Finnish for busy people

Arttu Wiskari – Tässäkö tää oli – Finnish Song Lyrics Analysis

If you like music and translating Finnish song lyrics, then you might like this article.

I will be analyzing the song Tässäkö tää oli by Arttu Wiskari. Listen to it here on YouTube. Thank you, Rambsu, for suggesting it!

1. About the Song Tässäkö tää oli

This song never explicitely says what it’s about, so if your Finnish isn’t good enough to draw conclusions from the text of the song, you might not get the idea. Here’s the spoiler:

The song is about a family that rents a motorhome for a vacation. The dad isn’t used to driving a manual vehicle. It starts raining heavily, the car loses grip on the road and an accident happens. One of the children is bedridden for a month and has a broken wrist. However, they don’t care about this because their dad made them celebrities. Their failed holiday made it to the front page of a tabloid newspaper.

The title of the song translates as “Was that all?”, which expresses the disappointment of the dad regarding their failed holiday to Mikkeli.

2. Spoken Language Used in the Song

This song has many excellent examples of very common spoken language elements, which you will have to learn when studying Finnish. These are the elements that are the most prominent in the song:

  • Me saimme > Me saatiin: The first person plural is almost always replaced with the passive in spoken language. This is true for all the tenses: me saadaan (we get), me saatiin (we got), me saataisiin (we would get). – Read more.
  • Yllätyksiä > Yllätyksii: Diphtongs like –ia– are very often replaced by long vowels, like –ii-. – Read more.
  • Lapset ansaitsevat > Lapset ansaitsee: Verbs in the third person plural generally don’t have the suffix -vat in spoken language. The third person plural looks exactly like the third person singular (se ansaitsee, ne ansaitsee). – Read more.

2. Song Lyrics – Arttu Wiskari – Tässäkö tää oli

♬ Finnish song lyrics ♬ English translated lyrics
Pikavipillä saatiin lomasetti
Kohteena Visulahden vahakabinetti
Vuokrasin halvimman matkailuauton
Meille hyvä, toisille mauton
With a quick loan we got a holiday set
Destination: Visulahti’s wax museum
I rented the cheapest motorhome
Good for us, tasteless for others
Vaimo ristikoita vieressä täyttää
Yritän opetella kytkintä käyttää
Lapset arvuuttelee mihinkä me mennään
Rankkasateessa eteeni mä en nää mitään
My wife is filling crosswords next to me
I’m trying to learn to use the clutch
The kids are guessing where we’re going
In the heavy rain I don’t see anything in front of me
Refrain:
Tässäkö tää oli?
Levii nelostielle lasten monopoli
Jää juomatta se kylmä alkoholiton olut
Joita Soliferin jääkaappiin ostin kuus
Tässäkö tää oli?

Valuu asfaltille autosta glykoli
Vaikenee radiossa nuorisoidoli ja nyt
Meitä ympäröi tää totaalinen hiljaisuus
Refrain:
Is this it? / Was that all?
The children’s monopoly scatters onto road 4
The cold non-alcoholic beer won’t be drunk
Which I bought six of for the Solifer’s fridge
Is this it? / Was that all?
Glycol spills onto the asphalt from the car
The youth idol on the radio falls silent and now
We’re surrounded by this total silence
Lapset ansaitsee näitä yllätyksii
Oon heille tuottanut liikaa pettymyksii
Meidän koulut ja duunit meni pieleen
Kinkuton joulu on jäänyt mulle mieleen
The kids deserve these surprises
I’ve caused them too many disappointments
Our schools and jobs went wrong
A ham-free Christmas has stuck in my mind
Soliferi nousi tiellä vesiliirtoon
Alle sekunti miettii omaa siirtoo
Renkaat linkussa, vauhtia se satanen
En tiiä olisko selvinnyt ees Vatanen
The Solifer started aquaplaning on the road
Less than a second to think about my (next) move
Tires turned/locked, speed at a hundred
I don’t know if even Vatanen would have managed
Refrain Refrain
Tästä alkaa loma
Ja vaikka kuukauden mä olen vuoteenoma
Ei se haittaa vaik on kipsattuna ranne
Näin Iltalehden kannen
Iskä teki meistä julkkiksii
This is where the holiday begins
And even though I’m bedridden for a month
It doesn’t matter to have a plastered wrist
I saw the cover of Iltalehti
Dad made us celebrities
Refrain Refrain

3. Glossary

The following grammar terms have been abbreviated.

  • sg1: first person singular
  • pl1: first person plual
  • pl3: third person plural
  • sg.gen: singular genetive
  • poss.suff.: possessive suffix

I have marked different elements of the analysis using the following symbols.

  • in italics: base word
  • (in brackets): translation
  • ‘in single quotation marks’: literal meaning
  • “in double quotation marks”: intended meaning
  • [square brackets]: saying, idiom, fixed phrase; rection
  • <symbol: written version of spoken language element

4. Tässäkö tää oli – Arttu WiskariFinnish Song Analyzed

Pikavipillä saatiin lomasetti
Pikavipillä pikavippi (quick loan), adessive case “with/by a quick loan”
saatiin <saimme, from saada (to receive), past passive, spoken language me-form “we got”
lomasetti holiday set, object of saada, basic form because passive
With a quick loan we got a holiday set

It’s very common in spoken language to use the passive in the first person plural. That’s why we have saatiin in this sentences rather than saimme. It’s the past passive form of saada.

The passive verb form has an influence on the object of the sentence: lomasetti. The object of a passive sentence won’t be inflected in the genetive case like it would in a regular sentence. The standard language sentence “Me saimme lomasetin” will contain the genetive case. In the equivalent spoken language sentence “Me saatiin lomasetti” the object is in the basic form.

Kohteena Visulahden vahakabinetti
Kohteena kohde (destination), essive case “as the destination”
Visulahden Visulahti, genetive case “of Visulahti”
vahakabinetti wax cabinet (museum)
Destination: Visulahti’s wax museum

Visulahti is an amusement park in Mikkeli. One of the attractions there is the Wax Cabinet, a museum filled with wax figures of famous people.

Vuokrasin halvimman matkailuauton; Meille hyvä, toisille mauton
Vuokrasin vuokrata (to rent), sg1 imperfect tense “I rented”
halvimman halpa (cheap), superlative, genetive case “the cheapest”
matkailuauton matkailuauto (motorhome), genetive case, object of vuokrata
Meille me (we), allative case “for/to us”
hyvä good
toisille toinen (other), plural allative case “for/to others”
mauton tasteless
I rented the cheapest motorhome; Good for us, tasteless for others

Adjectives can be inflected in all the cases. The comparative and superlative of said adjectives can also be inflected: the superlative of halpa is halvin, which becomes halvimman in the genetive case.

You will always put the adjective (halvin) in the same form as the noun it is attached to (matkailuauto). We are using the genetive because halvin matkailuauto is the object of the verb vuokrata. The total object of a sentence generally appears in the genetive case: we rent the whole motorhome.

The second part of this section doesn’t have a verb or subject at all. The full sentence would be “Matkailuauto on meille hyvä, mutta toisille mauton“.

Vaimo ristikoita vieressä täyttää
Vaimo wife
ristikoita ristikko (crossword), plural partitive, object of täyttää
vieressä next to, postposition
täyttää to fill, sg3 present tense “fills”
My wife is filling crosswords next to me

There are several elements missing in this sentence. When adding all the missing written language elements, you get “Minun vaimoni täyttää minun vieressäni sanaristikoita“. It’s fairly common in songs to leave out elements that are clear from the context.

The word ristikko on its own could mean lattice or grid. In this context, it’s short for sanaristikko, which is a crossword puzzle. It’s inflected in the plural partitive in the song, so she’s filling them right now.

In this context, vieressä means minun vieressä “next to me”. The wife is sitting next to her husband in the car.

Yritän opetella kytkintä käyttää
Yritän yrittää, sg1 present tense, rection: [yrittää + infinitive] “I’m trying”
opetella to learn, basic form because of yrittää, rection: [opetella + third infinitive] “to learn”
kytkintä kytkin (clutch), singular partitive because of käyttää
käyttää <käyttämään, from käyttää (to use), rection: [käyttää + partitive]
I’m trying to learn to use a clutch

The standard language version of this sentence would be: Yritän opetella käyttämään kytkintä.

In this sentence, käyttää is actually not the basic form of the verb. Rather, it’s the spoken language -maan form. In spoken language, käyttäämään becomes käyttää(n). You might have come across this with other verbs, such as Menen nukkuun (rather than nukkumaan) or Menen tekeen ruokaa (rather than tekemään). In the song, the -maan form (or better: its spoken language alternative) is used because the verb opetella requires the third infinitive‘s mihin form.

The verb opetella means “to learn”. It’s derived from the verb oppia, which also means “to learn”. When we add the -ele- derivation type to the verb oppia, it means that you’re learning something more slowly. It’s taking time, it’s a process. While oppia means you learn something, opetella means that you’re in the process of learning something.

Lapset arvuuttelee mihinkä me mennään
Lapset lapsi (child), T-plural “the children”
arvuuttelee arvuutella (to guess), spoken language pl3, present tense “are guessing”
mihinkä mihin “to where”, spoken language -ka/kä element
me we
mennään <menemme, mennä (to go), spoken language passive, present tense
The kids are guessing where we’re going

In standard written Finnish, we would say Lapset arvuuttelevat. However, in spoken language, the third person plural is simplified and looks the same as the third person singular: lapsi arvuuttelee, lapset arvuuttelee.

The first person plural is also different in spoken language: we use the passive mennään instead of menemme.

Rankkasateessa eteeni mä en nää mitään
Rankkasateessa rankkasade (heavy rain), inessive case “in the heavy rain”
eteeni eteen (to the front), illative form of edessä, + poss.suff. -ni “in front of me”
<minä, “I”
en don’t
nää <näe, from nähdä “to see”, sg1 negative present tense
mitään nothing
In the heavy rain I don’t see anything in front of me

Neutral word order: Rankkasateessa mä en nää mitään eteeni.

The postposition edessä “in front of” appears in the mihin form in this song: eteen. Read more about the inflection of postpositions here. The illative case is used here because of the direction of the singer’s gaze: he’s trying to see to the front. The word edessä in this particular context would only work if the car is standing still because, then, what’s in front of him wouldn’t be moving. The form eteeni contains the possessive suffix -ni, which has partly assimilated into the postposition (ie. eteen + ni > eteeni).

In spoken language, diphtongs often assimilate into long vowels. That’s why näe becomes nää. The verb form en näe is the first person negative present tense form of nähdä “I don’t see”.

REFRAIN

Tässäkö tää oli?
Tässäkö tässä (here) + –ko/kö question suffix “Here?”
tää <tämä (this)
oli olla (to be), sg3 imperfect tense “was”
Is this it? Was that all?

The phrase Tässäkö tää oli is literally “In here this was?” The proper English translation is something like “Is this it?” or “Was that all?”. The singer is expressing his confusion or disappointment that nothing more came of their holiday.

Levii nelostielle lasten monopoli
Levii <leviää, from the verb levitä (to spread, scatter), sg3 present tense, rection: [levitä + mihin]
nelostielle nelostie (Finnish national road 4), allative case because of levitä “onto road 4”
lasten lapsi (child), plural genetive case, “the children’s”
monopoli monopoly (game)
The children’s monopoly scatters onto road 4

Neutral word order: Lasten monopoli levii nelostielle. The children’s monopoly game scatters onto the road. Implicitely, this is an indicator that they have gotten into a car accident.

In standard Finnish, the verb levitä gets conjugated in the third person singular as leviää. It’s one of those verbs that look like verbtype 5 (which end in -ita/itä), but is conjugated as a verbtype 4 verb. In spoken language, the diphtong -iä- assimilates into –ii.

Nelostie is the highway that starts in Helsinki and goes all the way up to the North of Finland. It can also be called Valtatie 4.

Jää juomatta se kylmä alkoholiton olut
Jää jäädä (to remain, stay), sg3 present tense “remains”
juomatta juoda (to drink), conjugated in the third infinitive‘s abessive case ‘un-drunken’
se it, the, that
kylmä cold
alkoholiton non-alcoholic
olut beer
The cold non-alcoholic beer won’t be drunk

Neutral word order: Se kylmä alkoholiton olut jää juomatta.

The phrase jäädä juomatta is a hard one to translate. The beer won’t be consumed; it “remains un-drunk”. You can combine to verb jäädä with the -matta form of verbs to express that something stays “undone”. For example, the phrase Huone jäi siivoamatta means “The room remained uncleaned” and the phrase Se jäi huomaamatta can be translated as “It remained unnoticed”.

The strange pause in this section between alkoholi and –ton is mainly due to the fact that this is supposed to rhyme with the previous section’s monopoli. However, as a language learner, it might help you realize that we’re dealing with the suffix -ton, which expresses a lack of something; in this case, a lack of alcohol.

The pronoun se in this section is used very much like a definite pronoun: Se kylmä olut the cold beer”. This is something that is used sometimes in spoken language. Generally Finnish doesn’t have definite pronouns. It makes up for this with differences in, for example, word order.

Joita Soliferin jääkaappiin ostin kuus
Joita joka (which), the relative joka-pronoun in the plural partitive
Soliferin Solifer (name of a firm), singular genetive
jääkaappiin jääkaappi (fridge), illative case because of ostaa
ostin ostaa (to buy), sg1 imperfect tense, rection: [ostaa + mihin] “I bought”
kuus <kuusi (six)
Which I bought six of for the Solifer’s fridge

Solifer is a Finnish manifacturer of motorhomes. In the song, the motorhome itself is referred to as Soliferi.

This section on its own is hard to interpret, as joita refers to the noun olut of the previous section. The phrase “joita ostin kuus” translates to “of which I bought six”. Compare to the sentence: Ostin niitä kuusi “I bought six of them”.

The rection for ostaa is normally mistä, because you buy things from places: Ostin olutta kaupasta, lääkkeitä apteekista ja tupakkaa kioskilta. In this song, however, the singer bought the beer to put into the fridge, which is why we use the mihin form jääkaappiin. Similarly, we could say Ostin hameen juhliin ie. “I bought a skirt for the party”.

Tässäkö tää oli?
Tässäkö tässä (here) + –ko/kö question suffix “Here?”
tää <tämä (this)
oli olla (to be), sg3 imperfect tense “was”
Is this it? Was that all?

 

Valuu asfaltille autosta glykoli
Valuu valua (to stream, to ooze), sg3 present tense “spills”
asfaltille asfaltti (asphalt), allative case “onto the asphalt”
autosta auto (car), elative case, “from the car”
glykoli glycol (liquid used in antifreeze)
Glycol spills onto the asphalt from the car

Neutral word order: Glykoli valuu autosta asfaltille.

Nice use of the mistä and mihin forms here: the glycol flows from the car onto the asphalt.

Vaikenee radiossa nuorisoidoli ja nyt
Vaikenee vaieta (to fall silent), sg3 present tense
radiossa radio, inessive case “on the radio”
nuorisoidoli youth idol
ja and
nyt now
The youth idol on the radio falls silent and now

Neutral word order: Nuorisoidoli vaikenee radiossa. Due to the car accident, the radio falls silent.

The verb vaieta is a verbtype 6 verb with consonant gradation: a -k- appears.

Meitä ympäröi tää totaalinen hiljaisuus
Meitä me (we), partitive case because of ympäröidä
ympäröi ympäröidä (to surround), sg3 present tense
tää <tämä (this), spoken language pronoun
totaalinen total, complete
hiljaisuus silence
We’re surrounded by this total silence

“Silence surrounds us” would be Hiljaisuus ympäröi meitä. The word order here has been turned around.

Lapset ansaitsee näitä yllätyksii
Lapset lapsi (child), T-plural “the children”
ansaitsee <ansaitsevat, from ansaita (to deserve), spoken language pl3 present tense
näitä nämä (these), plural partitive
yllätyksii <yllätyksiä, from yllätys (surprise), plural partitive
The children deserve these surprises

Tämä yllätys has been inflected in the plural partitive in this section, because the children deserve an unspecified plural amount of surprises. The diphtong at the end of yllätyksiä gets assimilated into a long vowel. This is very common in spoken Finnish.

This section contains another example of how the third person plural of verbs rarely gets -vat in colloquial Finnish. Using the same ending as in the third person singular (eg. ansaitsee instead of ansaitsevat) is very common.

Oon heille tuottanut liikaa pettymyksii
Oon <olen, from olla (to be), sg1 present tense in spoken language “I have”
heille he (they), allative case, “to them”
tuottanut tuottaa (to produce, create), perfect tense‘s NUT-participle, “caused”
liikaa liika (excess), singular partitive “too many”
pettymyksii <pettymyksiä, from pettymys (disppointment), plural partitive
I’ve caused too many disappointments for them

The word pettymyksii is created in the same way as yllätyksii in the previous section.

Finnish doesn’t have a direct translation for “to disappoint”. You have to use two words to convey the same meaning: tuottaa pettymys, which translates to “to cause disappointment”. We could translate Oon tuottanut liikaa pettymyksii as “I have disappointed them too much”. I’ve chosen to add the more literal translation above.

Meidän koulut ja duunit meni pieleen
Meidän Our
koulut koulu (school), T-plural “schools”
ja and
duunit duuni (work), spoken language vocabulary, T-plural “jobs”
meni <menivät, spoken language pl3, imperfect tense “are going”
pieleen phrase: [mennä pieleen] “to go wrong, to be unsuccesful”
Our schools and jobs failed

The phrase mennä pieleen is a very common way to express that something doesn’t succeed.

Kinkuton joulu on jäänyt mulle mieleen
Kinkuton kinkku (ham), the suffix -ton expresses a lack of, “without ham, ham-free”
joulu Christmas
on jäänyt jäädä, sg3 perfect tense, “has remained, stayed”
mulle <minulle “to me”
mieleen mieli (mind), illative case, phrase: [jäädä mieleen] “to stick in your mind, not be forgotten”
A ham-free Christmas has stuck in my mind

In Finland, people generally eat ham for Christmas. Adding the suffix -ton to kinkku makes it an adjective describing Christmas: a ham-free Christmas is a Christmas where no ham was eaten. The most likely reason why the singer’s family was not having any ham is that they were too poor to buy any. This fits together with the previous mention of jobs failing.

The phrase jäädä mieleen is a common phrase worth remembering.

Soliferi nousi tiellä vesiliirtoon
Soliferi brand nickname of the motorhome “the solifer”
nousi nousta (to rise, get on), sg3 imperfect “got on”
tiellä tie (road), adessive case “on the road”
vesiliirtoon vesiliirto (aquaplaning), illative case “into aquaplaning”
The Solifer started aquaplaning on the road

Tires can end up aquaplaning when there’s excess water on the road. This phenomenon is described in Finnish as nousta vesiliirtoon or joutua vesiliirtoon.

Alle sekunti miettii omaa siirtoo
Alle alla (under, less), in the mihin form “less than”
sekunti a second
miettii <miettiä (to think), diphtong assimilation, rection: [miettiä + partitive]
omaa oma (own), sg.part. because of miettiä
siirtoo <siirtoa, diphtong assimilation, from siirto (move), sg.part. because of miettiä
Less than a second to think about my (next) move

Miettiä is a partitive verb, which is why oma siirto appears in the partitive case.

Siirto is a word used, among other things, for chess moves. It’s not limited to chess: you can think about your “next move” in any situation with a real or imagined opponent. In the song, only one move can be made, because there’s less than a second time to think about it. The song doesn’t say “next” move, but I feel this sentence is easier to understand with that word added.

Renkaat linkussa, vauhtia se satanen
Renkaat rengas (tire), T-plural “tires”
linkussa linkku (latch, lock), inessive case, “locked, turned”
vauhtia vauhti (speed), sg.part.
se it, the
satanen a hundred
Tires turned/locked, speed at a hundred

One hundred is sata in Finnish. The number 100 is satanen. Learn more about the names of the numbers here. The singer was driving at a speed of 100 km/h.

En tiiä olisko selvinnyt ees Vatanen
En tiiä <En tiedä, from tietää (to know), spoken language, negative present tense “I don’t know”
olisko selvinnyt <olisiko selvinnyt, from selvitä (to survive, manage), sg3 perfect conditional, -ko makes it a question
ees <edes “even”
Vatanen last name, Ari Vatanen used to be a Finnish rally driver
I don’t know if even Vatanen would have managed

Both ees (edes) and tiiä (tiedä) are examples of words where the -d- sound has been dropped. This is very common in Finnish spoken language. Read more here.

Olisi selvinnyt is the perfect conditional: “would have survived”. Adding the -ko/kö suffix makes the statement a question: Olisiko Vatanen selvinnyt? “Would Vatanen have survived?” The singer thinks the situation on the road was so bad that even an experience rally driver like Vatanen wouldn’t have been able to manage without problems.

Tästä alkaa loma
Tästä tämä (this), elative case “from this”
alkaa alkaa (to start), sg3 present tense “starts”
loma holiday, vacation
This is where the holiday begins

This section is sung from the perspective of one of the children, who got badly injured in the car accident, but doesn’t particularly care about that.

 Ja vaikka kuukauden mä olen vuoteenoma
Ja and
vaikka though, even though
kuukauden kuukausi (month), sg.gen. “for a month”
<minä, spoken language pronoun
olen olla (to be), sg1 present tense “I am”
vuoteenoma bedridden
And even though I’m bedridden for a month

Neutral word order: vaikka mä olen kuukauden vuoteenoma

The word kuukausi in this section expresses the duration of the situation, which is why we use the genetive case. Another possibility would have been the translative case kuukaudeksi.

Vuoteenoma means “bedridden”. It consists of the words vuode (old word for “bed, bedstead”) and oma (own). The child is stuck in bed for a whole month after the car accident.

Ei se haittaa vaik on kipsattuna ranne
Ei doesn’t
se it
haittaa haitata (to matter), negative present tense “doesn’t matter”
vaik <vaikka “even though”
on olla (to be), sg1 present tense “I am”
kipsattuna kipsattu (plastered), TU-participle in the essive case
ranne wrist
It doesn’t matter to have a plastered wrist

The phrase “Ei haittaa” or “Ei se haittaa” is a really good one to learn if you’re not familiar with it yet! It’s a great way to express that something doesn’t bother you or doesn’t matter.

Ranne on kipsattuna translates as “the wrist is plastered”. The essive ending -na is used here to express that the plaster is a state that will last for a while. The child broke their wrist in the accident.

Näin Iltalehden kannen; Iskä teki meistä julkkiksii
Näin nähdä (to see), sg1 imperfect, “I saw”
Iltalehden Iltalehti (name of Finnish tabloid), genetive case, “of Iltalehti”
kannen kansi (cover), genetive case, total object of nähdä
iskä <isä (father, dad), spoken language word
teki tehdä (to make), “made”
meistä me (we), ‘from us’, “us”
julkkiksii <julkkiksia, from julkkis, plural partitive, diphtong assimilation
I saw the cover of Iltalehti; Dad made us celebrities

The kid saw the cover of Iltalehti, and realized that their dad made them celebrities. Their car accident ended up on the front page of the tabloid newspaper. From the perspective of the kid, all the damage and pain don’t matter that much.

The sentence Isä teki meistä julkkiksii is a great example of a tuloslause (ie. a sentence that expresses the result of something). You can read more about this sentence type here. Section 5 on that page deals with sentences such as the one in this song, where there is someone causing the result.

Julkkis “celebrity” is a spoken language word ending in -is. It’s written in the plural partitive because there is more than one person who was made into a celebrity.

 

Please let me know in the comments if this is the type of content you want to see more of! You can also leave some song suggestions.

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Federico

This song analysis is a great idea, and it would be great if you could do more — I find songs are a great way of learning new words, new sentence, and new grammatical constructs.

Inge (admin)

Kiitos! I’ll keep making them, great to know that they are useful!

Jussi

Kiitos tiedoista! Se on hyvä biisi!