June 25, 2020



There are lots of Germanic loan words in the Finnish language. They can make learning Finnish easier, as many of these words are recognizable to English speakers: kuppi = cup, hattu = hat, sukka = sock, haukka = hawk. German and especially Scandinavian speakers will find a lot more. Thus, although Finnish is not an Indo-European language, it is not as strange as it first looks like.

There are also words that have been adopted from languages that are already extinct. The most common word in Finnish, "ja" (= and), is a word that is derived from Gothic, an East Germanic language that ceased to be spoken in the 16th century. In old Gothic the word was "jah". It has been said that the Finnish language is "full with mammoth bones". Another common Gothic word in Finnish is "äiti" (= mother, in Gothic "aithei").


I almost submitted “Yes” because Ja means yes in German.


Sometimes the word "jaa" - a Germanic borrowing - is used in Finnish for yes, as in voting. In the Finnish parliament there is a table on the wall that shows how many deputies have voted "jaa" or "ei", yes or no.

It is important to pay attention to short and long vowels in Finnish, like the first Tips in section "Hello" explain. This demands exercise, as vowel length has nothing to do with stress, which always lies on the first syllable in Finnish. Thus, "ja" has a short vowel, while "jaa" has a long one.

"Jaa" can also mean "oh, well" or "is that so? (depending on the tone).


I actually did enter "Yes" for this one. Too much Germanic language study for me, I suppose.


Haha I was so proud to know one Finnish word, submitting "Yes" for "Ja", like in German, Dutch, Swedish, Danish and Norwegian. Fail...


And in Polish ja means I.


Just like Russian "Я"! Not surprising though, as both are Slavic languages


I already knew this word from switching my iPad's language to finnish once

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