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.
  • More about -han: Check out this excellent post by Uusi kielemme.

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 (who was 5 when I first wrote this) 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 Random Finnish Lesson: 

My name is Hanna Männikkölahti. I am a professional Finnish teacher who gives private online lessons and simplifies books into easy Finnish. Please read more in and follow this blog, if you want to be the first one to know when I post something new. 


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 :)