Anyway, here's how to talk about relationships:

  • Lähtisitkö mun kanssa kahville? - Would you like to go out for coffee with me?
  • Olemme tapailleet muutaman kerran.  - We've been seeing each other for a couple of times.
  • Seurusteletteko te? - Are you two dating?
  • Kuinka te tapasitte? - How did you meet?
  • Onko se vakavaa? - Is it serious?
  • Muutetaanko yhteen? - Shall we move in together? 
  • Me ollaan kihloissa! - We're engaged!
  • Mennään naimisiin! - Let's get married!
  • Miten kauan te olette olleet naimisissa? - How long have you been married?
  • Oliko se rakkautta ensi silmäyksellä? - Was it love at first sight?

Feel free to add more useful sentences in the comments. :)

Related post:

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Verb type 4

Type 4 verbs have always two vowels before the personal ending in the present tense and si in the past. You can also create them yourself, which is nice.  Most of these verbs end with ata, but also other endings with a vowel + ta or tä are possible. Drop the and add the personal ending to make the present conjugation.

  • Minä haluan - I want
  • Sinä haluat - You want
  • Hän / Se haluaa - S/he wants
  • Me haluamme / halutaan - We want
  • Te haluatte - You want
  • He haluavat / Ne haluaa - They want

to play: pelata, pelaan, pelasin, pelannut
  • Oletko pelannut mölkkyä? - Have you played mölkky?

to hug: halata, halaan, halasin, halannut

to want: haluta, haluan, halusin, halunnut
  • Mitä te haluatte syödä tänään? - What do you want to eat today?

to clean: siivota, siivoan, siivosin, siivonnut
  • Miksei kukaan ole siivonnut täällä? - Why hasn't anybody cleaned up here?

to wake up: herätä, herään, heräsin, herännyt
  • Mihin aikaan sinä heräsit tänään? - At what time did you wake up today?

Just like in verb type 3, if there is a consonant change,  the basic form has a weak grade and all the persons have a strong grade. Here the example is tykätä, to like.

  • Minä tykkään - I like
  • Sinä tykkäät   - You like
  • Hän / Se tykkää - S/he likes
  • Me tykkäämme / tykätään - We like
  • Te tykkäätte - You like
  • He  tykkäävät / Ne tykkää -  They like

  • to climb: kiivetä, kiipeän, kiipesin, kiivennyt

    to be afraid: pelätä, pelkään, pelkäsin, pelännyt
    • Miksi sinä pelkäät minua? - Why are you afraid of me?

    Notice that sometimes the consonant change can cause a huge difference!

    If you have no idea what a certain verb is in Finnish, you can take  a foreign verb, add ata and maybe you have the correct word, or at least something that most Finns would understand. This is also very common way to make new verbs in colloquial Finnish.

    to pack: pakata, pakkaan, pakkasin, pakannut
    • Miksi sinä et ole vielä pakannut? - Why haven't you packed yet?

    to print: printata, printtaan, printtasin, printannut (also tulostaa)
    • Voinko printata äkkiä yhden jutun? - Can I quickly print something?

    to (crazy) party: bailata, bailaan, bailasin, bailannut (yes, from the Spanish bailar.) 
    • Me bailattiin koko yö! - We partied the whole night!

    p.s. More verb type 4 verbs in my Memrise course.

    Monday, December 17, 2012

    mukana - mukaan

    These two words can both be translated as with or along.

    Mukana is often used with minulla on construction and with verbs that don't express direction.

    • Onhan sinulla varmasti passi mukana? - Are you sure you have your passport along?
    • Mitä ihmettä sinulla on mukana? - What on earth do you have with you? (ihme = wonder, miracle)
    • Oletteko tässä mukana vai ette? - Are you in with this or not?
    • Älä mene niin lujaa, minä en pysy mukana! - Don't go so fast, I cannot keep up with you!
    • Laula vain muiden mukana. - Just go ahead and sing along with the others.

    Mukaan is often used with verbs tulla and ottaa.  As you can see from the illative ending (long vowel + n), there's the idea of to somewhere.

    • Tulkaa mukaan ensi kerralla! - Come along the next time!
    • Minä en ota mitään muuta mukaan kuin kännykän ja lompakon. - I'm not going to take anything else with me but my phone and my wallet.
    • Otatko minut mukaan seuraavalla kerralla, kun menet teatteriin? - Will you take me along next time you're going to theatre?
    • Eihän haittaa, että otin meidän kissat mukaan? - I hope it doesn't bother that I took our cats along.

    In written language, add the possessive suffixes:

    • Muista ottaa mukaasi tarpeeksi vessapaperia. - Remember to take along enough toilet paper.
    • Miksi teillä on aina mukananne tuo iso matkalaukku? - Why do you always have that big suitcase with you?

    Mukaan can also mean according to somebody or something, and mukana can also be involved in.

    • Mun siskon mukaan tämä on tosi hyvä kirja. - According to my sister, this is a really good book.
    • Keitetään lisää kahvia tarpeen mukaan. - Let's make more coffee if needed
    • Älä vain sano, että sinäkin olet mukana tässä jutussa! - Please don't say that you are also involved in this case!
    • Haluaisin olla mukana tämän yhdistyksen toiminnassa - I'd like to be involved in this association.

    The difference between mukana and kanssa? I'd say that kanssa is being or doing something with somebody in a more active way, and mukana is more like being there, but observing or tagging along.

    • Tulin tänne Elinan kanssa. - I came here with Elina.
    • Tulin tänne Elinan mukana. - I came here with Elina. (She's the one who has something going on in here, I just came along because she was so kind and took me with her.) Terveisiä Elinalle! :)

    Related posts:


    About the author of this blog:  

    My name is Hanna Männikkölahti, and I am a native Finn who gives private lessons via Skype and simplifies books into easy Finnish. Please leave a comment, if you have something to ask about Finnish or novels in easy Finnish.

    Monday, December 10, 2012

    What to wear in winter in Finland

    Well, first of all, not this:

    This picture of Bogart Co. makes me smile every time I look at it. It was voted to be one of the worst band pictures ever, but I think that's too mean. Here's a great song from 1985 and a snowy music video.

    Anyway, when it's freezing outside, try at least these:

    1. pipo - a cap / a beanie
    2. villasukat - wool socks
    3. pitkät kalsarit - long underwear
    4. kauluri - the thing around your neck, kind of like a one piece scarf. What is in English?
    5. toppahousut - quilted pants / thick winter pants
    6. toppahame - a quilted skirt to pull over everything else. This one is my favourite!!

    Also, remember the importance of kerrospukeutuminen, layered clothing. 

    Sunday, December 9, 2012

    Words ending with 'in'

    These words are often some sort of tools or machines, and they are usually derived from a verb. Actually, a lot of times they are homonyms with the first person singular past: pakastin means both a freezer and I froze. The basic form of the verb is pakastaa.

    These are the four important forms of avain:

    • basic form avain: Kenen avain tämä on? - Whose key is this?
    • genitive avaimen: Mihin mä olen laittanut mun avaimen? - Where have I put my key?
    • partitive avainta: Et tarvitse avainta.- You won't need a key.
    • plural partitive avaimia: Oletko nähnyt mun avaimia? - Have you seen my keys?

    In plural form, the e disappears before the i.

    • elative: Haluaisin teettää näistä avaimista lisäkappaleita. - I'd like to have extra copies made of these keys. 
    • adessive: Mihin näillä avaimilla pääsee? - Where can you get with these keys?

    Be aware of the possible consonant change:

    • Minulla on uusi levysoitin! - I have a new record player!
    • Mistä sinä ostit tuon levysoittimen? - Where did you buy that record player?
    • Meillä ei ole levysoitinta. - We don't have a record player.
    • Onko teillä levysoittimia? - Do you have record players?

    You probably already know puhelin (a phone) and kirjain (a letter as in abc), but how about these ones?

    Keittiössä - in the kitchen:

    • pakastin, kahvinkeitin, leivänpaahdin, sauvasekoitin, sähkövatkain - a freezer,  a coffee maker,  a toaster, a stick blender / an immersion blender, an electric mixer

    Toimistossa - in the office:

    • teroitin, viivotin, rei'itin - a sharpener, a ruler, a hole punch (Notice the cool spelling with the apostrophe!)

    Autossa - in the car:

    • kytkin, kaasupoljin, varashälytin - a clutch, an accelerator pedal, a burglar alarm

    The superlative forms of the adjectives also end with in, but that's another story and the declension follows a slightly different pattern. (Instead of in>ime, it's in>imma, in case you wonder.)

    • huono: Tuo oli vuoden huonoin idea! - That was the worst idea of the year!
    • kallis: Tämä oli kallein suklaarasia, minkä löysin Prismasta. - This was the most expensive box of chocolates that I found in Prisma.

    Saturday, December 8, 2012

    Words ending with 'nen'

    I haven't written anything about the noun types, so let's start from somewhere. Just like Finnish has verb types, we also have noun types. That matters when you have to add an ending after a word, because sometimes the word stems change. I've written about the four important verb forms before.  I'd say that these are the four important noun forms that are worth memorizing by heart:

    • nominative suomalainen: Minä olen suomalainen. - I am Finnish.
    • genitive suomalaisen: Tänään on suomalaisen musiikin päivä. - Today (8.12.) is the Finnish music's day, the day of Finnish music.
    • partitive suomalaista: Älä pakota minua kuuntelemaan suomalaista musiikkia. - Don't force me to listen to Finnish music.
    • plural partitive suomalaisia: Onko sinulla suomalaisia kavereita? - Do you have Finnish friends? 

    Once you know the genitive, just drop the n and add the ending you need.

    • essive: Pidätkö itseäsi suomalaisena? - Do you consider yourself Finnish?
    • elative: Tykkäätkö suomalaisesta ruoasta? - Do you like Finnish food? 

    With plural, you also have to put an i between the word stem and the ending. Sometimes the i will cause the previous vowel to change or disappear. (And certain plural forms can be even trickier.)

    • adessive: Miksi suomalaisilla hevibändeillä on niin paljon faneja Saksassa ja Etelä-Amerikassa? - Why do the Finnish heavy bands have so many fans in Germany and South America?

    All the nationalities, some colours and a lot of adjectives end with nen. Here's my random list of words that belong to this group:

    • nainen, ihminen, lautanen, lapanen - a woman, a human being, a plate, a mitten
    • punainen, sininen, keltainen, valkoinen - red, blue, yellow, white
    • iloinen, surullinen, onnellinen, erikoinen, erityinen,  tyytyväinen, viimeinen - glad, sad, happy, exceptional, particular, content, the last
    • kreikkalainen, mongolialainen, ghanalainen, kongolainen - Greek, Mongolian, Ghanaian, Congolese

    Also, if you make a verb into a noun, it ends with nen.

    • leipoa > Leipominen on hauskaa! - Baking is fun!
    • siivota > Vihaan siivoamista. - I hate cleaning.
    • imuroida > Tykkäätkö imuroimisesta? - Do you like vacuuming?

    Tuesday, December 4, 2012

    viime - viimeinen

    Viime means last.

    Viimeinen is the ultimate last, the final, after which there's nothing.

    • Oliko tämä viimeinen esitys? - Was this the last show?
    • Kuka söi viimeisen piparin? - Who ate the last gingerbread cookie?
    • Tulen viimeisellä junalla. - I'll take the last train. (of the day)
    • Viimeisenä mutta ei vähäisimpänä - Last but not least
    • Oli kyllä viimeinen kerta kun lähdin sun kanssa mihinkään! - This was the last time that I went anywhere with you!


    About the author of this blog:  

    My name is Hanna Männikkölahti, and I am a native Finn who gives private lessons via Skype and simplifies books into easy Finnish. Please leave a comment, if you have something to ask about Finnish. Click here to see all my courses.

    Monday, December 3, 2012

    kysyä - pyytää

    I'm kind of addicted to checking out the daily views of this blog (approximately 100 on a postless day, double when I post something new and toot my horn about it)  and especially the search keywords. Here's a post for the person who searched for pyytää. In short, kysyä is to ask and pyytää is to ask for something, to request.

    • Kysyitkö jotain? - Did you ask something?
    • En kehtaa kysyä. - I don't dare to ask, it's too embarrassing.
    • Minä kysyn Annalta, voiko hän auttaa. - I'll ask Anna if she can help.