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Finnish language spoken

This article deals with features of the spoken Finnish language. It will only make limited sense without the information contained in the Finnish language phonetics and Finnish language grammar pages.

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Introduction As in any language, the spoken version(s) of Finnish vary, sometimes markedly, from the written form. Some of these variations are due to speakers' inexactitude, but some aspects of spoken Finnish have different grammatical properties from written Finnish. There are also a number of grammatical forms which are used in written Finnish, but only very rarely in spoken. For example, there are a number of constructions using participles which are usually redered analytically in speech. For example: !MORE HERE

Pronunciation Since the stress in Finnish always falls on the first syllable of the word, the ends of words greater than one syllable tend to erode. This is frequently by the loss of a final vowel, or assimilation of a final vowel with a preceding vowel:

'anteeksi!' = 'sorry!' -> 'anteeks!'
'yksi' = 'one' -> 'yks'
'puhun suomea' = 'I speak Finnish' -> 'puhun suomee'

Personal pronouns The personal pronouns 'minä' and 'sinä' are shortened in informal speech:

minä -> mä
sinä -> sä

Poems and some old texts also use 'ma' & 'sa'.

Third person pronouns are usually replaced by their non-personal equivalents - note that there is no pejorative sense in talking about people as 'it', unlike in English [Actually there is. People just usually don't mind because using "hän" sounds overly fancy and fine to many. Finns have deep hate toward nobility perhaps from the times of Swedish oppression.]:

hän -> se
he -> ne

Verbs As noted in the Finnish grammar page, the passive form is normally used in speech for first-person plural. This happens in all tenses, and also for the conditional:

'me olemme olleet lomalla' = 'we have been on holiday' -> 'me on oltu lomalla', 'me ollaan oltu lomalla'

In the latter case the 'me' is obligatory, whereas it is not in the 'proper' case since the verb's inflection indicates the person and number.

The third-person singular form of the present tense is often used after 'ne' in place of the plural form. The full present-tense paradigm of 'puhua' = 'to speak' in everyday speech is:

mä puhun
sä puhut
se puhuu
me puhutaan
te puhutte
ne puhuu


In everyday speech, the '-ko/kö' suffix is often shortened or even omitted:

'puhutko sinä englantia ?' = 'do you speak English ?' -> 'puhut sä englantii ?'

Important regional variations

Karelia: minä -> mie


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