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  5. "Opettaja, onko korea iso kieā€¦

"Opettaja, onko korea iso kieli?"

Translation:Teacher, is Korean a big language?

July 4, 2020



In English, a 'big language' doesn't make any sense.


I don't think it does in Finnish either...


Juuei, it does not. Sounds really weird. o_O "Suuri kieli" makes me think of something like a cow's tongue, so I find these sentences rather funny. :D


What do you think they are trying to say? Something about the numbers of speakers? Or, what?


Big language = lots of speakers, and small language = few speakers. In Finnish, that is a somewhat common way to express a relative 'size' of a language.

According to Helsinki university, there are about 7000 languages, the median number of speakers of a language is only 7500, and the 23 'biggest' languages cover about half of the world's population.


What is the difference between iso and suuri? Big and large? In what context do you use it?


They're pretty much interchangeable, similar to English. 'Suuri' could be preferred in written language, and 'iso' is maybe more common in spoken language, though the former is used too.

'Suuri' could also be bigger/larger than 'iso', like big vs. grand; e.g. we also say 'suurensuuri', meaning something really grand/massive, but there's no such thing as "isoniso".


@Hacu: Isn't "suuri" also more abstract than "iso"? In the sense that with one thing being iso and the other thing pieni one could objectively measure the relative size or weights? While "suuri" can apply to languages and other objects that cannot be measured always? Kysymys: Beethoven was a great composer, and he sure was "pieni," but as a composer he was "suuri" and not "iso"? (Sept 2020)


Thanks Hacu, that's helpful.


The english sounds really weird. Also, in some places 'big' is accepted and in some places 'large'. There must be consistency and big or large should not be used for languages.

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