In Finnish language, derivation is a typical way of word formation. When other languages has numerous words, in Finnish they are formed by adding affixes to root. For example:

examples of derivation
kirja book
kirjailija author/writer
kirjallisuus literature
kirjasto library
kirjallinen literary/written
kirjoittaa to write
kirjoitus writing

Do not mix up these affixes with inflections (such as different cases) or conjugations (such as different verb forms). These affixes are used to change aspect or class and to form new words from old ones. It's important to know the common suffixes, because they are essential part of Finnish, and it makes understanding lot easier.

Remember also the vowel harmony.


-la a place
ruokala canteen
mummola "grandmothers place"
-llinen "full of something"
kourallinen a handful
lastillinen a truck-load
laatikollinen a boxful
-nen "small thing"
kalanen a little fish
tyttönen a little girl
-tar femine
kuningatar queen
laulajatar a songstress, female singer
tarjoilijatar a waitress

Verbs become nouns

-ja "who does something"
laulaja a singer
lang="fi" translate="no"kävelijä a walker, pedestrian
juoksija a runner

Nouns become adjectives

-lainen what kind of, nationality
suomalainen finnish, a Finn
englantilainen english, an Englisman
tyhmänlainen foolish
sellainen "that kind of"
-llinen related to something
kuninkaallinen royal
-mainen what kind of
tyttömäinen girly
kuitumainen fibre-like


-ton "without something"
painoton weightless
iloton cheerless
pennitön penniless
-isin habitual
aamuisin in the mornings
maanantaisin every monday
-sti adverbs expressing how
kauniisti beautifully, "in a beautiful way"
nopeasti fast


kaunistaa to make beautiful
jalostaa to refine, to sophisticate
-istu refleksive
laiskistua to become lazy
-skella frequent
istuskella to sit around
-ne to become something gradually
pienetä diminish
kylmetä to cool down

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