Diclaimer: When I switch to a keyboard with an umlaut key, I can't type as fast so I will type the Finnish words below without the umlauts. Earlier this week, I learned that the dots above vowels are not called umlauts in Finnish as they are in German. They are called dots.
Finnish sounds like no language that I have any experience with and it is more closely related to Hungarian than Swedish or Russian. I can manage basic communication in French, Spanish and German but not Finnish. Thankfully, the Finns learn English from an early age, most Finns speak it very well, and are incredibly hospitable and kind. I'm moving past the disorientation of having absolutely no idea what anyone is saying.
Last week, I was at the Fulbright Finland Orientation on Thursday and Friday where we were introduced to some basic vocabulary and general rules. Some characteristics of Finnish are easier than others. Easy - Every letter is pronounced the same every time. Easy - The accent is always on the first syllable. Harder - she and he don't exist. There is only one pronoun, Han, for both. This does not pose a problem for me yet because I'm still focused on pronouncing single words but I'm sure I'll struggle if I advance enough in my studies to attempt sentences. Harder - Lots of double letters, both vowels and consonants, and like German, many long compound words.
What I have mastered and can recognize:
Moi = Hello Suklaa = Chocolate
Moi Moi = Goodbye Fazer (pronounced Fat-zer) = brand
Kiitos = Thank you of delicious Finnish chocolate
Kahvia = Coffee Kaksi = two
Tervetuloa = welcome luonno = natural (used w/ vegetables at the grocery store)
What I am working on:
Hyvaa = Good, pronounced HooVah
Huomenta = Morning
Hyvaa Huomenta = Good Morning
Orange - Appel
Orange Juice - Appelsiinimehu
Not sure I'll get there in 6 months:
Juoksentelisinkohmn - I wonder if I should wander around aimlessly?
Uusi Sisustusmyymala Avattu - has something to do w/ furniture. In a newspaper ad.
Here's a link to a blog about Finnish language with a page that includes the
10 best words/phrases in the Finnish language. It's where I found Juoksentelisinkohmn?
I am a high school art teacher from Boulder Valley School District in Colorado studying craft education in Jyvaskyla, Finland. I am in Finland through a grant from the Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching program and the Fulbright Finland Foundation.