Thursday, January 31, 2013

alkaa - aloittaa

Both of these verbs mean to start, to begin. It's kind of confusing, but hopefully these examples help.

alkaa, alan, aloin, alkanut (Used when things start and people start doing something.)

  • Elokuva alkaa yhdeksältä. - The movie starts at nine o'clock. 
  • Miksi kaikki konsertit alkavat niin myöhään? -Why do all the concerts start so late?
  • Aloin tehdä töitä, kun lapset olivat menneet nukkumaan. - I started to work when the kids had gone to sleep.
  • Kalle alkaa olla väsynyt. - Kalle is starting to be tired.
  • Milloin sinä aloit opiskella suomea? - When did you start to study Finnish?

aloittaa, aloitan, aloitin, aloittanut (Used when people start something. )

  • Aloitetaan! - Let's start!
  • Minä voin aloittaa. - I can start.
  • Aloitan työt seitsemältä. - I start the work at seven.
  • Aloitin yliopisto-opinnot viime syksynä. - I started the university studies last fall.


Feel like sending a text message in Finnish? Here are ten random classics:

  1. Tuo maitoa. - Bring some milk. 
  2. En voi puhua nyt. - I cannot talk now. 
  3. Mä soitan sulle myöhemmin. - I'll call you later. 
  4. Sori, oon vähän myöhässä. - I'm sorry, I'm a bit late. 
  5. lähden nyt. - I'm leaving now. 
  6. Missä sä oot? - Where are you?
  7. Akku loppuu pian. - The battery is running out soon. 
  8. Osta vessapaperia. - Buy some toilet paper. 
  9. Kiitos kivasta illasta! - Thanks for the nice evening!
  10. Hyvää yötä! - Good night!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Plural partitive or t-plural?

When to use the plural partitive and when the plural nominative, the one that ends with t? It kind of depends on the sentence type, but it also matters if you're talking about some things, certain things, or things that are always in pairs.

To refresh your memory, the two different plurals look like this:

Monikon partitiivi:

(Of course, there's more plural forms, but this post is just about these two.)

To make the plural form, add the plural i and the partitive a, ä, ta or to the basic form or to the stem, depending on the word type. The i might cause previous vowels to change or disappear, and it becomes j between two vowels. For more specific rules, check out this link from Uusi kielemme website.

Here's when to use the plural partitive:

1. Describing multiple people and things

  • Nämä keksit ovat tosi hyviä. - These cookies are really good.
  • Pähkinät ovat terveellisiä. - Nuts are healthy.
  • Suomalaiset ovat kohteliaita. - Finns are polite. (If you disagree, say epäkohteliaita.)
  • Pojat ovat poikia. - Boys are boys.

The first plural, the subject of the sentence, is in the t-form. The plural in the end of the sentence is in the partitive form.

If the word is something that always comes in pairs or just happens to be used in the plural form, then both plurals are in the t-form.

  • Nämä kumisaappaat ovat tosi lämpimät. - These rubber boots are really warm. 
  • Victorian ja Danielin häät olivat ihanat! - Victoria's and Daniel's wedding was lovely!

In spoken language, we usually say on instead of ovat: Nää keksit on tosi hyviä. Victorian ja Danielin häät oli ihanat!

2. Having, wanting, eating etc something

  • Minulla on porkkanoita. - I have carrots.
  • Ostitko tulitikkuja? - Did you buy matches?

Again, if you're talking about a certain group or something that is always in plural, use the t-plural:

  • Onko sinulla uudet silmälasit? - Do you have new glasses?
  • Otitko ne kirjat mukaan? - Did you take the books with you?

3. Describing what is where

  • Suomessa on paljon metsiä ja järviä. - There are a lot of lakes and forests in Finland.
  • Aalto-yliopistossa on paljon ulkomaalaisia opiskelijoita. - There are many foreign students in the Aalto university. 

Sometimes, but not very often, you can use plural partitive in the beginning of the sentence:

  • Meitä oli viisi. - There were five of us. 
  • Opiskelijoita pyydettiin odottamaan. - The students were asked to wait.

p.s. If this was useful, you might also like my post 100 words in plural partitive. Also, you can check out this Memrise course about plural partitive. If you got interested in the last example sentence, you can read this post about the passive. 

Selkokirjoja - (Some) books in easy Finnish


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.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Question words

There are two ways of making questions in Finnish: with a question word or with the question ending ko or . This post is about the most common question words.

  • Mikä sun sukunimi on? - What is your last name?
  • Mitä sinä teet? - What are you doing? What are you making? (This is the partitive form.)
  • Minkä värinen se on? - What colour is it?
  • Missä sinä asut? - Where do you live?
  • Mistä maasta sinä olet kotoisin?  - Which country are you from?
  • Mihin sinä menet? / Minne sinä menet? - Where are you going to?
  • Minä päivänä te lähdette? - On which day will you leave?
  • Kuinka vanha sinä olet? / Miten vanha sinä olet? - How old are you?
  • Miksi sinä et soittanut?  - Why didn't you call?

Notice how the words kuka and kumpi change:

  • Kuka tuo mies oli? - Who was that man? (In spoken language, tuo is often toi.)
  • Kenen tämä on? - Whose is this? (Don't say kukan, because it means flower's.)
  • Kenellä se on? - Who has it? 
  • Keneltä sinä sait tämän? - From whom did you get this?
  • Kenelle sinä annat sen? - To whom are you going to give it?
  • Kumpi se oli? - Which one was it?
  • Kumman sinä haluat? - Which one do you want?
  • Kummalla se oli viimeksi? - Which one had it the last time?

Hmm. This post might be the right place to discuss the annoying difference between Mitä kuuluu and Miten menee, or the reason why the answers I'm fine and How about you are different.

  • Mitä kuuluu?  = How are you? / What is audible? (Ok, a horrible translation, but you know the meaning.) 
  • Hyvää, kiitos. Entä sulle?

Mitä is mikä in partitive, so the answer should be hyvää, ihan hyvää, or something else in the same case. The question How about you is Entä sinulle or Entä sulle, because the long version of the Mitä kuuluu is actually Mitä sinulle kuuluu. 

  • Miten menee? = How is it going?
  • Hyvin, kiitos. Entä sulla?

Since the question is miten, the answer should be an adverb such as hyvin or huonosti. The long version of the question is Miten sinulla menee, so you should ask Entä sinulla or Entä sulla, if you want to know how the other person is doing.

p.s. Here's a Memrise course with Finnish question words. 


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.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Two-letter words

Just for the fun of it, huvin vuoksi, here's a list of Finnish words that have only two letters in the nominative or in the conjugated form: ei, en, et, he, ja, jo, me, mä, ne, no, on, oo, se, sä, te, ui, yö.

  1. ei - no, or s/he doesn't
  2. en - I don't
  3. et - you don't
  4. he - they (people)
  5. ja - and
  6. jo - already
  7. ku - because, then (in spoken language)
  8. me - we
  9. mä - I (in spoken language)
  10. ne - they (animals and things, but in spoken language also people)
  11. no - well
  12. ny - now (in spoken language)
  13. on - it is
  14. oo - spoken language form of ole, as in Minä en ole. - I am not.
  15. se - it, or s/he in spoken language
  16. sä - you in spoken language
  17. te - you plural
  18. ui - Swim! or s/he swims or s/he swam
  19. yö - night

Here are some sentences with the mini words:

  • Hei te, nyt on yö! - Hey you guys, it's nighttime now!
  • Et sä ui? - Don't you swim?
  • No ku se ei ui. - Well, because he doesn't swim.
  • Ne ei oo täällä ny. - They are not here now. 
  • Ne ui jo. - They swam already.
  • Ja entä mä? - And how about me?


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. Here you can take a look at my available group courses and all my simple Finnish novels. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Words ending with 'e'

Terve! This post is about the Finnish words that end with the vowel e. Here are some examples:

  • Kylpyhuoneessa haisee homeelta. - It smells like mold in the bathroom.
  • Sinä et tarvitse uutta tietokonetta. - You don't need a new computer. 
  • Kenen vaatteet nämä ovat? - Whose clothes are these?

Yes, the e doubles in the stem, partitive has two t's and a consonant change is possible.

  • Nominative osoite: Tämä on mun uusi sähköpostiosoite. - This is my new email address. 
  • Genitive osoitteen: Olen kadottanut sun osoitteen. - I've lost your address. 
  • Partitive osoitetta: Etkö sä tiedä sun omaa osoitetta? - Don't you know your own address?
  • Plural partitive osoitteita: Miksi sinä et ole kirjottanut sun kavereiden osoitteita ylös? - Why haven't you written down your friends' addresses?

Here are some random e-words:

  • huone, perhe, vene, hame, herne, terve, kappale, vaate, kone, home (room, family, boat, skirt, pea, well/healthy (not sick), chapter, piece of clothing, machine, mold)

These ones have a consonant change - a weak grade in the basic form but strong grade in the stem:

  • taide, tiede, osoite, lomake, esite, näyte, kastike, tilanne, tavoite (art, science, address, form that you fill in, brochure, sample, sauce/dressing, situation, goal)

The swear words perkele (devil) and perse (ass) also belong to this group. Notice the swearing structure where you have the first swear word(s) in the genitive form:

  • Perkeleen perkele!

Another classic is quite vulgar, but so often used:

  • Tämä on ihan perseestä. - This totally sucks. (You can do the exact translation, right?)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Words ending with 's'

How to handle all the different Finnish words ending with s? I hope that this post makes it a bit easier.

1. Kysymys-words: usually nouns, often ending with us or ys, but also is and as.

  • Basic form kysymys: Mikä se kysymys oli? - What was the question?
  • Genitive kysymyksen: Unohdin kysymyksen. - I forgot the question.
  • Partitive kysymystä: En ymmärrä kysymystä. - I don't understand the question.
  • Plural partitive kysymyksiä: Onko kysymyksiä? - Any questions?

Nouns derived from verbs:
  • ajatus, ostos, vastaus, kokous, rakennus, supistus, yllätys, herätys, raiskaus (thought, purchase, answer, meeting, building, contraction, surprise, wake-up, rape)
Spoken language words:
  • roskis, kämppis, bestis, pehmis, julkkis, tavis (trash bin, flatmate, best friend, soft ice cream, celebrity, a regular human being; not a celebrity)
Other nouns:
  • hauis, ananas, lihas, kasvis, jänis, teräs (biceps, pineapple, muscle, vegetable, hare, steel)

2. Kallis-words, usually adjectives, often ending with as or is.

  • Basic form kallis: Tämä on liian kallis. - This is too expensive.
  • Genitive kalliin: Miten sinä olet ostanut näin kalliin puhelimen? - How come you've bought such an expensive phone?
  • Partitive kallista: Ruoka on tosi kallista Suomessa. - Food is really expensive in Finland. 
  • Plural partitive kalliita: Luomutomaatit ovat kalliita, mutta hyviä. - Organic tomatoes are expensive but good.

Random adjectives and nouns:
  • kaunis, rikas, rakas, raskas, liukas, kohtelias, valmis, ruumis, hammas, rengas, lammas, allas, varvas  (beautiful, rich, beloved/dear, heavy, slippery, polite, ready, body, tooth, ring/tyre, sheep, pool, toe)

Adjectives with the ending kas/käs, which implies that there is a lot of certain quality:
  • seksikäs, lihaksikas, iäkäs, trendikäs, älykäs, laadukas (sexy, muscular, elderly, trendy, intelligent, with good quality)

Notice the possible consonant change: Sinulla on liukkaat varpaat. - You have slippery toes.

3. Rakkaus-words, usually ending with two vowels and s.

  • Basic form rakkaus: Rakkaus on lumivalkoinen. - Love is snow-white.
  • Genitive rakkauden: Kuka keksi rakkauden? - Who invented love?
  • Partitive rakkautta: En voi elää ilman rakkautta! - I cannot live without love!
  • Plural partitive rakkauksia: Paul ja Ringo olivat elämäni rakkauksia. - Paul and Ringo were the loves of my life. 

Words in this group are often derived from nouns or adjectives:
  •  totuus, ystävyys, avaruus,  kylmyys, kuumuus, raskaus, kauneus, kirjallisuus, salaisuus  (truth, friendship, space, coldness, hotness, pregnancy, beauty, literature, secret)

4. Ordinal numbers that end with s.
  • Basic form kolmas: Minä olin kolmas! - I was the third!
  • Genitive kolmannen: Saanko ottaa kolmannen? - Can I take a third one? 
  • Partitive kolmatta: Etkö ole tavannut sen kolmatta vaimoa? - Haven't you met his third wife?
  • Plural partitive kolmansia: Ei minulla ole kolmansia talvikenkiä! - I don't have a third pair of winter shoes!


About the author of this blog:  

Nice to have you here! 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. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Finnish language summer courses

It's time to start looking for a perfect Finnish language summer course!

If you study Finnish in a foreign university, you can apply for the CIMO's intensive summer courses in Turku,Vaasa, Kuopio or Jyväskylä.

These courses are available for anyone:

These ones are mainly for expatriates:

I will be updating this post as the summer universities and other institutions update their websites. You can also leave me a message in the comments, if you know some other course.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Lappeenrannan laulukilpailut

One of the readers of this blog just made it to the final of Lappeenrannan valtakunnalliset laulukilpailut, Lappeenranta National Singing Contest. I suggest that on this coming Sunday, January 6, you'll take a little break from your Finnish studies and watch the final concert at 17.55 Finland time. The concert is available online in, but if you are in Finland, you can also watch it on the Yle Teema channel on tv.

Onneksi olkoon, Emili!

Thursday, January 3, 2013


I'm sure you've noticed how Finns have taken the English sorry and turned it into sori. Sure, it's much better than Oho! - Oops!, but sometimes you need more. Here are sentences with anteeksi and other ways to express that you are very, very sorry.

  • Anteeksi, että olen myöhässä. - I'm sorry that I'm late.
  • Anteeksi, kun en soittanut. - I'm sorry that I didn't call.
  • Anna anteeksi. - Forgive me.

  • Olen todella pahoillani.  - I'm really sorry.
  • Mä oon tosi pahoillani. - I'm really sorry.
  • en tarkoittanut sitä. - I didn't mean it.

  • Se oli vahinko. - It was an accident.
  • Se oli minun vikani. - It was my fault. 
  • Se oli mun vika. - It was my fault.

If this was useful, you might also like my post How to say you're sorry in Finnish.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Blog statistics in January 2013

Page views since August: 14,671

Top five countries of visitors:
  1. Suomi - Finland
  2. Yhdysvallat - USA
  3. Ranska - France
  4. Ruotsi - Sweden
  5. Saksa - Germany
Most popular posts:
  1. Having sex in Finnish  (Not very proud of this.) 
  2. Terveisiä Suomesta!
  3. What to wear in winter in Finland
  4. YKI test
  5. Material for teaching yourself Finnish
According to the traffic sources, a lot of readers have been searching for Finnish sex and the band Bogart Co. Many have also found here through Finland Forum and Facebook.

My main inspirations are the readers' post ideas and traffic sources and my friends' and family members' language challenges. When I started this blog I thought I'd use it for saving and organizing my old teaching material, but this seems to have turned into something else.

If you enjoy this blog, please share it with your friends!