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  5. "He is Otso."

"He is Otso."

Translation:Hän on Otso.

June 24, 2020



How gender neutral is hän? Can it be used for both women and men in any context?


Yes, any context. No way of expressing it otherwise, except for when speaking colloquial Finnish. We never use the word hän in normal speech (probably only in a sarcastic way though), we always say "se" which means "it". It might seem dehumanizing but it's just the way it is


Well, there are some regional differences, as well as professional preferences which affect language use (people in health services can more often refer to their patients as "hän" than "se"). Then again, people quite often refer to their pets as "hän".

However, it's only in written Finnish (official written Finnish) that the "hän"/"se" divide truly exists. Both "se" and "hän" have long been used to refer to people, animals and things in spoken Finnish and the use of both is in truth completely neutral. It's actually been only a few hundred years, if that, that "hän" has been considered the pronoun for people and "se" for animals and things.


Is hän needed?


hän and he are always needed. The other pronouns can be skipped, when using a form of olla/to be

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