At a cafe, lesson 2


Finnish language

In this lesson, you will learn how to ask things and the numbers.

Matti ja Antti menevät kahville. He ovat kahvilassa. Matti ostaa kahvia.


Cultural notes

Finns are the people with the highest consumption of coffee in the world, at 12 kilos per person per year. Typical Finnish coffee is very light roast. In recent years, also other kinds of coffees have got popular. The reasons for Finns' love of coffee are probably cold weather and Protestant work ethic. After all, coffee helps you stay warm and keeps you going through the work day. Coffee breaks, "kahvitauko", are statury on every workplace.

Personal conjugation of the verbs

Here's how to conjugate the Finnish verbs in person. The endings are always the same.

puhua (to speak, to talk)

present tense conjugation
singular plural
minä puhun (I speak) me puhumme (we speak)
sinä puhut (you speak) te puhutte (you speak)
hän puhuu (he/she speaks) he puhuvät (they speak)

Read more about the conjugation.

Numerot - Numbers

Numbers from 1 to 10
Numbers from 11 to 19

[number]+toista -> yksitoista (11), kaksitoista (12), kolmetoista (13) etc.

Tasaluvut - even tens

[number] + kymmentä -> kaksikymmentä (20), kolmekymmentä (30), neljäkymmentä (40) etc.

Numbers from 20 to 99

[tasaluku] + [number]-> kaksikymmentä yksi (21), kolmekymmentä kolme (33), viisikymmentä kahdeksan (58) etc.

Suuremmat luvut - Greater numbers

More about numbers.

Plural nominative

The plural nominative is formed by adding t after the stem:

päivä - päivät
a day - days
kahvi - kahvit
a coffee - coffees

Remember the consonant gradation:

munkki - munkit
a doughnut - doughnuts
sentti - sentit
a cent - cents

Unlike in many other languages, in Finnish you don't use plural after numerals, but partitive case.

kaksi kahvia
two coffees
viisi munkkia
five doughnuts
seitsemän päivää
seven days
kymmenen senttiä
ten cents

That's why you say: Kahvit maksavat 5 euroa. (The coffees cost 5 euros), but Kaksi kahvia maksaa 5 euroa. (2 coffees cost 5 euros)


"Saanko" is the easiest way to request for things:

Saan -> Saanko?
get -> Can I get? (or rather "may I have")

Yes/no questions are formed by -ko-suffix. You can add the suffix to the noun, pronoun or verb. This is the topic of the sentence, and therefore placed first.

Onko teillä auto? - Do you have a car?
Teillä on auto? - Are you the one who has the car?
Autoko teillä on? - Is it the car what you have? (not e.g bicycle)

More about questions.

How to say thank you in Finnish

neutral (thank you!)
Informal (thanks!)
Kiitoksia! Paljon kiitoksia!
Formal (thank you very much).
Ole hyvä!
You're welcome

You say Ole hyvä when you greet someone or give something. Finnish language does not have a word equivalent to "please!" or "bitte!" or "s'il vôus plait!". You can use "kiitos" or "ole hyvä" in some situations, but it's not very polite. More polite is to say "Saisinko..." (May I have..).


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