Linguaphile wrote: It's kind of fascinating to see all the ways in which the roots are used.
That's why I love this thread so much.
And hey, thanks for finding all these words and making the lists! Saying this as if I wasn't copying what h34 did first lol.
Linguaphile wrote:Estonian adds "soft, gentle" though, which doesn't seem to be one of the meanings in Finnish. (In Estonian I suppose that could be an extension of the meaning "fuzzy" maybe.)
Yeah I haven't heard anyone using sumea
for 'soft' but it kinda makes sense? If something has "non-sharp" edges, the edges look smooth, and if something is smooth, it's also soft... Or if you think about fog or clouds, 'hard' wouldn't be something I'd use to describe either.
Linguaphile wrote:I think it may be another one of those words that doesn't have an exact English equivalent. What do you think?
Sure, Finnish has lots of these tiny words that are used only in certain contexts (or with certain words). Like we have the word hipihiljaa
means 'quietly' and hipihiljaa
means 'very quietly', but would you say that hipi
means 'very'? It's not used with any other word or on its own. Same with täpötäysi
(completely full, very full; täpö
doesn't mean anything on its own) or putipuhdas
(completely/very clean; puti
doesn't mean anything). Ilmi
is slightly different from these because it has its own meaning (eg. tulla ilmi
, 'to be revealed') and it's not based on alliteration (ilmielävä, ilmiselvä
), but I still think it's more like a fortifier without one clear-cut meaning if you combine it with other nouns. If you translate these words, you would need to use something like 'very', 'completely', 'obviously', 'visibly' because English doesn't have a word for ilmi
. It kinda means all these things, but it's still not the same IMO. I guess the major difference is that you can use the English words quite freely whereas the words with ilmi
are almost lexicalised by now. You can't say that something very big is *ilmisuuri
, for example. There's a group of ready-made words with ilmi
and that's all you've got. I might miss one or two, but here's the ones I can remember/find right now:
ilmianto - denunciaton, tip-off, accusation, laying of information (from antaa - to give)(Translations from the MOT dictionaries.)
-----> ilmiantovelvollisuus duty to disclose, duty to inform [the police/the authorities], duty to report [to the police/to the authorities], duty to lay information, obligation to report to the police (velvollisuus - duty)
-----> ilmiantaa - grass on sb, grass sb up, expose, report, ark rat on sb, shop sb to sb, split on sb (to sb) (antaa - to give)
-----> ilmiantaja - informer, police informer, stool pigeon, rat, ark grass, nark, ark fink, denouncer, double-crosser, supergrass, snitch (antaja - someone who gives)
ilmiasu - phenotype (asu - appearance, outward appearance, look)
ilmielävä - in person, in the flesh; vivid, live (elävä - alive)
-----> ilmielävänä - in the flesh (-nA - essive)
-----> ilmielävästi - vividly (-sti - adverb)
ilmiliekeissä - ablaze, consumed by fire (liekki - flame; -issA - plural inessive)
ilmiriita - public quarrel, stand-up row, open conflict, open controversy, open quarrel (riita - fight, quarrel, argument)
ilmiselvä - obvious, evident, plain, clear, manifest, blatant, flagrant, patent, self-evident (selvä - clear, distinct, plain, evident, apparent)
ilmisota - shooting war (sota - war)
ilmituleminen - detection (from tulla - to come)
ilmitulo - disclosure, revelation, discovery, detection, exposure (from tulla - to come)
ilmituominen - disclosure (from tuoda - to bring)
IMO most of these have the meaning 'public' or 'obvious, visibly', although that is close to 'very, real'. But I dont think it's as obvious (:P) as in Estonian ilmvõimatu
Many of my translations in that section didn't seem to quite capture the exact meanings, to be honest.
This is so true, no matter what you're translating or which languages you're using. It's actually the first thing I learnt in translation studies: you never manage to avoid losing some part(s) of the meaning. It's also the reason why I decided I don't want to be a translator/interpreter. (After the two first periods in my first year at uni, we we're asked if we want to continue our studies in linguistics or translation module. I chose linguistics, but it was cool that I got to read one book about translation for the entrance exam and then take one (mandatory) translation course because now I don't have any regrets or what if-scenarios in my head. )
Translating is really difficult and I respect all translators/interpreters so much
. Especially those who do simultaneous interpreting.
I'm actually not all that sure what the equivalent expression should be in English.
. . .but to me it still doesn't have quite the right "feel" or connotation to it.
And this! You know, I study Finnish, literature, and English at uni. The first two are taught in Finnish, but English is taught in English. It's so horrible when I've had several courses in English and then I suddenly need to write an essay in Finnish - I'm automatically trying to write phrases like "in addition to this" or "in summary", and then I can't remember what they're in Finnish or it sounds really awkward and not academic at all. Or my favourites, however/nevertheless/nonetheless/despite this, which can all be replaced with kuitenkin
. You know the feeling when you realise you've been repeating one word througout the essay? Or when I've finally got used to writing in Finnish again and I suddenly need to write an essay in English and try to use Finnish syntax which just doesn't work
. Oh, the struggle! Ok this was a bit offtopic but oh boy don't I know how hard it is to translate things.
This is also why I like to give examples or describe the word instead of just translating it with other words. Even though patent
can mean the same as ilmiselvä
, it can also mean the piece of paper that prevents others from copying your inventions - and blatant and obvious kinda mean the same but I wouldn't recomment anyone to replace "isn't it obvious?" with "isn't it blatant?".
I'm really quite startled to find this error in Saagpakk's dictionary, because it's puzzling to me that Saagpakk would have made this mistake, but I'm really certain it's a mistake.
That's weird, but it proves that we're all humans and that anyone can make a mistake. And that you should never trust one source only.
Okay, so about ilme: regarding the meaning of "facial expression" it seems Finnish is relatively alone in this. As you mentioned, Estonian has it. But Estonian borrowed it from Finnish during the language reform (circa early 1900s), and ETY claims that in Finnish it came into use in the mid-1800s. None of the other Finnic or Saamic languages (or other Uralic as far as I know) have a cognate with the "facial expression" meaning.
Now I'm curious to know why we have a separate word for facial expressions when so many languages seem to do just fine without one.
I mean, it's a really useful word and I wish it existed in English for example! (I know you can say "sad face" etc but it's not the same.) But where we got it? Why has no one else come up with a similar word in other languages?
Also, two more words that I think have their roots in ilmi
- phenomenon, occurence ; prodigy*
- phenomenal, extraordinary, fantastic
Wiktionary says ilmiö
was coined by Paavo Tikkanen in the 1850s.(A bit offtopic but I absolutely love the neologisms in Finnish! There wasn't a uniform written language until the 19th-20th centuries, and no written language at all before the 16th century, so there was a lack of many terms and translations. Some people are famous for the words they created - some of these are still in use, while others sound absolutely hilarious nowadays. Did you know, for example, that Agricolatried to make us call lions noble deers? (Well we do have 'noble stones' (gemstone) and even English has noble gas, but it's still funny.) Or that he thought a proper name for 'graveyard' should be bone garden?
But I also like the words that became part of the language because nobody remembers that they were 100% made up by someone only a few hundred years ago. I mean, all words are made up by someone, sure, but we don't usually know the names or the dates when and who made them. My absolute favourite is sähkö, electricity, which isn't derived from any other word. Samuel Roos, who coined it, said that electricity reminded him of sähähtäminen, 'making a hissing noise', so there's some onomatopoeia - but it's not combined from other words like that creepy bone garden or a loan translation or simple add-some-suffixes-there-you-go.)
* Examples from MOT:
sääilmiö a weather phenomenon Huumeiden käyttö on valitettava ilmiö. Drug abuse is a deplorable phenomenon. Sattui outoja ilmiöitä. Some strange events took place. outo ilmiö esitelmätilaisuudessa a strange occurrence during a lecture Autovarkaus on yleinen ilmiö. Car theft is a common occurrence. Itsemurha on jokapäiväinen ilmiö vankilassa. Suicide is an everyday occurrence in prison. Kuten jalkapallomanagerit, kapellimestarit ovat nykyajan ilmiö. Like football managers, conductors are a phenomenon of the modern age.
Some new ideas:
(tingimata = necessarily, by all means; tingima = to condition, to determine)
This reminds me of
1 haggle, haggle over the price, bargain [over the price] ; 2 reduce the price (the seller) 3 compromise, moderate, reduce, lower)
- its abessive tinkimättä
(to the letter, rigidly, strictly, resolutely, unflinchingly)
(Examples: follow the instructions to the letter, strictly follow the instructions; perform one's duty unflinchingly)
Are these words related? They must be, they look so similar that it'd be a miracle if it was a coincidence.
I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before but: mure
1 sorrow, woe, grief 2 care, concern 3 anxiety, distress mure, mures
care, concern, worry [Southern Ostrobothnian dialect] murhe
sorrow, grief, worry, trouble