How do you say “your face” in Finnish?

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Re: How do you say “your face” in Finnish?

Postby Iván » 2017-10-20, 11:06

Vieraat kielet
Suomen kielen klusiilien soinnillisuutta on tarkasteltu usein kielitaidon ja vieraiden kielten opetuksen näkökulmasta. Ovathan varsinkin b ja g leimallisesti ”epäsuomalaisia” äänteitä, jotka kuitenkin tunnetaan kaikissa suomessa yleisimmin opiskeltavissa vieraissa kielissä. On mm. ajateltu, että jos suomalaiset tekisivät äidinkielessään selvän eron b:n ja p:n välillä, he hallitsisivat paremmin myös sellaiset englannin minimiparit kuin you are a big ~ pig man. Englannin klusiilisarjojen ero ei kuitenkaan perustu – varsinkaan sanan alussa – niinkään sointiin, vaan soinnittomien klusiilien aspiraatioon (ääntämyksessä kuuluva h:mainen ääni), jota voidaan karkeasti merkitä ph, th, kh. Suomalaisittain äännetty, aspiroitumaton p on lähempänä englannin b:tä kuin p:tä. Englantia äidinkielenään puhuvat, jotka alkavat opiskella suomea, saattavatkin sanelutehtävissä aluksi kirjoittaa suomen p:n b:llä tai k:n g:llä.

Monissa muissakaan kielissä soinnillisuus ei ole aivan yksiselitteistä. Soinnittomien klusiilien aspiraatio on tyypillistä englannin lisäksi muillekin germaanisille kielille, kuten ruotsille ja saksalle. Lisäksi saksassa b, d ja g äännetään soinnittomina sanan lopussa: sana Weg äännetään vek. Venäjässä kaikki soinnilliset konsonantit menettävät sointinsa paitsi sanan lopussa, myös soinnittoman konsonantin edellä, joten vodka äännetään venäjäksi votka. Jokaisen kielen äännerakenne on oma järjestelmänsä, johon ei voi suoraan soveltaa toisen kielen normeja.


Do you think I hear them different because in Spanish there are pairs of words such as peso-beso (weight-kiss), papa-baba (father-spittle) which are indeed pronounced differently? I wish I knew more about phonetics, so I could make a consistent point of view about this subject.
Minkä nuorena oppii, sen vanhana taitaa.

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Re: How do you say “your face” in Finnish?

Postby Naava » 2017-10-20, 13:45

Iván wrote:
Vieraat kielet
Suomen kielen klusiilien soinnillisuutta on tarkasteltu usein kielitaidon ja vieraiden kielten opetuksen näkökulmasta. Ovathan varsinkin b ja g leimallisesti ”epäsuomalaisia” äänteitä, jotka kuitenkin tunnetaan kaikissa suomessa yleisimmin opiskeltavissa vieraissa kielissä. On mm. ajateltu, että jos suomalaiset tekisivät äidinkielessään selvän eron b:n ja p:n välillä, he hallitsisivat paremmin myös sellaiset englannin minimiparit kuin you are a big ~ pig man. Englannin klusiilisarjojen ero ei kuitenkaan perustu – varsinkaan sanan alussa – niinkään sointiin, vaan soinnittomien klusiilien aspiraatioon (ääntämyksessä kuuluva h:mainen ääni), jota voidaan karkeasti merkitä ph, th, kh. Suomalaisittain äännetty, aspiroitumaton p on lähempänä englannin b:tä kuin p:tä. Englantia äidinkielenään puhuvat, jotka alkavat opiskella suomea, saattavatkin sanelutehtävissä aluksi kirjoittaa suomen p:n b:llä tai k:n g:llä.

Monissa muissakaan kielissä soinnillisuus ei ole aivan yksiselitteistä. Soinnittomien klusiilien aspiraatio on tyypillistä englannin lisäksi muillekin germaanisille kielille, kuten ruotsille ja saksalle. Lisäksi saksassa b, d ja g äännetään soinnittomina sanan lopussa: sana Weg äännetään vek. Venäjässä kaikki soinnilliset konsonantit menettävät sointinsa paitsi sanan lopussa, myös soinnittoman konsonantin edellä, joten vodka äännetään venäjäksi votka. Jokaisen kielen äännerakenne on oma järjestelmänsä, johon ei voi suoraan soveltaa toisen kielen normeja.


Do you think I hear them different because in Spanish there are pairs of words such as peso-beso (weight-kiss), papa-baba (father-spittle) which are indeed pronounced differently? I wish I knew more about phonetics, so I could make a consistent point of view about this subject.

I believe so. When you are a child learning your first language, you learn to tell the difference between phonemes that create minimal pairs but ignore the difference when it doesn't change the meaning of a word. If you weren't able to hear the difference between a P and a B, you wouldn't know whether someone was talking about your father or your spittle. In Finnish, minimal pairs with /p/ and /b/ are almost non-existent, so I wouldn't have faced a problem like that. In most cases, it doesn't matter if someone says pese or bese because the latter word doesn't have any meaning - it doesn't exist. Instead, it's been very important for me to know when someone says pese or pesee because the first one is an imperative and the second one is in the 3rd person present tense. The difference is very easy to hear if you ask me, but many foreign Finnish learners struggle to hear/produce it because their native languages don't make the distinction in vowel length.

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Re: How do you say “your face” in Finnish?

Postby Woods » 2017-10-20, 18:30

This site you’ve provided is interesting, Iván.


Naava wrote:
Iván wrote:/g/ does exist in Finnish and you can find it words such as kengät, kuningas, gambialainen, genetiivi, etc.

No, kengät and kuningas do not have /g/: they are pronounced /keŋŋæt/ and /kuniŋŋas/. The /ŋ/ does not have its own letter in Finnish, so it's written with <ng> instead. A single /ŋ/ can be found before /k/, and it's written <nk>. For example, kenkä /keŋkæ/ - kengät /keŋŋæt/.

I didn’t know they were doubles… Also I can't imagine how a ŋ would be pronounced double, as it sounds like an /n/ starting to go into a /g/ but stopping before it goes there, but once it's gone toward the /g/, it doesn't make any sense to go back toward /n/ to double it... Or maybe you just pronounce the whole /ŋ/ more slowly?

I also didn't know that the sound could be found before k as well… But I’ll get into that later, I guess.


Naava wrote:So Bulgaria, bulgarian, bulgarialainen and bulgaari would be
/'bulgaria/ - /'pulkaria/
/'bulgarian/ - /'pulkarian/
/'bulgaria,lainen/ - /'pulkaria,lainen/
/'bulgaari/ - /'pulkaari/

But if I want to be conservative and sound more Finnish, should I go for the g/b or k/p?

I noticed something interesting – I heard my Finnish friend living in Bulgaria say /'pulkaria/, /'pulkaria,lainen/ two years ago, and as I talked to him last week and said /'pulkaria/ myself, he corrected me by saying /'bulgaria/. Maybe by living here he’s learnt how to pronounce these sounds and now he’s happy to use them in Finnish too? :D

Intuitively, I would rather go for the p/k. And my Pulkarian friends would not be able to understand what I’m talking about :D

There’s one bad thing about pronouncing them with p/k though – I noticed I tend to write them with p and k as well :D

What is ”bulgariaa” – the same as bulgarian kieli?

As far as I was able to find in the dictionary:

bulgaari – a person from Bulgaria
bulgarian – Bulgarian (e.g. bulgarian kieli)
bulgarialainen – related to Bulgaria, from Bulgaria etc. – I’m not entirely sure in what other contexts this will be used instead of the previous one

I also think his /b/ in "bulgariaa" sounds pretty much the same as the /p/ in "puhun". Do you hear them as different sounds?

No, I hear it the same – but the g is a /g/. Maybe /g/ is more common in Finnish than /b/?



Btw, this person pronounces Bulgaria as /bulgaaria/. Sometimes the original stress of a loan word is "represented" by a long vowel in Finnish.

I can’t hear. All I hear is a single a.

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Re: How do you say “your face” in Finnish?

Postby Naava » 2017-10-20, 20:23

Woods wrote:I didn’t know they were doubles… Also I can't imagine how a ŋ would be pronounced double, as it sounds like an /n/ starting to go into a /g/ but stopping before it goes there, but once it's gone toward the /g/, it doesn't make any sense to go back toward /n/ to double it... Or maybe you just pronounce the whole /ŋ/ more slowly?

I would describe it as a /g/ that decided to become nasal. :D You make it double by prolonging it, just like you can say mmmmm or nnnnnn. Just place your tongue like you were going to say /k/ or /g/ (but don't close the glottis! Just hold your tongue in that position) and then breath through your noise like you do when you say /n/ or /m/. Be careful when finishing the sound: there is no /g/ or other stop, it just "dies out" like /n/ and /m/ does. I mean, when you say mmmm, you don't finish that with /b/. In the same way, you don't finish /ŋŋ/ with a /g/.

I also didn't know that the sound could be found before k as well… But I’ll get into that later, I guess.

/ŋ/ is the allophone of /n/ before any /k/. For example, annan (I give) is pronounced [annan] but annanko (will I give?) is pronounced [annaŋko]. You can do that even across word boundaries, eg. annan kengän (I give a shoe) - [annaŋ keŋŋæn]. You can say [annan kengæn] too and it's fine though maybe not quite common, but [annanko]
would be incorrect and sound strange.
I know Finnish A is not [a] but I'm feeling too lazy to do anything about it. :P

But if I want to be conservative and sound more Finnish, should I go for the g/b or k/p?

Depends where you live. What I've heard, it's more common to use g/b in Helsinki. The more north you go and the further away you move from big cities, the more you will find k/p. But well, it's just my observation that is not based on a very large sample of speakers, so I can't guarantee this is true. :D

But in the end, I'd say it's your choice. Or if you move to Helsinki, listen how people speak there and choose then what you want to sound like.

I noticed something interesting – I heard my Finnish friend living in Bulgaria say /'pulkaria/, /'pulkaria,lainen/ two years ago, and as I talked to him last week and said /'pulkaria/ myself, he corrected me by saying /'bulgaria/. Maybe by living here he’s learnt how to pronounce these sounds and now he’s happy to use them in Finnish too? :D

Haha, who knows! :D It's not like your pronunciation would stop at a certain age and never change afterwards, so why not!

There’s one bad thing about pronouncing them with p/k though – I noticed I tend to write them with p and k as well :D

You'll fit well in Finland then. You don't know how many times I've seen people writing words with voiceless consonants instead of voiced ones and vice versa. The greatest examples I can remember right now were gebardi for gepardi, gollege for college and boncho for poncho (the last two are from my own mother. Well done, mum!)

You can find more by googling. This person wanted to know how your homeland, Pulgaria, was like. Luckily someone corrected them later by giving the real name of the country: Pulkaaria. (The last one is a joke, but the first person is serious with their Pulgaria.)

Heli Laaksonen writes poems in Turku dialect. I think this is from her blog, which is also written in the dialect. She's used pulkarialainen and Pulkaria:
Lisäks Marin Bodakov, pulkarialaine runoilija-opettaja --

-- ja nyy nee painele jossan päin Pulkaria...


What is ”bulgariaa” – the same as bulgarian kieli?

It's the partitive of bulgaria, 'Bulgarian language'. You use the partitive when you say you speak the language: puhun suomea, puhun englantia, puhun bulgariaa, or puhun suomen/englannin/bulgarian kiel. If you take a country and write its name without the capital letter, you'll get its language. Suomi - suomi. Italia - italia. Bulgaria - bulgaria. That's why I sometimes claim to speak Finland if I'm tired enough. :lol:

bulgaari – a person from Bulgaria
bulgarian – Bulgarian (e.g. bulgarian kieli)
bulgarialainen – related to Bulgaria, from Bulgaria etc. – I’m not entirely sure in what other contexts this will be used instead of the previous one

bulgaari - a person from Bulgaria (I've never heard this before)
bulgarian - genitive/accusative of bulgaria, "Bulgarian language's"
(bulgaria - the language)
bulgarialainen - Bulgarian, eg. bulgarialainen talo - a Bulgarian house. Hän on bulgarialainen. S/he's a Bulgarian.

No, I hear it the same – but the g is a /g/. Maybe /g/ is more common in Finnish than /b/?

Hmm, interesting that you hear it as /p/ while Iván hears it as /b/.

I think it's more likely to be pronounced as /g/ because it's between two voiced sounds, /l/ and a vowel.

me in the previous message wrote: The difference [in vowel length] is very easy to hear if you ask me, but many foreign Finnish learners struggle to hear/produce it because their native languages don't make the distinction in vowel length.

Woods wrote:I can’t hear. All I hear is a single a.

You've just proved my claim to be true. :lol:

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Re: How do you say “your face” in Finnish?

Postby Woods » 2017-10-21, 21:15

Naava wrote:I would describe it as a /g/ that decided to become nasal.

Well, if it's the same /ŋ/ that we know from English/Danish/Swedish/German, then I don't agree. Because the nasal part starts before /g/, or what I would call, without knowing any phonetics, a half-stop or something.


You make it double by prolonging it

Okay, that makes sense.


Is it the same /ŋ/ as in English/Danish/Swedish/German? If it is, then I know how to pronounce it :) My description of it would be to place the tonge in the same position as one would if they were trying to form a /n/, but then make it pass through a place similar to where /g/ is made, but a little bit more backward/upward.


Be careful when finishing the sound: there is no /g/ or other stop, it just "dies out" like /n/ and /m/ does.

Well, isn't it like there's a little bit of a /g/, but not quite, and not exactly a /g/ - depending on the language and the speaker?


/ŋ/ is the allophone of /n/ before any /k/. For example, annan (I give) is pronounced [annan] but annanko (will I give?) is pronounced [annaŋko].

I listened to Annankatu on that website Iván provided, cause it didn't have annanko. You're right that it sounds the same as /ŋ/ but with a /k/ added to it. But I still don't make any difference between the /n/ in /ng/ and the /n/ in /ŋ/ (there is an element of the exact sound /n/ in /ŋ/, isn't there?) To me, the nasal part is exactly the same in /ŋ/, /ng/ and /nk/, the only difference is that the stop is different in the first one and the latter two (and also voiced in the first two, but not in the last one).


You don't know how many times I've seen people writing words with voiceless consonants instead of voiced ones and vice versa. The greatest examples I can remember right now were gebardi for gepardi, gollege for college and boncho for poncho (the last two are from my own mother. Well done, mum!)

You can find more by googling. This person wanted to know how your homeland, Pulgaria, was like. Luckily someone corrected them later by giving the real name of the country: Pulkaaria. (The last one is a joke, but the first person is serious with their Pulgaria.)

Hmm, has it ever been a question to make a reform so that foreign words are written with p/k instead of b/g? Because it looks very random now – pankki with p, but gepardi with g? It wouldn’t make much sense to do it with coutries’ and place names, and it probably won’t work (see speakers of English now write Beijing, not Peking), however, why would gepardi be written with a g? Well, it kind of makes sense with college, as the word is written in a clearly non-Finnish way, and also with ponch, but gepardi is clearly finnicised (because of the -i), so why keep the g?


What is ”bulgariaa” – the same as bulgarian kieli?

It's the partitive of bulgaria, 'Bulgarian language'.

So the name of the language is always the same as the name of the country, no exceptions?


bulgaari - a person from Bulgaria (I've never heard this before)

So there’s no such word?

I found it in RedFox Sanakirja:

http://redfoxsanakirja.fi/en_US/dictionary/-/s/fin/eng/bulgaari


me in the previous message wrote: The difference [in vowel length] is very easy to hear if you ask me, but many foreign Finnish learners struggle to hear/produce it because their native languages don't make the distinction in vowel length.

Woods wrote:I can’t hear. All I hear is a single a.

You've just proved my claim to be true. :lol:

But I do hear the long Finnish vowels in many instances, even though there is no such thing as long vowels in Bulgarian (well, in some instances you can have [i:] or [u:], but the former is due to a combination of a vowel and a semi-vowel and the latter – to the fact that [l] at the end of a syllable has become [u].

Also, don’t forget that English, Danish, German, Swedish, Italian and other languages I’ve studied have long vowels too… But they’re different types of, I guess – in Finnish it seems that the distinction is more essential than elsewhere and at the sime pronounced so softly that it’s really difficult to hear… Because there’s no way you can confuse a long with a short vowel in German or in Italian. In English too, I would say – but there it’s also due to the quality of the sound.

My Finnish friend also told me that my /h/ sounds so harsh and German that he hates it. So every time I speak Finnish since that day I try to make it as soft and light as I can – like I almost don’t pronounce it :)

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Re: How do you say “your face” in Finnish?

Postby Naava » 2017-10-22, 17:06

Woods wrote:
Naava wrote:I would describe it as a /g/ that decided to become nasal.

Well, if it's the same /ŋ/ that we know from English/Danish/Swedish/German, then I don't agree. Because the nasal part starts before /g/, or what I would call, without knowing any phonetics, a half-stop or something.

Yes, that's what I meant - the place of articulation is that of /g/, but of course there's no stop there because we're talking about a nasal, not a stop. Sorry for phrasing it not-so-clearly!

Is it the same /ŋ/ as in English/Danish/Swedish/German? If it is, then I know how to pronounce it :) My description of it would be to place the tonge in the same position as one would if they were trying to form a /n/, but then make it pass through a place similar to where /g/ is made, but a little bit more backward/upward.

It is, but the problem is that English often has /g/ following /ŋ/ eg. in the word 'finger'. What we're looking for is the sound in 'singer'.

I'm not exactly sure what you're doing if you place your tongue as in saying a N. Isn't that an alveolar? /ŋ/is supposed to be velar. :|

Well, isn't it like there's a little bit of a /g/, but not quite, and not exactly a /g/ - depending on the language and the speaker?

Um, I don't think so. There are languages where you don't find /ŋ/ without /g/ or /k/ following it, but the sound itself shouldn't have any /g/-like qualities.

But I still don't make any difference between the /n/ in /ng/ and the /n/ in /ŋ/ (there is an element of the exact sound /n/ in /ŋ/, isn't there?)

Oh I've just noticed I've been writing /ŋ/ even when I've meant [ŋ]. It's been too long since I last talked about phonetics, sorry! Uh, four years, actually.

But I don't understand what your question is. Could you rephrase it?

Hmm, has it ever been a question to make a reform so that foreign words are written with p/k instead of b/g?

Yes, I found a few articles from the same source as what I linked earlier, and it seems people were talking about it in the 90's. Some argued we should pronounce the foreign words with a P and K and even write them so, too, while others said we should encourage people using B and G. I don't think the discussion led to anywhere, really. At least I've never been told to pay attention to how to pronounce the B's and G's, nor do we write kepardi.

I think it might be quite difficult to convince people to change the spelling they are used to, especially when there's people who make a distinction between voiced and voiceless stops. People also like to spell words like they've seen them spelled in foreign languages (= English, mostly) because - again - they're used to what the word looks like. That's why we talk about collegehousut with a C. Interestingly, the C disappears when you call them kollarit. I can't remember what these shortened words were called. How frustrating!

Well, it kind of makes sense with college, as the word is written in a clearly non-Finnish way

It's pronounced [kol:ege] btw.

So the name of the language is always the same as the name of the country, no exceptions?

Yes and no. You don't speak British, you speak English, even if you live in Britain*. The official language of the country isn't 'Indian' in India, 'Egyptian' in Egypt nor 'Switzerlandian' in Switzerland. In these cases, the name of the country doesn't match with the name of the language. Then there's Slovakia and Slovenia: the language of Slovakia is slovakki and that of Slovenia is sloveeni. I don't know why it is so.

Otherwise I think this rule works just fine.

*Although a lot of people speak of Britain as 'Englanti'. :P

bulgaari - a person from Bulgaria (I've never heard this before)

So there’s no such word?

I know I'm awesome but I have my limits too - it's not like I knew every Finnish word that exists! :silly: No, I have no reason to suspect that bulgaari wouldn't exist. It's just not used that often that I would've heard it.

Also, don’t forget that English, Danish, German, Swedish, Italian and other languages I’ve studied have long vowels too…

Of these languages you listed here, it seems that Danish is the only one that truly has a distinction based on the length of the vowels alone. The rest of the languages do have vowels that are pronounced long, but they don't contrast them with short vowels in the same way Finnish does. Let me quote Wikipedia, which I think I can trust in this case:

German: "Although there is also a length contrast, vowels are often analyzed according to a tenseness contrast, with long /iː, yː, uː, eː, øː, oː/ being the tense vowels and short /ɪ, ʏ, ʊ, ɛ, œ, ɔ/ their lax counterparts."

Swedish: "The length covaries with the quality of the vowels, as shown in the table below (long vowels in the first column, short in the second), with short variants being more centered and lax"

English goes in this category, too.

Then there's Italian, where
"-- there is no phonemic distinction between long and short vowels but vowels in stressed open syllables, unless word-final, are long."


Moreover, none of these languages have long vowels in unstressed syllables. Swedish also has a rule of 1 long vowel/consonant per a word, so that the same word can't have both a long vowel and a long consonant.

In other words, you can find the long vowel only in the stressed syllable and the short vowels are lax while the long ones are tense. In Finnish, you can find a long vowel in any syllable, stressed or not, and you can have several long vowels in the same word. All vowels are tense, there are no lax vowels, so the length is the only difference between [i] and [i:], for example. (cf. English, German and Swedish [ɪ] vs [i:]

As a result, I'm not surprised that the speakers of these languages often struggle with the long vowels in Finnish: There's no [ɪ], which would help to tell the difference between a long and a short vowel. However, I've noticed that this is easier to learn than the unstressed syllables: Finnish has long vowels in unstressed syllables, which doesn't happen in English, German, Swedish, Italian, and maybe not even in Danish. (I don't speak Danish and I swear the orthography is almost as scary as the English one, so I have no idea how the words should be pronounced.)

That is where you had heard a short A, too: in the unstressed syllable. The languages you've studied won't help you there. (With the exception of Danish, which I don't know if it has long vowels in unstressed syllables or not.)

It's also possible that the length of a long vowel is different in different languages. For example, Estonian distinguishes between 2 long vowels (long and overlong) while Finnish has only one long variant; that is, both a long and an overlong vowel are heard as 'long' in Finnish. Maybe Finnish can have "shorter" long vowels than English etc have.

And of course I didn't mean that if your mother tongue doesn't have long vowels, you would never be able to hear or pronounce them. I believe you when you say you can tell the difference. What I mean is that the languages we know - especially our mother tongues - have an influence on what phonemes we hear. It's always easiest to hear the phonemes of your native language because you've been practicing that ever since you were born.

Moreover, many languages like Italian tend to prolong the stressed syllable and shorten the unstressed ones. If Bulgaria has a stress on the first A in Bulgarian, it could be that you're used to hear it pronounced a bit longer and count it as a short vowel anyway. That could explain why you hear it short in the Finnish example, too. This is just speculation though because I have no idea where the stress is. :D

My Finnish friend also told me that my /h/ sounds so harsh and German that he hates it. So every time I speak Finnish since that day I try to make it as soft and light as I can – like I almost don’t pronounce it :)

I checked Bulgarian phonology from my dear friend Wikipedia and it seems you don't have /h/ but /x/. Maybe you're using that in Finnish, too? :hmm:

Another explanation for your "harsh German /h/" that I can think of is that you use [h] while Finnish actually has a whole gang of allophones for /h/:
- [h] initially
- [xʷ] with /u/
- [ħ] with /a/
- [ç] with /i/
- [ɸ] with /y/
- some "intermediate quality" with other vowels; I can't find any source that could tell more what it is.
- [ɦ] between vowels

Most sources I could find say that you can also use [h] if you like, but maybe your friend is used to hearing [ɦ] between vowels and that's what makes your [h] sound too harsh for him/her.

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Re: How do you say “your face” in Finnish?

Postby Woods » 2018-01-19, 21:07

Well, this thing about closed syllables being strong grade and open ones being weak one is already failing:

sataa - ei sada

Actually, "In verbs, p, t and k are always subject to consonant gradation before a short vowel if they occur in the present indicative negative or in the 2nd person singular imperative." (Finnish: An Essential Grammar)

I guess syllables ending in a short vowel are still open ones, aren't they? So I should just remember that the negative/imperative is an exception?

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Re: How do you say “your face” in Finnish?

Postby Naava » 2018-01-19, 21:16

Woods wrote:Well, this thing about closed syllables being strong grade and open ones being weak one is already failing:

sataa - ei sada

It's not failing, the language has just changed from the days when the rule was born. If I remember it correctly, the older form was *ei sadak - a closed syllable. That's also why there's a syntactic gemination: eg. "ei sada tänään" is pronounced [ei sadat tænæ:n] and "sada jo!" would be [sadaj jo].

But because there's no way to tell which words and cases and conjugations used to have a consonant and which didn't...
Woods wrote:So I should just remember that the negative/imperative is an exception?

...yep.

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Re: How do you say “your face” in Finnish?

Postby Woods » 2018-01-19, 22:24

Naava wrote:It's not failing (...) the older form was *ei sadak - a closed syllable.

Okay, now it isn't anymore :)

Thanks once again for the valuable explanations!

Why don't they write these things in the books...

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Re: How do you say “your face” in Finnish?

Postby Woods » 2018-01-19, 23:09

Being on that topic, do you know why the possessive suffixes do not alter the stem?

katto: kattomme, kattonne

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Re: How do you say “your face” in Finnish?

Postby Naava » 2018-01-20, 9:38

Woods wrote:Thanks once again for the valuable explanations!

Np! :)

Woods wrote:Why don't they write these things in the books...

I wonder if anyone has ever asked the students what kind of books they wanted to have. :hmm: Anyway, I suppose they don't include history or etymology etc in textbooks because what they're doing now works. People can learn rules and irregularities by heart (and many are happy with that, or at least don't care enough to complain much) and maybe the authors are afraid people would be confused or mix up the historical forms and modern forms.

Woods wrote:Being on that topic, do you know why the possessive suffixes do not alter the stem?

katto: kattomme, kattonne

Hmm. I don't know and I couldn't find any explanation either. My guess is that:

A) It's almost always the last part of the word (kato-lle-mme, katto-i-ne-nsa, kato-i-lta-mme...). It's added to the case endings, which don't have weak/strong grade distinction. Because of this, people didn't realise the suffix should trigger a weak grade (*kato-mme, not katto-mme).
B) The singular suffixes -ni and -si don't form a closed syllable, so you use strong grade with them. Because of analogy, this was extended to the rest of the suffixes.
C) Possessive suffixes have always been a bit of a question mark. Different dialects have treated them differently: some have had them, some have had them when they've been reflexive but not when they've referred to someone/something else than the subject, sometimes they haven't been used at all. Maybe the standard language took possessive suffixes from a dialect that didn't care about strong/weak grade in this case (like there at least used to be a dialect that didn't have /ŋk/ > /ŋŋ/ ; for example, they say (said?) /keŋkä/ > /keŋkät/).
D) If there had been a weak grade with plural possessive suffixes, it would've created homonyms: eg. katomme is spoken language 'we are looking/watching'.
E) There's something in the history of the suffix that explains why a weak grade is not used. An example from Estonian: there are some cases that were (almost?) fallen out of use but which were reintroduced to the language. Because native speakers aren't aware of the "closed syllable = weak grade" -rule, they looked at other cases and what happens with them: most of them have a weak grade (like jalassa, 'in a foot'), so they took that stem and used it with these "new cases" even though it was against the closed / open syllable -rule. For example, the essive of jalg (FI jalka) is now jalana in Estonian. This didn't happen in Finnish, which is why the essive forms still follow the syllable rule: jalkana. Maybe something like that happened with the possessive suffix.

I don't know if any of these guesses are true. It might be that there wasn't one single reason for it, but several different things had a role in it: like if the main reason was A, then D could reinforce it.

It's a shame Finnish wasn't written before the 16th century. It'd be easier to guess what's happened if there was some proof of what the language was like. :(

(Btw, so you're in Finland now? How's it been? :) Is there any snow in Helsinki?)

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Re: How do you say “your face” in Finnish?

Postby Woods » 2018-01-20, 16:15

It's... windy as hell and very dark (usually if not by the time I wake up, then by the time I go out, the sun has already set, so I almost never get the change to see sunlight... and that's very depressing :(

Besides, I like Finns a lot!

There are two things I don't like - the fact that the city is huge, but at the same time not that much populated and it spreads very far out - so there isn't that much going on in the so-called centre (or I guess people are all cuddling in their homes avoiding the cold as hard as they can) and the second one: the darkness and the wind... the wind really makes it feel so-о-о-о-о much colder!!!

If I learn the Finnish language and get a change to study in the University, I can see myself living here. I guess I'll just join the club of six million people waiting for the summer half of the year and hoping it comes sooner :D

Yes, there is snow... It covered the streets like this week or so - before there wasn't much of it... And yesterday the wind was particularly quiet, so it was one of the warmest days I have experienced here so far.

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Re: How do you say “your face” in Finnish?

Postby Naava » 2018-01-20, 17:06

The struggle is real - when I was still in school, it was quite depressing to go to school at 8 when the stars were still in the sky and come back home at 15 when the sun had set. Like... if the sun had stopped shining one day, I wouldn't have noticed it for days. :D

But hey, we're getting more and more light each day! I don't know how long you're staying but you'll notice a difference. And if you ever come back in summer, you'll wish it was dark again. I did when I visited my friend who didn't have but a thin curtain that covered only the upper half of the window and was absolutely useless in every way. I woke up at 4 am thinking "I hate you" as the sun shone straight to my eyes. :lol:

If you ever move to Finland, I suggest you go to Vantaa. My friend yes the same who didn't own a proper curtain lives there and she says there's much less wind there. Helsinki is literally next to the sea so going away from there helps.

There should be master programmes taught in English in the University of Helsinki. I don't know if there are bachelor programmes, too, but if you do that in your home country you could then try to apply to the Hki uni. That's another option if you don't want to wait until you can study in Finnish.

Anyway, it's nice to hear you've enjoyed your stay!

Psst there's 5,5 million Finns. But you're welcome to join the club. :D

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Re: How do you say “your face” in Finnish?

Postby Woods » 2018-01-29, 21:29

Thank you so much for the warm welcome!

So as far as the weather is concerned, even if you somehow manage to go out when there's still light, and you're not too bothered by the wind to look around, it's still kind of depressing, because there hasn't been a single ray of bright sunlight going through these clouds for all the two months and a half I've been here... Like the clouds are always there and it's grey and dark - that's so different than winter in Bulgaria where you still have snow and almost the same temperatures, but the sun makes it so much warmer and nicer...

But... we have to trade some things for other things, I guess, and I'm really curious to see the summer, maybe it'll all change then - who knows! Have no idea if this could be my country, but so far I'm just getting depressed by the weather and struggling with the language :D

I will keep your recommendation about Vantaa, but even those who live in Vantaa still need to go to Helsinki, I guess, because that's where it all happens - like Helsinki is the centre, and Vantaa, Espoo etc. are just outskirts. But I was in Espoo last week and it's true that there seemed to be less wind!

Actually, the wind kind of quieted down a little bit here in Helsinki too. One of these days I felt like it was a cold summer night right after the apocalypse :D (I mean, it felt really warm, even though I was still wearing my winter clothes, and I hadn't seen sunlight for weeks, so I guess that's what the apocalypse will look like :D)

Talking of cities, what's Tampere like? Helsinki is too expensive, I may need to take a look at other places too. But since Tampere seems to be very small, it may not really be possible to get a job and survive there in the long run, who knows. But I guess it's less windy, there's a university and one of my Finnish friends told me that the chicks there are really hot :D (hope that doesn't sound offensive, but to me it sounds like a plus :D Also, it's one hour away from here by train (even though only God knows how expensive the ticket is, so it doesn't seem like you can travel to the capital every day) :)

Yes, only master programmes are available in English too, I don't know what the idea behind it is - I guess they would like to attract some brains who are already established in their fields, but at the same time want to make sure no one comes here for the education only and then goes away, so if you want to start from the beginning you have to prove that you're interested enough in this country by learning its language first...

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Re: How do you say “your face” in Finnish?

Postby Woods » 2018-01-31, 13:56

Hm, one more question - why does "rekrytointi" not have vocal harmony? - I thought "-ointi" was a suffix used to make a noun out of a verb (programmointi - is this how you say computer programming? I guess I've seen it somewhere), and therefore, I would suppose there would also be "-öinti" for words that don't have a, o or u.

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Re: How do you say “your face” in Finnish?

Postby Naava » 2018-02-01, 20:54

So as far as the weather is concerned, even if you somehow manage to go out when there's still light, and you're not too bothered by the wind to look around, it's still kind of depressing, because there hasn't been a single ray of bright sunlight going through these clouds for all the two months and a half I've been here... Like the clouds are always there and it's grey and dark

True. It's always cloudy in winter. I'd say it starts around October and lasts till spring, though it's usually more sunny in February-March or so than in November-December. It might be because the sun has more time to show up during March than in December. :D

I'm really curious to see the summer, maybe it'll all change then - who knows!

I must warn you there is a chance that it doesn't get any better. :P Last summer was absolutely horrible: clouds 24/7, rain, everything was grey, temperatures rarely got over 20 C. I really hope this summer is better. That was unusually crappy summer after all. What I see as a typical summer day is +20...23 C, sunny or partly cloudy, not much wind, OR +15..18 and rain, and these two are supposed to alternate. Also, mosquitoes. Everywhere. And light 24/7, although I've heard there's a few hours of darkness in Helsinki even in summer.

Of course I can't tell what weather in Helsinki is like because I've spent my summers about 400 km away from there. :D

Have no idea if this could be my country, but so far I'm just getting depressed by the weather and struggling with the language :D

A few more months and nobody could tell you apart from the locals. Congrats!

Actually, the wind kind of quieted down a little bit here in Helsinki too. One of these days I felt like it was a cold summer night right after the apocalypse :D

It's funny to read this today - I heard you had the same blizzard there as we had here (and probably even worse), and my friend described it by saying "there's Armageddon out there".

Talking of cities, what's Tampere like?

Well, what could I say? It's a city. It's a big city for me. I'm sure you'd see it differently because I'm from a small town and definitely not used to cities with so many people that they form a group on the pavement when waiting for the light to turn red. :lol:

There's shops and cafés and bars in the centre, and I've heard there's another centre in Hervanta (a few kilometres away from the actual city centre). A very nice main library, which I appreciate as a student. Nice public transportation - lots of buses and routes, I doubt there's any part of the city you couldn't get in on a bus. They're also building rails for a tram now. The rents and house prices are definitely cheaper than in Helsinki, but I can't say about other prices like food or goods. I don't know about the jobs because I'm a student, and even if I wasn't, I doubt we'd apply to the same jobs. There is a university indeed - three, to be honest. One of them is university of applied sciences, though, so it's not exactly the same thing. If you're interested, you can find their pages here: 1, 2, 3.

I don't know if the "chicks" are hot.

even though only God knows how expensive the ticket is, so it doesn't seem like you can travel to the capital every day

God, and me. If you're a student, it costs about 9-15 e depending on the day and time of your departure and how early you buy the ticket. If you're not a student, it's a few euros more; 20 e or so.
There's also multi-tickets:
"A 10 and 30-trip multi-ticket for long-distance travel is accepted on all routes marked on the ticket - in both directions. The multi-ticket is good for six months." If you're not a student, 10-trip ticket costs 168 e and 30-trip ticket 462 e for Tampere - Helsinki.

Guess who's used trains a lot during the last 5 years. :P

guess they would like to attract some brains who are already established in their fields, but at the same time want to make sure no one comes here for the education only and then goes away, so if you want to start from the beginning you have to prove that you're interested enough in this country by learning its language first...

Or they might not have enough money to teach everyone, and so they want to make sure that at least Finns can get their tuitions in Finland.

Hm, one more question - why does "rekrytointi" not have vocal harmony?

I'm not sure, but it's definitely a loanword and loanwords don't care much about rules. My guess is that it's because Swedish rekrytera ('to recruit') has an A there. If it makes you happy, there are google hits with "rekrytöinti" and "rekrytöidä", too.

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Re: How do you say “your face” in Finnish?

Postby Woods » 2018-02-01, 23:07

One thing I don't get - Copenhagen is also out in the sea, on the shore, it looks kind of the same on the map - but there's sun all the year round and the weather is so nice, whereas in Helsinki the weather is like hell (except that it's not hot :D) Maybe I skipped my lessons in geography but what's the difference :0

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Re: How do you say “your face” in Finnish?

Postby Naava » 2018-02-02, 8:06

It's more southern than the entire Finland. And it's just not Helsinki with the eternal cloud in winter, it's everywhere in Finland I've ever been. I suppose it's like that in Sweden, too, except maybe the southern parts.

I found an explanation from a meteorologist:

Syy pilvisyyteen on auringon lämmön puuttuminen.

Pilvisimmät kuukaudet ovat marras- ja joulukuu, jolloin keskimääräinen pilvisyys Itä-Suomessa on jopa yli 85 prosenttia. Kun aurinko ei lämmitä, lämpö karkaa maanpinnalta avaruuteen ja ilma jäähtyy.

– Kylmään ilmaan mahtuu vähemmän vesihöyryä kuin lämpimään ja tuo ylimääräinen kosteus tiivistyy pilviksi. Talvella sää pyrkii siis jatkuvasti pilvistymään fysiikan lakien mukaan. Täytyy olla jokin voimakas syy, että talvella olisi selkeää, toteaa MTV3:n meteorologi Pekka Pouta.


The reason for cloudiness is the absence of the warmth of the Sun.

The most cloudy months are November and December, when the average cloudiness in East Finland is over 85 per cent. When the Sun does not warm, the warmth escapes from the surface of Earth to the space and the air gets colder.

- Cold air can contain less water vapour than warm air, and that extra humidity condenses as clouds. In other words, the weather tends to become cloudy in winter because of the laws of physics. There needs to be a strong reason for the weather to stay clear in winter, says the meteorologist of MTV3, Pekka Pouta.


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