5 Amazing Things You Should Know About The Finnish Language
Most difficult language in the world
Learning a new language can be great fun and open new possibilities. However, some languages are easier to learn than others. The Finnish language is considered to be one of the most difficult languages to learn. If you study the Finnish language pat yourself on the shoulder. It was not until I started to teach Finnish I realized how difficult it can be to change one´s mindset from one language to another. Here are five things you should know about the Finnish language.
1. Lack of article
The Finnish language does not have any articles. In English definite articles “a” and “the” are used in front of a noun when the reader/hearer knows exactly what they are referring to. In German articles are “der” “das” and “die”. In French “la” and “le”. In Finnish, there are no articles. This can confuse those who are used to use articles but often the context of the word is explained enough.
2. Finnish is a gender-neutral language
Finnish has only gender-neutral pronouns and completely lacks grammatical gender. The third-person singular pronoun hän can refer to any gender. Using basic words for all genders is the norm. For example word, näyttelijä means both actor and actress. There are some professions where the word mies (man) is an integral part that is not considered gender-specific. For example puhemies (chairperson) and palomies (fireman).
There is a high degree of equality between the sexes in Finland, as can be seen in the relatively high number of women holding advanced positions in politics and other areas of society. Finland was the first country in Europe to grant women rights to vote in 1919. One of the campaign slogans for the early Finnish suffragettes was the fact that in Finland women have always been working and building their careers the same way as men. Gender equality and the model of two providers is applied to everything from lawmaking to sociological constructions.
3. Grammatical cases
Are you up for a challenge? The Finnish language has 15 grammatical cases. But do not feel despaired. Only 13 of them are used in everyday spoken language. Grammatical cases reflect grammatical functions performed by the word. For example in the English language, grammatical cases are most often prepositions such as “in” “on” “at” which tell the location of something.
In the Finnish language, there are some prepositions but post positions are more common. In Finnish posts, positions are suffixes that come behind the words. For example:
In the house in Finnish is:
Talo meaning house +
She went into the house
Hän meni taloon
talo = house
The use of each grammatical case depends on the context.
4. Finnish is a very phonetic language.
For each letter, there is only one way to pronounce them. Pay attention to the short and long sounds. Sometimes words can sound similar but they have a completely different meanings. For example:
tapaan = I meet
tapan= I kill
tuli = fire
tuuli = wind
For native English speakers, it is recommended to pay special attention to Finnish pronunciation. When in spoken English stress is in the last syllable. In Finnish stress is often in the first syllable.
5. a lot of compound words
Finnish language has great amount of compound words. Two or tree words together create a one new word.
maa+ilma = maailma / world (earth +air)
tieto+kone= tietokone/computer (knowledge+machine)
Learn how to pronounce sauna the right way.
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