1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Finnish
  4. >
  5. "Salt is a spice."

"Salt is a spice."

Translation:Suola on mauste.

July 14, 2020



Is this actually something anyone would say? I don't know anyone from any country who would say salt is a 'spice'. Does mauste mean something more like a general 'seasoning'?


The Finnish Wikipaedia entry for "mauste" includes minerals in its definition. There's also a section specificaly about Maustemineraalit ie common salt NaCl.


My issue isn't with salt being included in the Finnish concept of mauste, my point is that this means mauste rather refers to the general concept of seasonings, not spices specifically


According to Wiktionary, 'mauste' means:

  1. flavoring/flavouring, seasoning, flavor/flavour, condiment (substance used to produce a taste)
  2. spice (any variety of spice)


As a native German speaker... I might say that. You keep it in the spice rack, together with dried herbs and whatever. They are there to spice up food. So they are spices.


Right, but I also keep herbs on my spice rack and those are not spices, they are herbs. We are translating to English, and the definition of spice in English is a part of a plant such as the root, bark or seed (not stems, leaves or flowers, those ate herbs) used to flavour food. Pepper is a spice, salt is not. What all of these things do have in common is being seasonings, which is the general term in english for something used to flavour food


Recall of course that categories of things do vary wildly across language families. I have a "spice rack" in my kitchen that certainly includes herbs and salt, but I would never choose to call it a spices, herbs and seasonings rack. This tends to be especially true with broad categories even though we break them down quite specifically from language to language.

Think of the confusion going from Inuit to English with words like qanuk, kaneq, kanevvluk, qanikcaq, muruaneq, nutaryuk and qengaruk. They are all specific single word discriptors for various forms of frozen precipitation. Do you tell an Inuit speaker that they are wrong because you think that qanikcaq is the same thing as muruaneq? You COULD, but it would be terribly colonialist to expect other languages to automatically conform to your linguistic expectations.


I like it, calynca. We use it to spice things up; therefore it's a spice. Very logical :-).

Learn Finnish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.