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The Finnish Language / Peculiarities and Characteristics # 1


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Most of the language spoken in Europe are somehow related to each other and do, therefore, belong to the same Indo-European family of languages. The Finnish language is quite exceptional, as it belongs to the Finno-Ugrian language family, just like Estonian and Hungarian.

Therefore, the Finnish language differs greatly in structure and vocabulary from most of the other languages spoken in Europe. However, this does not necessarily mean that Finnish is harder to learn than other European languages, it is just different and has its own peculiarities.

Now, I would like to explain some of the characteristics/differences of the Finnish language in comparison to other (european) languages:

Finnish has no articles and does NOT differentiate between genders

In the Finnish language, there are no articles, so unlike in German for instance, where you differentiate between the masculine, feminine and neutral gender (Der, Die, Das), Finnish has no grammatical gender.

Some examples (German, English, Finnish):

Das Auto // The car, a car // Finnish: auto

German: Er, Sie // English: he, she // Finnish: hän

German: Der Löffel // English: the spoon, a spoon // Finnish: lusikka

German: Die Gabel // English: a fork, the fork // Finnish: haarukka

German: das Messer // English: a knife, the knife // Finnish: veitsi

Finnish largely depends on postpositions, not on prepositions

English: in a, the car  // auto+ssa

English: in my car  // auto + ssa + ni

English: in (the) cars  // auto + i + ssa

English: you speak //  puhu + t

English: do you speak // puhu + t + ko

English: you spoke // puhu + i + t

Some more postpositions (postpositions in Finnish are in bold):

English: with Lisa // Liisan kansaa

English: after Lisa //  Liisan jälkeen

English: in front of Lisa // Lisan edessä

English: behind Lisa // Lisan takana

And finally also a couple of prepositions (comparable to English prepositions):

English: without Lisa // ilman Liisan

English: before Lisa // ennen Liisa

Please note that most of those explanations and examples are taken from the book: "From start to Finnish" from 2003, written by Leila White.

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