JYU Student Ambassadors


Finnish language in everyday life

Nina Huisman
Okay, so you are queuing to pay for your groceries at a supermarket (most likely it is a K-market, they are everywhere around town). You’ve taken your Survival Finnish course and you are confident that you can go by with the simplest sentences. The cashier addresses you with the classic yet useful “Moi”, you reply with a “Moi” of your own trying to hide your accent, pronunciation is perfect so far. He  ?bips ? your bananas, then the way too many long drinks that you have bought for a party happening soon…”bip”, “bip” they go. And at the end, smiling with that treacherous smile he says  ?Kuittia?¨. OH YOU ARE READY FOR THIS! You go to your basic conversation skills and remember that this strange word means “Receipt ? and confidently you reply “Ei kiitos”.

“Done!” you say to yourself “They must think I’m from Kuopio at this point” you think, smiling while you start stacking your stuff into your backpack. And then, a strange series of sounds come out of the cashier ?s mouth while he shows you a strange looking piece of paper. A million thoughts go through your brain; “Have I stolen something accidentally?”, “Are you telling me I should stop taking so many long drinks?”, “ I thought you said receipt earlier!”. A tear is about to roll down your face, you are desperate, you stare at this eyes, looking for a complicit look because you know the end is here….

And then, out of nowhere, in english, with an accent so perfect that could rival that of the members of the british parliament themselves he says “ Hey! You won a coupon of 5 euros for your next purchase! Congratulations”. You are going to hold on to that coupon for the rest of your life…

Maybe I dramatized a bit here! ;) But it is true! Perhaps not with the prettiest accent but almost everyone in Finland speaks conversational english. If you are worried about the need to learn the language you can already forget about it! On top of that, finns are extremely nice to foreigners and they ?ll help out with any language related problems you face.

However, as part of your curriculum, many MSc programmes require you to take a couple of finnish credits which allow you to learn just enough to understand basic greetings, directions and ask for help in case you needed. We really encourage you to take such courses, on top of learning survival stuff, you can also learn a couple of jokes and insults in finnish which may pay off when you are trying to have fun with the locals.

Finnish language in everyday life Finnish language in everyday life Reviewed by ambassadors on 22:11 Rating: 5


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