Guide to being Finnish

Useful Finnish Phrases And Words

Posted by | 18th March 2014 | Living in Finland, Moving to Finland

If you are planning a trip to Finland, it’s always good to know a few words and phrases in the local language. Your pronunciation will probably be wrong and you’re sure to have trouble when someone answers you, but you can rest assured that your efforts will be appreciated and you’ll find the locals become more friendly.

These useful Finnish phrases and words will come in handy on your trip so give them a try when you get there and you’ll enjoy your trip even more. Have fun and “onnea” (good luck)!

A note on pronunciation

For English speakers, Finnish pronunciation can present a problem. Fortunately, Finnish words are usually pronounced as they look and there are very few exceptions to pronunciation rules.

Vowel sounds are roughly pronounced as follows:

A – like the “u” in “but”

AA – like the “a” in “father”

Ä – similar to the “a” in “cat”

ÄÄ – slightly longer than Ä, like the “a” in “bad”

E – like the “e” in “pen”

EE – slightly longer than the “E” sound

I – like the “I” in “big”

O – a similar sound to “or”

OO – an extended “O” sound

Ö – like the “e” in “her”

ÖÖ – an extended Ö sound

U – like the “ou” in “would”

UU – like the “oo” in “soon”

Y – similar to the sound of “you” but with lips slightly pursed.

YY – an extended Y sound

Finnish consonants are pronounced in similar fashion to English consonants except that:

J sounds like the “y” in “yes”

KS sounds like “x”

R is a rolled sound

W is pronounced like a “v”

Z is pronounced like the “ts” in “hats”

The stress is always on the first syllable but otherwise Finnish is spoken in monotones.

 

Greetings and general exchanges

Hello = Terve

Pleased to meet you = Hauska tavata

My name is… = Nimeni on…

What is your name? = Mikä sinun nimesi on?

I can’t speak Finnish. = En puhu suomea.

Do you speak English? = Puhutko englantia?

I don’t understand. = En ymmärrä.

I’m sorry (also excuse me) = Anteeksi

Goodbye = Näkemiin (or hei hei or moi moi, which are more informal)

Thank you (also please) = Kiitos

How do you say xxx in Finnish? = Miten sanotaan xxx suomeksi?

 

Around town

I’m lost. = Olen eksynyt.

Can you help me? = Voitteko auttaa minua.

How much does this cost? = Kuinka paljon tämä maksaa?

I’ll take this. = Otan tämän.

Where can I catch the bus/taxi? = Mistä voin bussilla/taksin?

When does the last bus leave? = Milloin vilmeinen bussi lähtee

Where is the toilet/bus stop/train station? = Missä on vessa/bussipysäkki/rautatiesema?

Are there any good shops/restaurants/bars near here? = Onko mitään hyviä kauppoja/ravintoloita/baareja tässä lähellä?

Can you show me on the map? = Voitko näyttää kartalla?

 

Hotels and restaurants

Do you have any vacancies tonight? = Onko täksi illaksi vielä tilaa?

I have a reservation. = Minulla on varaus.

May I have the bill, please? = Saisinko laskun?

Do you accept credit cards? = Voinko maksaa luottokortilla?

I’m hungry. = Olen nälkäinen.

I’d like my steak rare/medium rare/well done. = Haluaisin pihivini raakana/puoliraakana/kypsänä

May I have some water, please? = Voisinko saada vettä?

My room/this is cold. = Oma huone/tämä on kylmä

 

Emergencies

I feel ill. = MInulla on huono olo.

I’ve been hurt. = Olen loukkaantunut.

I need a doctor. = Tarvitsen lääkäriä.

Help! = Apua!

Fire! = Tulipalo!

Call the police. = Soittakaa poliisille.

I’ve lost my wallet. = Lompakkoni katosi.

 

Time

Finns use the 24 hour system so do not indicate am and pm. 9.45 am for example is simply expressed as 9.45. However, 9.45 pm becomes 21.45.

What time is it? = Mitâ kello on?

It’s 8.00 am = Kello kahdeksan aamulla

It’s 2.00 pm  (1400 hrs) = Kello neljätoista

(For other times simply insert the appropriate number)

It is very early/late. = Se on hyvin varhaisessa/myöhään.

I’ll see you later/tomorrow. = Nähdään myöhemmin/huomenna.

Tonight. = Tänä iltana.

Yesterday. = Ellen.

Today. = Tänään.

Tomorrow. = Huomenna.

Day after tomorrow. = Ylihuomenna.

Day = Päivä

Week = Viikko

Weekend = Viikonloppu

 

Numbers

1 = yksi

2 = kaksi

3 = kolme

4 = neljä

5 = viisi

6 = kuusi

7 = seitsemän

8 = kahdeksan

9 = yhdeksän

10 = kymmenen

For 10 to19 add “toista” to the number so:

11 = yksitoista

12 = kaksitoista

…and so on up to 19 which is yhdeksäntoista.

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