Finnish for busy people

Finnish Spoken Language Vocabulary

Finnish spoken language has a lot of vocabulary that sets it apart from written Finnish. This article gives you an overview of the types of spoken language words you will come across in Finland.

“Spoken language” is a pretty general term, which can refer to different types of Finnish. In its widest sense, it just means any Finnish that is produced orally. In this article, I’m focusing on general spoken language: the type of Finnish words that every Finn should be able to understand regardless of where they live or what age they are.

This means I’m leaving out slang that’s specific to a region, age group or community in these lists of Finnish spoken language vocabulary. The words in these lists should be useful to you no matter where in Finland you go. They are used in everyday communication and often even in situations that are a little more formal.

Table of Contents
  1. Loanwords borrowed straight from other languages
  2. Shortend standard language words
  3. Spoken language words ending in –Ari
  4. Spoken language words ending in –is
  5. Spoken language words ending in –kkA/-skA
  6. Spoken language words ending in -kku/-tsuku/-tsu
  7. More random spoken language words

1. Loanwords Borrowed Straight from Other Languages

First, spoken language words are sometimes barely changed at all when they’re adopted into spoken Finnish. At most, they will get a vowel added to their end.

Spoken Origin Standard
frendi friend ystävä, kaveri
eksä ex entinen puoliso
bändi band yhtye
matsi match ottelu
biitsi beach ranta
fiilis feeling tunne
iisi easy helppo
mesta место (R. “place”) paikka
lafka лавка (R. “shop”) yritys
sapuska закуска (R. “appetizer”) ruoka
bailata bailar (Sp. “dance”) tanssia, juhlia
duuni don (Sw. “work”) työ, työpaikka
broidi broder (Sw. “brother”) veli
hima hem (Sw. “home”) koti

2. Shortend Standard Language Words

It’s also common to make a word from standard Finnish shorter in spoken language. When doing so, it’s fairly common to have these words end in an –a. Below, you can find some examples.

Spoken Standard English
minsa minuutti minute
sekka sekunti second (time)
kilometri kilsa kilometer
eka ensimmäinen first
toka toinen second (#2)
bensa bensiini petrol, gas
musa musiikki music
proffa professori professor
labra laboratorio laboratory
pressa presidentti president
remppa remontti renovation
ope opettaja teacher
info informaatio information
ale alennusmyynti sales
desi desilitra deciliter

3. Spoken language words ending in –Ari

I have a separate article on words ending in –Ari . The table below gives you some examples of words from this derivation type! These words can be created both based on a loanword and on a Finnish word that’s long.

Spoken language Origin Translation
hamppari hampurilainen hamburger
telkkari televisio television
jälkkäri jälkiruoka dessert
duunari “to do” (or Swedish) working man, wage slave
rekkari rekisterikilpi license plate
narkkari narkomaani narcomaniac
Bemari BMW car brand
Volkkari Volkswagen car brand
läppäri laptop laptop
synttärit syntymäpäiväjuhlat birthday party

4. Spoken language words ending in –is

I also have a separate article on spoken language words ending in –is. You can find some example words in the table below. These words can be created both based on a loanword and on a Finnish word that’s long.

Spoken language Origin Translation
fiilis feeling feeling
futis / fudis footbal soccer
julkkis julkisuuden henkilö celebrity
kirppis kirpputori fleamarket
kokis Coca-Cola cola
koris koripallo basketball
laihis laihdutuskuuri diet
pehmis pehmytjäätelö soft ice cream
pingis ping-pong table tennis
roskis roskakori trash can

5. Spoken language words ending in –kkA/-skA

I don’t have a separate article on this group, but there are also many spoken language words that end in –kkA, or sometimes –skA. These words are usually based on a longer Finnish word.

Spoken Standard English
kännykkä matkapuhelin mobile phone
tietsikka tietokone computer
enkka enätys record
ratikka raitiovaunu tram
välkkä välitunti recess
jälkkä jäki-istunto detention
matikka matematiikka mathematics
maikka opettaja teacher
häikkä häiriö, vika glitch, fault
purkka purukumi chewing gum
menkat kuukautiset menstrual period
elukka eläin animal
harkat harjoitukset training
ötökkä hyönteinen bug
sitikka Citroën Citroën
rintsikat rintaliivit bra
huoltsikka huoltoasema gas station
tatska tatuointi tattoo
jänskä jännittävä exciting
limska limonadi lemonade
seiska seitsemän seven
kiska kioski kiosk

6. Spoken language words ending in –kku/-tsuku/-tsu

There is another large group of spoken language words ending in –u, with certain subgroups, such as –kku, -tsku and -tsu. These words are usually based on a longer Finnish word.

Spoken Standard English
enkku englanti English
kunkku kuningas king
punkku punaviini red wine
peukku peukalo thumb
saikku sairausloma sickness leave
terkkuja terveisiä greetings
murkku muurahainen ant
bansku banaani banana
matsku materiaali material
mitsku mitali medal
pitsku piha yard
paku pakettiauto van
laku lakritsi liquorice
kakru kakara, lapsi kid
papru paperi paper, document
sossu sosiaalityöntekijä social worker
kossu Koskenkorva Koskenkorva
fisu kala fish
Mersu Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-Benz
kopsu kopio, moniste photocopy
hoitsu sairaanhoitaja nurse
poitsu poika boy, son
kätsy kätevä handy, convenient
drinku drinkki, juoma drink

7. More Random Spoken Language Words

These are some other spoken language words. They don’t really go under any of the previous categories but I did want to include them.

Spoken Standard English
naama kasvot face
nokka nenä nose, beak
koivet jalat legs
rööki tupakka cigarette
pottu peruna potato
mutsi äiti mother
faija isä father
heppa hevonen horse
leffa elokuva movie
bileet juhlat party
bisse olut beer
kämppä asunto apartment
paatti vene boat
moka virhe mistake
piuha johto cable, wire
läppä vitsi joke
intti armeija army

 

Read more elsewhere

That’s all for Finnish spoken language vocabulary right now. My list is relatively short. Learning spoken language vocabulary is best done “in real life”. Good luck!

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