Friday, May 29, 2015

How to congratulate in Finnish

Here are some useful phrases to use when congratulating in Finnish:

  • Hyvää syntymäpäivää! - Happy birthday!
  • Onneksi olkoon! - Congratulations!
  • Onnea valmistumisen johdosta! - Congratulations for your graduation!
  • Paljon onnea valmistujaispäivänä! - Lots of happiness on your graduation day!
  • Onnea hääparille! - Good luck for the wedding couple!
  • Onnea koko perheelle! - Congratulations for the whole family!
  • Onnea uuden työpaikan johdosta! - Congratulations for a new job!

Yes, onni is a bit tricky word to translate. :) Here's a post about being happy in Finnish.

p.s. A novel in easy Finnish is always a great present for someone who is learning Finnish! Salla Simukka's Punainen kuin veri is simplified by me. I also warmly recommend any easy Finnish book written by Pertti Rajala.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Kannattaa has several meanings, but I'd say that in most cases, you can translate it as should or to be worth doing. Notice how the personal pronoun (if there is one) is in genitive, and the verb is in third person singular.

  • Mitä mun kannattaa tehdä? - What should I do?
  • Sun kannattaa nyt lähteä. - You should go now.
  • Ei kannata soittaa uudelleen. - It's not worth calling again. 
  • Tätä elokuvaa ei kannata katsoa. - This movie isn't worth watching. 
  • Tämä kirja kannatti lukea! - This book was worth reading!
  • Mun ei kannattanut enää yrittää. - It wasn't worth for me to try anymore.
  • Olisi kannattanut odottaa. - It would have been worth waiting.
  • Sun ei olisi kannattanut ottaa riskiä. - You should not have taken a risk. 

Notice that to be worth something is olla jonkin arvoinen. 

  • It's not worth it. - Se ei ole sen arvoista. 
  • Se ei oo sun arvoinen - He's not worthy of you. (Colloquial Finnish)
  • Hän ei ole sinun arvoisesi. - He's not worthy of you. (Formal Finnish)

Oh, kannattaa is sometimes kantsii in spoken language. :)


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.

 Kannattaa lukea selkokirjoja, niin opit lisää suomea!
Kannattaa lukea selkokirjoja, niin opit lisää suomea!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

One week, one language

Yksi viikko, yksi kieli.

Here's my summer challenge: I will find time to study languages! Most of my students are struggling with the challenge of studying Finnish while working, taking care of children, having a social life, and life in general. I want to know what it is like to try to squeeze in an hour or two (or half) every day and focus on studying a language.  I'm not even trying to get very far, but I want to see how it actually works if I just decide that I'll find the time. What do I have to change in my everyday life to get more time? What is the most effective way of learning, and what is fun? Since my students can be from anywhere, I am equally interested in any of the thousands of languages in the world.

Each week I will focus on a different language, and I will update this post as the summer passes. If you want to follow my time management project, bookmark this page and leave your comment with great ideas and study tips! Also, I want to know how my students feel when they're studying a language via Skype. If you are interested in exchanging a 30-minute Finnish lesson to a 30-minute lesson in your mother tongue, let me know, and I'll add your language to my my study plan. Any human language will do.

I'll alternate  between languages that are brand new to me, and languages that I'm already somewhat familiar with. So far I have these languages on my list:
  • Kiina - Chinese (June 1 - 7)
  • Venäjä - Russian (June 8 - 14)                

How I studied Chinese and Russian

July 12 UPDATE: I totally failed my summer challenge! :)

It was interesting to study Turkish via Skype and study Turkish language websites. Then came the Spanish week, I was busy, and the only Spanish thing I did was ordering los nachos in a Mexican bar in Tampere. Then I started teaching at an intensive Finnish course and realized that my summer challenge was doomed to failure. However, I've continued to study Russian with a lovely Russian lady, and I've realized how important it is to have someone nice with whom you can actually use the language. Also, I'm going back to my old school in August, and since half of my students are immigrants, I will start the project over by getting familiar with their mother tongues.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Learning Finnish with Benjamin

Here's something fun and short to watch in Finnish: Alaston päiväkirja: Benjamin Peltonen.

Jaksojen nimet - The names of the episodes:

  • Kiitos - Thank you
  • Keikoista - About gigs
  • Kodista - About home
  • Kaverit - Friends
  • Kotiinpaluusta - About coming back home
  • Tähteydestä - About stardom
  • Liikunnasta - About sports / exercising
  • Laulamisesta - About singing
  • Instagramista - About Instagram
  • Benjaminista - About Benjamin
  • Koulusta - About school
  • Kateellisuudesta - About jealousy
  • Perheestä - About family
  • Rahasta - About money
  • Ruoasta - About food
  • Musiikista - About music
  • Tyylistä - About style
  • Peloista - About fears
  • Rakkaudesta - About love

Don't forget to turn on Finnish subtitles!

Friday, May 15, 2015

How to orienteer in Finnish

Suunnistus is my new favourite hobby! It's cheap, fun, and exciting. You can do it anywhere in Finland and even with small kids. Most people seem to run while orienteering, but it is totally fine to walk and just enjoy the nature and the atmosphere of being part of the big crowd searching for the control points. I check my orienteering events here. You should be able to find suitable events by simply googling for the town name and kuntorastit or iltarastit.

You don't have to talk much while orienteering, but you do have to interact with other people in order to get the map in the beginning.

This is what I usually say:

Once you have the map, you have to sign up by saying your own name in Lähtö (Start) unless you have an EMIT control card, in which case you just punch it and start the race, I think. Remember to go to Maali (Finish) when you have completed the route, so that the organizers don't think that you got lost in the forest

If you have no idea where you are on the map, this is what you can ask a fellow orienteer:

Here is a great Youtube video about fhe ABCs of orienteering.

p.s. In case you end up absolutely alone in the forest, make noise to keep the bears away.

Hauskaa suunnistusta! - Have fun orienteering!


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.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

How to finish in Finnish

So many verbs to choose from! Quite often the confusion has something to do with transitive and intransitive verbs.

Lopettaa (lopetan, lopetin, lopettanut) is to stop or to finish something.

  • Lopeta! - Stop (doing something)!
  • Miksi te lopetitte tänään niin aikaisin? - Why did you finish (the course etc.) so early today?

Loppua (lopun, lopuin, loppunut) is to end, to finish.

  • Eikö tämä elokuva koskaan lopu? - Won't this movie ever end?
  • Mihin aikaan se konsertti loppuu? - At what time will the concert end?

Pysäyttää (pysäytän, pysäytin, pysäyttänyt) is to stop or pause someone or something.

  • Mikään ei voi pysäyttää minua! - Nothing can stop me!
  • Pysäyttäkää tuo mies! - Stop that man!

Pysähtyä (pysähdyn, pysähdyin, pysähtynyt) is to stop, to pause.

  • Pysähtykää! - Stop! 
  • Miksi sä pysähdyit keskelle tietä? - Why did you stop in the middle of the road?
  • Mun kello on pysähtynyt. - My clock has stopped.

Valmistua (valmistun, valmistuin, valmistunut) is to graduate and to be completed.

  • Milloin sä aiot valmistua? - When do you plan to graduate?
  • Mä valmistuin yliopistosta vuonna 2003. - I graduated from university in 2003.
  • Mun väitöskirja ei valmistu vielä pitkään aikaan. - My dissertation won't be finished for a long time.  

Finally, saada loppuun and saada valmiiksi are to bring to an endto complete something. 

  • Mä yritän saada mun opinnot loppuun ennen kesää. - I'm trying to complete my studies before summer.
  • Joko sä sait tämän kirjan loppuun? - Did you finish this book already?
  • Jee, mä sain vihdoinkin tämän sudokun valmiiksi! - Yay, I finally completed this sudoku!

"Voi kun tämä talvi ei loppuisi koskaan!"


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. You might also like my easy Finnish podcast.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

yrittää - kokeilla

Have you ever wondered about the difference between yrittää and kokeilla?

Yrittää (yritän, yritin, yrittänyt) is to try or to attempt something. Usually quite hard. It is also used when talking about running a business.

  • Mä yritän ymmärtää sua.  - I'm trying to understand you.
  • Mä yritän saada paremman arvosanan ensi kerralla. - I'll try to get a better grade next time. 
  • Yritä vielä kerran! - Try one more time!
  • et edes yrittänyt! - You didn't even try!
  • Yrittäminen on kovaa työtä. - Running your own business is hard work.

Kokeilla (kokeilen, kokeilin, kokeillut) is also to try, but more like testing (also testata) or having an experiment.

  • Oletko kokeillut tätä reseptiä? - Have you tried this recipe?
  • Tätä kannattaa kokeilla. - This is worth trying. 
  • Nyt on sun vuoro kokeilla! - Now it's your turn to try!
  • Saanko mä kokeilla sun aurinkolaseja? - Can I try on your sunglasses?
  • Kokeile näitä kenkiä. - Try on these shoes. (You can also use the verb sovittaa in this context.)