Author Archives: Venla Teacher

Waiter, I’m buying! (tarjota)

Tarjota means “to offer”, fox example “Tarjosin hänelle apua” / “I offered him help.” In Finnish, if you are giving something for free, you are “offering” it, for example: “Otetaan oluet, minä tarjoan.” / “Let’s have beers, I’m buying. “

A waiter in Finnish isn’t a person who waits, but “offers”, that’s why waiter = tarjoilija. Waitress is called “tarjoilijatar“, but it sounds really old fashioned. The waiter often brings you a tray, which is “tarjotin” in Finnish.

I sales, an offer = “tarjous“. It can also mean same as “alennus” = discount. For example: “Tämä paita oli halpa, koska se oli tarjouksessa” / “This shirt was inexpensive, because it was at a discount”.

Peculiar differencies between Finnish and English

If you make notes, you “write something down” in English, but in Finnish you “write up” (kirjoittaa ylös).

To pull one’s leg” means to deceive somebody, but in Finnish you don’t pull a leg, but “nose” (vetää nenästä).

I don’t know why “a piece of cake” should be easy, but in Finnish the easy thing is “a sausage“, not a cake (helppo nakki).

In Finnish you don’t “take medicine“, but you “eat medicines” (syödä lääkkeitä)

To translate” in Finnish means “to turn” (kääntää)

The verb “soittaa” has many meanings in Finnish. Normally it means “to play an instrument”, but it means also “to call“. So literarily you are “playing the phone” (soittaa puhelimella).

If you don’t have a faintest idea, you have “no clue“. In Finnish, you have “no smell” (ei hajuakaan).

To kill two birds with one stone sounds more impresssive than to kill two files with one strike (kaksi kärpästä yhdellä iskulla).

Does that contract suit you? (Sopia)

Sopia means “to fit” or also to “to suit” both in concrete and abstract sense.

“Sopiiko paita sinulle?” “Onko se sopiva?” /
“Does the shirt fit to you? Is it suitable?”
“Tuo puku sopii sinulle hyvin.” /
“That suit suits you well.”

It can refer to other suitable/unsuitable things as well, not only clothes:

“Sopiiko perjantai sinulle?” / “Does Friday suit you?” (lit. “for you”)

If something “suits you” then you “agree to it”, that’s why “sopia” means also “to agree” in Finnish.

Teidän pitää sopia riitanne! / “you must come to an agreement.”

The noun derived from it is “sopimus“, which means any kind of agreement, pact, treaty or contract (written or oral).
Allekirjoitin vuokrasopimuksen vuokranantajan kanssa. /
I signed a rental contract with my landlord.

Pariisin rauhansopimus päätti toisen maailmansodan./
The Paris Peace Treaty concluded the Second World War.

A challenging court case (haastaa)

Haastaa is an old fashined word meaning “to talk” or “to chat”. It’s rarely used in it’s original meaning, but it’s still included in another verb “haastatella” = “to interview” (lit. ~ “make someone to chat” ).

“Toimittaja haastatteli poliitikkoa. ” “The journalist interviewed the politician.”

In modern Finnish, “haastaa” has a spesific meaning “to challenge”, for example “Haastan sinut kaksintaisteluun!” “I challenge you to a duel!”

Haastava” is an adjective and it means “challenging”, for example, “Kisa oli hyvin haastava” “The race was very challenging.”. The noun derived from “haastaa” is “haaste“, “a challenge”. “Otan kaikki vaikeudet haasteena” / “I will take all the difficulties as a challenge”.

In Finnish, to “sue somebody” is literarily “to challenge somebody into court” = “haastaa oikeuteen“. (see the article for “oikeus“)

A conversation in the center of the Middle-earth (Keski-)

Many words releted to concepts such as “middle” or “centre” are derived from the root “keski-“. For example keskusta ~ centre and keskellä ~ in the middle.
“Kaupungin keskusta on kaupungin keskellä”/ “The city centre is in the middle of the city”
Keskusta means also the political centre, or the Finnish Centre party, Keskusta puolue.

The historical Middle ages are “keskiaika“, but when a person is middle aged, he is “keski-ikäinen“.

Wednesday is “keskiviikko“, because it’s in the middle of the week (as “Mittwoch” in German).

If something is unfinished, you are probably in the middle of the progress, that’s why: unfinished ~ kesken.

Keskellä means also “in between”. For example, “Maija istuu Pekan ja Villen keskellä.” / “Maija is sitting in between of Pekka and Ville”.

Conversation is communication between two or more people. That’s why conversation ~ keskustelu.

Two more verbs derived from this root are keskittää and keskittyä ~ concentrate.

Koskaan et muuttua saa (muu)

Finnish cows say “muu!“. Probably by coincidence, it means “other” or “else” in Finnish.
“voiko joku muu tehdä sen?” / “Can somebody else do it?”

Many words derived from this root are related to somekind of change. For example “to change oneself” is “to become the other” = muuttua. “Se muuttui muuksi” / “It changed into something else”.

The transitive verb (the one with an object) is “muuttaa“. “Ihmistä ei voi muuttaa, ellei hän halua muuttua” / “You cannot change a person, if he doesn’t want to change.”

“Muuttaa” is also used when you move (“change a place”), for example “Muutan uuteen asuntoon perjantaina.” “I’ll move to a new flat on Friday“.

Collective nouns with -sto-suffix

Words ending with “sto” usually mean “a large amount of something”. For example a library (kirjasto) is a collection of many books (kirja) and a crew (miehistö) consists of several men (mies).

laiva -> laivasto
ship -> navy

kirja -> kirjasto
book -> library

mies -> miehistö
man -> crew

maa -> maasto
ground -> terrain

kortti -> kortisto
card -> register

näppäin -> näppäimistö
key -> keyboard

elin -> elimistö
organ -> organism

raha -> rahasto
money -> fund

astia -> astiasto
dish -> tableware

henkilö -> henkilöstö
person -> personnel

kalu – > kalusto
tool -> arsenal

vuori -> vuoristo
montain – > mountain range

tieto -> tiedosto
information -> file

saari -> saaristo
island -> archipelago

kone -> koneisto
machine – > machinery

huone -> huoneisto
room -> apartment

The easy sausage / piece of cake

Se on helppo nakki. / This is a piece of cake.

While in English something is “a pice of cake”, in Finnish it’s an easy sausage (“nakki” is that kind of small hot dog or a frankfurter sausage, to be exact).

In English, you say “to make hay”, when you use an opportunity to get the most benefit. In Finnish, you say “helppoa kuin heinänteko” / “Easy as making hay.”