Friday, August 31, 2012

WordDive

Here's an interesting website, WordDive,  that I got to know while attending the LESLLA Symposium in Jyväskylä. I suggest that you give it a try, and maybe even purchase a monthly subscription to brush up your Finnish vocabulary. I already started a free Russian course!

Forming the passive


Forming the passive is quite simple with most of the verb types. Just add an or än to the basic form:

  • syödä: Syödään kalaa. - Let's eat fish. 
  • Ei syödä täällä. - Let's not eat here.
  • mennä: Me mennään jo. - We'll go already.
  • Ei mennä vielä. - Let's not go yet.
  • pelata: Pelataan jotain muuta. - Let's play something else.
  • Ei pelata tätä. - Let's not play this.

Verb type 1 verbs are the trickier ones, because you have to remember the possible consonant change and conjugate the verb in the minä-form. Then, drop the n and add taan or tään.

  • puhua: Puhutaanko siellä englantia? - Do they speak English there?
  • Ei puhuta. - No, they don't.
  • kysyä: Kysytään tuolta mieheltä. - Let's ask that man.
  • No ei kysytä! - No way! Let's not ask!
  • lukea: Luetaanko iltasatu? - Shall we read a bed-time story?
  • Ei lueta vielä. - Let's not read yet. 

If there's a long a or ä at the end, it turns into e before the passive ending.

  • laulaa: Mitä lauletaan? - What shall we sing? 
  • Ei lauleta mitään. - Let's not sing anything. 
  • antaa: Kenelle nämä kukat annetaan? - Who are these flowers given to? 
  • Ei anneta niitä kenellekään. - Let's not give them to anyone. 
  • jättää: Jätetään ne tähän. - Let's leave them here.
  • Ei jätetä! - Let's not! 

The past tense is made with the ending -(t)tiin. In the negative form, the ending is -t(tu) or -t(ty).

Verb types 2 and 3 have the ending tiin in the positive form and tu or ty in the negative form.

  • syödä: Me syötiin ja juotiin koko yö! - We ate and drunk all night!
  • Me ei syöty eikä juotu mitään.  - We didn't eat or drink anything.
  • opiskella: Me vain opiskeltiin.  - We just studied. 
  • Me ei opiskeltu ollenkaan.- We didn't study at all.  
  • juosta: Me juostiin koko matka. - We run all the way. 
  • Me ei juostu minnekään. - We didn't run anywhere. 

Verb types 1 and 4 have the ending ttiin in the positive form and ttu or tty in the negative form.

  • Me vain nukuttiin.  - We just slept.
  • Me ei nukuttu ollenkaan. - We didn't sleep at all. 
  • Me laulettiin karaokea. - We sing karaoke. 
  • Me ei laulettu. - We didn't sing. 
  • Me pelattiin korttia. - We played card games.
  • Me ei pelattu. - We didn't play.

Perhaps comparing the present and past tense helps. And since we're this far, I'll throw in also the perfect tense!

  • nukutaan > nukuttiin > on nukuttu
  • ei nukuta > ei nukuttu > ei ole nukuttu
  • lauletaan > laulettiin > on laulettu
  • ei lauleta > ei laulettu > ei ole laulettu
  • syödään > syötiin > on syöty
  • ei syödä > ei syöty > ei ole syöty
  • juodaan > juotiin > on juotu
  • ei juoda > ei juotu > ei ole juotu
  • opiskellaan > opiskeltiin > on opiskeltu
  • ei opiskella > ei opiskeltu > ei ole opiskeltu
  • pelataan > pelattiin > on pelattu
  • ei pelata > ei pelattu > ei ole pelattu

You might also like these posts: 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Impressing the in-laws

Some of you might be in a romantic relationship with a Finn and therefore have a life full of wonderful language opportunities with the (future) in-laws. Here are some useful sentences to use while sitting at the coffee table with the parents or even with the older generation.

  • Onpa hyvää kahvia! - Isn't this coffee great!
  • Suomalainen kahvi on maailman parasta. - Finnish coffee is the best coffee in the world.
  • Ei kiitos, minä olen ihan täynnä. - No thank you, I'm really full.
  • No, voin minä ottaa vielä ihan vähän. - Well ok, I can take a little bit more. 

Always be willing to help, do the dishes, milk the cows. 

  • Minä voin auttaa. - I can help.
  • Saanko tulla mukaan? - May I come along?
  • Totta kai minä jaksan! - Of course, I can!
  • Ei pelota yhtään. - I'm not scared at all.

These should be safe conversation starters:

  • Oletteko käyneet sienestämässä viime aikoina? - Have you been picking mushrooms lately?
  • Onpa kolea ilma. - It's quite chilly outside.
  • Saanko vilkaista tämän päivän sanomalehteä? - Can I check today's newspaper?
  • Katsotaanko puoli yhdeksän uutiset?  - Shall we watch the 20.30 news?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Mökki

Oh, mökki! It can be a modest cabin in the middle of nowhere or a fancy villa by the lake, but when you talk about mökki you have to focus when choosing the correct local ending.

Use the external cases when talking about mökki as a larger area:

  • Kuinka kauan sinä aiot olla mökillä? - How long are you planning to stay at the cabin?
  • Milloin te tulitte mökiltä? - When did you return from the cabin?
  • Tervetuloa meidän kesämökille! - Welcome to our summer cottage! 

Use the internal cases when referring to a specific building:

  • Kummassa mökissä haluat nukkua? - In which cabin (out of two) do you want to sleep?
  • Mistä mökistä tuo meteli kuuluu? - Which cabin is that noise coming from?
  • Tulkaa meidän mökkiin, kun kaikki muut nukkuvat. - Come to our cabin when all the others are sleeping.

Other often heard sentences with mökki:

Monday, August 20, 2012

Small talk


What to say when you unexpectedly meet someone you haven't seen for a while? In a situation where you only have a couple of minutes time to talk and no time to think about Finnish? Be prepared! Using these comments and questions, plan your own mini-conversation and get ready to do some serious small talk in Finnish.

Get started:

  • Ai, sinäkin olet täällä. - Oh, you are here too.
  • Ei ollakaan nähty pitkään aikaan! - Wow, we haven't seen each other for a long time!
  • Pitkästä aikaa! - Long time no see! It's been a long time!

Random questions, observations and reactions:

  • Oletko sä vielä samassa paikassa töissä? - Do you still work at the same place?
  • Missäs sinä olitkaan töissä? - Tell me again, where do you work?
  • Mitä sun lapsille/perheelle kuuluu? - How are your kids/How is your family doing?
  • Onpa sun lapset jo isoja! - Well aren't your kids big already! (ok, in written language: Ovatpa sinun lapsesi jo isoja.)
  • Milloin sinulla on laskettu aika? - When is your baby due? (Be careful with this one!!)
  • Vau, onneksi olkoon, tosi hieno juttu! - Wow, congratulations, that's awesome!
  • Ai kamalaa!  - That's horrible! 

Time to go:
  • Mennään joskus kahville ja jutellaan lisää. - Let's go for a coffee some time and talk some more. 
  • Olihan sulla mun puhelinnumero? - You have my phone number, don't you?
  • Ollaan yhteydessä. - Let's be in touch.
  • Olipa kiva törmätä! - Oh how nice it was to run into you! 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Finnish subtitles

Did you know that you can watch almost any Finnish programme on the Yle channels with Finnish subtitles? And, thanks to the new law, also MTV3 and Nelonen are now required to increase the amount of Finnish subtitles in Finnish shows. This helps the Finns with hearing disabilities, and Finnish subtitles are also great for foreigners learning Finnish, and parents with noisy children.

Here's a link to the Yle shows with Finnish subtitles. I'll find out if MTV3 and Nelonen have similar lists somewhere.

For some reason, getting the subtitles is kind of bizarre as you have to choose DUTCH from the language selection. Here's how Yle explains it, followed by my translation. It's a bit shorter, and I've also changed the order of the instructions to make it clearer.

  • Set the language by pressing the sub button on your remote control and choosing Dutch from the menu. If you cannot choose Dutch, the programme is not subtitled.
  • You can also get the subtitles through the text tv page 333 (Yle TV 1, MTV3 and Nelonen), 334 (Yle TV 2) or 336 (Yle Teema).
  • There's a text tekstitetty suomeksi in the beginning of the subtitled shows. If you're reading about the programmes on the text TV, starting on the page 300, a purple letter T after a name of the show tells you that it can have subtitles. 
  • You can also check out a list of shows that can have Finnish subtitles. 
  • If you want to have subtitles on the news, that's only possible through the text tv page 335. The subtitles are available for 17.00 and 20.30 news.
  • If you are watching shows in Yle Areena, click the TXT icon on the lower right corner. I appears after you click the play button.

Enjoy watching quality Finnish television! If don't have an access to Finnish television, these shows are available online even if you are not in Finland.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Kuulua

Mitä kuuluu? is probably one of the first phrases you ever learned in Finnish. By now you've maybe noticed that kuulua has also other everyday uses. The four important forms are kuulua, kuulun, kuuluin, kuulunut.

to belong somewhere or to somebody

  • Mihin tämä paistinpannu kuuluu? - Where does this frying pan belong?
  • Se kuuluu tähän kaappiin. - It belongs in this cupboard. 
  • Kuulutko kirkkoon? - Do you belong to a church?
  • Kenelle nämä avaimet kuuluvat? - To whom do these keys belong?
  • Ei kuulu sulle! - It's none of your  business!

to be audible

  • Tänne taakse ei kuulu! - We cannot hear you back here!
  • Mistä tuo meteli kuuluu? - Where does that noise come from?
  • Kiva, teidän tappelu kuului kadulle asti - Nice, one could hear your fighting all the way to the street.

to ought to

  • Hampaat kuuluu pestä kaksi kertaa päivässä.  - You ought to brush your teeth twice a day.
  • Lomalla kuuluu levätä. - You are supposed to rest on a vacation.

In case you wonder, to hear is kuulla, kuulen, kuulin, kuullut.

  • Kuulitko, mitä minä sanoin? - Did you hear what I said?

You might also like this post about kuulla, kuulua, kuulostaa and kuunnella.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Asking for help with Finnish

Do you sometimes feel it's hard to develop your skills when nobody corrects your Finnish? Or have you ever figured out that you've been systematically mixing tai and vai or saying normaalisesti instead of normaalisti for years while your friends and family have just been amazed by the fact that you can function in this language? Why don't the Finns help you out and correct at least the most obvious cases?

My guesses are that they are shy, afraid to hurt your feelings or just simply don't know where to start. They might also fear some horrible questions about the consonant change, object or the names of the endings, and choose to be quiet for their own sake.

Here are some simple questions you can ask after whatever you said and get the most out of talking with the Finns.

  • Voiko niin sanoa? - Can you say so?
  • Onko se oikein sanottu? - Is it correctly said?
  • Onko se kohteliaasti sanottu? - Is it polite?
  • Lausutaanko se noin? - Is it pronounced like that?
  • Kuinka se kirjoitetaan? - How do you spell it?
  • Onko se oikea sana? - Is it a real word?

You could also try these suggestions..

  • Voitko korjata, jos mä sanon jotain väärin? - Can you correct me, if I say something wrong?
  • Älä korjaa kaikkea. - Don't correct everything. 
  • Älä keskeytä, mutta kerro lopuksi. - Don't interrupt, but tell me at the end.

..or throw in the ultimate question miksi:

  • Miksi se on kiviä eikä kivejä? - Why is it kiviä and not kivejä?

You might also like my post How to make Finns speak Finnish, not English.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Hakea

Hakea has a couple of different meanings:

To get, to fetch something:


To apply, to submit oneself as a candidate for something:

  • Mitä sä aiot hakea opiskelemaan? - What will you apply to study?
  • Mihin yliopistoon sä haet? - Which university are you applying for?
  • Haen avoinna olevaa työpaikkaa. - I'm applying for the open position. 

When you are searching for something online in Finnish, it says hae in the box that you have to click at the end. That's the imperative for of hakea. In everyday life, I'd use the verb etsiä.

  • Mitä sä etsit? - What are/were you looking for?
  • olen etsinyt sitä kaikkialta. - I've been looking for it everwhere.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Selkouutiset

Do you get frustrated when listening or watching the news in Finnish? Try listening to Selkouutiset!

Imperative

The imperative mood, in singular, is a piece of cake if you know how to conjugate a verb in minä-form. Just drom the n and there you have a command. Add älä in front, and there you have the negative command.

Giving orders to one person:

  • Tule! - Come!
  • Älä tule! - Don't come!

Giving orders to more than one person, or being polite to elderly people, is a little bit trickier.  Here are some examples using the different verb types. Try to figure out the logic behind the plural imperative form!

  • Antakaa se minulle. - Give it to me.
  • Syökää lisää! - Eat more!
  • Opiskelkaa yhdessä. - Study together.
  • Pelatkaa ilman minua. - Play (a game or sports) without me. 
  • Valitkaa yksi. - Choose one.

In the negative form, just add älkää  in front of the verb and change the kaa/kää ending to ko/kö

  • Älkää antako periksi! - Don't give up!
  • Älkää syökö liikaa ennen peliä. - Don't eat too much before the game.
  • Älkää opiskelko liian väsyneinä. - Don't study while being too tired.
  • Älkää pelatko koko yötä. - Don't play the whole night.
  • Älkää valitko tätä. - Don't choose this.

So how do you make this plural imperative form, then? The secret is the basic form. You have to drop a letter or two from the end and then add the imperative ending kaa or kää, like this:

  • Verb type 1: (to give) antaa: anta + kaa > älkää anta + ko
  • Verb type 2: (to eat) syödä: syö + kää > älkää syö + kö
  • Verb type 3: (to study) opiskella: opiskel + kaa > älkää opiskel + ko
  • Verb type 4:  (to play) pelata: pelat + kaa > älkää pelat + ko
  • Verb type 5: (to choose) valita: valit + kaa > älkää valit + ko

This post was requested by a friend of mine who was wondering about the ko/kö ending in the sentence Älkää herättäkö minua.  Notice, that this ko/kö has nothing to do with the similar looking question ending such as in sentences Onko sulla rahaa?  or Mennäänkö taksilla?  (=Do you have money? Shall we go by taxi?) I hope this post was clarifying, not confusing! :)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Personal pronouns and endings

These things you've probably learned a long time a go, but just a quick reminder of the personal pronouns and verb endings. The most common spoken language alternative in parenthesis.

  • minä (mä) - I 
  • sinä (sä) - you singular
  • hän (se) - s/he 
  • me - we
  • te - you plural
  • he (ne) - they

Let's use the verb tulla, to come, as an example for the personal endings. 

  • minä tuleN
  • sinä tuleT
  • hän tuleE (double the last vowel whatever it is, except in verb type 2. Only one i in the past tense.)
  • me tuleMME (this one is different in spoken language.)
  • te tuleTTE
  • he tuleVAT (in spoken language, this would be ne tulee, so the same verb form as in singular.)

The four important forms are tulla, tulen, tulin, tullut.


Friday, August 10, 2012

nukkua - nukahtaa

In many cases, people seem to overuse the verb nukkua, to sleep, and deny a perfectly good verb nukahtaa, to fall asleep. Here are some examples of both verbs.

  • Nukuitko hyvin? - Did you sleep well?
  • En ole pitkään aikaan nukkunut näin myöhään. - I haven't slept this late for a long time. 
  • Antakaa minun nukkua! - Let me sleep!
  • Nukutko mieluummin ylä- vai alasängyssä? - Do you rather sleep on the top or on the bottom bed?
  • Mennään nukkumaan! - Let's go to sleep!

  • Mä melkein nukahdin. - I almost fell asleep.
  • Mä taisin nukahtaa hetkeksi. - I think I fell asleep for a moment.
  • Miksi se ei nukahda? - Why doesn't s/he fall asleep?
  • No nyt se vihdoin nukahti! - Well, now s/he finally fell asleep!

These are the four useful forms of the verbs:

  • nukkua, nukun, nukuin, nukkunut (to sleep)
  • nukahtaa, nukahdan, nukahdin, nukahtanut (to fall asleep)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Four important verb forms

When studying verbs with my students I like to introduce the past and perfect tenses quite early, as you really hear and need those forms in the real life just as much as you do the present tense. I also like to talk about the four important verb forms: when memorizing the basic form, you might as well learn three additional forms that will come in very, very handy.

These are the four forms. Let's use lukea, to read, as an example:

 1  LUKEA  the basic form
 2  LUEN  1st person singular present tense
 3  LUIN  1st person singular past tense
 4  LUKENUT   past participle, active

1. Lukea

The basic form is often used after another verb. Here are some random examples:

2. Luen

When you know the so called minä-form you can obviously talk about things you do, but you'll also know the weak stem of the verb, or at least are aware that there might be some consonant changes ahead. Check out the verb types for more detailed description, but don't take the consonant change too seriously and let stressing over it hinder your Finnish studies!

You can review the personal pronouns and endings here.

The minä-form also shows you the form of the verb in negative present: Just drop the n and you have the form to use with ei.

  • Minä en lue. - I don't read. 
  • Sinä et lue - You don't read. 
  • Hän ei lue. - S/he doesn't read. 
  • Me emme lue. - We don't read.
  • Te ette lue. - They don't read. 
  • He eivät lue. - They don't read. 

That is also the form you use when you make commands, e.g. the imperative form. (Tule! Mene! Syö! Lue! Kerro! Ota! Anna! - Come! Go! Eat! Read! Tell! Take! Give!) That is, giving commands to one person. It's a little bit different when talking to more than one person.

3. Luin

The past tense can be kind of annoying with the different vowel changes. You know, when you add the past tense i some other vowels might change or disappear. (There's a logic to that and I'll post about it later.) However, if you just memorize each verbs with this "method", you'll learn the past tense system automatically, it sticks to your brain like the worst earworm, and don't have to worry about it. Just like you might have learned the irregular verbs in English, Swedish and German. If there is a consonant change in present, it's the same in the past tense.

4. Lukenut

The fourth form is my favourite, because you can use it in so many structures, and it seems to be hard to remember that it is the form that you need in the negative past tense. Here are some examples:
  • Miksi sinä et soittanut? - Why didn't you call? (negative past tense)
  • Anteeksi, en muistanut. - I'm sorry, I didn't remember. (negative past tense)
  • Oletko käynyt Lontoossa? - Have you been to London? (perfect tense)
  • Minä en ole lukenut sitä vielä. - I haven't read it yet. (negative perfet tense)
  • Olin jo mennyt nukkumaan, kun ovikello soi. - I had already gone to sleep when the doorbell rang. (pluperfect tense)
  • En ollut vielä käynyt suihkussa, kun taksi tuli. - I hadn't taken a shower yet when the taxi arrived. (negative pluperfect tense)

Anyway, you will probably hear this form the most when people talk about what they didn't do. (en ollut, en mennyt, en ostanut..) It would be so logical to say en oli*, en meni* or en osti* as that is the system in the present tense, but now you know better!

p.s. Check out my Memrise course about the four important forms.

You might also like my post about the past tense and past tenses in Finnish.


herätä - herättää

These two verbs are easy to mix.  Herätä is to wake up and herättää is to make somebody else wake up.

Herätä: herään, heräsin, herännyt

  • Milloin meidän pitää herätä? - When do we have to wake up?
  • Mihin aikaan sinä heräsit tänään? - At what time did you wake up today?
  • Herää, idiootti! - Wake up, you idiot!
  • Herätä minut ennen kuin lähdet. - Wake me up before you go.
  • Voitko herättää minut kuudelta?  - Can you wake me up at six?
  • Älkää herättäkö minua. - Don't wake  me up. (you plural)
  • Miksi sinä herätit minut? - Why did you wake me up?

You might also want to check out my post about transitive and intransitive verbs.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Mullistaa

Mullistaa means to have a radical effect on something.
  • Sähköinen kirja mullistaa lukemisen.  - The electronic book will revolutionize reading.
  • Emme aio mullistaa heti kaikkea. - We're not going to turn everything upside down immediately.
The four useful forms: mullistaa, mullistan, mullistin, mullistanut

Monday, August 6, 2012

Luovuttaa

Luovuttaa is  one of those verbs that can mean different things depending on the context. Some everyday examples of the use:

  • Älä luovuta! - Don't give up!
  • Oletko koskaan luovuttanut verta? - Have you ever donated blood?

The four useful forms: luovuttaa, luovutan, luovutin, luovuttanut

(Update on 30.11.2013: I wonder why is this post so popular nowadays. Almost 200 hits in a week. Why are people searching for the verb luovuttaa?)

(Update on 20.12. Ok, almost 600 hits in a month. Please, someone tell me how you ended up reading this post! :))

Sunday, August 5, 2012

takia - takana - takaisin

I know a little man who always mixes up these three words! Here's the difference, in case he's not the only one:

takia = because of

  • Minkä takia sinä otit sen? - Why did you take it? (minkä takia = miksi)
  • Tämän takia siihen ei saanut koskea. - This is the reason (because of this) one wasn't supposed to touch it. 

takana = behind

  • Minä olen täällä sohvan takana! - I'm here behind the sofa!
  • En halua istua näin takana. - I don't want to sit so far behind.

takaisin = back to a certain direction (the body part back is selkä)

  • Anna se takaisin. - Give it back.
  • Mennään takaisin kauppaan. - Let's go back to the store.
  • Milloin sä tuut takaisin? - When will you be back?

Notice that if you want to say I'm back in Finnish, you have to use some other verb than just olla

  • Olen tullut takaisin! - I have come back!
  • Mä oon taas täällä! - I'm here again!

p.s. If you want to read more, Kielikello has a really good article about takaisin.

Passive

The passive form is a super useful thing to master, and actually quite simple to form, if you know the basic forms and the verb types or just take some wild guesses.
These are the most common cases when to use it:

1. Suggesting something

  • Mennään! - Let's go!
  • Soitellaan! - Let's call each other, let's keep in touch.
  • Otetaanko tämä? - Shall we take this?

2. Using the passive voice: not knowing or telling or caring about who does or did it.

  • Mitä sun kotimaassa tehdään itsenäisyyspäivänä? - What to do people in your country do on the independence day?
  • 80-luvulla osattiin juhlia! - People knew how to party in the 80's!
  • Meidän talo maalattiin viime kesänä. - Our house was painted last summer.
  • Tätä on suunniteltu koko vuosi. - They've been planning this for the whole year.

3. The spoken language conjugation for the 1st person plural or the pronoun me. This can be confusing sometimes as you'll hardly ever hear people use the me olemme type of conjugation expect when trying to sound official.

  • Missä me ollaan? - Where are we? (Missä me olemme?)
  • Me ei kerrota kenellekään. - We won't tell anybody. (Me emme kerro kenellekään.)
  • Me tultiin autolla.  - We came by car. (Me tulimme autolla.)
  • Me ei osattu tehdä sitä. - We didn't know how to do it. (Me emme osanneet tehdä sitä.)
  • Ollaanko me tavattu aikaisemmin? - Have we met before? (Olemmeko me tavanneet aikaisemmin?)
  • Me ei olla vielä syöty. - We haven't eaten yet. (Me emme ole vielä syöneet.)

Here's how to form the passive.
Here's a more detailed post about the passive voice in different tenses.

Tehdä

Tehdä is a tricky verb as it doesn't follow any of the regular verb type patterns.  The basic form looks like verb type 2, but the rest of the conjugation has elements from both verb type 1 and verb type 3.  The meaning is either to do or to make.

  • Minä teen - I make
  • Sinä teet - You make
  • Hän tekee - S/he makes (Se tekee in spoken language)
  • Me teemme - We make (Me tehdään in spoken language)
  • Te teette - You make
  • He tekevät - They make (Ne tekee in spoken language)

The past tense conjugation, positive and negative forms:

  • Minä tein  / Minä en tehnyt
  • Sinä teit /  Sinä et tehnyt
  • Hän teki / Hän ei tehnyt (Se teki / Se ei tehny)
  • Me teimme / Me emme tehneet (Me tehtiin / Me ei tehty)
  • Te teitte / Te ette tehneet
  • He tekivät / He eivät tehneet (Ne teki / Ne ei tehny)

Some everyday sentences:

  • Mitä sinä teet? - What are you doing/making?
  • Katso, mitä minä tein! - Look, what I did/made!
  • Kato, mitä mä tein ! - same in spoken language
  • Mitä te olette tehneet tänään? - What have you done today? 
  • Mitä te ootte tehny tänään? - same in spoken language
  • Tehdään pannukakkua! - Let's make oven pancake!

The four useful verb forms are tehdä, teen, tein and tehnyt.