Sunday, March 8, 2015

Spoken Finnish (puhekieli) tips

Here are some tips for spoken language. Notice that not everybody speaks like this, and it is totally ok to use the standard Finnish, if you want. However, these tips might help you to understand what (some) Finns say. The pronouns might be different depending on where you live, and many things depend on the local dialect


  • Say se instead of hän (it, s/he).
  • Say toi instead of tuo (that).
  • Say tää instead tämä (this).
  • Say ne instead of he (those, they) and use the verb's singular form in the third person. Say ne on instead of he ovat  and ne tulee instead of he tulevat. (They are. They come.)
  • Use the personal pronouns. You can say things like Asun Helsingissä, but usually we'd say mä / mää / mie / miä / minä asun Helsingissä. (I live in Helsinki.)
  • Say vaan instead of vain (only).

Verb forms

  • Forget the vat ending and just use the singular conjugation ne on instead of he ovat. (they are)
  • Say me ollaan instead of me olemme and me oltiin instead of me olimme.  (we are, we were)
  • Say me ei olla instead of me emme ole and me ei oltu instead of me emme olleet. (we aren't , we weren't)  


  • Drop the d and say kaheksan, yheksän, nähään, tehään and ootan instead of kahdeksan, yhdeksän, nähdään, tehdään and odotan. (eight, nine, See you, Let's do, I wait)
  • Don't be so careful with the pronunciation of two different vowels in a row. Say maitoo, juustoo, kinkkuu, vihree and  pehmee instead of maitoa, juustoa, kinkkua, vihreä and pehmeä. (some milk, some cheese, some ham, green and soft)
  • Don't be so careful with the endings. Some people say Helsingis instead of Helsingissä. Että is et, mutta is mut, sitten is sit, and so on. (that, but, then)

Other features

  • Possessive suffixes are not really used in spoken language. What is kirjani is standard Finnish is usually mun, miun, or minun kirja in spoken Finnish. Now that I think of it, the only time I do use possessive suffixes is in expresssions like mun tietääkseni, as far as I know. 

Hyödyllisiä linkkejä - Useful links:

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. 


Olli Väisälä said...

"Tehään" ja "oota" ovat itämurteisuuksia, joiden leviäminen Helsinkiin ainakin minua ärsyttää.
"Tehään" and "oota" are dialect or irritating sloppiness.

Alectrona said...

Very helpful. Thanks!

Language Translator said...

Awesome tips you have here! Great article.

Unknown said...

Very helpful. Thank you.

Unknown said...

More of this please.

Anonymous said...

Polisiit is not anymore avaible on youtube for someone outside of Finnland


Random Finnish Lesson / Hanna Männikkölahti said...

With all verbs: Ne tulee, ne syö, ne juo, ne lähtee etc.

Unknown said...

Mmmm... just dropping the -vat would give he ovat => ne o! Not exactly right :-)
Think of it this way: use "ne" instead of "he" and use the verb's third person singular instead of the third person plural.
Therefore "he ovat" becomes "ne on".

Random Finnish Lesson / Hanna Männikkölahti said...

Kiitos kommentista! Muokkasin postausta, vaikka kyllä me sanotaan myös "Ne o." :)

Fester said...

Hello, I was wondering about the negative in spoken. How do we conjugate the verb?
Example "Me ei olla ..... (puhunut, puhuneet)?
And feel free to give examples with more verbs :D

It's generally hard to find this kind of info on any site with the lesser used forms in puhekieli.

Omma said...

Me ei olla.... puhuttu/nähty/katsottu/käyty/syöty/haluttu/oltu
We haven't.... spoken/seen/watched/visited/eaten/wanted/been