Thursday, August 29, 2013

Samalle viivalle + Monimuotoinen työelämä

Here's an interesting project and excellent listening practice for those who want to hear about studying in Finland. Eight young Finns with an immigrant backgroud talk about their study choices and experiences.

Scroll down for the videos.

If you are interested in hearing about different professions in Finnish, check out the Monimuotoinen työelämä (diverse working life) section.

Digital Dialects

I just found this website. What a fun way to practice basic vocabulary! 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Complaining politely

A reader asked me to post about complaining in Finnish. Thanks for the idea and challenge! Luckily, I have super nice neighbours and I rarely end up arguing with strangers either, but here are some sentences that might come in handy:

  • Anteeksi, mutta teidän koira on tainnut kakata meidän pihalle.  - I'm sorry but I'm afraid that your dog has pooped in our yard. 
  • Anteeksi, mutta voisitteko laittaa musiikkia vähän hiljemmalle? Me yritämme nukkua. - Excuse me, but could you turn the music down a bit? We're trying to sleep. 
  • Anteeksi, mutta täällä ei saa juoda eikä polttaa. - Excuse me, but it's not allowed to drink or smoke in here. 
  • Voisitteko olla kiroilematta niin paljon? - Would you mind not swearing so much? (olla kiroilematta = be without swearing)
  • Hei anteeksi, sinulta putosi jotain. - Excuse me, but you dropped something. (Try this when you see people littering. If they say something stupid like Ei se ollut tärkeetä. - It's wasn't important, snap the following one:)
  • Hauskaa illanjatkoa! - (Continue to) Have a nice evening!

You might also need these:

  • Älkää antako teidän kaverin ajaa autoa. - Don't let your friend drive. 
  • Tilatkaa sille taksi kotiin. - Call a taxi to take him/her home.
  • Varmistakaa, että teidän kaveri pääsee kotiin. - Make sure that your friend gets home. 
  • Olkaa varovaisia! - Be careful!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Last minute Yki tips

This post is for those who are about to take the intermediate Yki test in the near future.  If you don't have time to read all my posts before the exam, review at least these ones:

Random courses on Memrise:

You will have 55 minutes to write three texts. The time reserved for reading comprehension, usually 5 or 6 texts, is 60 minutes. Follow the instructions carefully and make sure to complete all the tasks. 

This list is copied from the latest paper issue of Puhutaan suomea magazine, which has an article about Yki test. These are the most typical topics at the intermediate level, so make sure you know how to talk and write about them. 

  • Minä ja taustani - Me and my background
  • Koti ja asuminen - Home and living
  • Jokapäiväinen elämä - Everyday life
  • Sosiaalinen vuorovaikutus - Social interaction
  • Matkustaminen - Traveling
  • Terveys ja hyvinvointi - Health and well-being
  • Työ - Work
  • Ympäristö ja maantuntemus - Environment and geography
  • Yhteiskunta - Society

After completing all the reading and listening exercises and brushing up your vocabulary, speaking and writing, take a break and sing along in Finnish!  Before the exam day, go to bed early and make sure not to sleep in in the morning. Trust on yourself, and you'll do just fine.

Here are all the posts that I have written about Yki.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Onko ketään Madridista?

Is there anyone from Madrid? A good friend of mine, and an excellent Finnish teacher, is looking for an apartment or a room from Madrid from the beginning of October. Contact Saija +358 50 3562006 or

Thursday, August 15, 2013

kun - milloin - koska

I've noticed that many learners get a bit confused with kun and milloin. Hopefully this post is helpful.

Kun is  the conjunction when.

is the question word when.

  • Milloin sä menet Tampereelle? - When are you going to Tampere?

Its synonym is koska.

  • Koska te tulette takaisin? - When will you (plural) come back?

Kind of confusingly, koska also means because.

  • Soitin sinulle, koska haluaisin jutella yhdestä tärkeästä asiasta. - I called you, because I would like to talk about an important thing. 

(Oh, kun can also mean than. It is the spoken language version of kuin.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Syömään! Nyt nukkumaan! Pyyhkimään!

I'd say that those are the most common uses of the MA-infinitive in any Finnish family with small children. If you don't know what they mean, you'll find it out at the end of this post.

Basically, it's all about adding the local endings to verbs and through that, expressing the directions of the activities and even more! To connect the verb and the ending neatly, you need a ma or mä between the strong verb stem and the local ending. Conjugate the verb in the he form and drop the vat or vät before the ma or .

  • lukea > he lukevat > lukema-
  • syödä > he syövät > syömä-
  • kuunella > he kuuntelevat > kuuntelema-
  • pelata > he pelaavat > pelaama-

Here are the five different forms of third infinitive of pelata, to play:

  1. Olin eilen pelaamassa pokeria. - I was playing poker yesterday.  
  2. Tulin pelaamasta viideltä aamulla. - I came from playing at five in the morning. 
  3. Menen pelaamaan kuudelta. - I'm going to play at six o'clock.
  4. Voisitko olla pari iltaa pelaamatta sitä typerää peliä? - Could you not play that stupid game for a couple of night? (could you be without playing) 
  5. Hävisin tuhat euroa pelaamalla huolimattomasti. - I lost 1000 euros by playing carelessly. 

Here are more examples of different MA-infinite expressions:

1. Inessive: in (the middle of) doing something (massa / mässä)

  • Olin koko lauantain kirjastossa lukemassa. - I spent the whole Saturday reading in the library.
  • Olin juuri soittamassa sinulle! - I was just about to call you!
  • Minä käyn katsomassa, onko posti jo tullut. - I'm going to check if the mail has come already. (Notice how you need the inessive ending with the verb käydä.)

A couple of very common verbs have an exceptional third infinite form in this case:

  • Tulla > Olin tulossa kaupasta, kun soitit. - I was coming from the store when you called.
  • Mennä > Olen menossa keskustaan. Haluatko kyydin? - I'm going to downtown. Do you want a ride?
  • Lähteä > Matti oli juuri lähdössä. - Matti was just about to leave.

2. Elative: from doing something (masta / mästä)

  •  Mihin aikaan sinä tulet pelaamasta? At what time do you come from playing? (whichever sport you do)
  • Minä kielsin sinua menemästä sinne! - I told you not to go there!

3. Illative: to go to do something, also used in the structure to be good/bad at something and with certain verbs. (maan / mään)

  • Mennään ostamaan sinulle uudet talvikengät. - Let's go to buy you new winter boots.
  • Tulkaa meille katsomaan Greyn anatomiaa. - Come to my place to watch Grey's Anatomy.
  • Onko teistä joku hyvä käyttämään videokameraa? - Is anyone of you good at using the video camera?
  • Kuka voisi opettaa minua soittamaan kitaraa? - Who could teach me how to play guitar?

    4. Abessive: without doing something (matta / mättä)

    • Hän lähti sanomatta sanaakaan. - He left without saying a word.
    • Miksi sinä otit sen lupaa kysymättä? - Why did you take it without asking a permission?

    5. Adessive: by doing something (malla / mällä)

    • Laihduin kymmenen kiloa jättämällä leivän pois ja lopettamalla tuoremehun juomisen. - I lost ten kilos by leaving the bread out of my diet and by quitting drinking juice.

    The meaning of the first phrases introduced in the beginning:

    • Syömään! - (Come) to eat!
    • Nyt nukkumaan! - Now to sleep!
    • Pyyhkimään! - (Come) to wipe (my butt)!

    Other infinitives: 


    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.

    Tuesday, August 13, 2013

    The agent participle

    Here's a question that I hear a lot:

    • Missä ne meidän eilen ostamat keksit on? - Where are the cookies that we bought yesterday? (A word by word translation would be Where those ours yesterday bought cookies is?)

    The agent participle is formed with the verb stem (strong grade, if there is a consonant change), ma/mä, a possible case ending, and a possessive suffix, if you want to use the written language. Notice that the agent participle is always used with the genitive form of a pronoun, noun or a proper name. These example sentences are in spoken language:

    • Leipoa > leipoma > Missä se mun eilen leipoma kakku on? - Where's the cake that I baked yesterday? 
    • Antaa > antama > Kiitos siitä sun antamasta kirjasta. - Thank you for the book that you gave me. 
    • Tehdä > tekemä > Mun äidin tekemät lihapullat on parempia kuin nämä. - My mom's meatballs are better than these ones. (The meatballs made by my mother.)
    • Suositella > suosittelema > Me syötiin siinä Annan suosittelemassa ravintolassa. -  We ate at the restaurant that Anna recommended.

    In written language, you just add the correct possessive suffix after the ma or :

    • Missä ne meidän eilen ostamamme keksit ovat? (Notice how the plural t disappears before the possessive suffix. The same thing happens to the genitive n, but don't worry too much about it.)
    • Kiitos siitä sinun antamastasi kirjasta! - Thanks for the book that you gave me!

    We actually buy cookies quite often, but my son rarely sees them. I usually answer something lame like Ne syödään sitten, kun isoäiti tulee kylään. - We'll eat them when grandma comes to visit. or then I'll try to distract him with the classic Hei katso, tuolla on orava! - Hey look, there's a squirrel!

    p.s. Are you already familiar with the other participles?


    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.

    Friday, August 2, 2013

    Finnish courses in Jyväskylä

    Here's a list of different Finnish language courses and programmes for immigrants in Jyväskylä. Some of them are free, some of them cost, and some of them cost for those who don't officially study in the institution. Let me know if there's a course or a group that should be on this list! If you want private lessons, check out my ad on the right side of this page.

    • Monikulttuurikeskus Gloria - Multicultural Centre Gloria has different volunteer-taught Finnish groups, and you can also volunteer there yourself.

    • Jyväskylän kesäyliopisto - Summer university of Jyväskylä, offering an intensive summer course in Finnish language and culture in summer 2014

    Thursday, August 1, 2013

    How to talk like a 1,5-year-old

    In case you wonder what kind of things Finnish toddlers can say, here's a list of my daughter's favourite words at the age of 18 months. Test yourself and see if you can understand what my little lady has to say!

    1. Alas! 
    2. Anna! 
    3. Avaa! 
    4. Istu! 
    5. Joo
    6. Ka! (A short form of kato which is a spoken language form of katso.)
    7. Kakka
    8. Kakku
    9. Kiitos! 
    10. Kenkä 
    11. Loppu
    12. Moi moi!
    13. Nam!
    14. Nenä
    15. Noin! 
    16. Papu 
    17. Pois! 
    18. Rikki (or ikki. It takes a while to learn the Finnish r.)
    19. Tuu!
    20. Vauva