Wikijunior:Languages/Finnish

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What writing system(s) does this language use?[edit]

Finnish uses the Latin Alphabet. However, like Swedish, it has 3 extra letters. These letters are: Å/å, Ä/ä, and Ö/ö.

How many people speak this language?[edit]

Six million people speak Finnish, most of whom live in Finland.

Where is this language spoken?[edit]

Finnish is spoken mainly in Finland. It is spoken as a minority language in Estonia, Sweden, Norway, and Russia.

What is the history of this language?[edit]

Finnish is one of the Uralic languages, originating probably some where in the Volga-area in the modern Russia. It had migrated into the Baltic area as early as the stoneage, several thousand years ago.

It is believed that the Baltic-Finnic languages evolved from a proto-Finnic language, from which Sami was separated around 1500–1000 BC. It has been suggested that this proto-Finnic had three dialects: northern, southern, and eastern. The Baltic-Finnic languages separated around the 1st century, but continued influencing each other. Consequently, the Eastern Finnish dialects are mostly from Eastern proto-Finnic, while Southwestern Finnish dialects share some features with Estonian.

Written Finnish did not exist until created by Mikael Agricola, a Finnish bishop from the 16th century. He based his orthography (writing rules) on Swedish, German, and Latin. Later, the written form was revised by many people. It was somewhat different from contemporary Finnish orthography as different letters (such as c, x, q, and w — nowadays much less common) were used.

The Reformation marked the real beginning of writing in Finnish. In the 16th century, major literary achievements were composed in Finnish by people like Paavali Juusten, Erik Sorolainen, and Jaakko Finno, as well as Agricola himself. In the 17th century, books produced in Finland were written in Finnish, Danish, Norwegian, Estonian, German, and Swedish. However, the most important books were still written in Latin. Finnish and Swedish were small languages of lesser importance.

The modern language was developed in the 19th century by the fennoman lingusts, mainly by Elias Lönnrot, the collector and writer of Kalevala, the national epic. He invented a lot of words in the language like fever (in Finnish: kuume). Modern literature started to develop in the later half of the 19th century with the publishing the first novels and plays.

Who are some famous authors or poets in this language?[edit]

Internationally famous:

  • Mika Waltari (Sinuhe/The Egyptian etc.)

Could be considered Internationally known or famous in certain countries:

  • Elias Lönnrot
  • Aleksis Kivi
  • Väinö Linna
  • Arto Paasilinna
  • Mauri Kunnas
  • Leena Lehtolainen

Mainly famous in Finland:

  • Minna Canth
  • Eino Leino
  • L. Onerva
  • Tommy Tabermann
  • Pirkko Saisio
  • Jari Tervo
  • A. W. Yrjänä

What are some basic words in this language that I can learn?[edit]

Tervehdyksiä Greetings
Moi!/Hei! Hi!
Terve! Hello!
(Hyvää) huomenta! Good morning!
Anteeksi! Sorry!
Hyvää yötä! Good night!
Mitä (sinulle/sulle) kuuluu? How are you?
Hyvää, kiitos. I'm fine, thank you.
Hyvästejä Good-byes
Hei hei! Bye-bye!
Heippa! Good-bye!
Nähdään huomenna! See you tomorrow!
Nähdään (taas)! See you!
Nähdään pian! See you soon!
Nähdään myöhemmin! See you later!
Yksinkertaisia ilmaisuja Basic phrases
Puhutko englantia? Do you speak English?
Missä vessa on? Where is the toilet?
Voisitko puhua hitaammin? Could you speak slower please?
Paljonko se maksaa? How much does it cost?
Pidän... I like...
En pidä... I don't like...
Minun nimeni on... My name is...
Numeroita Numbers
Yksi One
Kaksi Two
Kolme Three
Neljä Four
Viisi Five

What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?[edit]

Mustan kissan paksut posket. Lit. Thick cheeks of a black cat.
(Children's poem - language learning; to help distinguish between the pronunciation of '-ks-' and '-sk-'.)
Ärrän kierrän ympäri orren, ässän pistän taskuun. Lit. The R I shall put around a beam, the S I shall put in my pocket.
(Children's poem; double consonants.)
Vesihiisi sihisi hississä. Lit. The water demon hissed in the elevator.
(Children's poem.)