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  5. "Tuo biisi on tosi hyvä."

"Tuo biisi on tosi hyvä."

Translation:That song is really good.

July 12, 2020



What exactly is the difference between biisi and laulu?


I was just about to ask the same thing, so giving this thread a bump. :)


Biisi on puhekieltä. Parempi käännös olisi laulu tai kappale.


The funny thing about this word is that it originates from the English piece, as in a piece of music. Of course, kappale is another possible translation of piece.

Finnish then mangled the p into a b, giving us the word biisi, which is nowadays often misspelled as piisi... What goes around, comes around.


It's interesting that p was changed into b because in Finnish it is usually the other way around (such as bank -> pankki) and b is used only in loanwords which had this letter originally (banaani, bussi). Could it be because p is aspirated in English so for Finns it sounds a bit different than p in Finnish?


I think for many Finnish speakers' ears, b and p are actually too much alike. As are g and k, d and t,... So (some) people start mixing them up. After all, if a sound difference isn't meaningful in the language(s) you hear, you start to lose the capability of distinguishing it already as a baby.


Is it also the case with t and d? It seems that t is more common in Finnish and no word in that language starts with d, but there exist words where it is used. For instance, all the verbs ending in -da/-dä or nouns and adjectives subject to t-d gradation. However, there aren't any minimal pairs with t/d in Finnish, are there?


Probably not, no.

There's even a famous rock band that have taken their name from this, and were happily singing in their beloved Finnish rather than in English as many other artists do: Don Huonot. The obvious translation of the band's name is "the Don Bads", but the name actually comes from "D on huono T" = D is a bad T.


Another strange thing is that whereas biisi is a colloquial word in Finnish for "song" (which I presume would include both vocal music and instrumental music), a piece (of music) in English refers more strictly to an instrumental musical composition, especially in the Western classical music tradition, with all the highfalutin' connotations that come with it. To those same people, a "song" is only ever a vocal piece of music. I've noticed that the people who refer to instrumental music strictly as "pieces" can get into heated arguments with the people who refer to instrumental music as "songs." It's things like these that have made me realize that it's best just to let language evolve as it will.


I'm not a native speaker; what is highfalutin?


It's kind of like "superior"


A rare B word! Thanks for all of the great info in the comments!

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