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Slow Finnish - Chapter 1a -Terve

I want to thank FinnishMetalhead for providing excellent Finnish lessons. However, I thought that because of the constant demand for Finnish in Discussion, lessons that proceed with slower pace might be in order. If you disagree with me, please comment below.

Keskustelu 1 - Discussion 1

Terve, Matti.

Hei, Liisa. Mitä (sinulle) kuuluu?

Kiitos hyvää. Entä sinulle?

Oikein hyvää, kiitos.

  • terve hello
  • Matti (a man's name)
  • hei hi; bye
  • Liisa (a woman's name)
  • mitä what (partitive)
  • sinä you
  • sinulle to you (allative)
  • kuulua To be audible, to be heard
  • Mitä (sinulle) kuuluu? How are you? (colloquial)
  • kiitos thank you
  • hyvä good
  • Entä sinulle? How about you?
  • oikein really

Keskustelu 2 - Discussion 2

Hyvää päivää.

Päivää. Kuinka voit?

Kiitos hyvin. Entä sinä?

Minulla on päänsärky.

  • päivä a/the day
  • (Hyvää) päivää. Good day.
  • kuinka how
  • voida to be, to feel
  • Kuinka voit? How are you? (more formal)
  • Entä sinä? And how are you?
  • minä I
  • olla to be, to have
  • Minulla on.. I have...
  • päänsärky a/the headache

I have to point out that for most Finns asking how you are is not a mere formality. It means you really want to know how someone is doing. This is why an answer like "Minulla on päänsärky" is not unusual. This person simply assumed that the other person is interested in his or hers well-being.

Keskustelu 3 - Discussion 3

Hyvää huomenta, rouva Lahtinen.

Huomenta, herra Koistinen. Kuinka voitte?

Kiitos hyvin. Entä Te?

Erinomaisesti, kiitos. Hyvää päivänjatkoa.

Kiitos samoin.

  • huomen a/the morning (old-fashioned)
  • Hyvää huomenta. Good Morning.
  • rouva Mrs.
  • Lahtinen (a last name)
  • herra Mr.
  • Koistinen (a last name)
  • Kuinka voitte? How are You? (extremely formal)
  • hyvin well
  • Te (formal) You
  • erinomaisesti excellent (adverb)
  • jatko continuation
  • Hyvää päivänjatkoa. Have a nice day!
  • samoin similarly, in the same way
  • Kiitos samoin. Same to you/You.

The formal you is only used when addressing the president or a person who has reached a respectable age.

Keskustelu 4 - Discussion 4

Virtanen perkele.

Salminen. Miten menee?

Ei hullummin. Entä sinulla?

Mikäs tässä. Nähdään myöhemmin.

Nähdään. Hei.


  • Virtanen (a last name)
  • perkele a/the devil
  • Salminen (a last name)
  • miten how
  • mennä go
  • Miten menee? How are you doing? (extremely colloquial)
  • ei no
  • hullu crazy, mad
  • Ei hullummin. Not bad.
  • sinulla on you (adessive)
  • mikä what
  • tässä here
  • Mikäs tässä. Not bad.
  • nähdä to see
  • myöhemmin later

Finns often refer to each other by last name only. Men are more likely to do this than women (although I do it all the time despite being a woman). The word "perkele" has many uses, also as a swear word.

Keskustelu 5 - Discussion 5

Kuka sinä olet?

Minä olen Kari. Mikä sinun nimesi on?

Minun nimeni on Marjatta. Hauska tavata.


  • kuka who
  • olet (olla) are (2nd person singular)
  • olen (olla) am (1st person singular)
  • Kari (a man's name)
  • sinun -si your (2nd person singular)
  • nimi name
  • on (olla) is (3rd person singular)
  • minun -ni my
  • Marjatta (a woman's name)
  • hauska pleasant, nice; funny
  • tavata to meet

Let me know what you thought about the lesson. I will try to answer your questions. Hei!

September 14, 2015



Oikein hyvää, kiitos. As someone with an attention span shorter than a Goldfish, I really like this format. Looking forward for the next slow Finnish. As for suggestions, I don't know how it could be implemented, but how about some small exercises for us to practice/review?


I am happy you mentioned exercises. They will follow in Chapter 1b. :)


Fantastic, I really love learning from context like this. Thanks so much. :)


Thank you so much! I love having a context to learn these words, that makes it much easier not only to remember them, but also in order to be able to use them.

Also, I find the lines about Finnish culture you wrote between the dialogues really interesting. :)


This is an amazing Finnish course! I have just begun it today. So, it's my first lesson and first day. I hope I can learn Finnish with the help of the Slow Finnish Courses. I have some questions, can you answer them for me?

1) How to write 'Finnish' in Finnish?

2) Is there a different script (different letters) for Finnish apart from the ones mentioned in this lesson?

3) What is the meaning of Terve?

4) What is the role of Accents in Finnish? Are there names for accents (like, French has accent aigu, circonflex, trema etc.)

5) Is there a different pronunciation for Finnish?

6) What does 'Hei' actually mean?

7) Does Finnish share any similarities with any language (pronunciation, writing etc. ). If so, what are they? (I might try to learn the basics so that Finnish becomes easier for me.)

Thank you for the course!

EDIT: I got the meaning of Terve (hello).


You already got very good answers, but I'd like to add that, to be precise, the name of the language is written with a lower case initial letter (unless of course at the beginning of a sentence...). So Suomi is the country (Finland) and suomi is the language (Finnish).

Terve literally means healthy, well. But it's also just hello.

There are hardly any accents in Finnish, but the å, ä, and ö are indeed considered separate letters that follow x, y, and z in the alphabet.

Generally, each letter is pronounced the same regardless of the letters it's combined with, and always the same. I think there might be some tiny exceptions to this, but it's a good hard and fast rule.

There are some courses in Finnish on Memrise.com, too.


I am only a learner, but I can answer some of them.

1) Finnish as in Finnish language is "Suomi", Finnish as an adjective (e.g. a Finnish person) is "suomalainen".

2 and 4) The only special letters are ä, ö and å (and the latter is used only in names, because it is not originally a Finnish letter - they call it "ruotsalainen o", which means swedish o). They are separate letters with their own meaning and pronunciation, not to be confused with "a" and "o".

7) There aren't any similar languages available on Duolingo yet. Hungarian will be available soon, but it is a distant relative and wouldn't be much helpful. Estonian is closer, but it isn't here. There are some more languages in the same family, but they are even less known than those mentioned.


I get it!! :) Thank you for your response :)


Also just a learner. :-)

3) It's in the list, you may have just missed it. "Hello".
5) Different from what? Do you mean are the letters pronounced differently from in English? If so, yes. I recommend Forvo.com for listening to native speakers and how they pronounce things.
6) It's in the list too. :-) "Hey", used for both "Hi" and "Bye".


That's right! I missed both Terve and Hei (although I noticed it later). The fifth question, yes, Iwanted to know whether it was different from English or not (it's obvious that Finnish is having a different pronunciation, but my intended question was to know how each letter is pronounced). And, thank you for the website, I intend on using it after I have learnt some new things in Finnish.


I'm afraid recommending Forvo is the best I can do for that. Pronunciation is not my strong point. :-)


That's all right! After all, we are learners :) Thank you for the website, for I will use it after I know a few more things in Finnish!! :)


I actually recommend using it right from the beginning, since it is mostly for pronunciation and you'll do better with a dictionary for translations. :-)


I promise to make a lesson on pronunciation later this week. :)


Thank you so much Mari!! :)


I know this comes a tad late, but (North) German pronunciation is surprisingly close to Finnish (except "r" isn't that tremulous).

(Native Finnish speaker who also knows German.)


Please tell me you signed up do design a Suomi-English course here :)


Yes, I have applied to become a contributor! :)


Great! Hope they'll start forming your team soon. I applied for contributing to a Biblical Hebrew course, though they haven't contacted me yet.


What a great work you are doing, Mari! All the best to you and hope to see the Finnish course soon ;)


Maybe this is a regional thing but do people actually say "Minulla on päänsärky" instead of "Päätä särkee"?


My instinct would be to add something to Päätä särkee. I would not use it alone. Instead I would say something like Päätä särkee niin maan p¤%#%&¤!sti or something like that. If I were to announce that I have a headache with no additional information, I would say Minulla on päänsärky. I am from Eastern Finland, so I assume you are from another part of the country.


I would most likely say "mul on päänsärky". Helsinki born and bred.


Sounds beautiful. I love dialects. Mullon piänsärky is how I say it. I have lived in Helsinki for more than a decade, but I still speak in Savonian dialect.


I agree with scarcerer. I wouldn't say Minulla on päänsärky except as an explanation (someone asked why I don't look that good or when I decline an invitation). I do say Päätä särkee without adding anything to it.

Might be regional.


I tried to edit the post, but for some reason Duo does not like my attempts, so I hope people will read the comments.


I might say "Minulla särkee päätä!" or "Minulla on ihan kamala päänsärky"


Do you know any resource to practice listening for non-advanced learners? I tried to listen to YLE Puhe and although, I can pickup some words but I have not enough time to decipher what is said before the next sentence.


There really are no sources for beginners I am afraid. There are, however, a couple of links that I can give you.

Here, you can listen to how words and some simply frases are pronounced: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAc8Z4pfhFo&index=1&list=PLNUNUt0OKvmQnSOvjbnRNYdQ4C4aC1I5p

Once you are a bit more advanced in your studies, you can try uutiset selkosuomeksi (news in simple Finnish): http://yle.fi/uutiset/selkouutiset/


I've been trying the simple news on and off in the last two or three weeks and yeah, I can see that they are simplified, but I'd still be lost without Google Translate. On the other hand, Google Translate would be lost without me too, because its translations are sometimes so twisted or vague that they need a human's interpretation before they start to make sense.

Anyway, even though it's tough I can see that seeing words in context helps so much with understanding and remembering.


I think there's room for more Finnish lessons :) Your cnsept is so different from the previous ones. The lessons will complement each other well :)

For a slow course you have included a lot of things here. It might not be a bad idea to have only one dialogue like this per lesson. There might be a surprising amount of questions about words and grammar.


I included all the grammar stuff so that people who are more advanced can look those up. I think we are still learning phrases at this point, though. I will take it slower in future, though. Thank you for answering.


Lovely, some reading material. Thank you. I love to learn by reading, but finding beginner stuff is tough.


I see it's related to the Estonian tere. Is it pronounced similarly as well? I've noticed in some Estonian dialects, they roll the r in some and in others they don't.


The Finnish r is always a very strong trill. It is produced by taking the tip of your tongue to the alveolar ridge (the bit above your teeth) and making it vibrate.

There are no dialects where the r is not a trill. There are, however, dialects where d is pronounced as r.

Here is my pronunciation guide. And here is the directory with links to all the lessons.



"hulllummin" There's a typo here.


Sinulle is the allative, not the ablative (a typo easily made). :p


Fixed. Thank you. :)


Thank you for your efforts, many of us are really excited to have Finnish in Duolingo soon. We look forward to it, kiitos paljon.


Super! This is the way to le arn everyday Finnish! Thank you so much!

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