Looking for the word

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Woods
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Looking for the word

Postby Woods » 2021-04-17, 8:21

Hello all!

It's been a while, since I really don't study the language - I just let it come to me.

I am looking for a very affectionate and strong word, that you can say to someone you feel very warm feelings about, which would make them feel very good.

Of course, I want to say it to a Finnish girl. I want to surprise her.

I only know "muru", but that doesn't seem to be exactly what I'm looking for. We're not that close yet, and it also doesn't sound that strong.

The person need not necessary be your significant other, I can think of such words in other language that you can also say to someone else you love very much, e.g. your daughter or a very close friend.

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Re: Looking for the word

Postby Naava » 2021-04-17, 10:10

Woods wrote:I am looking for a very affectionate and strong word, that you can say to someone you feel very warm feelings about, which would make them feel very good.

I've got a feeling we tend to show how we feel with actions more than with words, and if we use words, it tends to be like "read between the lines"* rather than directly saying "I like you" or "I love you" etc. There are words you can say to your girlfriend/boyfriend or spouse (of which muru is one) but I got the impression that's not what your relationship is like.

Could you give an example of a context where you'd like to say something nice to her? And what is your intention? Do you want to tell her she's been a good friend or do you wish it'd become something more? Maybe I could come up with something that would work the way you intend it to.

* e.g. saying "I'm glad to have a friend like you" or "you've been very kind to me" or "it's nice how much you've helped me". Of course some people are more straightforward than others, and it's possible people have different norms in different parts of Finland.

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Re: Looking for the word

Postby Woods » 2021-04-17, 11:01

Naava wrote:I've got a feeling we tend to show how we feel with actions more than with words, and if we use words, it tends to be like "read between the lines"* rather than directly saying "I like you" or "I love you" etc.

Yeah, I've noticed that :D And gotten into fucked-up situations because of doing it the other way around :|

But still, what words could you use if you wanted to say it or write it?


Naava wrote:Could you give an example of a context where you'd like to say something nice to her?

Yes - a text message when she's not here and I want to bring a strong feeling to it.


Naava wrote:Do you want to tell her she's been a good friend or do you wish it'd become something more?

I want to tell her that she's super dear to me and I really like her. The latter. We don't know each other much, but I've assumed that one day we will. And she's not here so no way to show it instead of saying it.


Naava wrote:Of course some people are more straightforward than others, and it's possible people have different norms in different parts of Finland.

She's more of the conventional Finn that doesn't mind drinking herself dead and hooking up with a total stranger, but if you say something romantic to her she freaks out. But still, some warm affectionate word that doesn't imply she's my girlfriend should be fine?

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Re: Looking for the word

Postby Naava » 2021-04-17, 12:23

Woods wrote:But still, what words could you use if you wanted to say it or write it?

I doubt I'd use any one word in your situation. I know there are some people who call their friends with affectionate words, but these tend to be female-female -frienships, and even then it depends on you and your friend's personality (and maybe age). For example, none of my friends have ever called me anything except my first name or a nickname derived from my name, and neither have I called them anything else than their name or nickname. However...

Woods wrote:I want to tell her that she's super dear to me and I really like her.

...I think you can very well say this to her. It requires a bit more than just one word, but I don't think it would be weird or awkward. You could write to ther something like "hey, I just wanted to tell you... Oot tosi tärkeä mulle. I'm very happy we met/got to know each other/etc". You can rephrase that and add emojis the way that feels natural to you, but I would keep some sort of introductional phrase at the beginning so it doesn't come out of the blue, and I would add some sort of ending phrase to make it seem less blunt, vague or cryptical. If you want to make sure she doesn't read this as too romantic, you can say you're happy you've become friends. If you want to avoid defining your relationship as friendship, you can say something along the lines of you being happy to know her. That way it doesn't sound like "we're just friends", but it also doesn't imply you'd be more than friends.

"Oot tosi tärkeä mulle" means word-to-word "you are very important to me". It is a thing you can say to a loved one, a friend, or a family member. (That's why I'd add some sort of ending phrase to explain how she's important to you.) It's also strong and affectionate because it is like saying "I need you in my life", and it should make her happy to hear that's how you feel about her. But a warning: you should think she is important to you. Don't say it just to impress her or make her feel nice, because that can backfire.

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Re: Looking for the word

Postby Woods » 2021-04-17, 12:52

Naava wrote:I doubt I'd use any one word in your situation. I know there are some people who call their friends with affectionate words, but these tend to be female-female -frienships, and even then it depends on you and your friend's personality (and maybe age).

Okay, could you just name a few of these words and say what they mean / what feeling they bring? I would then think about them and maybe use one of them. In any case it will be good to know them.

Like I want to start my message with something like Muru, ...

but "muru" is inappropriate, cause she's not my girlfriend, and I also don't think it shows what I want to express.

Also I want the message to be super short, that's why I really would like to start with one good strong affectionate word.


Naava wrote:"Oot tosi tärkeä mulle" (... i)s also strong and affectionate because it is like saying "I need you in my life", and it should make her happy to hear that's how you feel about her.

Nah, the opposite.

I'm not going to get into details about my relationship with her cause this a linguistics forum and not a dating one.

But you don't pick a Finnish girl you're not close with by saying to her "you're very important to me" :D

It's never going to work :)

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Re: Looking for the word

Postby Naava » 2021-04-17, 14:49

Woods wrote:I'm not going to get into details about my relationship with her cause this a linguistics forum and not a dating one.

I'm not interested in your personal life. I only needed to know how close you are and what you're trying to do before I could imagine what kind of words could be used.

Woods wrote:Okay, could you just name a few of these words and say what they mean / what feeling they bring? I would then think about them and maybe use one of them. In any case it will be good to know them.

Like I want to start my message with something like Muru, ...

but "muru" is inappropriate, cause she's not my girlfriend, and I also don't think it shows what I want to express.

The problem is that all of those words are exactly like muru: used when you both know you're dating, or when you both know you're close friends but nothing more. If muru doesn't work for you, the other words won't either. In any case, the most common ones are kulta and rakas. The literal meanings are 'gold' and 'beloved', but like I said, in practise they're synonyms with muru.

If I've finally understood what is going on, you're trying to hit on a girl you know on a superficial level? If so, I'm afraid I can't help you. Finns don't really use strong affectionate words with people they're not super close to. :? It's sweet of you to wish to use Finnish, but I can't come up with any word that wouldn't sound corny and/or put you directly into red flag category. Sorry about that; let's hope someone else can recall a word that would suite your purposes.

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Re: Looking for the word

Postby Woods » 2021-04-17, 17:24

Naava wrote:I'm not interested in your personal life. I only needed to know how close you are and what you're trying to do before I could imagine what kind of words could be used.

I know, haven't meant it in a bad way at all :)


I spoke with one more person about it and he also came up with the same two things "rakas" and "kulta". By feeling, I liked "rakas" better - but he said that it's more intimate and personal since it comes from "rakkaus" - thence I think I will take the chance and start my letter with "Kulta,". He thinks it's not that intimate and it's still very affectionate.


He also said he prefers "kultaseni" to just "kulta". What is the "se" in this construction? But I think the "ni" only adds closeness and makes it less appropriate.


It seems that since Finns are not usually saying such words, there aren't that many of them.


Naava wrote:Finns don't really use strong affectionate words with people they're not super close to. :? (...) I can't come up with any word that wouldn't sound corny and/or put you directly into red flag category. Sorry about that; let's hope someone else can recall a word that would suite your purposes.

You should have told me this one year ago - it would have spared me a lot of trouble :P


Naava wrote:In any case, the most common ones are kulta and rakas.

Did any other words come to your mind? Even if they are not an exact fit for the purpose, it's good to know what the language has to offer.


Naava wrote:It's sweet of you to wish to use Finnish

The language doesn't change much per se - it's more about things people are used to hearing or not. You would get the same reaction if you use a similar expression while speaking English.

In that logic, when I e-mail a person I'm supposed to be super formal with and he/she is Finnish, I most often start with "Hi [given name],". That would be completely inappropriate in any of the other languages I know except Danish; including English - but since I know how people talk to each other here, I just speak the Finnish way. I spoke with a Finnish person about it and she said she would do the same.

So I'm always super informal - I can think of one exception I've made recently and that's because I not only should be in the position of respecting that person a lot, but also she's a lot older, so since she's from a previous generation I thought things might have been different before; and I expected her to be more used to communication with internationals. Therefore I thought it would be more appropriate to use the English convention for addressing someone.

But on the contrary, I think my very old neighbour wasn't very happy when I said "olkaa hyvä" to him - like I was implying he's old?

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Re: Looking for the word

Postby Linguaphile » 2021-04-18, 0:46

Woods wrote:It seems that since Finns are not usually saying such words, there aren't that many of them.

Woods wrote:The language doesn't change much per se - it's more about things people are used to hearing or not.

You normally message this person in English, right? So use English for this part. If you want to surprise her with a phrase in Finnish, use Finnish for a different part of the message, a part that you are more confident about in Finnish or one that is not so context-dependent or culture-dependent.
It seems to me that you are wanting to surprise her with your knowledge of the language, but at the same time you are ignoring the advice you've been given about culturally-appropriate usage of the language. Knowing when and how to use a word is part of knowing a language, and it seems this text message isn't the right place for the kind of word you are looking for in Finnish. Trying to use these words with her will just sound awkward, and even if you choose one that you think is "just right", it still may leave her wondering whether or not you think it means the same thing she thinks it means. In other words, it is not a good way to make your feelings clear to her at all.

Woods wrote:He also said he prefers "kultaseni" to just "kulta". What is the "se" in this construction? But I think the "ni" only adds closeness and makes it less appropriate.

"Kultaseni" is the suffixed form of "kultanen" (not of "kulta"). So, "se" is not an independent part, just part of the genitive stem of "kultanen". When you add the same suffix to "kulta" it is "kultani".

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Re: Looking for the word

Postby Woods » 2021-04-18, 8:44

Linguaphile wrote:"Kultaseni" is the suffixed form of "kultanen" (not of "kulta"). So, "se" is not an independent part, just part of the genitive stem of "kultanen".

Yeah, actually - of course. I got confused because I asked him if that's the case and he said no :D And the main adjective is "kultainen". "Kultanen" seems to be some modification which means exclusively "dear" and is used only in that expression.

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Re: Looking for the word

Postby Linguaphile » 2021-04-18, 16:15

Woods wrote:Yeah, actually - of course. I got confused because I asked him if that's the case and he said no :D And the main adjective is "kultainen".

Kultainen is an adjective, kultanen (like kulta) is a noun.

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Re: Looking for the word

Postby Woods » 2021-04-18, 16:30

Linguaphile wrote:Kultainen is an adjective, kultanen (like kulta) is a noun.

A-ha! Like "little kulta." Got it!


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