10 Finnish Words that You Don't Learn in Class

Finnish is one of the most difficult languages to learn, at least in my opinion. Why? Well, because there’s not another language to really compare it to. It stands on its own, and with pride! Although there is some quirkiness to it, Finnish is very fun to learn — partly due to the literal meanings. I dare you to pronounce them.

Here are 10 Finnish words that you don’t learn in class — unless you have an extremely cool teacher, then you should really thank him or her!

  1. Kalsarikännit – Literally translated to being drunk at home in your underwear. Yes, this does indeed exist. There is a Finnish tradition of getting drunk without putting proper clothes on, and essentially, staying in your underwear all day.
  2. Hölkyn kölkyn – One of the first words I learned was ‘kippis’ which is used to say ‘cheers!’ Hölkyn kölkyn is a more informal version of ‘cheers’ — say it ten times in a row without mispronouncing it, in your underwear.
  3. Liplatus – The Finns are super in touch with nature, so they created words even for the sounds it makes. This word is for the sound that the tiny waves make on the lake. 
  4. Kuurankukka – The translation is a flower made by the cold. This is a beautiful word to describe the frosty shapes that form on your window in the wintertime.
  5. Mörökölli – This word is a grumpy person who is sulking. So pretty much if someone is grouchy, crabby and being a Debbie Downer, you can use this word to describe them.
  6. Hyppytyynytyydytys – The satisfaction received from a soft, cosy, bouncy cushion. I have always wanted a word to describe this feeling. Thank you Finland.
  7. Lentokonesuihkuturbiinimoottoriapumekaanikkoaliupseerioppilas – This supposedly is the longest Finnish word with 61 letters, and it means an airplane jet turbine engine auxiliary mechanic non-commissioned officer student. Learn it, you may need to use it one day.
  8. Persaukinen – This literally translates to having your ass wide open. Which in Finland, it means that you are broke.
  9. Jänishousu – This is equivalent to ‘scaredy-cat’, as rabbits are usually known to be scared of everything and quite jumpy.
  10. Perkele! – Yes, this must always and forever be used with an exclamation mark. It more or less means devil, but can be used for ‘shit!’ or other similar curse words. This can be used by itself or repeated indefinitely. It is a very popular word amongst the Finns and you hear it on the streets every day.

So now that you know very important words in the Finnish language, I challenge you to pronounce them. Should I make a video of me trying to say these words? Send me an email and let me know: kelly.keodara (at) tuni.fi

*I would like to honourably mention my friends who helped me develop this list: Hilja, Antti and Tinja …. kiitos paljon !!

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