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Finnish Contact Us

Is Finnish inflected?

Finnish is a highly inflected language.

Are there cases? How many?

There are 15 cases. Each noun, adjective and pronoun has 10 commonly occurring cases (nominative, partitive, accusative, genitive, inessive, elative, illative (inner locative cases) and adessive, ablative and allative (outer locative cases) and 2 numbers (singular and plural).

Are there genders?

There are no genders.

How flexible is word order?

Considerably more flexible than English. While in English in the vast majority of the sentences are in Subject-Verb-Object order, Finnish allows for Object-Subject-Verb also, or even Verb-Subject-Object.

How are questions asked? Do you use auxiliary verbs to form questions? Intonation? Both?

Finnish questions can be formed by using a question word (who, what, etc.) at the beginning of a sentence or a special question particle –ko attached to the end of the verb, when the question requires a “yes or no” answer. Intonation in Finnish questions remains the same as in statements (no rising intonation at the end).

Are there sounds that are hard to pronounce for English native speakers?

Moderately to low difficulty here. All letters are pronounced a single way, so once you learn the Finnish alphabet you have a good idea of how words are pronounced. There are a few sounds, such as the umlauted a and o which can be initially hard for an English speaker.

Are words longer, shorter or about the same as in English?

The average Finnish word contains more letters than the average English word.

How similar is Finnish vocabulary to English?

Finnish and English don’t have many words in common. Even those that are can look so different in Finnish that they are hard to detect.

What language family does Finnnish belong to?

Finnish belongs to the Baltic branch of the Uralic languages. It’s closest relative is Estonian, another (much more distant) is Hungarian.

Does Finnish use more or fewer words than English?

The average modern Finnish sentence contains fewer words than an English one but is longer.

Do you use the imperial (inches, gallons, Fahrenheit) or the metric system?

Metric (kilograms, meters, liters, Celcius degrees, etc.)

What script does Finnish use? Are there special characters? Accents?

The same script as in English but there are some letters in the alphabet that don’t exist in English. Some letters that are commonly used in English (b, d, c, f, g) are only infrequently used in Finnish. There are no special accents.

Are there short and long vowels?

Yes, all Finnish vowels occur in short and long form and many consonants do as well.

On the average, do Finnish people speak faster than English speakers? On TV news?

No, Finnish people speak slower in general.

Is each letter of the alphabet pronounced always in the same way?

Yes. This feature provides a relief in an otherwise complex language.

Are all words stressed more or less on the same syllable?

Yes, the stress in Finnish words is almost always on the first syllable.

Does Finnish Use the So-Called Title Case?

There is no ‘Title’ case in Finnish. Only the first letter of the first word is capitalized in headings.


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