It [discovering Finnish] was like discovering a wine-cellar filled with bottles of amazing wine of a kind and flavour never tasted before. It quite intoxicated me.
– J.R.R. Tolkien

Just like Tolkien, I’m loving Finnish. It’s not an easy language (not that I’ve really tried to learn too many languages before), but its basic vocabulary is beautiful (that’s what I’m learning for now).

I’m spending at least 20 minutes each day on public transport, and am now carrying a dictionary with me so that I can learn vocab from all the adverts and signs that I see on the way to work and back. And two words from today…

“Olohuone” = “lounge”. We might call our lounge a living or sitting room, but in Finnish it directly translates to a “stay room” (olo[oleskelu] = stay & huone = room). I think I prefer their way of saying it.

“Linnanmäki” = “Castle hill”. It is one of the stops on my bus route. I still need to figure out where the castle is… (Linna = castle & mäki = hill). Same word as in the name of the town “Savonlinna” (which annually hosts a month-long opera festival).

PS. If you speak Finnish and spot any mistakes please let me know!

PPS. Not everyone feels the same way… someone once said that “Finnish sounds like two alphabets went to nuclear war and the fallout mutated it into something seriously messed up with lots of i’s and e’s.” I wonder what that person would have said about Xhosa?

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