Wednesday, July 11, 2018

False friends in Finnish and English

Perfekti! is something that I hear quite often when my students are happy with the time that I suggest for the next Skype meeting. Every time, I correct them politely and explain that perfekti means the perfect tense. If they want to say Perfect! they should say Täydellistä!

Here are some common words that are not what you might think.
Do you know what they mean?

  1. greippi
  2. kartta
  3. novelli
  4. mappi
  5. tentti
  6. viineri

Here are the translations:

  1. greippi - a grapefruit (A grape is viinirypäle.)
  2. kartta - a map (A card is kortti.)
  3. novelli - A short story (A novel is romaani.)
  4. mappi - A ring binder (A map is kartta.)
  5. tentti - A university level exam (A tent is teltta.)
  6. viineri - a Danish pastry (A wiener is nakki, hodari or pippeli.) 

"Reading is fun when it's easy!


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.


Tommy Quist said...

If novelli is a cognate of the English "novella" then I'm not sure I can entirely go along with its classification as a false friend.

Unrelatedly, but somewhat amusingly kartta, mappi, novelli (as well as romaani) and tentti are all cognates of counterparts in my native (germanic) language, which makes me guess that these are all most likely borrowed into Finnish from Swedish

Leventome said...

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