Tuesday, November 18, 2008

More Weirdness of the Finnish Language

Yesterday, we had Finnish class, and the teacher said: "Students often say that to study Finnish you have to learn by heart. I think that in many cases this is true." I found it funny, since teachers tend to say the opposite of that, to encourage you.

There is a phenomenon in Finnish, where the beginning "b" of foreign words transforms into "p". For example, "baton" becomes "patonki" (it was very funny, we had to say "täytetty patonki", which means "filled baton", and it was a mouthful, especially in the partitive form "täytettyä patonkia", until I realised that it's so very similar to the Hungarian "töltött", after that it became easy); or "bank" becomes "pankki". So, I was wondering, why does "bus" change into "bussi", and not "pussi"? I then realised, people are making enough fun of this language already, without it having to have a means of public transported sound like an obscene word in English. So, they didn't call it "pussi"... but they kept "slut"?!

Later, I found out that the word "pussi" does exist in Finnish, it means "pack" or "bag", as in "a bag of potatoes". Really fucked up language.

By the way, the photo is from the Moomin Valley Museum in Tampere. I'll tell you all about that in another post.


dr. Vincze-Nagy András said...

You haven't clarified what 'slut' means. I'm kind of interested! :)

Viki Rosenzveig said...

I haven't found out what it means. Finnish bug, care to lend us a hand?

tibi masterofalltime said...

slut (eng, noun, countable, archaic):
a maid

1664 CE: Samuel Pepys, The Diary of Samuel Pepys:

"Our little girl Susan is a most admirable slut, and pleases us mightily, doing more service than both the others and deserves wages better."

if you read this in today's context it conveys a rather nasty situation.

tibi masterofalltime said...

i think "slut" means "the end" or "over" in finnish. of course i might be wrong.

Katja said...

dear dear... good old finnish! how have i missed you! :D

slut in nowadays context is translated as lutka in finnish. slut on the otherhand pronounced with long u (and not like "slat" as in english) is swedish and yes, it means the end or over.

you get plus points and a parrot stamp for putting the ending picture of the book "kuka lohduttaisi nyytiä?"(roughly: who would comfort nyyti?) - it´s one of my favourites. (though here the picture is from the original swedish version - with obviously swedish text:D)

- finnish bug

ps. my sister wonders when she´ll be able to meet you? such a shame: almost a relative and in the same country but... :P