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A typical picture of what a typical Finnish person looks like when speaking typical Finnish.

Didarasq (or The Finnish language as it is sometimes mistakenly called) is the second national language of Finland. It is known for being the international lingua franca of diplomacy and business. It is relatively easy for foreigners to learn because of its low complexity level (vaikeusaste). A foreigner can speak Finnish fluently after a mere 400 years of teaching and training. Another 200 years and the foreigner will be able to write Finnish as well. That is why you never see immigrants in Finland speaking Finnish, except for some elderly people who made the mistake of trying to do the impossible. During the first days/weeks/months/years of studying the foreigner quickly learns his first Finnish word that has an incredible 100% chance of being "Perkele" for the relative ease of learning the language. The student will certainly keep shouting this word in a steady pace as long as they enjoy learning the language.

edit Characteristics

The Finnish language is a typical member of the Finno-Ugric-Nonsensical-Blatter-Bladder-Mongerel language family. Like most other FUNBBM languages, Finnish has got seventeen tenses. As a compensation, it only has got one gender. Over 180 cases can be found in the Finnish language, but only the first 150 are commonly used in everyday speech. Finnish words tend to be long compared to the words of the English language. This is why novels are thicker in Finland than anywhere else. It can take several pages to write a single word in Finnish. It is possible to construct practically endless compound nouns in Finnish. A good example is the word suuronnettomuustutkintalautakuntatyö, meaning "work of the catastrophy examination board". It is the second shortest word in the Finnish language. Because most Finns are illiterate, they do not bother to connect compound nouns in their writing. Finnish grammar nazis are constantly having a hard time hunting down and exterminating people who show indifference to compound nouns. Their method of extermination is burning the heretic on a stake (Their motto is: "Finnish is a sentence!"). Finnish is also a synthetic language meaning that there is a modest figure of 6500 endings of words to be used with most of the words for the most of the time. After the 600 short years of studies any still living student of Finnish can write for example the short synthetic word "epäjärjestelmällistyttämättömyydellänsäkäänköhän" with relatively no effort. Unfortunately, there's not enough memory available on the Internet for the translation (in the examples section there's a poor trial, though).

Another thing that strikes a foreigner learning Finnish (apart from the sadistic teacher) is the frequent use of vowels, especially umlaut vowels ä and ö. Finnish uses considerably less consonants than e.g. the English language.

Finnish has 155 words describing different kinds of snow, 781 different words for 'reindeer', 499 words for 'cold', 863 words for 'booze' and more than 3,700 ways of saying 'Goddammit, it's cold in here!', but only one expression for 'the person in charge of the climate control system' (laadunvalvontajärjestelmävastaava). Therefore it's no wonder a Finn can be drunk in about 10,000 different ways.

edit Test

Do you know your Finnish? Take this test and find out. Choose the correct alternative. The answers are in the chapter below.

I You are lost in a Finnish town. You want to know where the railway station is. What should you do?

  • (A) Ask someone "Anteeksi, missä on rautatieasema?" ('Excuse me, where is the railway station?')
  • (B) Say "Perkele!" (a common and very expressive cuss that fortunately cannot be translated)
  • (C) Nothing. You can find the station by walking for another four hours. No need to have tedious conversations with scary unknown people.

II You accidentally push an old lady in the street. What should you say?

  • (A) "Oho." ('Oops')
  • (B) "Perkele!"
  • (C) "Pois alta!" ('Get out of my way!')
  • (D) Nothing. Why should you?

III You wish to make an order in a restaurant. What do you do?

  • (A) Shout "Palvelua!" ('Service!')
  • (B) Shout "Perkele!"
  • (C) Shout "Viinaa!" ('Booze!')
  • (D) Nothing. The waiter will probably notice you in a few hours.

IV You meet an old friend in the street. What do you do?

  • (A) Say "Terve!" ('Hello')
  • (B) Say "Perkele!"
  • (C) Look in the other way and pretend not to know your old friend.

V A man approaches you and asks for small change for the bus. What do you say to him?

  • (A) "Ei." ('No')
  • (B) "Perkele!"
  • (C) "Ei."

VI You hit your finger with a hammer. What do you say?

  • (A) "Perkele!"
  • (B) "Perkele!"
  • (C) "Perkele!"

VII Somebody does a favor for you. What do you say to thank the person?

  • (A) Nothing.
  • (B) "Perkele!"
  • (C) "Mrphh..." (incoherent mumbling)

VIII A friend tells you he or she has lost a close person. What should you do to express your compassion?

  • (A) Nothing.
  • (B) Say "Perkele!"
  • (C) Walk away.

IX Somebody asks you the time. It is 4.30 PM. How do you respond?

  • (A) "Ai nyt vai?" ('You mean now?')
  • (B) "Perkele!"
  • (C) "En tiedä." ('I don't know')

X Finally, your friend is leaving for abroad. What do you say?

  • (A) "Ja pysykin poissa." ('And stay away')
  • (B) "Perkele!"
  • (C) Nothing.

edit Correct answers

Except for question VI, where all answers are correct, the correct answer for each question is (B)

edit In popular culture


The Town Council building in Tampere.

In Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien based the Mordor language on Finnish. Mordor itself, and a certain diabolical tower there, were based on the Finnish village of Tampere. When Gandalf recited the inscription on Bilbo Baggins's ring at Isengard, everyone in the council cringed, and Lord Elrond himself asked Gandalf to excuse himself before any more similar expulsions.

Lord of the Rings itself was never translated to Finnish. Scientists were afraid that the book might collapse into a black hole of irony.

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