Friday, November 30, 2012


Here's a post about kestää, a topic that was requested a couple of days ago. I actually had to make a phone call to figure out the history behind Eipä kestä. Kotimaisten kielten keskus is all about Finnish, and you can easily spend hours on their site. However, if you're in a hurry, you can just call Kielitoimiston neuvontapuhelin and ask anything. Save that number on your phone. Now.

Here are some examples of the most common use of kestää: (kestän, kestin, kestänyt)

to last

  • Kuinka kauan tämä kestää? - How long will this last?
  • Kylläpä se kesti! - Man, that took a long time!
  • Mikä sulla kestää? - What's taking you so long?

to stand, to tolerate, to cope, to hold up

  • Kuinka te kestätte toisianne? - How can you stand each other?
  • Mä en kestä tätä enää! - I cannot take this anymore.
  • Kestä vielä vähän aikaa. - Hold up for a while.

to be strong enough

  • Kestääkö tämä tuoli minua? - Can I sit on this chair or will it break?

These words are derived from kestää:

Finally, here's the explanation for Eipä kestä:

Back in the old days, one of the meanings of kestää was to deserve. Maybe it's still like that in some dialects, but I cannot think of an example. When we answer Ei kestä or Eipä kestä to Kiitos, we actually mean Ei kestä kiittää. = Whatever I said or did wasn't so special that it would deserve a thank you.

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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.

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tigareth said...

Aha, so it's like the English expression "no need to thank", sometimes also shortened to just "no need"

Laura said...

Quite often I use "Mikä maksaa?" when meaning what is taking you so long. If you would say "Mitä maksaa?" it would mean "how much does it cost?". Just my comment slightly off topic.

Hanna said...

Totta. Hyvä lisäys, Laura!