Finnish for busy people

Visiting People – Käydä kylässä – Finnish Vocabulary

This article contains useful vocabulary and phrases related to visiting people in Finland. This article is timed badly because COVID-19 is limiting our social life. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn some useful vocabulary well in advance!

1. Basic Words

Finnish English
vierailu visit (noun)
emäntä hostess
esitellä to introduce
esittäytyä to introduce oneself
hyvästellä to say goodbye
viettää ilta yhdessä to spend the evening together
isäntä host
juhla, juhlat (often plural) party
juhlia to party
kokoontua to get together
kunniavieras guest of honor
päivänsankari (link) birthday boy/girl
kuokkavieras gatecrasher
kutsu invitation
kutsua to invite (to)
kutsua kotiin to invite to your home
kutsua kylään to invite over, ask over
kutsumaton vieras uninvited guest
kutsut party
kätellä to shake hands
käydä jonkun luona to visit someone(‘s home)
läksiäiset, läksiäisjuhlat farewell party
nyyttikestit, nyyttärit potluck
ottaa kutsu vastaan to accept an invitation
seura company
tuliainen visitor’s present
tuoda tuliaisia to bring a present
vierailla to visit, pay a visit to
vieras guest (also means stranger)
yllätysvieras surprise guest

When visiting people, you have to take in account your relationship with them and their personality. The phrases I’m including in this article are mostly focused on meeting adult friends and in-laws. Visiting young people can give you a different, less formal experience. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to read these tips for visiting a Finn’s house so none of the unspoken rules will come as a surprise.

2. Inviting Someone Over in Finnish

Common phrases include tulla kahville “to come for coffee”, tulla kylään “to come visit” and tulla meille “to come to our place”. The latter is used when you invite someone over to your family’s home.

Singular Plural
Tule meille viikonloppuna! Come to our place on the weekend!
Tule kahville lauantaina! Come for coffee on Saturday!
Tule kylään sunnuntaina! Come on over on Sunday!
Tulisitko kylään huomenna? Would you come over tomorrow?
Tulisitko meille huomenna? Would you come to our place tomorrow?
Ehtisitkö tulla meille? Would you have time to come over?
Haluaisitko tulla kylään? Would you like to come visit?
Kiitos paljon kutsusta! Thanks for the invitation!
Tulen mielelläni! I’d love to come!
Tänä viikonloppuna en taida ehtiä. I don’t think I have the time to come this weekend.
Valitettavasti en pääse käymään. Unfortunately I can’t come visit.
Joku toinen kerta. Some other time.

The phrases above are usually used when addressing one person. In the table below, you can find the singular and plural phrases side by side.

Singular Plural
Tule meille viikonloppuna! Tulkaa meille viikonloppuna!
Tule kahville lauantaina! Tulkaa kahville lauantaina!
Tule kylään sunnuntaina! Tulkaa kylään sunnuntaina!
Tulisitko kylään huomenna? Tulisitteko kylään huomenna?
Tulisitko meille huomenna? Tulisitteko meille huomenna?
Ehtisitkö tulla meille? Ehtisittekö tulla meille?
Haluaisitko tulla kylään? Haluaisitteko tulla kylään?

3. Agreeing on the Time

It’s not very common in Finland to just “stop by” a friend’s or relative’s house. This of course depends on your relationship with the person. In general, you should make sure to agree in advance before visiting people. It’s very common to set up an exact time for your visit in advance. Usually this is in the early afternoon.

Finnish English
Tulisitko aamupäivällä kylään? Would you come over in the morning?
Mihin aikaan ehtisit tulla? At what time would you have time to come?
Tule meille vaikka kolmelta. Come over at say three o’clock.
Tervetuloa meille huomenna kahdelta! Welcome to our place tomorrow at two o’clock!
Tulisitko vaikka kahdelta? Could you come at say two o’clock?
Sopisiko aamupäivällä kymmeneltä? Would ten in the morning be okay?
Ehtisitkö tulla kolmen maissa? Would you have time to come around three o’clock?
Tervetuloa kylään kello seitsemän! Welcome to my home at seven o’clock!

4. Explaining that you’re Late in Finnish

Finns are usually pretty punctual, so try to arrive on time. If you’re late, letting them know with a text message can be a polite thing to do. Not everyone does this, but it’ll leave a good impression! You can also apologize for being late when you arrive.

Finnish English
Hei! Saatan olla 5 minuuttia myöhässä. Hey! I might be 5 minutes late.
En ihan ehdi kahdeksi teille. I won’t make it to your place by two.
Hei! Olen myöhässä mutta tulossa. Hey! I’m late but I’m on my way.
Olen vähän myöhässä, kohta siellä! I’m a little late, be there soon!
Taidan myöhästyä 10 minuuttia. I will probably be 10 minutes late.
Me taidamme myöhästyä vähän. We will probably be a little late.
Myöhästyin bussista, tulen seuraavalla. I missed my bus, will come with the next one.
Ei hätää! Nähdään pian! No problem! See you soon!
Oletko vielä tulossa? Are you still coming?
Anteeksi, että olemme vähän myöhässä. Sorry that we’re a little late.
Liikenne oli todella ruuhkaista. The traffic was really congested.
Emme löytäneet oikeaa tietä heti. We didn’t find the right way immediately.

5. Introducing People in Finnish

In Finland, an invitation generally only applies to yourself. It’s not common to bring your spouse or children with you unless they’ve specifically been invited. If you’re bringing someone new, you should introduce the person. If you’re the new person yourself, you could also introduce yourself.

Finnish English
Saanko esitellä … May I introduce… (formal)
Saanko esittäytyä… May I introduce myself… (formal)
Tässä on vaimoni Sarah. Here’s my wife Sarah.
Sarah, tämä on äitini. Sarah, this is my mother.
Hauska tavata! Nice to meet you!
Hauska tavata sinut viimeinkin! Nice to finally meet you (singular)!
Hauska tavata teidät viimeinkin! Nice to finally meet you (plural)!
On hienoa vihdoinkin tavata teidät! It’s great to finally meet you (plural)!
Olen kuullut paljon sinusta. I’ve heard much about you.

6. Inviting People in

Inviting people into your home can simply be done with “tule sisään“, but some other phrases are also common. They’re listed in the table below.

Take off your shoes when you enter someone’s house! Finns don’t keep their shoes on inside of the house. You will generally not hear your hosts tell you to take them off, unless they’re unsure that you know of this custom.

Bringing your hosts a gift (tuliainen) is fairly common in Finland when visiting people. It’s a nice gesture, but not mandatory. Bringing something is especially common when you’re visiting because of a special occasion, such as a birthday or a housewarming party. Even if there’s no special occasion, you could bring your hosts, for example, a packet of coffee. Other typical presents are chocolates, cookies, flowers or wine. If you visit someone regularly, it would be strange to bring them something every time.

If you get an invitation to nyyttikestit or nyyttärit, you should bring some type of food with you. Often it’s a good idea to specify in advance what type of food you will be bringing.

Finnish English
Tervetuloa! Welcome!
Tule sisään! Come in (singular)!
Tulkaa sisään! Come in (plural)!
Käy peremmälle, ole hyvä! Come on in, please! (singular)
Käykää peremmälle, olkaa hyvät! Come on in, please! (plural)
Astukaa toki sisään! Do step inside, please! (plural)
Mukavaa kun pääsitte tulemaan. Nice that you came over! (plural)
Otathan kenkäsi pois jalasta. Do take your shoes off, please.
Takkisi voit ripustaa tähän. You can hang your coat here.
Ole kuin kotonasi! Make yourself at home!
Olkaa kuin kotonanne! Make yourselves at home!
Istu toki alas! Please do sit down!
Tässä olisi pieni tuliainen. Here’s a small present.
Tässä olisi pieni lahja meiltä. Here’s a small present from us.
Tässä olisi vähän tuomisia. We brought a little something.
Ei sinun olisi tarvinnut! Oh you shouldn’t have!
Oi kiitos! Ei sinun olisi tarvinnut. Oh thanks! You shouldn’t have.
Voi, ei sun olis tarvinnut. Kiitos kovasti. Oh, you shouldn’t have. Thank you very much.

7. Admiring the Host’s Home

It’s likely that your hosts will apologize about the state of their home once you arrive. If they’ve just moved, it’s possible that they’ll give you a full tour of the house. If they don’t, it’s not polite to start exploring the house yourself.

Smoking is not allowed inside in Finland. If you’re a smoker, you could ask if you can smoke on the balcony. Many apartment buildings forbid smoking on the balcony as well, so you might need to go outside to smoke. Make sure you don’t stand right in front of the door, so you don’t let the smoke in when you enter again!

Finnish English
Täällä on sitten vähän sotkuista. (Just warning) it’s a little messy here.
En ehtinyt siivota kiireessäni. I was so busy I didn’t have time to clean up.
Ei hätää! No problem!
Meilläkin on joskus tällaista. We have that too sometimes.
Eihän minua varten tarvitse siivota. You don’t have to clean up for me.
Onpas sinulla viihtyisä asunto! You have such a homely apartment! (singular)
Onpas teillä viihtyisä asunto! You have such a homely apartment! (plural)
Miten kaunista täällä onkaan. It’s so beautiful here.
Onpas täällä kodikasta! It’s so cozy here!
Tässä on keittiö. Se on vähän pieni. This is the kitchen. It’s a little small.
Kuinka kauan olette asuneet täällä? How long have you lived here?
Missä täällä on vessa? Where is the bathroom?
Saako täällä tupakoida? Is it okay to smoke here?
Missä saisin tupakoida? Where could I smoke?

8. Coffee or Tea Phrases

A visit will generally include coffee and some kind of pulla. You shouldn’t expect a warm meal, though sometimes your hosts can also invite you to stay for dinner. This isn’t the norm but isn’t unheard of either.

Finns say “thank you” when they finish a meal (or coffee). Often, this is not aimed at any person in particular; it’s just something you say out loud. If your hosts remove your plate once you’re done, it’s a good idea to say “kiitos“.

Finnish English
Laitanko kahvin tippumaan? Shall I make coffee?
Kahvi tippuu jo. The coffee is already dripping.
Siirrytään kahvipöydälle. Let’s move on to the coffee table.
Pöytä on katettu! The table is set.
Tulkaa pöytään! Come sit at the table!
Saisiko olla jotain juotavaa? Would you like something to drink?
Otatko kahvia tai teetä? Do you take coffee or tea?
Saako olla kahvia? Would you like some coffee?
Maitoa? Sokeria? Milk? Sugar?
Kaadanko lisää kahvia? Shall I pour more coffee?
Haluatko lisää? Do you want some more?
Kiitos, mielelläni! Thank you, I’d love some!
Ota, ole hyvä! Please take some!
Hyvää ruokahalua! Enjoy your meal!
Olipa herkullista! That was delicious!
Kiitos kahvista! Thanks for the coffee!
Kiitos ruoasta! Thanks for the food!
Miten vaimosi / miehesi voi? How’s your wife / husband doing?
Kiva kun tulitte. I’m glad you came.
Oli hauska nähdä. It was nice to see (you).
Kiitos! Kiitos kahvista! Thank you! Thanks for the coffee!

9. Small Talk Questions

Finns are not known for their small talk. It’s totally normal for there to be lulls in a conversation. Finns are okay with silences that can last well over a minute. It’s of course nice if you can think of something to say, but don’t stress out. Most Finns will be perfectly content with some silences.

Some easy conversation starters are remarks about special features in the host’s home, or questions about their everyday life and family.

Finnish English
Oletteko pysyneet terveinä? Have you remained in good health? (plural)
Tiedätkö, mitä Leenalle kuuluu? Do you know how Leena is doing?
Mitä vaimollesi kuuluu? How’s your wife doing?
Harmi, että vaimosi ei ole paikalla. Too bad that your wife isn’t here.
Miten koulussa menee? How’s it going at school?
Miten töissä on mennyt? How have things been at work?
Oletko käynyt salilla? Have you been to the gym?
Nämä kupit ovat ihania. These cups are wonderful.
Mistä olette ostaneet tämän? Where did you buy this?

10. Leaving, Ending a Visit

There are some phrases that are very common when a visitor is about the leave. The following table contains phrases used to announce that you’re leaving as well as some phrases said when you’re saying goodbye.

Finnish English
Nyt pitää lähteä, kello on jo paljon. I have to go now, it’s late already.
Hei, on jo aika myöhä. Hey, it’s pretty late already.
Meidän pitää nyt mennä. We have to go now.
Meidän pitäisi pikku hiljaa alkaa lähteä. We should be leaving just about now.
Mutta hei, minun täytyy nyt lähteä. But hey, I have to leave now.
Taidamme nyt sitten lähteä. We’ll be leaving now I think.
Voi harmi! What a shame!
Kiitos hei kun kävitte! But hey, thanks for coming!
Saatan sinut ulos. I’ll show you out. (singular)
Saatan teidät ulos. I’ll show you out. (plural)
Saatan sinut bussipysäkille. I’ll walk you to the bus stop.
Kiitos kun kävit! Thanks for coming!
Tulkaa toistekin! Do come again!
Tulkaahan toistekin! Please do come again!
Tavataan pian uudestaan! Let’s meet again soon!
Kiitos kovasti kahvista. Thank you so much for the coffee.
Kerro terveisiä vaimollesi! Tell your wife I said hello!
Hyvää matkaa kotiin! Have a good trip home!

Check out these other sources

I hope these phrases will prove useful when you’re visiting people in Finland.

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