Friday, October 23, 2015

Confusingly similar words

Here are some words that are annoyingly similar, especially if you're taking a certain exam and there is a risk that you will spend all your time talking about a wrong topic. I'll keep adding to this list as I notice more words that might be confusing.

  • Eläin is an animal. Elämä is life.
  • Liikenne is traffic. Liike is a movement or a store or a shop. Liikunta is sports.
  • Aika is time. The genitive of aika is ajan, which is also the first person conjugation of ajaa, to drive.
  • Luonto is nature. Luento is a lecture. Luonne is a personality, a temperament.
  • Kylä is a village, but it's also used in the expression käydä kylässä, to visit someone. 
  • Menestys is a success. Menetys is a loss.
  • Ohjelma is a programme. Ongelma is a problem.
  • Terveellinen is healthy. Turvallinen is safe. 
  • Patient is eihter a noun potilas or an adjective kärsivällinen.
  • Liha is meat, lihava is fat, lihas is a muscle. Lihaksikas is muscular. Don't confuse that with lihasika, which is a pig that is raised for its meat.
  • Valita is to choose. Valittaa is to complain. Välittää is to care or to pass on. 
  • Varata is to book or to reserve. Varastaa is to steal.

p.s. If you like my blog, you might also like my Facebook page and my Instagram account. If you are looking for something to read in easy Finnish, you can reserve an easy Finnish novel simplified by me from you local library!

"Read a book in easy Finnish. It will help you learn more Finnish."

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Life after the Yki test

So you have passed the Yki test. Onneksi olkoon!

Mitä sitten? Mitä seuraavaksi? - Then what?

I don't know for sure, but I have this feeling that many people study like crazy to pass the exam and then forget about their Finnish studies. Usually the reason is that they don't have the time or the professional need to learn more, or that there simply aren't so many courses above the intermediate level. Also, self-studying is often more motivating if you have a clear goal to reach, but the advanced test is so difficult that you might feel that it's not very realistic to reach the level 5 any time soon.

Anyway, here are my tips for keeping up with Finnish even after you have passed the Yki.


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.

"Read a novel in easy Finnish. It might be surprisingly fun and easy!"

Thursday, October 8, 2015


Ulkoilla is one of those verbs that I never used before I had children. It means being outside, usually with children. The idea is to get fresh air and make the children tired so that they'll sleep at night. Ulkoilu is definitely more than just standing outside, but you're not necessarily doing anything productive either. If you were, you could use verbs such as

  • kävellä - to walk
  • juosta - to run
  • pelata - to play games or sports
  • leikkiä - to play (as a child)
  • käydä lenkillä - to go for a walk or a run
  • tehdä puutarhatöitä - to do garden work
  • haravoida lehtiä - to rake leaves
  • tehdä lumitöitä - to shovel snow

A typical phrase at a Finnish daycare (and in some families, but not in mine) is Ulkoilemme säällä kuin säällä, which means that they'll go outside no matter how cold or wet it is. In Finland, children are expected to have an extra rain gear at the daycare. That would include at least

  • kumisaappaat - rubber boots
  • sadetakki - rain coat
  • kurahousut - rain pants, or literally mud pants
  • kurarukkaset - rubber mittens

When it gets colder, you' might also need

  • sukkahousut - stockings
  • pitkät kalsarit - long underwear
  • toppahousut - winter pants (you know, the really thick ones)
  • toppahaalari - winter overalls
  • pipo -  I still haven't found a perfect translation, but you know, pipo.
  • lapaset - mittens
  • rukkaset - really thick mittens, often leather
  • villasukat - wool socks
  • talvikengät - winter boots
  • kauluri - a neck warmer

Anyway, ulkoilu is fun even at this time of the year, if you have the right clothes and a sauna waiting for you. If this was useful, you might also like my post What to wear in winter in Finland and giving birth in Finnish.

p.s. Check out my new Memrise course!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Talking about having questions

Here's how to say that you have a question or questions. Notice that you can use three different endings!

Singular partitive:

  • Minulla on pari kysymystä. - I have a couple of questions.
  • Minulla on monta kysymystä. - I have many questions.

Plural partitive:

  • Minulla on paljon kysymyksiä. - I have a lot of questions.
  • Minulla on muutamia kysymyksiä. - I have a few questions.
  • Minulla on joitain kysymyksiä. - I have some questions.

Sometimes it's ok to use singular nominative: 

  • Minulla on muutama kysymys. - I have a few questions. (Yes, very strangely, this means exactly the same as muutamia kysymyksiä.)
  • Minulla on vain yksi kysymys. - I have only one question.

Onko jotain kysyttävää?