Finnish for busy people

Matkustan ympäri maailmaa – Finnish Children’s Song

In this article, we look at an easy children’s song called Matkustan ympäri maailmaa “I travel around the world” or Matkalaulu “Travel song”.

1. Song Lyrics of Matkustan ympäri maailmaa

Below you can find both the Finnish lyrics and the English lyrics. There is a lot of repetition in the lyrics of this song.

♬ Finnish song lyrics ♬ English translation
Chorus:
Matkustan ympäri maailmaa,
laukussa leipää ja piimää vaan
Jos mua hiukkasen onnistaa
niin uuden ystävän saan.
Chorus:
I’m traveling around the world,
in my bag only bread and buttermilk
If I’m a little bit lucky
then I will get a new friend.
Saavunpa keskelle
Ranskan maan,
laukussa leipää ja piimää vaan.
Yksin ei tarvitse ollakaan
nyt uuden ystävän saan.
Kun sanon PÄIVÄÄ,
hän sanoo BONJOUR.
And so I arrive in the middle
of the country of France,
in my bag only bread and buttermilk.
I don’t have to be alone
now I get a new friend.
When I say PÄIVÄÄ,
He/she says BONJOUR.
Chorus:
Matkustan ympäri maailmaa,
laukussa leipää ja piimää vaan
Jos mua hiukkasen onnistaa
niin uuden ystävän saan.
Chorus:
I’m traveling around the world,
in my bag only bread and buttermilk
If I’m a little bit lucky
then I will get a new friend.
Saavunpa keskelle
Japanin maan,
laukussa leipää ja piimää vaan.
Yksin ei tarvitse ollakaan
nyt uuden ystävän saan.
Kun sanon PÄIVÄÄ,
hän sanoo KONNICHIWA.
And so I arrive in the middle
of the country of Japan,
in my bag only bread and buttermilk.
I don’t have to be alone
now I get a new friend.
When I say PÄIVÄÄ,
He/she says KONNICHIWA.
Chorus:
Matkustan ympäri maailmaa,
laukussa leipää ja piimää vaan
Jos mua hiukkasen onnistaa
niin uuden ystävän saan.
Chorus:
I’m traveling around the world,
in my bag only bread and buttermilk
If I’m a little bit lucky
then I will get a new friend.
Saavunpa keskelle
Venäjän maan,
laukussa leipää ja piimää vaan.
Yksin ei tarvitse ollakaan
nyt uuden ystävän saan.
Kun sanon PÄIVÄÄ,
hän sanoo TRASTUI (zdravstvuy).
And so I arrive in the middle
of the country of Russia,
in my bag only bread and buttermilk.
I don’t have to be alone
now I get a new friend.
When I say PÄIVÄÄ,
He/she says TRASTUI (zdravstvuy).
Chorus:
Matkustan ympäri maailmaa,
laukussa leipää ja piimää vaan
Jos mua hiukkasen onnistaa
niin uuden ystävän saan.
Chorus:
I’m traveling around the world,
in my bag only bread and buttermilk
If I’m a little bit lucky
then I will get a new friend.
Saavunpa keskelle
Saksan maan,
laukussa leipää ja piimää vaan.
Yksin ei tarvitse ollakaan
nyt uuden ystävän saan.
Kun sanon PÄIVÄÄ,
hän sanoo GUTEN TAG.
And so I arrive in the middle
of the country of Germany,
in my bag only bread and buttermilk.
I don’t have to be alone
now I get a new friend.
When I say PÄIVÄÄ,
He/she says GUTEN TAG.
Chorus:
Matkustan ympäri maailmaa,
laukussa leipää ja piimää vaan
Jos mua hiukkasen onnistaa
niin uuden ystävän saan.
Chorus:
I’m traveling around the world,
in my bag only bread and buttermilk
If I’m a little bit lucky
then I will get a new friend.
Saavunpa keskelle
Englannin maan,
laukussa leipää ja piimää vaan.
Yksin ei tarvitse ollakaan
nyt uuden ystävän saan.
Kun sanon PÄIVÄÄ,
hän sanoo HOW DO YOU DO.
And so I arrive in the middle
of the country of England,
in my bag only bread and buttermilk.
I don’t have to be alone
now I get a new friend.
When I say PÄIVÄÄ,
He/she says HOW DO YOU DO.

2. Glossary

The following grammar terms have been abbreviated.

  • sg1: first person singular
  • pl3: third person plural

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

  • in italics: base word
  • (in brackets): translation
  • [in square brackets]: rection
  • <symbol: derived from

3. Matkustan ympäri maailma – Lyrics Analyzed

Matkustan ympäri maailmaa
Matkustan matkustaa (to travel), sg1 present tense
ympäri around, preposition: [ympäri + partitive]
maailmaa maailma (world), in the partitive case because of ympäri
English: I’m traveling around the world

The Finnish present tense form “matkustan” can be translated as either “I travel”, “I will travel” or “I’m traveling”. The context of the song tells us that it’s an ongoing process, so I’ve translated it as “I’m traveling”.

The word ympäri can be used both as a preposition and a postposition. In the song, it’s a preposition: it appears in front of maailma. When used as a preposition, we will use the partitive case: [ympäri maailmaa]. In addition, it’s possible to change the word order, thus turning ympäri into a postposition, which requires the genetive case: [maailman ympäri].

Laukussa leipää ja piimää vaan
laukussa laukku (bag), inessive case “in the bag”
leipää leipä (bread), partitive case
ja and, conjunction
piimää piimä (buttermilk), partitive case
vaan only, just
English: In the/my bag only bread and buttermilk

The song doesn’t contain the word minun “my” or the possessive suffix -ni, yet it’s clear that we’re singing about “my bag”. This is fairly common in everyday language situations where the ownership of an object is clear from the context.

Leipä and piimä appear in their partitive form to express an unspecified amount: some bread and buttermilk. These words are both mass nouns.

Piimä is Finnish buttermilk (a sour, thicker dairy product than regular milk), which is a fairly popular drink to have with your lunch. I have no logical explanation for the contents of the bag in the song: why bread and sour milk? No clue! Basic staple foods?

Jos mua hiukkasen onnistaa
jos if (conjunction)
mua <minua (spoken language), partitive case because of onnistaa
hiukkasen hiukkanen (slightly), genetive case
onnistaa to luck out, be lucky, rection: [partitive + onnistaa]
English: If I luck out a little

The verb onnistaa belongs to the same verb category as “minua väsyttää” and “minua kiinnostaa“. The subject of this type of verbs always appears in the partitive case. You might be more familiar with the verb onnistua, which is related, but has a slightly different meaning: “to succeed” (eg. “Minä onnistun saamaan ystävän” means “I succeed in finding a friend”).

The noun hiukkanen usually means “particle” (as in Higgsin hiukkanen). When used in the genetive case, it’s an adverb that expresses a tiny amount.

Niin uuden ystävän saan.
niin then
uuden uusi (new), genetive case because it describes ystävä
ystävän ystävä (friend), genetive case because total object of saada
saan saada (to get, receive), sg1 present tense “I will get”
English: Then I will get a new friend.

The form minä saan could be translated as “I get”, I’m getting” or “I will get”. In this section, the present tense is used to express a future event. Finnish doesn’t have a future tense.

Objects will appear in the genetive case when they mean “one whole thing”. In the song, you’re getting one new friend, so the genetive is used here: uuden ystävän.

Saavunpa keskelle Ranskan maan,
Saavunpa saapua (to arrive), sg1 present tense + clitic -pa, “and so I arrive”
keskelle “in the middle”, mihin form of keskellä, rection: [genetive + keskelle]
Ranskan Ranska (France), genetive case “of France”
maan maa (country, land), genetive case because of keskelle
English: And so I arrive in the middle of the country of France

The clitic -pa/pä has multiple functions, but in this case it is used to narrate the singer’s own actions: they’re saying out loud what they’re doing.

The postposition keskellä can be used in three forms: the missä-form keskellä “in the middle”, the mistä-form keskeltä “(movement away) from the middle” and the mihin-form keskelle “into the middle”. In the song, the mihin-form is used because of the verb saapua: you’re arriving “into” the middle of France, there’s a movement happening towards the middle.

The song has “Ranskan maan” rather than just “Ranskan” just so each verse of this song would rhyme with the word saan in the previous line (saan > maan). The word maa can be translated here as “country” or “land”.

Laukussa leipää ja piimää vaan
laukussa laukku (bag), inessive case “in the bag”
leipää leipä (bread), partitive case
ja and, conjunction
piimää piimä (sour milk), partitive case
vaan only, just
English: In the/my bag only bread and piimä

This phrase is a repetition of the chorus (see above).

Yksin ei tarvitse ollakaan
Yksin alone
ei no, not, “don’t”
tarvitse tarvita (to need), necessity sentence “(I) don’t have to”
ollakaan olla (to be), basic form + suffix -kaan
English: I don’t have to be alone after all

The personal pronoun “I” isn’t included in this sentence. If we’d add it, it would appear in the genetive case: Minun ei tarvitse ollakaan yksin. This is the negative form of the minun täytyy necessity construction.

The suffix -kaan/kään can express a diverse number of things. In this sentence, it’s used to express that something happens contrary to expectations. It could also express that something happens according to expectations, which just shows how complicated this suffix can be. Read more about kin and -kaan/kään here.

nyt uuden ystävän saan.
nyt now
uuden uusi (new), genetive case because of ystävä
ystävän ystävä (friend), genetive case because total object of saada
saan saada (to get, receive), sg1 present tense “I get”
English: Now I get a new friend.

The form minä saan could be translated as “I get”, I’m getting” or “I will get”. In this section, the present tense is used to express a current event. It’s happening right now.

Objects will appear in the genetive case when they mean “one whole thing”. In the song, you find one new friend, so the genetive ystävän is used here. In Finnish, adjectives appear in the same form as the noun they’re connected to, so uusi becomes uuden.

Kun sanon PÄIVÄÄ, hän sanoo BONJOUR.
Kun when (conjunction)
sanon sanoa (to say), sg1 present tense “I say”
päivää päivä (day) partitive case “good day”
hän he/she
sanoo sanoa (to say), sg3 present tense “he/she says”
bonjour bonjour (French for “good day”)
English: When I say PÄIVÄÄ, he/she says BONJOUR

“Good day” in Finnish can be either “Hyvää päivää!” or plain “Päivää!”

The Rest of the Song

The rest of the song contains mostly repetition. The chorus (Matkustan ympäri maailmaa, laukussa leipää…) is repeated after every verse. Each verse contains a different country and a corresponding greeting.

  • Saavunpa keskelle Japanin maan (“the country of Japan”)
    Kun sanon PÄIVÄÄ, hän sanoo KONNICHIWA.
  • Saavunpa keskelle Venäjän maan (“the country of Russia”)
    Kun sanon PÄIVÄÄ, hän sanoo TRASTUI (or zdravstvuy).
  • Saavunpa keskelle Saksan maan (“the country of Germany”)
    Kun sanon PÄIVÄÄ, hän sanoo GUTEN TAG.
  • Saavunpa keskelle Englannin maan (“the country of England”)
    Kun sanon PÄIVÄÄ, hän sanoo HOW DO YOU DO.

So that’s the Finnish song Matkustan ympäri maailmaa! I hope you enjoyed this content. As always, you can comment with song suggestions you’d like me to cover next.

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Marcin

Some corrections:

You wrote the Finnish lyrics only to the first chorus, for all the repetitions they appear in English in both columns (with only the word piimä being in Finnish). Moreover, in the recording that you posted the chorus is sung only twice: at the beginning, and between the 3rd and 4th verse. Also, the two last verses are in reverse order. However, maybe there are different versions of this song.

The Russian greeting is usually transcribed as zdravstvuy, at least to English. Though maybe the transcription from Russian to Finnish is different? And since it’s a children’s song, it could be a simplification.

I think it should be Higgsin hiukkanen instead of hiukkasen (nominative not genitive).

Inge (admin)

Hey Marcin! 🙂

The recording I picked out is just one version. The verses can have different countries in a different order. New countries can be added as well, which is quite commonly done in international groups of students, where each student’s language can get added. The countries I provided are the most common ones.

Trastui instead of zdravstvuy is indeed a major simplification. I used to spelling provided in online sources of the lyrics of this song. The English chorus was a copy-paste mistake as usual! And “hiukkanen“, yes! Three typo points for you, thank you!