Finnish for busy people

“If you’re happy and you know it” in Finnish

If you like music and want to learn some easy songs, this children’s song might be interesting to you! We’re taking a look at Jos sull lysti on, which is the Finnish translation of “If you’re happy and you know it”.

You can listen to one version here: Siina & Taikaradio -Orkesteri

1. Song Lyrics

I have included three verses below but near the end of the article, you can find more verses.

♬ Finnish song lyrics ♬ English lyrics
Jos sull lysti on,
niin kätes yhteen lyö
Jos sull lysti on,
niin kätes yhteen lyö
Jos sull lysti on,
ja tiedät sen,
niin varmaan myöskin näytät sen.
Jos sull lysti on,
niin kätes yhteen lyö.
If you’re happy and
you know it, clap your hands
If you’re happy and
you know it, clap your hands
If you’re happy and
you know it, then
your face will surely show it
If you’re happy and
you know it, clap your hands
Jos sull lysti on,
niin tömistele näin
Jos sull lysti on,
niin tömistele näin
Jos sull lysti on,
ja tiedät sen,
niin varmaan myöskin näytät sen.
Jos sull lysti on,
niin tömistele näin.
Töms! Töms!
If you’re happy and
you know it, stomp your feet
If you’re happy and
you know it, stomp your feet
If you’re happy and
you know it, then
your face will surely show it
If you’re happy and
you know it, stomp your feet
Stomp! Stomp!
Jos sull lysti on,
niin sano: Totta kai!
Jos sull lysti on,
niin sano: Totta kai!
Jos sull lysti on,
ja tiedät sen,
niin varmaan myöskin näytät sen.
Jos sull lysti on,
niin sano: Totta kai!
If you’re happy and
you know it, shout “Hurray!”
If you’re happy and
you know it, shout “Hurray!”
If you’re happy and
you know it, then
your face will surely show it
If you’re happy and
you know it, shout “Hurray!”

2. Glossary

The following grammar terms have been abbreviated.

  • sg2: second person singular
  • sg3: third person singular

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

  • in italics: base word
  • (in brackets): translation
  • <symbol: derived from

3. Jos sull lysti on – Finnish Song Analyzed

Because this is a translation of a song, the vocabulary has been adjusted so it fits the same number of syllables as the original song. This means the song isn’t a direct word-for-word translation.

Jos sull lysti on
Jos if (conjunction)
sull <sinulla (spoken language) you (minulla on -construction)
lysti fun, joy
on olla (to be), here: have (part of the minulla on -construction)
Literally: If you’re having fun
Original: If you’re happy

In English, the song says “If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands”. In the Finnish translation, the middle part has been left out in order to let this part of the song have the correct number of syllables. It’s included further into the song.

The word lysti is a noun, which means the Finnish song says “if you’re having fun” rather than “if you’re happy”. The word lysti is used in this song but isn’t particularly common in everyday speech. It’s also important to realize that “I’m happy” and “I’m having fun” generally don’t contain the word lysti. For “I’m happy”, use the sentences “Minä olen iloinen” (if you mean cheerful) and “Minä olen onnellinen” (if you mean long-lasting happiness). For “I’m having fun” use the phrase “Minulla on hauskaa“.

The word sinulla has been made significantly shorter in this song in order to make it fit with the rhythm. This is common in spoken language: “Sinulla on auto” is often “Sulla on auto” and “Sullon auto” in spoken Finnish.

niin kätes yhteen lyö
niin then
kätes <kätesi, käsi (hand) in the plural kädet + sg2 possessive suffix “your hands”
yhteen together (mihin-form of yhdessä)
lyö lyödä (to hit), singular imperative “hit!”
Literally: then hit your hands together
Original: clap your hands

The word kätesi consists of the word käsi “hand” and the possessive suffix -si “your”. In this sentence, the possessive suffix is actually glued to the plural of the word käsi: kädet, “your hands” rather than “your hand”. By adding -si to the end of the word, the T-plural’s -t disappears. The word kätesi could in fact be three different cases:

  • Käsi (the basic form) > kätesi
    Käsi on märkä – “The hand is wet”
    Kätesi on märkä – “Your hand is wet”
  • Kädet (the T-plural) > kätesi
    Kädet ovat märät
    – “The hands are wet”
    Kätesi ovat märät – “Your hands are wet”
  • Käden (the genetive case) > kätesi
    Käden kynnet ovat pitkät
    – “The hand’s nails are long”
    Kätesi kynnet ovat pitkät -“Your hand’s nails are long”

While the song uses the phrase “hit your hands together”, Finnish does have a verb for clapping your hands: taputtaa käsiä.

The word “together” in Finnish is often used in the missä (yhdessä) and mihin (yhteen) forms. In the song, we have lyödä kädet yhteen. The mihin form is used here: to hit your hands together expresses a movement of the hands towards each other.

Jos sull lysti on ja tiedät sen
Jos if (conjunction)
sull <sinulla (spoken language) you (minulla on -construction)
lysti fun, joy
on olla (to be), here: have (part of the minulla on -construction)
ja and (conjunction)
tiedät tietää (to know), sg2 present tense “you know”
sen se (it), genetive case, because total object of tietää
Literally: If you’re having fun and you know it
Original: If you’re happy and you know it

The first part of this sentence has been explained already in this article.

The object of the verb tietää is “se” in the genetive case. The genetive is used for total objects: you know the whole thing, so you use the genetive case.

niin varmaan myöskin näytät sen.
niin then
varmaan surely, probably
myöskin also, myös + -kin
näytät näyttää (to show), sg2 present tense “you show”
sen se (it), genetive case, because total object of näyttää
Literally: then surely you also show it
Original: your face will surely show it

Varmaan can both express likelihood and certainty. You can read more about this word here.

The word myös means “also”, and so does the suffix -kin. “You also show it” could be translated as “Näytät sen myös“. Adding -kin to myös is somewhat redundant, but not unusual.

4. Repetitions with different actions

What makes this song special is that it can have as many parts as you want. Different actions can be added. In the following table you can find the most commonly used parts of this song.

♬ Finnish song lyrics ♬ Literal translation
Jos sull lysti on,
niin kätes yhteen lyö
If you’re having fun
then hit your hands together
Jos sull lysti on,
niin tömistele näin
If you’re happy
then stomp like this
Jos sull lysti on,
niin sano “Totta kai”
If you’re happy
then say “Of course”
Jos sull lysti on,
niin napsuttele näin
If you’re happy
then snap your fingers like this
Jos sull lysti on,
niin taputtele näin
If you’re happy
then pat (eg. your head) like this
Jos sull lysti on,
niin läpsyttele näin
If you’re happy
then slap (eg. your leg) like this
Jos sull lysti on,
niin suhistele näin
If you’re happy
then make a swishy sound like this
Jos sull lysti on,
niin hyppää ylöspäin
If you’re happy
then jump in the air
Jos sull lysti on,
niin tanssahtele näin
If you’re happy
then dance like this
Jos sull lysti on,
niin kaikki tämä tee
If you’re happy
then do all of them

Nearly all the verbs in these verses end in -lla: they describe a repetitive action:

  • Tömistellä: stomping your feet repeatedly (tömistää)
  • Napsutella: snapping your fingers repeatedly (napsuttaa)
  • Taputella: to pat repeatedly (taputtaa)
  • Läpsytellä: to slap repeatedly (läpsyttää)
  • Tanssahdella: to dance (tanssia)

The very last verse usually is “Jos sull lysti on, niin kaikki tämä tee“. This is the verse where you do all the actions of the previous verses in order. The word order is reversed in the song: “Tee tämä kaikki” ie. “Do all this”.

As always with these songs I post, do let me know in the comments if you have a song suggestion for me to tackle next!

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Marcin

Is sull spelt with one or two l? I’ve seen both spellings. It seems that words with a double consonant at the end are rare in Finnish. However, since the original word is sinulla, it makes sense to spell it sull. Does the double consonant in such position actually change the pronunciation?

Last edited 1 month ago by Marcin
Inge (admin)

“Sinulla” can indeed be spelled as “sul” as well as “sull”. I didn’t put much thought behind my choice to be honest! Both “sul” and “sull” are used in the name and lyrics of the song when you google them.

The double consonant does NOT make a difference in this song because the next word starts with an L as well! There’s no difference in how “sul lysti” and “sull lysti” would be sung. It’s a “long” L in both cases. There could have been difference in pronunciation had the word order been different: “jos sull on lysti” and “jos sul on lysti”.