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Talk:Finnish language

Former featured article candidate Finnish language is a former featured article candidate. Please view the links under Article milestones below to see why the nomination failed. For older candidates, please check the archive.
February 13, 2005 Featured article candidate Not promoted
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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Finnish language:

There are no active tasks for this page
    • Expand the history section
    • Wikify the bibliography section (it looks like an advertisement!)
    • Incorporate the trivia section into the article
    • Simplify and merge the "basic greetings" and "important words and phrases" sections (maybe they should be deleted altogether?)
    • Add more examples to the language example section

    IPA vowelsEdit

    "1 Although conventionally and conveniently written with the close-mid symbols [e], [ø] and [o], measurements indicate that they are open-mid."

    Then why mislead people and write a note regarding the actual sounds in a footnote? O is definitely NEVER an /o/, it's always open-mid. The letters e, a, and ö, on the other hand, can be pronounced as either /e/ /a/ /ö/ or /ɛ/ /ɑ/ /œ/ (as already mentioned in Finnish phonology). Try it out for yourself. Look at the German version of this article. --nlitement [talk] 21:09, 26 October 2007 (UTC)


    The article states that "Two examples are the voiced dental fricative found in Rauma dialect and the Eastern exessive case." I was born in Rauma and I have never heard anyone from there use a voiced dental fricative. I am not an expert so I didn't want to remove that statement, but if it really used to be (I have no doubt that it isn't any longer) a part of the dialect I would like to see a reference. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)08:06, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

    Page 254 in Tapani Lehtinen, Kielen vuosituhannet, Suomen kielen kehitys kantauraalista varhaissuomeen (Suomen kirjallisuuden seuran Tietolipas nro 215, Jyväskylä 2007: "Lounaismurteiden pohjoisryhmässä esiintyy pari arkaistista äännepiirrettä: niissä on säilynyt soinnillinen ja soinniton dentaalispirantti ð ja θ. Suunnilleen välillä Uusikaupunki-Pori on siis sanottu viime aikoihin asti........ Kumpikin piirre on ollut jo pitkään häviämässä: ð korvautuu yleislänsimurteiseen tapaan r:llä....." --Dinji (talk) 21:35, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

    Dinji gives a proper reference, which is necessary. Personally, I have a 30-year-old colleague from Lappi (not Lapland but a minor municipality near Rauma). She actually uses the voiced dental fricative as a part of her everyday speech. For example, I remember her saying: Meill Lapis on nähty viimeaikoina suðei (English: Wolves have been seen in my home Lappi) Her formulation suðei instead of susia or surei is a beutiful example of the use of voiced dental fricative. (Well, I could not here any difference between d and ð.) --MPorciusCato (talk) 06:34, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

    Here is a sound sample from Eurajoki. (talk) 14:09, 20 February 2009 (UTC)


    On the list which counts up areas were finnish is spoken, it says Karelia and Ingria which are parts of Russia. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

    And your point is..? --ざくら 13:14, 25 December 2007 (UTC)


    this article is full of mistakes like finnish being spoken in other countrys the only contry that has the national language of finnish is finnish it self. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:51, 20 January 2010 (UTC)

    I think you meant is FINLAND itself ... the article doesn't claim other countries using Finnish as the 'national language,' only that some people in those countries speak it as their first language. HammerFilmFan (talk) 08:00, 19 February 2011 (UTC) HammerFilmFan

    The mapEdit

    The map listed in the info-box is incorrect. It lists Finnish as an official language of Åland which it aint. --DerMeister (talk) 15:23, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

    and all of Sweden is coloured in green even though the finnish speaking population only exists on a little spot in the north east, but Russia and Norway has only those parts coloured were finnish is spoken. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)
    There are many Finnish-speakers all over Sweden, not just in the "little spot in the northeast". Take a look at the other map in this article. --ざくら 13:14, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
    Actually, Åland is a part of Finland, and the official language of Finland is Finnish, therefore....... And I take it you've never been to Åland yourself (at least for more than a few days)..? Because then you'd know that there are, in fact, many Finnish-speakers living there. --ざくら 13:14, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

    To be exact, Finland has no official language. It has too national languages that are Finnish and Swedish. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:39, 15 July 2008 (UTC) Being an Ålander myself I agree with DerMeister and strongly disagree with Zakuragi. Yes, Åland does belong to Finland, but it is not just any part of it. Åland is an autonomy with its own parliament, own legislation in certain areas and its only official language is Swedish through international treaties. In fact, being unilingually Swedish-speaking is a prerequisite for Åland belonging to Finland as stated in the autonomy act. To me it seems Zakuragi is the one who's never visited Åland and if you did you probably did so in the summer when we have lots of Finnish tourists. Sure there are a few Finnish-speakers, but they account for a mere 5% of the population - clearly a minority language. Therefore, the map should be changed so that Åland is in dark green. TerriToniAX (talk) 21:13, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

    I changed the map to a more detailed one, File:Finnish language map, detailed areas.png. Samulili (talk) 08:05, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

    Whatever happened to the more detailed map? Now, the old map is back and it's absolutely wrong! The official language of the autonomous Åland Islands is still Swedish and if it were not, we would not belong to Finland anymore. —Preceding unsigned comment added by TerriToniAX (talkcontribs) 19:34, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

    I'm reverting to the more detailed map again. I suggest if anybody still has a problem with it that they remove the map completely or make a more accurate map themselves. The current one has no basis in reality. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:18, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

    The map shows all finnish speaking areas in Norway as non-official. In the commune of Porsanger Finnish/Kven is official language alongside with Norwegian and Sami. --Martin253 (talk) 18:27, 16 December 2013 (UTC)


    I was thinking about adding something about how finnish youth speak finnish in Sweden. For an example you can hear: "Haru femmaa lainaa mulle?" = direct translation to swedish: Har du en femma att låna mig? = direct translation to finnish: Onko sinulla vitosta lainaa minulle? = english: do you have 5(kr) that I can loan?. Note that this is ONLY a spoken language, when we write we write formal finnish. The part that I find interesting here is how you use both finnish and swedish grammar and vocabulary. Haru: sv. Har du, note that the u is pronounced like the finnish u (swedish o). Femmaa: this isnt even a word, it's from swedish Femma (nick-name for 5kr coin) with an extra A to make it sound better. Lainaa: typical finnish. Mulle: from finnish Minulle, shorter informal version. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 15:03, 13 January 2007 (UTC).

    How the Finnish letters ä and ö differ from their Germanic (German, Swedish) counterparts:Edit

    In my opinion all "arguments" following this statement miss the point. I'll lay it out point per point:

    * The Finnish sounds ä and ö, and their long counterparts ää and öö, are grammatically independent, often distinguishing unrelated words, e.g. talli "stables" vs. tälli "punch". German umlauts often correlate with distinctions of tense, mood, or plurality such as Rad/Räder for "wheel/wheels".

    This is not a valid argument: While it is true that German ä, ö (and ü) often carry grammatical distinctions as in Rad/Räder, they do often enough occur "in their own right" in modern German, as eg in Mönch, "monk", or Tür, "door", not to forget all those words < Latin, Greek like Präsident, Ökologie, etc. Also, there are minimal pairs just like Finnish talli/tälli, eg in many cases similar to Rad/Räder, but where the umlaut is the only difference, as in Ofen/Öfen "stove(s)". But there are also minimal pairs which do not fall in the umlaut-as-grammatical-marker category, eg the unrelated words Tüte/Tute "[paper, plastic, etc.] bag"/"hooter" or Süchte/suchte "addictions"/imperfect of v. "search". On the other hand, the distribution of a/ä and o/ö in Finnish vowel harmony could be seen as an argument against the "grammatical independence" of ä, ö in Finnish...

    * The pronunciation of ä and ö in Finnish does not change in diphtongs, or when followed by r, as it sometimes does in Swedish and German. The letters ä and e are not phonetically equivalent in Finnish.

    This may be true (is it?), but how does it tell us anything about the status of the letters ä, ö? Eg, German regularly pronounces final d as t, but this doesn't mean that d isn't a letter in its own right in German, either. I guess it's just the coincidence of Finnish having a more regular ("surface") orthography than German and Swedish.

    * The letter ä is very common, both on its own merits and for phonotactical reasons. Vowel harmony requires it for several grammatical endings such as the partitive case -ta/-tä, and it is also found in its long form, sometimes multiple times in a single word while contrasting with other forms, e.g. pää-äänenkannattaja "chief organ", tällä päivämäärällä "on this date"

    Granted that ä is much more frequent in Finnish than in German. On the other hand, ö isn't; and ä is also curiously frequent in Swedish. And there's also long ä, ö in German and Swedish, it's just not marked by doubling the vowel letter in writing. For vowel harmony, see above.

    * In German, umlauts are replaceable: ä may be written ae and ö as oe. This is not possible in Finnish, as ae and oe are vowel combinations of their own right, with very different pronunciations. Minimal pairs exist between ä/ö and ae/oe, e.g. hän "s/he" vs. haen "I seek". The custom of replacing umlauts with oe or ae can produce silly and unpronounceable results, for example in TV broadcasts of sporting events, when applied to Finnish names like Eduard Hämäläinen -> "Eduard Haemaelaeinen". The preferred method, if äs or ös are not available, is to use simple a or o as in Kimi Räikkönen -> "Kimi Raikkonen".

    First, I'm sure there are ae/ä or oe/ö minimal pairs in German, but I can't think of one now. There should be very few of them, though, but this doesn't tell us much about ä, ö's status, it's just due to ae/oe being very rare combinations in German. Second, the different replacement strategies don't show a difference between Finnish vs. Germanic Swedish and German, but between Finnish, Swedish vs. German! Swedish replaces ä, ö > a, o just like Finnish.

    * As in Swedish, the Finnish letters ä and ö are alphabetized as independent characters added to the end of the alphabet; the Finnish alphabet ends with "X Y Z Å Ä Ö". In German, the umlauted vowels are alphabetized together with their mother-characters, which is convenient given their grammatical role in German.

    At least here it's explicitely said that it's not Finnish which is special in its treatment of ä, ö, but German which differs from Finnish and Swedish. That's nothing but admitting that the whole argument doesn't make much sense, isn't it?

    Finnish does not use the visually similar diaeresis notation, as used in French and English words such as coördinate or naïve. In such situations either hyphen (when the vowels belong in different syllables) or double vowel (when the question is about long vowel) is used: koordinaatti, naiivi.

    German doesn't use it much, either (the only word I can think of is the Aleute islands' name: Alëuten; but cf. German Koordinate, naiv) -- for an obvious reason, and probably the same reason as in Finnish: you couldn't tell the difference between a-umlaut and a-dieresis, thus diaereses wouldn't reduce but rather augment ambiguity. Also, the second sentence is very misleading: is oo in koordinaatti a long vowel? Because in English it's not. Or should it read ko-ordinaatti? Why is there no example for the hyphen?

    The hyphen is used to disambiguate vowel sequences in compounds. When you compound "linja" and "auto" you get "linja-auto" (with two short a sounds and an optional glottal stop in between) whereas "*linjaauto" would be analyzed as a single word, or possibly "linjaa" + "*uto".
    There is also the case of the apostrophe, where inflection or derivation causes a short vowel to follow a vowel of the same quality; this is rare, but there are a few textbook examples -- two that come to mind are "raa'an"(genitive of "raaka" where the stem "raa-" is suffixed with the genitive marker "vowel extension + n") and "liu'uttaa" (derivation from "liu-", from "liueta" 'to become dissolved', + "-[u]ttaa" roughly 'to cause'; to cause something to be dissolved, i.e. to dissolve something)
    Feel free to try to work this into the article somehow ... era 14:31, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
    Note that 'liu'uttaa' means to make slide, from 'liukua', to slide, and to make dissolve is 'liuottaa', from 'liueta'. Hard to believe no-one spotted this before. -- 31.12.2011 — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:09, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

    If you've read through my broken English until this point, then you know what I think is the problem. Now decide what to do. My own proposal would be to just report the facts, ie name the existing differences like sorting order and grapheme replacement without spurious explanations, but dunno. Greetings, a visitor from Germany.

    Thank you for interest in Finnish language. I suggest we trust experts on the points and questions you have raised.
    As a nation we do tend to overstate the arguements for this, but in the mind of a Finn who also speaks Swedish and German, the entirely different role of umlauts in Finno Ugric (Hungarian is the same in this respect) languages in comparison to Germanic (inc. Middle English) ones is indisputable. You are right, many of the arguements above are specious on their own, especially the one based on alphabetical order, but it is a hard concept to get across. To me vowel harmony also plays a role, so it would be interesting to see what an Estonian thinks, as his speech doesn't feature this. I didn't think there were ae/ä or oe/ö minimal pairs in German. Would you treat us with some? Bendž|Ť 16:28, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
    As another German, the comparison with German Umlauts in the article seems wrong to me, too, and are the reason why I came to this talk page. As much as in German "ä" eg often replaces "a" depending on grammatical context, ä, ö, ü and ß are very much independent letters and sounds to us, too. They also exist in non umlauted words, eg "Bär", "hören", "für". They also form minimal pairs of meaning with their apparent sibling: "fordern"/"fördern" having opposite meanings. Saying "ü" is just a "u" depending on context is like saying "i" is just the same as "e", as it can also be used because of a vowel change. All of our languages have sounds that cannot be represented by standard Latin characters, in whatever way we use them. I agree however that ae etc. are a rare combination in German, so instead of not transcribing ä at all we prefer ae. (talk) 14:50, 12 January 2014 (UTC)

    Very long articleEdit

    I must say, I'm very impressed by the amount of detail that's going into this article! But if you have to put a table of contents in the front, I think it's getting a bit too long for a single Wiki page... Not only is it difficult to navigate for someone looking for a particular bit of information (since we don't have links to anchors within pages on wiki, and there's some resistance to adding such a feature), but the page is now over 45k long, and textareas over 32k can't be reliably edited with several browsers (Internet Explorer 5.5 and Opera 5.1 on MacOS are known to have such problems).

    What do you (who have been working on it) think of breaking it up into several sub-articles? ie, a general overview in Finnish language, then more specific pages; perhaps Finnish phonology, Finnish verb, Finnish noun, etc. Brion VIBBER

    Seconded. As of April 25, 2002, Finnish language is #37 on The longest articles. I haven't been working on it, but I've been working on another long page (wikipedia:Bug reports), and splitting it up into subpages helped a great deal. I'd say split up most pages that grow above 16 KB. --Damian Yerrick

    Awww, I was aiming for #20 :-) I'll put some thought into a sensible way to divide it up. Steve Day

    OK, now there are Finnish language, Finnish language phonetics, Finnish language grammar and Finnish language spoken. The grammar article is still 26k, so I'll think later about sensible splits. Steve Day

    Size of Swedish minorityEdit

    The size of the Swedish majority is said to be 6% here and 5% on Finland. I think the correct one is 5% but I'm not sure. I remember seeing a number of 250 thousand somewhere.

    I've updated the percentage to reflect the newest information from Tilastokeskus (2006) which is 5,49% piksi 15:21, 26 May 2007 (UTC)
    Hello, the real number of people was 90 000 or so, about 10 years ago and even then it was said that the numbebers are dropping it certainly is not anywhere near 5%. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:24, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

    It depends how you look at it. The real sweadish speaking minority is 0,55%. And then theres 5% that have atleast one parent that descents from swedish speaking family. Most of these 5% are fluent in both languages but prefer to speak swedish.

    Sä-passiivi - passive voice in FinnishEdit

    The article mentions the use of "you" as a passive, as it is sometimes in English. It is not that common, and hopefully it is a passing fad. If not I will have to come and hunt you down, as it is really REALLY annoying! (talk) 15:52, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

    Aletaan and JatketaanEdit

    Pasting from the article:

    • Aletaan and Jatketaan (Eila Hämäläinen & Salli-Marja Bessonoff: ISBN ??) [tr. Let's begin and Let's continue]

    These books are in Finnish. Together, these books and their associated exercise books form a fairly complete course in Finnish, roughly equivalent to the Finnish for Foreigners books. However, the production quality is not very nice - typewriter font throughout and poor layout. This book is not of so much use without a teacher.

    (A native finn would like to note that those words are strictly in passive form and are bad finnish if used to mean "let's". Sadly the correct "Alkakaamme" & "Jatkakaamme" are such clumsy words that they are rarely used. The words "Aloitetaan" & "Jatketaan" (also means "is being extended") are in use in spoken language. "Aletaan" is used in structures like "let's get going", aletaan mennä.)

    I thought this note would belong more on the Talk page, until someone comes to a conclusion certain enough to warrant just changing the first line of that. -- JohnOwens 21:50 Mar 22, 2003 (UTC)

    This isn't bad Finnish as such; just colloquial. It is quite widespread for Finns to use the passive form instead of the first person plural conjugation (when following 'me') or imperative (standing alone) as in the title of this book. We should delete criticism of the books but leave in their positive aspects. [[User:HamYoyo|HamYoyo|Contact Me!]] 03:07, May 31, 2004 (UTC)

    Book reviews: out of placeEdit

    Why are there reviews of books here? Reviews are subjective, not objective. Look at any book on and you'll see a wide range of opinions. I favour deleting the opinions about the books ("not too intimidating...", "slow pace", etc.) and just leaving the titles. Wikipedia is built on NPOV. Crculver 17:56, 29 Apr 2004 (UTC)

    Alphabet / orthographyEdit

    Why has the Finnish alphabet been reverted to a separate article when it is so interlinked with the information on Finnish orthography which is still under Finnish language?--[[User:HamYoyo|HamYoyo (Talk)]] 20:30, May 31, 2004 (UTC)

    Yleiskieli vs. kirjakieliEdit

    It is a common mistake in Finland to call spoken formal language yleiskieli as kirjakieli, which is actually written formal language . I corrected it in the article. -Hapsiainen 19:28, Oct 28, 2004 (UTC)

    I have never heard the word yleiskieli used, and can't really imagine what it might mean in practice as a differentiaation from puhekieli. I have found that puhekieli is the term used to describe both spoken and written. The differentiation between puhe- and kirja- seems to me to be well established usage. Kirjakieli is spoken, sometimes, by politicians etc and by foreigners. All/everyone else, incuding broadsheets (Helsinginsanomat), use puhekieli. The strong regional and youth dialects are also in both oral and textual forms. From all this, I question what the term "incorrect" means. While there may be numbers of Finns who believe in an "Academie Francais" type of approach to Finnish, that doesn't seem relevant as a yard stick on Wiki, even if such a thing were realistic. Kirjakieli and puhekieli, in my experience of general use, refer to both textual and oral formats. LookingGlass (talk) 11:53, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

    Vapaa - svobodEdit

    From: Ho Yan Chan: I was the one who said vapaa comes from Russian svobod, but you didn't believe me because you said I was a vandal.

    Notes on the revertEdit

    (Not very clear which revert. Is this related to the "svobod" comment above? Apparently not. era 14:48, 23 March 2007 (UTC))
    1. "tietokone" is composed of tieto, a neologism coined from tietää "to know (the road)", which in turn comes from tie "road", and kone "machine". Tieto does not mean "data" in the strictly scientific sense, but very vaguely "knowledge", "info", "some data", "facts", "trivia", "lore", and so on. If it was strictly "data machine", it'd be akin to Swedish dator, e.g. datain.
    2. sähkö- as a suffix means "electrical-", even if its independent meaning is "electricity"; English does not use a suffix like "electricity-" for "electrical-".

    Hello, the Finnish word "tieto" is in my opinion quite similar to the word methodos from, ancient greek, and I am pretty sure that it is indo-european in origin. Methodos means "trail", basically when something is done the same way many times, you get a trail to some place. This is then knoledge. The verb think is also a road metaphore "ajatella" (think) from "ajaa" (drive).

    But, tietokone is short for "tietojenkäsittelykone".


    Featured article?Edit

    I think it should be a featured article because there is much detail in it, and I just frankly think people need to know more about Finland! There haven't been that many featured articles about languages also. flockofpidgeons 23:52 11 Feb 2005 (UTC)

    Finnish /l/ soundEdit

    I've never commented on a talk page before, so forgive me if I don't follow the protocol properly. I wanted to ask people who know the Finnish language about something. It has always seemed to me that the Finnish L sound is different than that of, say, English. It almost has a flaplike quality to it, as if the tongue tip flaps down to the lower teeth... it's hard for me to define exactly. But all the literature I have seen on Finnish transcribes it to IPA [l]. Does anyone know whether this is indeed a different sound?

    P.S. I'll check back to this page but I should love it if you might write to me as well at .

    -Ian Pollock (posted at 11:34, 12 September 2005)

    (G’day Ian. I’m afraid I can’t answer your question, but I’m just saying as a courtesy that I’ve reformatted your post a bit. Also, it's nice to add a date to your posts so that people can tell when they were made easier. You can do that either with four tildes as ~~~~, which'll include your IP—if you get a user account and log in, which is very simple and requires no personal data whatsoever, it shows your username instead—or as five tildes as ~~~~~, which is just the date. —Felix the Cassowary (ɑe hɪː jɐ) 07:14, 12 September 2005 (UTC))
    ...and mark replies with that colon sign (:), which ensures their correct intendation. But, for the question. In the Tampere dialect, there really is a flapped L, which is orthographically nil (kyllä → kyä). This would be an alveolar lateral flap. But, I think that in every language, an intervocalic short "L" is necessarily flapped, as the articulation is physically speaking a tap. This is not a strong enough phonological contrast to be even noted in IPA transcriptions, let alone to be phonemic. Furthermore, in IE languages, L is typically either palatalized or velarized, while the standard (Western) Finnish L has no such contrasts. (Eastern dialects do near-phonemically contrast this, after the *deletion of word-final 'i'. Or so it is easy to reconstruct.) --Vuo 21:21, 14 October 2005 (UTC)


    It is unlikely that Agricola invented this word. Jalopeura (= elk by the ancient Finns?) was probably originally the constellation Lion and later, after being used in horoscopes, became the synonym of lion. --Jyril 21:25, Mar 24, 2005 (UTC)

    Another (more practical?) explanation is that in Agricola's abc book, each letter had an animal illustration. At that time I and H were adjacent letters (no J existed). H should have been illustrated by a Hirviö (=monster), i.e. the Lion, a totally unknown frightening animal. Letter I again should have been illustrated by Ialopeura (=elk). However, the letters H and I and their corresponding illustrations were mixed up in the print process. Well, as in the play "Keisarin uudet vaatteet", no one had the knowledge, courage or influence to dispute what the first book ever in Finnish presented as a fact. Hence the strange parallel name "Jalopeura" (=noble deer) for Lion in Finnish and the equally strange word Hirvi for our greatest and most valuable wild animal, the elk.


    Fun theory, but unfortunately, for "hirvi" the meaning of 'elk' is much older than 'monster', as confirms eg. the related word "sarva" in Samic languages (and "sarvi" is similar only by coincidence - the respectiv word for 'horn' is "čoarvi".)--Trɔpʏliʊmblah 16:23, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

    Republic of KareliaEdit

    I don't think it is an official language of the Republic of Karelia. And if it is, the Karelia article needs editing. 15:21, 24 Apr 2005 (UTC)

    Proposals to make the page betterEdit

    The proposed expansion of the page is already more or less outlined in a commented-out section by the original editor. Some additional material should be included as an intro to the grammar, after the link to the main Finnish grammar article.

    Besides expanding the current material, this page is one that needs, as it goes, tender loving attention. The section on orthography and the history of Finnish spelling is fascinating, but it does not really belong in a main language article; it should be merged/moved elsewhere, maybe to Finnish alphabet or Finnish orthography.

    The amount of work on the part of the original editor is remarkable, but regrettably, s/he repeatedly confuses or mixes orthography with phonetics and phonology. At some points it is impossible to tell whether (1) a phoneme split into two different realizations in different dialects, or (2) spelling pronunciation caused a grapheme to be misread differently in two places, or (3) whatever. Not being a Finnish speaker, I can't correct it myself without risk of error.

    --Pablo D. Flores 13:50, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)

    Adessive or illative?Edit

    See History, the last sentence before Agricola's work: 'maahan' and 'huoneeseen'. It was me who changed the case reference. L.S.

    Translation of puhelinEdit

    The article currently states puhelin "telephone" (literally: "thing for speaking") while the literal translation is "I spoke", the first person past tense form of "puhella" ("to speak") - This follows the Finnish custom of creating device-words from the past tenses of verbs in the first person: For example "vastaanotin" from "vastaanottaa" (reciever or literally I recieved from to recieve) or "reititin" from "reitittää" (router or literally I routed from to route).

    Technically speaking the translation is correct if you consider a telephone a thing for speaking (or router a thing for routing), but this is probably not the idea it's trying to convey.

    Not really, the -in derivational clitic has a completely different role from a first person past tense. Equally you could claim that the English plural -es is exactly the same as the English third person -es; like, "goes" is "many go".
    Plus, as far as I know, the clitic -in doesn't just mean "thing", it means "technological implement" or "machine which serves a purpose". The literal translation is not "a thing that speaks"; it's not even the verb puhua "speak" but its frequentative puhella "chatter". It's more like "an implement for conducting a talk". Cf. kirjoitin "printer" ("a machine which writes") vs. kirjuri "clerk" ("someone/-thing which does writing tasks"). --Vuo 20:40, 14 August 2005 (UTC)
    Yes, it serves another role - and the literal translation is a 'thing that speaks'. Taking for example (picks a random verb) 'juoksuttaa' what would the word 'juoksutin' bring to mind? It's still literally a past tense form of the verb even though when used to describe a device it would indeed be a device for 'making people run'. However the latter interpretation would need the device to be either present or well known and wouldn't change the fact that it's formed from the past tense form.
    Actually juoksutin means something, make a google search for "juustonjuoksutin" (rennet?). :) But anyway, I think Vuo is correct here. -- Jniemenmaa 15:16, August 14, 2005 (UTC)
    It is just a coincidence that the first person past tense is sometimes similar to the name of the instrument derived with -in from the same verb stem. Cf. avata ’open’, avasin ’I opened', avain ’key'; (alle)viivata ’underline', (alle)viivasin ’I underlined’, viivain ’ruler’; tummentaa ’darken’, tummensin ’I darkened’, tummennin ’darkener’; kaataa ’pour out’, kaadoin or kaasin ’I poured out’, kaadin ’pitcher’; etc. --Hippophaë 22:41, 14 August 2005 (UTC)
    My father has a jocular habit of calling keys avasin. JIP | Talk 13:15, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

    I heard older people talking about "avaisin" but usually they mean somekind of tool that opens something rather than key. Like can opener.

    But theres something very odd in "puhelin". Isnt the past form of "puhua" actually "puhuin"?


    The following text was at the New article Savo made a redirect here: The Savo dialect is one of dialects in Finland, the others including eg. Middle Finnish dialect and city dialect of Southern Finland. Savo is generally regarded as a "redneck" manner of speaking.

    10, 100 or 1000 lists are not encyclopedicEdit

    I removed the following from the article, as it's more fit for some personal site rather than an encyclopedic article. I don't think it belongs here, and if it does, it needs to be reformatted. A list of language-specific words, maybe? Sisu, sauna, löyly, and possibly kapulakieli would qualify. The rest aren't difficult to translate, and toimertua or vanhurskas are not a everyday words at all.

    • sisu: the notion of relentless courage and tenacity and the ability to try and succeed even against impossible odds.
    • sauna: a hothouse used for bathing in high relative humidity and temperature
    • löyly: the effect of throwing water on the stones of kiuas (sauna oven) in sauna. Used both physical (temperature, relative humidity, time) and social sense.
    • kaiho: bittersweet existential feeling of involuntary solitude and separatedness, and longing for something unattainable or extremely difficult to attain, like being separated from your spouse behind an ocean. Almost the same as Portuguese saudade
    • kuura: ice condensed from air humidity on window glasses or other smooth surfaces in frost
    • toimertua: for a lazyman to quickly refresh and to get doing things
    • vanhurskas: a person recognized as permanently and unshakably pious and apparently destined to Heaven
    • itsellinen: a person who is either standing on his or her own feet and creating his or her own fortune, or a person who is left completely on his or her own luck
    • pönkittää: to reinforce or support a structure (either physical, social or societal) which is about to collapse if left on its own
    • kapulakieli: artificial, complicated and very formal language full of foreign loans and structures, and which is almost impossible for a layman to understand, and whose understanding produces difficulties even for professionals. Usually found on legal documents and technical manuals. Close to gobbledygook. Another word, pekoraali, coined by Kirsi Kunnas, refers to a pseudo-language which follows concisely the rules of grammar and ortography, but where the words are pure gibberish and have no meaning besides being just arrays of phonems. Sanahelinä refers to grammatically correct text with words of intelligible meaning, but where the sentences themselves carry no meaning (compare nonsense). A puppugeneraattori is a computer program programmed to produce sanahelinä.

    --Vuo 13:02, 23 September 2005 (UTC)

    I agree, most of these can be translated with a lot less verbosity, like 'sauna' - sauna (as it is standard English) or steamroom if you want another word. 'Kuura' - frost (on a surface) 'pönkittää' - to prop up, this is used figuratively in English the same way as in Finnish so needs no further elaboration, 'sisu' - guts in American English, tenacity could also be, 'vanhurskas' is straight from the bible and means righteous, who are we to disagree with official Bible translations? 'Kapulakieli' would be jargon, or more specifically bureaucratic jargon. 'Kaiho' is a bit difficult, as it depends on the context, but nostalgia and longing can be both be described as kaiho in Finnish. Kaihoisa would be sentimental or sad depending on context. 'Toimertua' apparently is "to get going" but never ever have I heard or seen it used.
    I read an article long ago about the idea that certain things that have no word in language x cannot be felt by the speakers of language x, and an example was a word from a Polynesian language that, among other things, described the bittersweet feeling when thinking of far-away loved ones, and so on, and so on, and that does not exist in English. It was exactly as if they had been describing "kaiho." (In the article it was noted most people would actually feel the same as those Polynesians when remembering loved ones they are separated from, and thus that the theory is invalid.) It also made another comparison with Japanese (see also below), that it used to be believed that as old Japanese language had the same word for blue and green, then Japanese would have been unable to discern blue and green. However in no examples of old Japanese art do we have blue trees by a green sea...

    -- T.Salonen 31.1.2011 — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:02, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

    This reads a little like Douglas Adams' marvellous book The Meaning of Liff :) The idea of a separate list is good, but I don't think it's a list of language-specific words we need - more accurately, it's a list of concepts for which single-word expressions exist in only one language Adambisset 01:55, 30 September 2005 (UTC)

    Very good point. It's a pitfall of those who too readily want to talk about "untranslatable ideas" that what they're really talking about is the difficulty of taking all the range of meanings for a single term in source language (L1) and then finding a one-word translation for all these meanings in the target language (L2). Not surprisingly, this is often impossible to do. A well known example is the claim "There's no word/concept for 'privacy' in Language X." One often hears "Japanese [or some other language/culture] has no concept of privacy." But the problems with this reasoning are several.
    1. In English, the word "privacy" has a number of distinct meanings: shame, secrecy, protection of documents, solitude. Very often many of these individual meanings do have clear translations into the target language even if there isn't a term that by itself covers all of these English meanings.
    2. Words closely associated with "privacy" as derivatives or roots add even more distinct meanings: private (low rank in military), privation (suffering), privatize. Again, many of these concepts will have translations, although it's very unlikely that any single term in the target language will cover all these meanings.
    3. Japanese (or some other language) will have both concepts and words for many of the concepts covered by English |private|, even though there it won't be possible to find a one-word translation that covers all of the concepts represented by the English word.Interlingua 13:19, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

    The untranslatability of meanings in languages is due to several reasons of course. One being that all words have unique networks of connotations, and hence it is impossible to bring all of those along, and a professional translator will chose perhaps another word if it fits the context better. There are certain verbal phrases for instance which cannot be literally translated, there are word games and common metaphors etc. Also, cultures grow in a natural environment, and hence, even if one could use the word "lago" to translate the idea of "järvi" to a Spanish speaking aymara at Titicaca, it would be questionable whether the aymara could ever actually imagine anything similar to "järvi", or anything similar to what another Finnish person would, as there is nothing similar, naturalisically speaking in the eco-environment there. The word "vanhurskas" apparently meant vanha & hurskas before it was rendered into what it is now by christianity.


    I think that many of the words listed here have translations into other languages, but many of them also have a guarded place in the hearts of many Finns. As words are not physical objects but containers of concepts, and as those concepts are defined only through context and personal understanding, they are necessarily imprecise. All words (in all languages) have both a "concrete" dimension and an "abstract" dimension, the latter emerging from its cultural use at any moment: geographic; national; regional; local; occupational; social; etc. I rhink it is important to counterbalance liberalism and libertarianism with the observation that language is not only a form of communication but also a way of defining difference, hence it's nationalistic and jingoistic function in preserving and maintaining communities. LookingGlass (talk) 10:35, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

    Deer stop - PoronkusemaEdit

    A friend tells me the Finns have a unit of distance (almost certainly archaic) equivalent to the distance a reindeer can travel before needing a 'comfort break'. Please tell me this is true, and tell me the word if you can. Adambisset 11:53, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

    Poronkusema. Not in everyday or serious use and restricted (as are the reindeer) to rural Lapland. Googling tells me that it may not have an exact value. Plus the reindeer's pulling a sleigh. --Kizor 13:09, 29 September 2005 (UTC)
    Poronkusema has an entry in Finnish wiki ( which defines the distance as the distance a reindeer can run without having to stop to urinate. It also states the distance is approximately 7.5km (4.5 miles) That sounds odd to me. The English entry to Poronkusema redirects to a page Finnish units of measurement. There's an entry there for something very different indeed but I don't know how to undo these redirects so ... (talk) 12:39, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

    Wonderful! Thankyou Adambisset 01:47, 30 September 2005 (UTC)

    Meänkieli and Karelian languageEdit

    I removed the half-sentence and the classification of their dialects as separate languages is by many Finns perceived as instrumental to the oppression. This might be true for Karelian language in Russia, that I don't know. Regarding Meänkieli/Tornedalian Finnish in Sweden, however, this is rubbish. The term meänkieli was invented by language activists (in want for a better word) in the 1980s, not by the government or anything similar. The Finnish language had not been permitted in school not even during the breaks - in some places as late as in the 50s! - and "half-languagedness" (speaking two languages but neither of them very well) was a major concern. Finnish was seen as a problem, hindering the kids from learning Swedish. Today we know better!

    If someone wants to put that half sentence back, I wonder who are the Finns who percieve this. Finns in Finland, in Russian Karelia or someplace else? / Habj 23:27, 1 October 2005 (UTC)

    Oppression works in mysterious ways :-)
    Personally, I think Meänkieli is a tool of oppression. The fact that the "oppressers" are meänkieli speakers themselves does not make a difference. If the Tornedal Finns were true Finnish speakers they could demand their full language rights, including higher education in their native language, most likely in Finnish universities.
    By stating to be speakers of meänkieli, Tornedal people denouce their right to civilization in their own language and demount their Finnishness to a role only in the kitchen (Kyökkikieli).
    The Fennoman movement of the 19th century made Finnish into a true language of civilization (sivistyskieli). (This is today expressed by the fact that the Finnish Wikipedia is one of the largest Wikipedias.) This puts the Finnish language in a position like few other languages. Not all languages are equal, in most cases the speakers of minority languages have no other choice but to adapt the majority language.
    -- Petri Krohn 23:54, 3 October 2005 (UTC)

    I will be pretty longwinded, forgive me! Maybe you already know all the things I will say but it is important for my reasoning so I say it anyway.
    Your notice that the Tornedalian position of Finnish is somewhat "only in the kitchen"-related is correct. The linguists talk about the different "domains" of a language, different areas of life, work and official life that have their own vocabulary. Finnish in the Tornedalian area has lost most of these areas, that is very true - but Meänkieli is hardly to blame for this. Rather, it is a result of political decicions in late 19th century, to make the northern Finnish-speaking parts of Sweden Swedish-speaking.
    The most important part of the "Swedisation" of the Tornedalian area must have been when the schools started teaching only in Swedish. This was a political decision taken in the 1880s. This is where the process started that pushed Finnish language in the Tornedalian area (used in the widest sense of the word, i.e. the originally Finnish-speaking parts of Norrbotten) away "to the kitchen". For generations, it has been spoken only in the homes and in informal situations. School teachers forbad the children to talk Finnish in school, even during the breaks, as late as in the 50s! and so the kids were taught in school that Finnish is something bad. During the 60s it was observed that the kids in the Tornedalian area had the worst school result in the whole country, and the Finnish language was blamed - not the lack of training in their first language, as linguists probably would assume. The Swedish word halvspråkighet, "half-languaged-ness", was invented to describe the situation in Tornedalen - a result of opression of the Finnish speakers, no doubt.
    Different minority languages have different situations. In the US, there are people working on preserving different Indian languages that are disappearing and maybe only have a dozen of true speakers, those who has it as first language, left. Besides the lingustic part - the formulating of grammatical rules and collecting and writing down the vocabulary - there are language classes where people go to study the language of their ancestors, they publish children books for small children in this language etc. For these people there is no interest in bringing their language "out of the kitchen", nor is it realistic - it is all about pride and identity.
    On the other side of the scale, we have Swedish language in Finland. Swedish in Finland is very much not in the kitchen, but can be used in all kinds of situations. The Swedish-speakers in Finland have a struggle also, that can be described from many aspects and you probably know a lot more on the subject than I do. One of the aspects is to maintain their language in all the domains, so there does not appear situations that they can be handled only in Finnish. This would mean that soon the Swedish vocabulary in this area would be lacking, and their language would not be complete.
    The situation of the Finnish language in the Tornedalian area can be found somewhere inbetween these two extremes. In one sense they haven't been true Finnish speakers for a long time - at least for most of them, their language covers only parts of the aspects of life. I am sure there are Tornedalian people of many shades, who have very different status on their Finnish and very different feelings about it. I have seen and heard a couple of descriptions of people being ashamed of their Finnish in front of Finnish-speakers from Finland, since they knew they couldn't preak "correct Finnish" not knowing the modern Finnish vocabulary etc. but using Swedish words with Finnish grammatical endings. Mikael Niemi describes how the kids "talked Swedish with Finnish accent att Finnish with Swedish accent" not belonging to either group... the paragraph ends "We were nothing." As far as I can see, meänkieli is a part of a kind of "black is beautiful"-kind of movement involving many people whose Finnish is very far from a status where studying on Finnish-speaking universities would be a possibility. Trying to bring a language back to all the domains that it already has lost, quite some time ago - is it realistic? Is it worth the work? Or, do you settle for a kind of inbetween? i.e. maintaining what you have and being proud of it?
    In all the four municipalities where Tornedalian Finnish a.k.a. Meänkieli is an official minority language, standard Finnish is also. The languages/whatever qualify for the same rights regaring kindergartens, care of the elderly etc. On the whole, Meänkieli and Sami is supposed to have some special kind of status above the other official minority languages such as Jiddish and standard Finnish. However, the only aspect I have seen where this means anything at all is that the qualification for children being given extra language classes in their mother tongue is lower for Sami children and kids of Tornedalian background. All others, including immigrant kids from Turkey, are given these classes if they talk the language at home - the Sami and Tornedalian kids are offered these classes even if they don't speak it at home.
    Many people in Finland use comparisons with their own minority, the Swedish-speakers ,(maybe esp. the Swedish-speakers themselves do this) as a bases for their conclusions about Miänkieli/Tornedalian Finnish, but that comparison is not a very good one. History makes all the difference. / Habj 14:15, 10 October 2005 (UTC)

    Posessive pronounsEdit

    "Possession is marked with a possessive suffix; separate possessive pronouns are unknown. Pronouns gain suffixes just as nouns do." Minun kirjani (My book). Explain to me how this is absence of separate possessive pronoun??? It's possible to leave the posessive pronoun out, but they certainly do exists / 00:51, 14 January 2006 (UTC)

    Good question :) Yes, there is a reason. Minun kirjani is an emphasis: Minun kirjani on, ei ole sinun kirjasi, siis älä kirjoita tähän mitään! That is MY book, not YOUR book, so don't write anything inside! -andy 16:08, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
    (Disclaimer: I am a native Finnish speaker, but I have no actual linguistic competence.) Finnish does not have separate possessive pronouns, since Finnish has a good case system, and it uses genitive cases of ordinary personal pronouns (for example, minun is the genitive case of minä) instead of possessive pronouns. Furthermore, the use of possessive suffixes seems to be in decline (at least in spoken Finnish), and the genitive cases of personal pronouns seem to be the prevalent way to indicate ownership. (At least for me, saying mun kirja is much more natural than kirjani.)Punainen Nörtti 17:59, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

    I reckon that adjectives on -lainen do NOT follow vowel harmony! (fairly sure)Edit

    Interestingly I am NOT a native Finn but it seems I know it better! (Compare to people who learn English and know grammar better and more in detail than a native UK resident!) It is definitely HELSINKILAINEN with *NO* Ä. Yes, Helsinki has bright harmony because of the sole usage of e and i. BUT ... lainen is an exception! I can look it up in my grammar (Fred Karlsson, blue book) where it clearly states that -lainen comes from a Swedish word. EVEN FINNS DO THIS WRONG! (They may do it "wrong" with people's names ONLY, though, because this is the exception of the exception! [Hämäläinen]). But HelsinkiLAINEN! 100% sure. [edit] yes I'm right (without looking on the following page first), but for absolute verification, I will supply the Finnish article also: [1] -andy 14:01, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

    I'm sorry, vowel harmony is not a grammatical, but a morphophonological process. This means that the native speaker is right by definition. A native speaker opinion can be "wrong" only in the case the word is not understood properly; some people understand "tällainen" as a single word, although it is a contraction of "tän lainen". Understanding the word correctly restores the consistency of the rule. --Vuo 17:06, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
    Well, I have one blue book by Karlsson right here (Karlsson, Fred: Finnish Grammar. Porvoo, Helsinki, Juva : WSOY, 1983. ISBN: 951-0-11627-0 (translated by Andrew Chesterman)) and I can not find anything to support your claim. In fact, it supports the opposite (page 196). Perhaps you need to give a more detailed reference? And I strongly doubt that -lAinen could be a swedism. Finnish has a lot of swedisms, like "tulee olemaan", but I believe -lAinen is pure Finnish. If you refer to the fact that word "Helsinki" is itself a loan from swedish, that wouldn't support your claim either. It comes from older swedish form "Helsinge", of which one would form "Helsingeläinen", not from contemporary Swedish name "Helsinfors", of which one would form "Helsingfors(i)lainen".
    I also checked the formidable Iso suomen kielioppi. § 15 says that the only exceptions of vowel harmony are (in pure Finnish words containing only neutral vowels) merta and verta, and that if a word stem contains only neutral vowels, suffix vowel is a front vowel. According to § 17, if a loanword contains vowels from both groups, either back- or front vowel suffixes may be used (analyyttista ~ analyyttistä). But "helsinki" doesn't contain anything but neutral vowels! Furthermore, § 626 mentions the word "helsinkiläiset" as an example on how to use adjective as a substantive.
    Hämäläinen is exception in it's word stem: by basic rule it should be *hämeläinen. But that makes no difference regarding vowel harmony.
    What clarification does the Finnish Wikipedia article you referred provide? IMHO vowel harmony is better discussed in [[2]]. It is also consistent with Iso suomen kielioppi.
    Look for the mentioning of TÄLLAINEN in wiki_fi. Would have to be TÄLLÄINEN if the rule had caught. -andy 16:14, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
    The word "tällainen" follows the vowel harmony rule of compound words (that is, no vowel harmony). See [[3]], or for even better explanation [[4]]. The wiki_fi article also clearly says that status of tällainen is an exception, because it's not clear whether it's a compound word or a derived word. SGJ 16:25, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
    I'll revert your edit, but I'd really like to know what exactly does your copy of Karlssons grammar says. SGJ 15:52, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
    User:Vuo beated me in reverting speed by few seconds :-) SGJ 15:58, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

    If something was left unclear, Rovaniemi -> RovaniemellÄ -> rovaniemelÄinen (typical to Rovaniemi; habitant of Rovaniemi) because -lainen/-läinen is yet another suffix not to thought to be related to 'kaltainen', 'lainen' words. Note the genetiv in 'Helsingin lainen'/ 'Helsingin kaltainen' (similar to Helsinki, reminding Helsinki).

    Some grammar may accept hovering form 'analyyttistA' but I don't because the last vowel harmony rule detected traditionally has made the rule. I see that other rules will lead in chaos in Finnish language and the writer of the grammar has not understood his/her doings.

    It is helsinkiläinen, with an Ä. If the grammar book by Karlsson states otherwise, it could easily be explained by the fact that he (the author) is not a native speaker. In "Rovaniemi" (which is a compound word) only the latter part, "niemi" counts, so that is why Ä is used. "Analyyttinen" is a loan word that is already unnatural for a Finnish ear because of the lack of vowel harmony, so I wouldn't count it as Finnish grammar at all. -a native Finnish speaker

    Hmm.. I always thought that the -lainen ending comes from a natural extension of laji meaning type in English, which when it takes the -nen adjective ending becomes laji + -nen merged to form -lainen as a word ending meaning "typical of". I too was surprised to read Karlsson's claim that it came from Swedish. I thought most people would see the the laji connection to -lainen.--Tom 10:05, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

    I have thought that -lainen and -läinen are in fact two suffixes in one. First -la/-lä indicating a place and then -(i)nen indicating an adjective. Like "puna" = red (noun), "punainen" = red (adjective), "punala" = a place associated with red (noun), "punalainen" = something or someone from a place associated with red, Or "joki" = river, "Jokela" = a place associated with river(s) and a real place name in Finland. Jokelalainen, "someone or something from a place called Jokela", so it has twice the same -la suffix that indicates a place, literally "the state of being from/like a place associated with a place associated with river(s)". But that's just what I have thought. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 02:29, 8 January 2007 (UTC).

    Helsinki-läinen because he comes from place named Helsinki. Tampere-lainen because he comes from place named Tampere. Turku-lainen because he comes from place named Turku. Jokela-lainen because he comes from place named Jokela. Karjala-lainen because he comes from plance named Karjala. Härmälä-läinen because he comes from place named Härmälä. Pirkkala-lainen because he comes from place named Pirkkala. Pohja-lainen becayse he comes from tribe named Pohjalaiset. (who live in pohjaa) Hämä-läinen because he comes from tribe named Hämäläiset. (who live in häme) Pirkka-lainen because he comes from tribe named Pirkkalaiset. (who live in pirkka) Karja-lainen because he comes from tribe named Karjalaiset. (who live in karjaa)

    So two seperate groups atleast and repeat of "la-lainen" comes if the place name has "la".

    LoL I had to comment on this and thank all who lifted my day! It would at first seem true to say: Either there is a grammar for Finnish or there is not, there cannot both be a grammar and not be a grammar, surely! But there is! This is probably true for all languages, innit?! Know what I mean ol' skul stylee?! :D The frustration of students of Finnish is the blank refusal of most Finns, when speaaking with foreigners in English, to admit this is the case for Finnish. Agricola is a heroic character. But as the article says, Agricola in general failed, and modern Finnish emerged out of a nationalism, the same force which ultimately led to the nightmarish horrors of the civil war here. It is this fierce nationalism that obfuscates the Finnish language and makes it so hard to learn. As the article says there are two languages in Finland: kirjakieli (yleiskieli is a word that is seldom used and which appears to differ only in arcane ways) could be described as a "theoretical" language. Contrary to what the article says, it is not even used by newspapers. The tax office documents are written in it but local newspapers don't use it even if (sometimes?) Helsinkin Sanomat does. the newspapers use. The real language is puhekieli and the dialects are of this. As the article says there are really only minor variants between them, corresponding with accents/accentuation (Finnish is a quite somorous language for Europe I would say) and some local terms/words/phrases/sayings and the like. As with any language there are also the "slang" versions of it but these change every few years, for instance as used by youth slang which vies with itself permanently to moree and more abbreviated, as with "street" English. But as illustrated in what Vuo says: "vowel harmony is not a grammatical, but a morphophonological process. This means that the native speaker is right by definition", defining land putting boundaries around a anguage is a tarpit! Grammar is simply a set of rules trying to explain how things get to be the way they are, and how meaning is conveyed. Vocal harmony is an important rule to explain how this is done, how the stem of the base form of a word changes in doing this. But as wioth the other rules of kirjakieli, it is also so full of exceprions that as with the rest of the euro-centric grammar it features, it's almost entirely useless when learning puhekieli aka Suomi aka the Finnish language. LookingGlass (talk) 11:05, 14 November 2011 (UTC)


    I see that the list of features which 'highlights the fact that Finnish is not an Indo-European language' is also true, every bit of it, for Zulu and Xhosa. Maybe they're related from pre-proto-world languages :) Joziboy 15 March 2006, 16:46 (UTC)

    actually those features are quite common cross-linguistically, it's just that they happen to not be features found in Indo-European languages. --Krsont 15:31, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

    Too much material?Edit

    There's a lot of material, mostly disorganized, in this article. I wonder if curiosities like "longest words" are really necessary? There are also a lot of lists and detailed discussions. Shouldn't these get separate articles? --Vuo 19:40, 17 April 2006 (UTC)


    "tuottaa-," and "tuotteeseensa" are not forms of the same word. Tuottaa is a verb and not a noun as the other. "Tuote" is the correct base for "tuotteeseensa". If nobody disagress, could someone fix it in the text? --Hkroger (talk) 23:11, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

    Consonant gradation is a lenition process ... However, it is very common since it is found in the partitive case marker: if V is a single vowel, V+ta → Va, e.g. *vanha+ta → vanhaa.

    I'd be curious about the resource of this. How I've been taught is that the fact that *vanha+ta would surface as vanhaa is not a result of consonant gradation, rather a historical change from the old partitive ending in which *-δa changed to -a. Historically that alternation could have bee na result of the previously more productive stress and grade alternations, but in a synchronic sense the partitive marker is considered to be -tA or -A. Any way, my feeling is that the lenition shown in this example is historical, not a synchronic phonological process.

    The reason I'm not editing is because I want to know where (or perhaps when) this information came from, because I am suddenly somewhat unsure. --Ryan 10:45, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

    I guess what I mean, is that mene? and menkää may be a sign of an alternation, however the imperative was historically *menek, in which there was no alternation (some dialects apparently preserve this?). Maybe I'm just missing the point that lenition from some underlying representation to some surface forms means that there is an alternation. Lauri Hakulinen's tome on the structure and development of Finnish (Suomen kielen rakenne ja kehitys) at least mentions nothing of some sort of grade alternation with this. A better example of grade alternations in stems might be -tOn vs. -ttOmA-, and so on. I'm still curious about the source for that partitive information.--Ryan 14:11, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

    "karhu - bear"Edit

    Why is "bear" listed among the "important" words? Is one apt to run into bears frequently on a visit to Finland? "Beer" I can see, but...

    Bears were a sacred sort of animal which were feared, as according to ancient Finnish beliefs. 'karhu' was originally part of a phrase that one could use to describe 'bears' without actually saying one of the many other words for them. The idea seems to have been that if you said the word, you could accidentally cause one to come by (I'd say summon, but that sounds a bit different). --Ryan 12:36, 10 June 2006 (UTC)
    I removed "bear" - this is not a good argument for including it as an important word. Likewise, Anglo-Saxons may have believed in elfs but this does not make elf an important word in modern English. --AAikio 21:36, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
    Wasn't it the other way around - the many other names were invented to avoid calling the beast by its real name "karhu"? JIP | Talk 09:15, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

    No, the original word is(was) oksi.

    If tourists stay outside when I yell "karhu" they just might figure why its feared. You dont have that risk with english elfs do you?

    yes you do, also remember to leave milk on a saucer for them. Note there is a beer called karhu. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:42, 31 December 2011 (UTC)


    Raamattu is NOT a loan from russian, it is from estonian language. Beliewe me, im from Finland.

    No, it's not. Of course, Estonian has raamat "book", but this comes from Russian as well. As for the idea that being from Finland would make one competent in Finnish etymology, this is rather much like saying that anyone who has a heart can perform cardiovascular surgery. --AAikio 10:37, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
    The original word probably being Greek 'gramma' or 'grammata' -> Russian 'gramota'? Clarifer 12:32, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
    Yes, that is the case.--JyriL talk 17:36, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
    It would have been odd if Estonian had an original word for "book" as it is a fairly recent import as a thing. Well, Finnish has "kirja" but this is based on the word "kirjoa", to embroider, and possibly invented by Mikael Agricola. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:40, 31 December 2011 (UTC)


    I edited the section Classification, because the previous version confused typological features with genetic classification. Typology is irrelevant to linguistic ancestry, and thus many of the features that were claimed to prove Finnish's affiliation with Finno-Ugric, or its unrelatedness to Indo-European, really prove nothing at all. Also, the claim that postpositions are "uncommon" in Finnish is false, so I corrected this as well. --AAikio 08:39, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

    Unfamiliar vocabulary?Edit

    "There are few languages closely related to Finnish, thus making the vocabulary unfamiliar."

    Can this be said? This sounds like all the other languages in the world but Finnic languages would be closely related. I would say that the norm is that a foreign language has unfamiliar vocabulary. Like Chinese vocabulary isn't familiar for an Arab speaker, Japanese vocabulary isn't familiar for an Spanish speaker and Sanskrit vocabulary isn't familiar for an English speaker. So I don't think that it's necceccary to mention that Finnish has an unfamiliar vocabulary. (Besides, Finnish has loaned greatly from IE languages.)

    I think that someone has an agenda to push for making an impression that Finnish is difficult. To that I can say: Finnish is not difficult, it's just not related to your mothertongue. (Unless you're Estonian, in which case I'm screwed.) Internationally ranked, Finnish is comparable to Icelandic, but not to Chinese, Thai or other such languages which use totally different phonemic contrasts and grammatical principles. Compared to IE and some other groups, Finnish has very few crosslinguistically unusual contrasts. Therefore, it can be said, that Finnish is not an especially difficult language, it's just different from its neighboring languages. As a personal opinion, I might add that Turkish and Italian speakers acquire a virtually accent-, and error-free Finnish pronunciation relatively quickly. Furthermore, it is important to study the context in which Finnish is typically learnt. Finnish is usually not the second, or even the third, but just a "hobby" language for many people interested in linguistics. As such, as a relatively foreign language with its own vocabulary, it is a massive project to learn, as with any language not immediately related to your mothertongue. --Vuo 14:55, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
    Thanks for those great points Vuo I wish they could be heard more widely heard and accepted here in Finland! I think the reasons they are not are quite dark. Language is not only a tool for communication and understanding but also for creating separateness and division. LookingGlass (talk) 11:50, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
    I'm not Estonian. I'm Finnish, so I guess you're not screwed. But anyway, I think the article should anyway address the reputation of Finnish being a difficult language by giving possible reasons for the reputation, like Finnish as an non IE-language in the middle of IE languages, the way foreign people get familiar with Finnish language etc (although this might be original research). I only disagree in giving the vocabulary as one reason for the claimed difficulty.--Shubi 16:51, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
    I agree Shubi, but are those reasons you cite the only ones or even the main ones, or even particularly solid reasons? The more I learn about Finnish the less unique it becomes, but the more it seems to me that Romance grammar (for real Finnish - puhekieli) appears not to fit. Why should it? LookingGlass (talk) 11:50, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
    Commonly cited is the USA Defence Language Institute's classification of Finnish as cat. 3 language (out of 4) - same as Hebrew but less difficult than Chinese. Their categorizations are based on long experience of language teaching and should be very objective, but crucially, only relate to learners who speak English as their 1st language. However as far as I know no similar authoritative ranking exists anywhere else, I would imagine Russians might have come up with something similar? Anyhow, no other ones are well known and as such this has been left as a common yardstick.

    Why are so many Finns hesistant to speak swedish? In many cases when talking to Finns, they turn over to English when spoken to in Swedish. I do not think it should be necessary to have to speak English to an Scandinavian Neighbour.


    It's because we generally suck at speaking Swedish.
    Finland is not in Scandinavia. It is one of the Nordic countries. While there is some overlap, Finland remains apart from the group of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. And as for speaking English, even though that language imposes its own imperialism on Europe, by using it one can at least avoid the much more sore issue of recent Swedish-language imperialism. CRCulver 00:00, 18 July 2006 (UTC)
    What grounds do you have to say that CRCulver ? I am fully aware of how Finns loathe to be considered as part of Scandinavia./ It is simply because they hate the fact that Finland was a part of Finland for so very long, but besides that ... why should Denmark be a part of Scandinavia but not Finland? How do the Lapps feel about the Finns (whever they might be) colonising their lands? Politics, nationalism, jingoism all these distort the truth in favour of propagandizing some idealism. Not something Wikipedia stands for. LookingGlass (talk) 11:50, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
    Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and Icelandic are closely related, Scandinavian, languages. There is no particular reason why we should be lumped in with them , especially since the term "Nordic" already exists that can be used. "Nordic Countries" is a political entity, and to some extent cultural (we all like white pine furniture for example) - otherwise Denmark would possibly not be in it as it is adjacent to Germany and separated by sea from Sweden. Finland is for all practical purposes separated by sea from Sweden as well, as the Northern land-border is very far from the population centres of either country, so if there was some purely geographical division, the peninsula that forms Sweden and Norway would be one entity, Denmark would be part of Central Europe and Finland of the Northern Russian landmass. Iceland would be an island somewhere too far to even be included in Europe. There really is no other natural unifying feature for "Scandinavia" than the language, so we are then not part of it. I think we are quite happy and proud to be a Nordic Country, so I don't see this as a question of politics or jingoism, more as a of clarity. I get asked quite enough if I understand Swedish because I speak a related language, without enforcing this by referring to Finland as a Scandinavian country - where people speak a non-Scandinavian language.
    One reason also probably might be that Finnish speaking Finns aren't all that good in speaking Swedish. I myself have studied English for nine years and use it constantly and encounter it more often than Swedish (for example right now) whereas I have studied Swedish for six years and have had little practical use for it (even though having lived most of my life in bilingual cities), so I'd rather speak English with a fellow Nordic citizen. I'm more able to communicate in English and I's say this is quite common among Finns. If I'd speak Swedish my output would be something like "jag heter Topias" "jag har en svart kat" "jag tycker om jordgubbar" "jag förstodd inte vad du menar". In my case this has nothing to do with some attitude against Swedish language. It's a nice language I would like to know better, but my skills are just utter crap. (And Finnish is a difficult language? Oh my how many sleeples, angst filled nights I used to spend in high school wondering the miracles, oddities and exceptions of exceptions in Swedish grammar! :D ) --Shubi 15:41, 18 July 2006 (UTC)
    I fancy myself very good with written Swedish, but I am not so good at understanding spoken Swedish. Particularly riksvenska (real Swedish) is hard to understand. Finnish-Swedish is easier because of its more familiar intonation. JIP | Talk 17:44, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

    Perhaps the reason behind the line of thought that Finnish is somehow a more difficult language to learn than other foreign languages, derives from the fact that many Indo-European derived languages are so similar (to eachother). People that have travelled around, and in that context visited Finland, or that have worked there have mostly come from the European countries, and have been used to the idea that all languages have say articles, prepositions, etc. and that they are just different in different languages, but that there is always a correspondant. Spanish is more similar to Swedish than to Finnish in the above mentioned sense, and so is German, English, Italian, Greek etc. For any person familiar with European languages either as their mother tongue, or via English, French, or Spanish as the international languages, there is relatively little "already familiar stuff" in Finnish in comparison to the other languages in, let's say, the EU. In other words, the unfamiliar vocabulary arguement is valid because Finland has been internationally interacting mainly with European cultures, and not Fenno-Ugric ones. Secondly, there are visual superficial feature in finnish that make it seem difficult, such as the relatively long words, suffixing, double consonants etc.


    Using articles is not an Indo-European feature. For example, Classical Latin doesn't have them.
    The similar vocabulary of English and e.g. Italian is a result of massive borrowing from Latin. I've heard that over 50% of English vocabulary comes from Latin (including "basic" vocabulary, like "family"). Muhaha 19:09, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

    Finland - bugEdit

    When I click the link "Finland", the browser shows a strange dialog - why? -- Pavel Jelínek ,

    I tried it again today (17th august 06) and the bug occurs no more. Should I delete this paragraph from this Talk page? -- Pavel Jelínek ,


    tietokone "computer" (literally: "knowledge machine")

    Actually word tietokone is originally a short for tietojenkäsittelykone (information processing machine).

    The original word tietojenkäsittelykone is not a synthesised word, so this should be corrected.

    There are two "Teach yourself" books - help requestedEdit

    The article contained a description of a book by "Terttu Leney", with ISBN 0-340-56174-2. But the book with that ISBN is a different "Teach Yourself Finnish" book, by the author "Arthur H. Whitney". Both authors wrote books which were published under the name "Teach Yourself Finnish". Sometimes they are called "Teach Yourself Finnish Complete Course" or "Finnish (Teach Yourself)". But I don't know which exact title is the definitive title for which book.

    I don't own either book. One problem is that there was a description of the book, but I don't know which of the two books the author(s) of the description was talking about. If someone has either or both of those books, could they please add or check the descriptions in the article? Thanks. (See Finnish language#English_books) Gronky 16:06, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

    If someone is wondering what to say about each books, it would be interesting (at least for me) to hear which is more suited to beginners, which has better audio teaching of pronunciation (do they take care to clearly convey the sounds, or do they speak too fast). Gronky 17:07, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

    To make the page correct, I should move the comments (for we-don't-know-which-book) here. Here they are between horizontal lines:

    Quite good: the pace is quite fast as it covers all of FFF1 and some of FFF2, and includes exercises.
    There are a couple of irritations: the chapters are long and rambling without any clear focus, and the vocabularies don't always contain all the words used in the dialogs.

    Translation of exampleEdit

    Can someone please add translation of the example in the article?

    Hyväntahtoinen aurinko katseli heitä. Se ei missään tapauksessa ollut heille vihainen. Kenties tunsi jonkinlaista myötätuntoa heitä kohtaan. Aika velikultia. — Väinö Linna: Unknown Soldier; these words were also inscribed in the 20 mk note.

    Thanks. --Amir E. Aharoni 11:11, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

    "The benevolent sun watched them. By no means was it angry at them. Perhaps it felt a kind of compassion towards them. Jolly good brothers." JIP | Talk 17:08, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

    "D" sound in FinnishEdit

    The "d" sound is fairly rare in Finnish, but there is an interesting example in the book Antero Vipunen, with dialogue where almost every word has a "d":

    Pyydän saada uuden köyden, edellinen oli täydellisesti mädäntynyt.
    En tiedä, tohdinko, taidan tehdä tyhmyyden.

    In English:

    I ask for a new rope, the previous one was thoroughly rotten.
    I don't know if I dare, I think I might do a stupid thing.

    JIP | Talk 13:35, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

    In, say, Tampere this would be "Pyyrän saara uuren köyren, erellinen oli täysin märäntyny, en tiärä, tohrinko, tairan tehä tyhmyyren" - D is even rarer in actually spoken language.

    sama as a borrowed wordEdit

    Just confirming, sama in Finnish seems to be of Indo-European origin, given that the Sanskrit word (and also for Malay from it which borrows) also seems to have this. Why isn't it a more obvious candidate to mention though? John Riemann Soong 04:08, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

    Finn. sama is a Scandinavian loan (cf. Swedish samma 'same'). I didn't quite understand why this word should be mentioned? There are hundreds if not thousands of Scandinavian loans in Finnish.--AAikio 06:00, 27 September 2006 (UTC)
    Oh, okay. I thought the borrowing would have been much earlier. John Riemann Soong 10:34, 27 September 2006 (UTC)
    Sama is a Germanic loan, but older than Scandinavian, possibly as old as Proto-Germanic. The word appears in every Finnic language except for Livonian. (Häkkinen, Nykysuomen etymologinen sanakirja)--JyriL talk 21:54, 24 December 2006 (UTC)

    Set up redirectEdit

    Someone should set up the non-existent link "anticausative", found under the heading "Lexicon" to redirect to the actual page on Anticausal verbs. I would, but I'm really not sure how (so if anyone could tell me how...?)

    Input requestedEdit

    Hi. We could use some outside input over at Categories for discussion. In particular, here we have two people arguing over what to call Category:Finland-Swedish, and another couple of opinions could be very helpful. Thanks! -GTBacchus(talk) 20:57, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

    Biased view!Edit

    I'm not very serious here, but the section on colloquial language says that:

    onko(s) teillä — onks teil(lä) "do you have?" (vowel deletion)

    While some might say this others say it more proper, there is no s: Onko teillä -> Onk teil.

    Whoever wrote this must live in Helsinki since they claim that the Helsinki slang / uusimaa version of the vowel deletation is "the colloquial version". That version is barbarism :)


    The only people I have heard say "onk teil" instead of "onks teil" are Turkuans. So obviously you must claim that the Turku dialect version is the proper one. JIP | Talk 10:08, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

    You wouldn't say! tp

    Mä en oo tosissaan koskaan kuullu kenenkään sanovan "onk teil". "Onks teil" is proper colloquial Finnish (whatever "proper" colloquial Finnish is anyway...). Colloquialisms are pretty much tied to regional dialects, take the word minä for example, for a person living up north mie is the corresponding colloquialism while people here in Southern Finland use instead (and think that people who use mie are hicks). How can you take anyone who says miulla seriously anyway? It sounds like they're referring to a damn cat in the third person.
    Oh, and let's not forget about myö, either... Whoever thinks all Finnish people are grumpy and quiet and speak monotonously (like Kimi Räikkönen, infamously) has obviously never met a person from Savo. - 20:42, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

    Three-sentence translation request for a barnstar on EtusivuEdit

    Mzlla is a Wikipedian primarily active on Etusivu and on Meta-Wiki. He's done very useful work handling the Wikimedia-wide spam blacklist. Some of us at WikiProject Spam have given him a barnstar (well, actually a spamstar) including on his Finnish user talk page. (At least I hope it was his Finnish talk page -- I had no idea what all the Finnish editing commands meant!) In any event, if someone has the time, would they be willing to translate the three brief sentences? Thanks! --A. B. 19:44, 4 December 2006 (UTC)


    The article Patrick has the spelling of the name "Patrick" in most major European languages, but not in Finnish. Could someone who knows (presumably one of the editors of this page about the Finnish language) add the Finnish spelling to that article? Thanks. —Lowellian (reply) 19:01, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

    It's a bit difficult because there is no direct Finnish equivalent of Patrick. I assume that the closest would be the same as in Swedish, i.e. Patrik. However, all Finnish people named Patrick or similar that I have known are spelled Patrick. JIP | Talk 13:16, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

    Total speakersEdit

    The number refers to [5]. Is that really a reliable source? The data there seems to be quite old.. -- 20:21, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

    Finnish a minority language in parts of Sweden?Edit

    The current state of the article claims:

    "It is also an official language in Finland and an official minority language in some parts of Sweden, in the form of standard Finnish as well as Meänkieli, and in Norway in the form of Kven."

    Isn't Finnish actually an official minority language with no specific geographic constraint? Meänkieli is obviously constrained to NE Sweden (Tornedalen - hence the Swedish name Tornedalsfinska - "Tornedalen-Finnish") where it is autochthonously spoken, but Finnish (as it is used today in Sweden) is in practice a recent immigrant language which has no specific geographical area associated to it (even though some cities have a very high relative number of finns). Jens Persson ( 19:23, 21 February 2007 (UTC))


    Finnish has three different words for "body".

    • Ruumis: The oldest word. Originally equally referred to living and dead bodies, now mostly (sometimes, almost exclusively) referring to dead bodies. "They found his body by the river" can only be translated with the word ruumis.
    • Keho: A new word, invented in the 20th century. Exclusively refers to living bodies, invented only to distinguish between the living and the dead. A Finnish joke is about a man who went to a spa, and asked the masseuse to was his keho. The masseuse replied: "I can was your ruumis but you can wash your keho all by yourself."
    • Vartalo: The body (usually living), in an aesthetic or technical context, where the living/dead or philosophical viewpoints are not an issue. Primarily used in medicine when referring to body parts, and in art when depicting the body. Body painting is called vartalonmaalaus in Finnish.

    I am fairly sure this distinction is unique to Finnish. However I don't know how to incorporate (pun not intended) it into the article. JIP | Talk 20:26, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

    You forgot the counterpart of keho. The word invented for the dead body at the same time is kalmo but that is seldom used. --MPorciusCato 06:58, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
    In fact I did remember the word kalmo but I didn't know it was so new, I thought it was an ancient word like ruumis, so I didn't include it. JIP | Talk 15:38, 22 February 2007 (UTC)


    This source[6] has the 1993 statistics... Nowadays there are more people in Finland who speak Finnish as their native language. It also, stupidly, counts the so called Torne valley Finnish as a separate language - that division is used only in Sweden, not in Finland. Its merely a dialect. --Jaakko Sivonen 18:08, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

    Jaakko is right on both accounts, the number of people speaking Finnish is larger than Ethnologue reports (in contrast, the percentage of people in Finland speaking Finnish is lower now than in 1993). And counting the Finnish dialect in Northern Sweden as a separate language, as the Swedes do, is just politics and has nothing to do with linguistics. There are many Finnish dialects that differ more from Standard Finnish than the dialect in Northern Sweden does. JdeJ 01:48, 2 March 2007 (UTC)


    I don't think is good enough to be the first in the list of dictionaries.-- 13:44, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

    Nordic Language ConventionEdit

    I don't know if you would like to include some legal information on Danish from a new article I have created on Nordic Language Convention. --Michkalas 12:08, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

    Geography & cardinal pointsEdit

    These are a couple of aspects of the lexicon that struck me, as a relative latecomer to this fascinating language.

    • Names of countries At first Itävalta looks strange, but it is soon apparent that it is simply a calque of Österreich. But there are at least two countries that might be worth mentioning (& even explaining!) in this article: Ruotsi (Sweden) & Venäjä (Russia).
    • Intermediate points of the compass (Väli-ilmansuunnat) No IE language that I know of has special words for "southeast", "northwest" etc. I was once told that even the professor of Finnish at Helsinki University couldn't remember them all (though this is probably apocryphal). There is a useful mnemonic for them: Koiralle kaakao, lounas ja vuode! ("[Give] the dog some cocoa, lunch & [send him to] bed") = (clockwise from the NE) koillinen, kaakkos, lounas, luode.

    PS I now see that these Finnish "ordinal" directions are mentioned in the WP article on Cardinal direction. --NigelG (or Ndsg) | Talk 15:03, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

    I think I read somewhere that Ruotsi got its name from the Roslagen area. I do not know where Venäjä comes from, probably the same place as the Estonian Venemaa (not meaning "boat country"). JIP | Talk 16:41, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
    I also think I read somewhere the word Venäjä has something to do with an old word for trade or trader. As there were Russians trading in Finland since very far back, it could of course be the other way round, that "venäjä" or its root became to mean trader? C. "Kauppasaksa" as a trader, from trade - kauppa and saksa - Germany (from 'Sachsen'). I know this is not helpful. I shut up now. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:00, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

    The MapEdit

    Finnish is not spoken everywhere in Sweden so map is somehow missleading. Take look at this map instead. Unfortunately it laks the northern part where many finnish speakers reside.Aaker 15:59, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

    Areas with Finnish speaking population in per cent, in southern Sweden, 2005
    Great work, although your map is the same as Mikael Parkvall's at your source website... perhaps it could be expanded to the whole of Sweden if you can find the data. Also, I think you may have to credit the mapping authorities of Sweden. In the meantime, the current map is a recent "Update" of the last one visible at this revision. I suggest reverting it. Bendž|Ť 09:22, 27 May 2007 (UTC)
    Yeah I would love to but unfortunately i haven't found any source with all municipalities. I'm just a bit angry with all these locator maps for languages. I see a tendency to include the half of the world on them. Take a look at these maps for example:Aaker 20:28, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
    Finnish is still an official minority language in whole Sweden still. --Pudeo (Talk) 14:28, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
    Voilà, here's a map with all of the municipalities. Hope I'm not late... --ざくら 12:05, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

    Is this Finnish?Edit

    This was just put onto my talk page:

    "dorka ukko säkin oot Vittu säkin oot vaan yksi saatann tyhmä pelle ja luulet olevas jotain suurtaki"

    While running searches on the first word, it brought me to a page for Finnish slang, so I figured I'd check to see if the whole thing was Finnish. If it is, could somebody please translate it for me? I imagine it is an insult, and a deliberate attack on me, seeing as the only edit the editor made was on my page... --~|ET|~(Talk|Contribs) 17:06, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

    The guy made another comment here. Anybody got any answers? Gravitan(Talk | Contribs) 17:39, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
    Unfortunately, it's a rude insult written in spoken Finnish. SGJ 09:41, 9 July 2007 (UTC)
    Dorka is also slang and it has some typos as well (for "written" spoken language, that is). -- 15:15, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
    Is"unfortunately" on account of it being an insult or that it's in puhekieli? It often seems to me as if Finns apologize for using their language (puhekieli) with foreigners, as if only kirjakiela were "acceptable". Maybe that's to do with the history: Snellman etc.? Anywayz, I can only help with the words, not the meaning: oot = olet, dorkka = dork, ukko = old man säkin = säkki = a bag but as far as I can see it may also be a slang term for "copulation", so I'm guessing it means ("you're a stupid old f***er" - or something like that? :) (talk) 14:13, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
    Hmm, no. "Säkin" (sinäkin) = "you too". It's more like "you too are a stupid guy, (vittu) you're too just one fuckng [sic] stupid clown and imagine being something great". In slang, the word "ukko" doesn't necessarily mean "old man", as in literal Finnish; it can be for example a video game character or just a "guy". The clitic "-kin" is difficult to translate directly, it would literally mean "also" or "indeed", but in this case it's a direct expression of belittlement, as if making a list and the target of the derision being the last and least to be mentioned. No, you cannot freely interchange long and short phonemes in Finnish, "säkin" and "säkki" mean different and unrelated things. And no, "säkki" has no "copulation" alternative meanings. --vuo (talk) 21:18, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
     :D Säkin as a form of the word the sack "avasin säkin" - I opened the sack, and "säkin" - you too, as in above, are homonyms... This can easily happen with foreign loan words that are homonymous or near homonymous to a Finnish word. Compare to 'kurkku' - throat and 'kurkku' - gherkin or cucumber. As already said, säkki has no double meaning in the sexual sense, and neither does 'ruuvi' - screw. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:19, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

    Speakers in FINLAND:Edit


    Finnish (suomi (help·info), or suomen kieli) is the language spoken by the majority of the population in Finland (91.7%)

    /end of Quote.

    I think that this i line here is more than incorrect, cause first of all there isnt "swedish speakers" nearly as much as official sources claim (90 000 is not 5% of 5 500 000!!! and in total there is about 200 000 people from foreign nations in finland, this also is not nearly 10% of same number..), in fact almost all people that CHOOSE to label themselfs as swedish speakers in finland, speak finnish as good or actually better than swedish, also even african refugees that have been here for a year or 2 speak finnish, and certainly of people that actually have a citizenship nearly if not 100% speak finnish, its totally another thing what they choose to declare as their language and that has nothing to do with with speaking finnish, but just with the fact that this is a free country and if somebody likes to declare they speak swedish or turkish or russian rather than finland then so be it, but it doesnt mean these people dont speak finnish also. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:18, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

    What is meant is spoken as a MOTHER TONGUE, there are large numbers of eg. descendants of immigrants who moved in the 19th century who speak perfectly fluent and in no way different Finnish than the rest of us, in public, but who would at home use Russian or Tatar. They may be for all practical purposes bilingual but they would still consider another language to be their home or mother tongue. It's not like foreign language speakers in UK do not also speak English. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:24, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

    Non-Finnish speakersEdit

    It makes sense to include the Swedish-speakers due to the profound and extensive effects of the Swedish language and the Finland-Swedes on the Finnish language. The Sami could also be mentioned. Other languages, as recent immigrant languages, have had only marginal impact on the Finnish language. The main article about languages in Finland is Demographics of Finland. --Vuo 21:29, 10 October 2007 (UTC)

    The sentence "The majority of the population of Finland, 91.51 % as of 2006, speak Finnish as their first language" will probably make many readers wonder what the remaining 8.49 % speak. There is no harm in spending a single sentence on answering that question. Timeineurope 22:19, 10 October 2007 (UTC)
    Hardly, we can mention Swedish and "other languages" since those other languages are spoken by marginal groups only. This article is about the Finnish language, not the Demographics of Finland and even less small foreign languages spoken by immigrants in Finland. And to speak of "other languages spoken by minorities in the region" is not the standard in other language articles either, not for example in Swedish language although Sweden has more linguistic and ethnical minorities than Finland. -- 23:16, 10 October 2007 (UTC)


    Kven enjoys protection as a minority language in Norway and is not a Finnish dialect (which the article states). Kven is an own language closely related to Finnish. The same counts for Meänkieli. take a look at Kven_language. If you call Kven and Meänkieli Finnish dialects just because of the simularities in the languages, you'd also have to call for example Norwegian, Swedish and Danish the same language. Might also like to add that at least Kven (i dont know about Meänkieli) has it's own written language which differ from Finnish. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

    The reason why Kven is called a "language" and not a dialect is political, not linguistic. As a native Finnish-speaker I can attest that Kven is very close to standard Finnish. Let's just compare:
    (from Ruijan kaiku)
    – Met piämä kontaktii uushiin jäsenhiin monela tavala. Työjoukko tekkee kans suunitelman kunka met saama uussii jäsenii, Johansen sannoo.
    Standard Finnish:
    – Me pidämme yhteyttä uusiin jäseniin monella tavalla. Työjoukko [työryhmä would be better Finnish, but työjoukko is correct] tekee kanssa [rather than kanssa, Finns would use myös here] suunnitelman, kuinka me saamme uusia jäseniä, Johansen sanoo.
    I'm not a Kven-speaker myself, and the text had a few (but only a few) words I didn't understand, but as you can see, Kven is very close to Finnish.
    Frankly, there are some Finnish dialects that are far more incomprehensible to ordinary Finns than the Kven "language". The Rauma dialect is one example.
    Also, the language status of Kven itself can be considered disputed at best, since Finns officially consider Kven part of the Far-Northern dialect group, not as its own language. --ざくら 21:36, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
    I'll have to disagree on a little point: in my opinion, myös is just an officialism, kans or kanssa is what Finnish people in Finland really use. But maybe it's because of a dialect. --Vuo (talk) 22:47, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
    Well yeah, myös is more official than kanssa. But in an article, like the one above, myös would be the better word IMO. --ざくら 13:14, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

    First of all there are more dialects among the Kvens, those who lived close to the finnish border are obviously more influenced by modern finnish. Anyway, this was pointed out: The reason why Kven is called a "language" and not a dialect is political, not linguistic. As a native Finnish-speaker I can attest that Kven is very close to standard Finnish. Let's just compare. If you compare Norwegian(Bokmål) sentence to Danish you'll get the same result. From a linguistic point of view you can also argue that Swedish, Danish and Norwegian are dialects of the same language. Still as a political and historical result they are known as three languages, and there are some differences between them. Thats more or less the same situation as with Kven, it doesnt make it less an own language. An even better example, because its also an imigrant language, is Afrikaans. Afrikaans has developed from Dutch colonists, and from a linguistic point of view you can say also about Afrikaans that it's really not an own language, just a Dutch dialect. Frankly, if you speak official Dutch there are Dutch dialects which are much harder to understand than Afrikaans. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:44, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

    Good point, but as I said, the status of Kven as its own language is disputed, as it is considered a mere dialect in Finland. --ざくら 17:12, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
    Well as this isn't a Finnish wikipedia, rather some international standard should be used. If not an international one, the Norwegian classification (an own language (national minority)) should be the one used as it is a language in Norway. Norway recognises languages of national minorities and indigenous peoples so that should be no problem. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:27, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
    By the way it is in any case wrong that Finnish is an official minority language in Norway. However Kven has got that kind of status. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:08, 27 December 2007 (UTC)
    In my opinion, this discussion has shown that there are two clearly identifiable, notable opinions. Finnish language officials and scholars clearly consider Kven to be part of Northern dialect group, and the Norwegian government and at least part of the minority considers Kven to be a language of its own. Both opinions must be noted in the article and given about equal weight (the Fennophone community as a whole is about as important opinion-holder as the Norwegian government).
    BTW, the question whether a small minority speaks its own language or a dialect of the neighbouring country is extremely important. For example, if the minority speaks its own language, then it needs its own textbooks at school. Lacking these, the mainstream language textbooks must be used. If the local minority is a dialect group, it will be studying in the language of the neighbouring country, using imported textbooks with only minor changes. Same goes for a lot of cultural goods. Giving the local minority its own language streamlines the minority closer to the national mainstream. --MPorciusCato (talk) 17:13, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

    Some useful links (if you understand Norwegian) [[7]] [[8]] Brief summary of the status of Kven in 2007: The University of Tromsø offers a Kven language study from 2006. Connected to the Kven institute, the Kven language board was opened. The language board got state funding, and will work on written Kven language in the coming years. Kven written language will probably differ more from Finnish when this work is done. They will use Finnish ortography for Kven, but the so-called Kven you read today (like the example from ruijan kaiku above) is more simular to Finnish as the written language probably will be after the Kven language board has finished it's work making an own written language. Also it's worth mentioning that sources of written Kven today are mostly based on the Børselv dialect, if the Kven language board chooses to base the written language on more Kven dialects there might be additional changes. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:59, 27 December 2007 (UTC)

    Bibliography section.Edit

    Problems have been noted with the bibliography section and I have removed it. The content was not encyclopedic, but rather a directory of books about how to learn the language. Both directories and how-to information fall outside the purpose of Wikipedia (WP:NOT). JonHarder talk 13:24, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

    Finnish PodcastsEdit under the box, click Finnish. Contain regular podcasts in Finnish. contain very interesting information, which is very informative, and cover a vast range of topic in Finnish. It a very good to learn Finnish. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:22, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

    Both sites seem to belong to the Jehova's Witnesses and contain mainly religious information and have thus very little linguistic value. --MPorciusCato (talk) 06:57, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

    Not threatened?Edit

    In the section on Borrowing (a subsection of Lexicon), the article talks a lot about neologisms from English. Everything seems perfectly neutral and accurate, except for one sentence which bothers me. "However, this does not mean that Finnish is threatened by English." What does this even mean? I have no problem with any of the other sentences in this paragraph, but doesn't this sound kind of dismissive? Does this represent a global viewpoint of the issue? Are there any Finns who are disgruntled with these words? Are there any elements of linguistic purism? Who are we to define what is "threatening" and what is "natural"? I don't think Wikipedia is the proper outlet for opinions like this one. --N-k, 16:07, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

    There seem to have been no Finns disgruntled with these words, as they are still in the article. :) In my opinion, the sentence means that the survival of Finnish as a language is not threatened, as is the case of most languages in the world. There is no reason to fear that a substantial number of Finnish-speakers would forsake their language, teaching their children only English and other languages (which is the usual way for languages to die out). This is because Finnish has a rather wide base of speakers, a Finnish-speaking nation state (Finland) and a lively (in quantitative sense, at least) literary culture. In such regard, it stands in stark contrast to many other Fenno-Ugric languages like Mari, Mordva etc. --MPorciusCato (talk) 05:44, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
    I'm also puzzled by that sentence, not because of its accuracy or neutrality (it's probably true in any case), but in part because I question its notability. Take Mandarin for example: it arguably underwent a much more drastic change through the past century, adopting a fair amount of loanwords and grammatical calques, than did Finnish language, but we see no "this does not mean that Mandarin is threatened by English" in the article. I think only when the survival of a language in its near future is an issue, whether real or imagined, do we need to include related information in the article. Keith Galveston (talk) 08:27, 17 July 2008 (UTC)


    Just a question, but do people really feel that the Department of the Research Institute for the Languages of Finland qualifies as a regulating body of the Finnish language? To my best understanding they research linguistic tendencies and give some insight to what they think is "proper" language, but have no regulating rule such as (again to my understanding) their counterparts in Iceland, or Accademia della Crusca in Italy, for that matter. -july 15th —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:54, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

    The regulating bodies differ. Using Finnish contrary to the guidelines set by Kotus is not criminal and carries no penalties, but for example the schools (and most importantly, the Matriculation Examination Board) follow the guidelines. They are a regulating body, in that regard. --MPorciusCato (talk) 05:47, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

    I guess, if the original finnish was "discovered" and studied just now it might be regarded as a macrolanguage of 3-5 dialects/languages by some, the differences between dialects were a bit greater before the standardization efforts. ref would be the "Suomen murteiden sanakirja" (Dictionary of Finnish Dialects (synonyms included), compilation on-going) that is quite a bit longer than the standard thesaurus. (talk) 10:13, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

    Problem in the orthography sectionEdit

    In the orthography section there is this problematic sentence:

    "each phoneme (distinct sound) of the language is represented by exactly one grapheme (independent letter), and each grapheme represents exactly one phoneme."

    Well, whether you analyze "aa" "oo" "uu" as distinct phonemes from "a" "o" "u", or you dissect it into "a" "o" "u" with a chroneme [ː], there's not a exact one-to-one relationship between phonemes and graphemes (unless you claim "aa" to be a ligature, of course). It's definitely a pretty decent phonemic orthography system, though, so we might want to come up with some ways to rewrite the sentence. Keith Galveston (talk) 08:35, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

    Modifications on phonology sectionEdit

    The previous version has some small but significant problems, so I'm going to address them here: " vowels, diphthongs do not have allophony." --> I'm going to change it to "do not have significant allophony."

    "......small to moderate size, where voicing is not distinctive" --> not true (t, d), so changing it to "mostly not distinctive"

    "...and there are only glottal and unvoiced alveolar fricatives" --> going to rephrase it to a simpler "and fricatives are scarce".

    "...Finnish has very few non-alveolar coronal consonants" --> this is weird; there are 3 non-alveolar coronals, i.e. the dentals, which is the same amount as the alveolars (and more if you count the postalveolar which occurs in loanwords). I was going to change it to "non-coronal consonants", but then again it's about half-half proportion in Finnish, not unlike other languages. So maybe it's better for someone to explain what he/she originally meant, or to take that sentence out completely?

    Keith Galveston (talk) 01:19, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

    Part of the vocabulary consisting of loanwordsEdit

    300 indigenous roots sounds little but how many word roots has been found in Finnish?

    2009-03-20 Lena Synnerholm, Märsta, Sweden. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:14, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

    First, counting word roots is rather misleading, because if that were the guide, English would be classified as a Romance language. Secondly, it says that there are about 300 Finno-Ugric roots, which means that they have also been found in the distantly related Ugric languages. There are also separate original vocabularies for each branch of the tree: Baltic-Finnic, Finno-Saamic, Finno-Permic, Finno-Volgan and finally Finno-Ugric and Uralic vocabularies. All of these are "fully original" Finnish words. Additionally there are a large number of words of unknown origin in Finnish that have no correspondents in related or unrelated languages, inferring the previous existence of an Paleo-European, now extinct language. Third, Finnish reuses existing roots for multiple purposes, as illustrated by kirja "embroidery (original meaning)" in the article. --Vuo (talk) 10:07, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

    Basque languageEdit

    There are various theories which assert that the Basque language is somehow related to the Balto-Finnic language group. It would be interesting if the article could mention these hypotheses. ADM (talk) 00:45, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

    Giving them their due weight in accordance with WP:NPOV, of course. These theories are, to be honest, fantasy, not science. Samulili (talk) 06:18, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
    Since the Basques were living where they are (basically north-eastern Spain) since Sumerian times, and the migration of Finno-Uralic speakers never came into contact with them until some time in the Middle Ages, it would be quite a feat of imagination to tie them together in any way whatsoever. That's why Basque is considered by linguists and historians a a language isolate. HammerFilmFan (talk) 16:59, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
    There are also theories about relativeness to Turkish that have been long ago rejected by linguists. On the more extreme, there is a completely baseless theory that ancient Egyptian and Sumerian are based on proto-Finnish; the lost Pict language has been suggested to be related to Sami. There can not be a reason to mention all and any theories that are not accepted by linguists today, unless there is some that have become a pervasive popular myth. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:34, 31 December 2011 (UTC)


    Why is Torne listed separately in the infobox? --jpgordon::==( o ) 20:26, 16 August 2009 (UTC)

    I removed it now as I see no reason for it being there since Finland and Sweden are already listed. Mussos (talk) 18:32, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

    Proposed deletion of "Finnish numerals"Edit

    Deletion of the article titled Finnish numerals has been proposed at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Finnish numerals. If you opine there, don't just say Keep or Delete, but also give your arguments, including comments on the arguments that already appear there. Michael Hardy (talk) 20:09, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

    Number of PersonsEdit

    The grammar section states "There are four persons," but lists only three, "first ("I, we"), second ("you (singular), you (plural)"), third ("s/he, they")." Is there an additonal perosn, or is this a mistake? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:21, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

    Dialect mapEdit

    I'm about to revert the dialect map to the old version. Just wanted to ask for opinions first, perhaps I'm missing something. How exactly is this recent map a better one

    than the old more detailed version here? --Dblk (talk) 15:06, 16 October 2011 (UTC)

    Since no one seemed to object, I made the reversion. --Dblk (talk) 14:51, 26 October 2011 (UTC)

    section on Borrowing is completely uncited !!Edit

    This should be deleted until Reliable Sources are referenced. HammerFilmFan (talk) 16:53, 17 October 2011 (UTC)

    Finnish as an oral languageEdit

    I take issue with the idea that since Finnish was an oral language, and other languages were used for commerce and religion, it would have been restricted to "daily chores". There's plenty of room for oral history, songs, poetry, jokes, and all kinds of everyday interactions and relationships not governed by commerce or liturgy.

    My perspective comes from my experience with Arabic. Arabic is a diglossic language, and the standard written language is not used in most settings. (It looks like Finnish has a similar situation, though not as extreme because it hasn't been as long-standing.) Personally, I was never called upon to speak standard Arabic while living in an Arab country; instead I was pushed to improve the dialect. I found that people were more dependent on spoken language than writing, which reduced the influence of the written language. I feel the need to point out that most of us who have grown up reading and speaking a standard language have no idea what it is like to have an oral language as our mother tongue.

    Also, this sentence is confusing: "The spoken language, on the other hand, is the main variety of Finnish used in popular TV and radio shows and at workplaces, and may be preferred to a dialect in personal communication." Isn't the dialect the spoken language? (talk) 00:13, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

    No, yleiskieli, here translated as "spoken language" is separate from local dialects. Literally "yleis-" = general, public, and "kieli" tongue or language, while dialect is "murre" and specifies a local dialect (both would be spoken language in the proper English meaning). It is most close to southern dialects, such as is spoken in Helsinki nowadays, as a melting pot of dialects from the rest of Finland. (Old Helsinki slang on the other hand would be very peculiar and localized.) Not to go to the history of industrialization and internal movement of people, and so on and so forth, "yleiskieli" is a sort of amalgam of local, mostly western dialects (for example 'mä' for 'minä', not 'mie' as in the East, is used) and "kirjakieli," the formal 'book' language. It may be preferred by some speakers over their local dialect, for clarity and to seem more urban if one is not among his or her own 'tribe.' It can also be some people's natural way of speaking if they have not adopted a stronger local dialect. It is also used in a lot of public speaking, as in soap operas on tv etc to make it more accessible to the rest of the country. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:52, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

    Okay, well if that's the case, the translation is not precise enough. "The spoken language" implies that there is only one type of spoken language for each person to choose, as opposed to the written language. The information that you give about the pan-Finnish spoken variety should be added to the article so that English-speakers can have this information as well. "The spoken language" includes any spoken Finnish, whether the dialects or the combined register. Finnish is not the only language that has a mixed register like this for semi-formal situations, but apparently according to your description, it is also not the only spoken or 'oral' register. (talk) 06:25, 3 January 2012 (UTC)


    In the section "Phonology", it says, "Finnish has relatively few non-coronal consonants." Not true. Out of 11 consonants (<h j k l m n p r s t v>, all pronounced roughly as in IPA) that occur word-initially in native Finnish words, six (<h j k m p v>) are non-coronal. I know -- I speak Finnish and have a large knowledge of linguistics. To me, "Finnish has relatively few non-coronal consonants", suggests that the strong majority of Finnish consonant phonemes are coronal.--Solomonfromfinland (talk) 16:15, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

    References lackingEdit

    The article is long, so despite the number of references given for the article (26), there are very few inline citations. The result is that the article's primary statements are in the main unverifiable. I have attached message boxes to highlight this issue. However I have not gone through the article to insert attribution/citation required inline notes where these are required as to do so would have resulted in the article in parts becoming unreadable.

    For an example of the problem, see the section Prehistory. There an editor has highlighted the places that references are required for the statements and claims made there, and the section, which is very concise, drowns under them.

    The problem is most notable imo in the history sections, but that may be because that was the section that I was interested in.

    LookingGlass (talk) 16:25, 27 January 2013 (UTC)

    Offical LanguageEdit

    Finnish is an offical language in Finland, Norway (Finnmark), Estonia, Russia (Karelia)!-- (talk) 09:54, 27 October 2013 (UTC)

    A quick check suggests this statement is FALSE. According to wiki the official languages of Finnmark are: Bokmål, Kvensk, and Sami. See: Finnmark Perhaps the writer did not understand the definition of an Official Language. LookingGlass (talk) 15:04, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
    Kvensk is not an official language in Finnmark, but a recognized regional language, comparable to Meänkieli being a recognized minority language in parts of northern Sweden. And being a recognized regional/minority language is not the same as being an official language (the only official languages in Norway are bokmål and nynorsk, which are actually only two slightly different varieties of the same language). Thomas.W talk to me 15:18, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
    @Thomas.W - I note that you did not correct Finnmark page. Assuming you can provide the necessary reference for your statement would you do this? Ta. LookingGlass (talk) 09:32, 29 October 2017 (UTC)

    External links modifiedEdit

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    =Related to HungarianEdit

    Should this article say somewhere that Finnish is related to Hungarian?Vorbee (talk) 16:30, 4 June 2016 (UTC)

    I believe a brief statement to the distant relationship to Magyar was listed at one time. A linguist should reinsert it with a good source. (talk) 01:52, 17 June 2016 (UTC)
    I added an internal link to note on this in the Classification section as there is no link to it earlier in the article. LookingGlass (talk) 09:24, 29 October 2017 (UTC)

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