Swahili and Finnish alphabet -surprisingly similar!

This was the first meeting we did over a zoom call. In advance we agreed that we will start with the basics, like going through the alphabets and pronunciation. First we went through the Finnish alphabet and to my surprise Sharon was able to pronounce almost all the Finnish letters. The only ones that were very difficult for her were Y and Ö in Finnish. Being from a multicultural family myself I know that these letters might be impossible to pronounce to a foreigner, so I didn’t want to get stuck on them. We continued to practice double consonants and vowels and she did surprisingly well with them too. In teaching the double consonants I used a tip based on something my Spanish friends once told me. According to them, it sounds like Finnish speakers stop for a moment when they are pronouncing a double consonant.

Then we went to go through the Swahili alphabet and to my surprise it was very similar to the Finnish one. This explains also why Sharon was able to pronounce most of the Finnish alphabet correctly. In the Swahili alphabet there were no added letters and some letters, such as H or R were pronounced exactly like in Finnish. The letters Q and X dont exist in Swahili. Both of us practiced further the pronounciation by repeating some words in both languages:


Auto, Lautanen, Pyyhe, Ikkuna, Lamppu, Matto, Kiina, Laajakuvatelevisio, Maitokahvi, Jalkalamppu


Meza, Gari, Dirisha, Kikombe, Sahani, Sufuria, Runinga, Kiti


Interesting! Being a Finn myself, and studying a bit of Swahili, I have noticed how learning Swahili is a way easier than for example learning Swedish or English (only you hear them much more over here in Finland). Grammar is another thing of course.

Tarja Kivi

1.7.2023 14:03

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