Thursday, June 19, 2014

Wondering in Finnish

I wonder if you know how to wonder in Finnish. The verb to wonder is ihmetellä, but it is not really used in this structure. Instead, you'll need the enclitic participle -han or -hän. If you want to emphasize the question, put a question mark in the end. If you're just hesitating,  you can leave it out.

  • Mitähän kello on?  - I wonder what time it is. 
  • Olikohan se humalassa? - I wonder if he was drunk.
  • Sataakohan juhannuksena lunta.. - I wonder if it will snow on Midsummer.. 
  • Onkohan meillä munia. - I wonder if we have eggs.

To add extra hesitation and wondering, add ko or  after the question word.

  • Mitäköhän kello on? - I wonder what time it is?
  • Minneköhän se meni? - I wonder where he went.

My son doesn't really get these kinds of questions, and quite often gives me an irritated answer when I'm not expecting him to say anything. 

  • Mitäköhän mä laittaisin tänään päälle. - I wonder what I would wear today.
  • Missäköhän mun sukat on. - I wonder where my socks are. 
  • Onkohan siellä kylmä. - I wonder if it's cold out there.
  • En minä tiedä!! - I don't know!!

Here are some sentences with ihmetellä: 

  • Mitä sinä ihmettelet? - What are you wondering about?
  • Mä ihmettelen tätä puhelinlaskua. - I'm astonished by this phone bill. 
  • Mä ihmettelin sen käytöstä. - I found his behaviour odd. 
  • Älkää enää ihmetelkö sitä. - Don't spend your time on it any more. 

p.s. Ihme is a miracle. In Finnish, the tv show MacGyver is naturally called Ihmemies.


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.

Lue selkokirja. Se voi olla yllättävän helppoa ja kivaa!


Nick O. said...

Oh I thought "han" is used just to emphasise. Tnx

Hanna said...

It is used for confusingly many things.:)

Niinhän se olikin! - Oh yes, that's how it was!
Onhan sinulla passi mukana? - You have your passport with you, right?
Otahan pullaa! - Go ahead and take some pulla!
Kaikkihan tietävät, että kaupat ovat kiinni lauantaina. - Everyone knows that the shops are closed on Saturday.

Nick O. said...

Just niinpä on :D

Elena said...

This is great. I am absolutely guilty of saying, "Ihmettelen, sataako juhannuksena lunta?" I'm forever trying to get out of the habit. :)

Anonymous said...

Mitä ihmettä? Kerro nyt ihmeessä lisää tästä ihmeestä :)