To Translate a Verb You Need to Know the Infinitive

KielitietoinenA book teaching Finnish for school children tells on page 11: “It is important to know the infinitive, if you need to look up the word in a dictionary. You can get help in this at verbix.com that recognizes the conjugated verb form and returns the infinitive”.

ImportantToKnowInfinitive

The feature of finding the infinitive is available for many languages. More than this, you don’t even need to know the language of the entered verb form but Verbix will find it out.

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I Prefer Writing in Karelian over Russian…

… because one SMS (text message) can contain 160 characters in Karelian and only 70 characters in Russian. (the reason being that Karelian is written in latin characters and Russian is written in cyrillic characters).

Old houses in Karelia
Old houses in Karelia. Endless forests and lakes is typical for this sparsely populated region.

I spotted the abovementioned comment from a newspaper and the opinion was made by an older woman, whose native language is Karelian. The news article can be found News article about Karelian language.

The Karelian language (karjala, karjal or kariela) is closely related to the Finnish dialects spoken in eastern Finland and some Finnish linguists even classified Karelian as a dialect of Finnish. The language is spoken in Karelia, the part of Russia that lies closest to the Finnish border.

The language is in danger of dying; many children (not all) learn the language but most if not all become more fluent in Russian and largely stop using the language later in life. The reason is that Russian is de facto language in the communities of Karelia, yet the writing of SMS:s seem to be the exception in this.

 

Nordic Languages

My son yesterday brought a leaflet about Nordic languages, “Nordens språk”.

When reading this paper I just recalled how close to each other the Nordic languages are. We have been travelling in Sweden, Norway and Denmark. And in all those countries I have had no problem in making myself understood in Swedish variant that is spoken in Finland.

Old map with the Nordic countries
Old map with the Nordic countries

Norwegian, Danish, Swedish (in Sweden) — no problem in communicating with the people in Swedish there.

In the leaflet, I checked the verb ‘to forget’:

  • Swedish: glömma
  • Danish: glemme
  • Faroese: gloyma
  • Norwegian: glemme
  • Icelandic: gleyma
  • Finnish: unohtaa
  • Greenlandic: puigorpaa

Yes, the Finnish and Greenlandic differ from the other Nordic languages. They don’t belong to the Germanic language family.

 

 

Geographical Names in Two Languages

Finland is a country with two official languages: Finnish and Swedish. Swedish is spoken mostly on the coastal areas, including the capital Helsinki (Finnish) / Helsingfors (Swedish).

Kulosaari Drumsö
Mistake in placenames: Kulosaari (Finnish) is not the same place as Drumsö (Swedish)

Because Helsinki/Helsingfors is a bilingual town, all the placenames are shown in two languages. Sometimes there are mistakes, however, that can mislead people.

The picture at right was taken in Kronohagen, Helsinfors. Kulosaari as shown on the shield is Brändö in Swedish. So either Finnish or Swedish speaking cyclists will find themselves in wrong place 😉

More links:

 

Two Forest Finn Verbs

In the summer I got a list of Finnish verbs from a dictionary of Finnish folklore. Some of the verbs were classified according to the province. Based on that, I found two verbs that were typical for the Forest Finns of Värmland, Sweden.

Komehtia

The verb komehtia sounds like it would be related to komea ‘handsome’. But I mistook. Instead it means ‘to curse‘. In Savonian dialect (the Forest Finns migrated from Savonia to Värmland) komuska means ‘witch’, which explains the meaning of komehtia.

Laukaista

The verb laukaista means in standard language ‘to fire’ in the meaning of shoot. In Savonian and the Forest Finn dialect it also means ‘to heal (from a curse)’.

Further reading:

 

 

Sami people

There is the tendency in Finland to tell that Finland is for the Finns and they should therefore all talk Finnish. And they moreover tell that Swedes were conquerors (when they arrived 1000 years ago the “Finnish” shores) and implanted Swedish, and the Russians tried that (200 years ago), too.

With that background, I couldn’t but laugh for myself as I encountered a map like this in a book about the root of the Europeans.

Sami people in Northern Europe AD 0.
Sami people AD 0.

On the map areas 1 and 2 represent the Sami people around AD 0. Area 3 is area that the Sami inhabited during XIV and XV centuries.

And the area 2 is the area where the Finnish (first tribes, nowadays government) have pushed the Sami away. So with this background, the ongoing linguistic and cultural aggression towards the Sami, Swedish speaking Finns and other linguistic minorities can be seen as a continuum for what has gone on for more than 2 millenniums.

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Äänestää and Other Finnish Verbs

Last Sunday there was president elections in Finland.

The Finnish verb for vote is äänestää. This verb wasn’t in the Verbix database, so it was added yesterday along with a number of other verbs. Although the verb wasn’t included in the Verbix database, the on-line conjugator conjugated the verb correctly. Just the warning was a bit annoying for this common verb.

Another verb that wasn’t there in the database until yesterday was ystävystyä ‘to become a friend’. This verb will probably remind about itself on 14.2. that is called ystävänpäivä ‘Valentine’s Day’ in Finland.

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