Finnish for busy people

Tuli Tulli Tuuli Tyyli – Finnish Pronunciation

In this article you can find lots of words that demonstrate how short and long sounds are pronounced in Finnish (eg. tuli tulli tuuli tyyli). We’ll be looking in particular at words that you might mix up when speaking or writing Finnish. This article idea was suggested by RaveMoose on our discord server.

Unfortunately, translating these words in the limited space that the table layout allows for severely limits the possibilities of describing words as well as I would like to. As such, I would suggest you look up the definition of these words in a dictionary of you own language or – if you’ve advanced far enough in your Finnish studies – in Kielitoimiston sanakirja.

1. Short vs. Long Sounds

Short vs. Long Vowel

Finnish English
asia thing, matter
Aasia Asia
evät fins (fish)
eväät packed lunch
halia to hug v.
haalia to collect v.
katua to regret v.
kaatua to fall v.
kina quarrel, row
Kiina China
kivi stone, rock
kiivi kiwi
kulo wildfire
kuulo hearing (sense)
kura mud
kuura rime (ice)
kuri discipline
kuuri regime
kusi pee, piss
kuusi six; spruce
ky village
kyy snoop (person)
laki law
laaki slap, blow
lama recession
laama llama
lasti cargo
laasti mortar, plaster
latu ski trail
laatu quality
lava stage, platform
laava lava (volcano)
lima slime, mucus
liima glue
maksa liver
maksaa to pay v.
pala piece
palaa to burn v.
parit couples
paarit stretcher
pika express, instant
piika servant girl
polo wretch
poolo polo (game)
puro stream
puuro porridge
raja border, limit
raaja limb, extremity
rita trap (hunting)
riita quarrel, dispute
ruma ugly adj.
ruuma hold (ship)
ryppy wrinkle
ryyppy drink (alcohol)
sari sari (clothing)
saari island
sata hundred
sataa to rain v.
satu fairytail
saatu received (TU-participle)
savi clay
saavi tub
sika pig
siika whitefish
sima mead (drink)
siima line (fishing)
si you pron.
sii there adv.
sivu page
siivu slice
silli herring
siili hedgehog
susi wolf
suusi “your mouth”
takka fireplace
taakka burden
te you (plural) pron.
tee tea
tili account (bank)
tiili brick (build)
tuli fire
tuuli wind
tulla to come v.
tuulla to wind v. (weather)
uni dream, sleep
uuni oven
vara spare
vaara danger
vapa pole (fishing)
vapaa free adj.
viri small wave
viiri pennant (flag)

Short vs. Long Consonant

Finnish English
aita fence
aitta storehouse
ala area, sector
alla below, under postpos.
alas (coming) down
allas basin, sink
ale sale (store)
alle (go) under postpos.
arki everyday life
arkki sheet (of paper)
haku search
hakku pickaxe
hela ferrule (metal tool)
hella stove
hera whey
herra mister, sir
hirsi log, timber
hirssi millet
kasa pile, heap
kassa checkout, cash deck
kakara brat (kid)
kakkara camomiles (flower)
kato disappearance
katto roof; ceiling
kelo snag (tree)
kello clock; time
kisa competition
kissa cat
koko whole
kokko bonfire
korpi wilderness
korppi raven
koti home
kotti wheelbarrow
kuka who
kukka flower
kumi eraser
kummi godparent
kuola spittle, dribble
kuolla to die v.
kuri discipline
kurri curry (spice)
kylä village
kyllä yes
ry smoky smell
rry cart
laki law
lakki cap, hat
lasi glass
lassi lassi (drink)
lauta board
lautta ferry, raft
lika dirt
likka gal, girl
lume placebo
lumme waterlily
luoto islet (in water)
luotto credit
mato worm
matto carpet, rug
muoti fashion
muotti mould, cast
muta mud
mutta but conj.
pako escape, getaway
pakko necessity, compulsion
palo fire
pallo ball
paras the best (superl.)
parras gunwale, edge
pula shortage
pulla sweet bun
pusi kiss
pussi bag, sack
rako gap, opening
rakko bladder; blister
rapu crab, crayfish
rappu stair
rysä fishing net
ryssä Russian (spoken)
taika magic
taikka or (spoken)
taka back, rear
takka fireplace
tali tallow
talli barn, shed
taitaa to might (prob.) v.
taittaa to fold v.
tikari dagger
tikkari lollipop
tipu baby chick
tippu drop, dropping
toka second (spoken)
tokka dry dock
tuki support
tukki log; stock
täytyy have to (necessity) v.
täyttyy fills v.
vana trail
vanna bath
varas thief
varras rotisserie
veli brother
velli pap, wet porridge
vesa sprout (plant)
vessa toilet, WC

2. Words with a Different First Letter

Finnish English
suttu mess
juttu thing, thingy
huttu gruel, porridge
kuttu female goat
ruttu wrinkle (fabric)
tuttu known, familiar
nuttu baby sweater
Finnish English
takki coat, jacket
lakki cap, hat
sakki gang, mob
rakki mutt (dog)
fakki specialty, voice
shakki chess (game)
nakki sausage, wiener
makki outdoor toilet
Finnish English
olla to be v.
polla head (spoken)
jolla skiff (boat)
nolla zero, null
Finnish English
tukea to support v.
lukea to read v.
pukea to dress v.
Finnish English
mieli mind, psyche
pieli edge, corner
kieli language
Finnish English
tavu syllable
savu smoke
havu coniferous
Finnish English
kela coil, reel, spool
mela peddle
hela ferrule
tela roller, drum
rela relaxed (sp)
Finnish English
puu tree
suu mouth
luu bone
kuu moon
Finnish English
suuri large, big
kuuri regime
tuuri luck
juuri root; just
muuri wall, barrier
huuri maiden, virgin
Finnish English
sana word
lana clog crusher
hana (water) tap
kana chicken
jana segment
Finnish English
rauta iron
lauta board
hauta grave
nauta beef, bovine
Finnish English
luku number, count
suku family
puku suit, costume
Finnish English
pukki billy goat
tukki log; stock
trukki forklift
lukki daddy-longlegs
nukki certain flower
rukki spinning wheel
ukki grandpa
Finnish English
kappi room on ship
nappi button
happi oxygen
Lappi Lapland
klappi space, margin
appi father-in-law
sappi bile, gall
tappi pivot, spigot
pappi priest
Finnish English
naula nail (tool)
taula tinder (fire)
aula lobby, lounge
Finnish English
matto rug, carpet
katto roof; ceiling
ratto pleasure
Finnish English
loukku trap
koukku hook
moukku hit; shot
Finnish English
neula needle
seula screening
keula prow (boat)
Finnish English
raha money
maha stomach
vaha wax, polish
paha evil, bad adj.
saha saw (tool)
Finnish English
tuolla over there
kuolla to die v.
vuolla to whittle v.
nuolla to lick v.
Finnish English
missi miss (universe)
hissi elevator
vissi certain adj.
tissi boob
pissi pee
sissi guerrilla soldier
Finnish English
laita side, fringe
saita stringy
paita shirt
kaita narrow adj.
aita fence
raita stripe
Finnish English
työ work, job
vyö belt
lyö hit v.
syö eat v.
Finnish English
tukka hair
sukka sock
kukka flower
rukka poor wretch
nukka lint, fluff
hukka loss, drain
jukka yucca
Finnish English
häkki cage
näkki small sausage
räkki rack
jäkki type of grass
pläkki plaque (teeth)
kräkki crack (drug)
läkki metal plate
säkki sack
Finnish English
tiili brick (building)
siili hedgehog
viili soured milk
hiili charcoal
Finnish English
käki cuckoo (bird)
mäki hill
väki folks, people
Finnish English
luku number, amount
puku suit, costume
suku family
Finnish English
nuora line, cord
huora whore
suora straight adj.
Finnish English
tapa habit; way
lapa shoulder(blade)
napa belly button
rapa mud
vapa pole (fishing)
Finnish English
loki (written) log
joki river
noki soot, grime
toki sure
Finnish English
sakka sediment
takka fireplace
vakka bushel
lakka varnish; lacquer
kakka poop
pakka pack, roll
Finnish English
ora strong thorn
sora gravel
pora drill
Finnish English
laukku bag
paukku boom; alcohol
naukku alcoholic shot
haukku reproach; dog
Finnish English
vaari grandpa
vaani prowls v.
vaali electoral
vaasi vase
vaati demands v.

3. Groups of Confusing Words

Finnish English
tili account (bank)
tilli dill (plant)
tiili brick (build)
Finnish English
tuli fire
tulli customs (travel)
tuuli wind (weather)
tulinen fiery, spicy adj.
tuulinen windy adj.
Finnish English
kuri discipline
kuuri regime
kurri skimmed milk
Finnish English
pelata to play v.
pelätä to fear  v.
palata to return v.
Finnish English
taka rear, back
takaa from behind
takka fireplace
taakka burden
Finnish English
haarukka fork
haarikka tankard
harakka magpie
herukka currant (berry)
Finnish English
valita to choose v.
vallita to rule, reign v.
valittaa to complain v.
välittää to care v.
valitus complaint
välitys transmission
Finnish English
kato disappearance
kaato fall, overturning
katto roof; ceiling
Finnish English
muta mud
mutta but conj.
muuta more; other
muuttaa to move v.
tuma nucleus (biology)
tumma dark adj.
tuuma inch
Finnish English
takana behind (postpos.)
taakkana a burden
täkänä double cloth
Finnish English
kari rock (in water)
kaari arc, arch
karri curry (spice)
Finnish English
sata hundred
sataa to rain v.
saattaa to may v.
säättää to adjust v.
Finnish English
laki law
lakki cap (hat)
laaki slap, blow
Finnish English
lika dirt, grime
likka gal, girl
liikka PE (school)
liika too much
liike business, shop
Finnish English
vara spare adj.
vaara danger
varaa means, funds
Finnish English
haku search
hakku pickaxe
hakkuu felling trees

4. Pronunciation of Finnish Vowels

Below, you can find some word pairs with constrasting vowel sounds that are common to cause problems for language learners. This list could be expanded on by allowing words that differ a little more than just with a vowel. For example, word pairs like pöytä-pyörä are useful as well, but differ in a consonant as well as in their vowels.

Vowels: A vs. Ä

Finnish English
sala secret
sälä stuff, things
tahti pace, tempo
tähti star
savu smoke
sävy tint; tone
ranta beach
räntä sleet, wet snow
passi passport
pässi ram (sheep)
hella stove
hellä gentle, tender
etana snail, slug
etänä remotely
saari island
sääri shin
saa gets v. (saada)
sää weather
kasi eight (spoken)
käsi hand, arm

Vowels: U vs. Y

Finnish English
suu mouth
syy reason, cause
hullu crazy adj.
hylly shelf
kuu moon
kyy viper (snake)
puu tree
pyy hazel hen (bird)
tuo that pron.
työ work
suo swamp
syö eat (imp.)
muu other pron.
myy sell (imp.)
luo create (imp.)
lyö hit (imp.)
tuuli wind
tyyli style
tukki log; stock
tykki cannon
pouta dry weather
pöytä table
ylös (go) up
ulos (go) out
ukkonen thunder
ykkönen number one

Vowels: I vs. Y

Finnish English
pii silicon
pyy hazel hen (bird)
pisin the longest adj.
pysyn I remain v.
tili account (bank)
tyly curt, rude adj.
tilli dill (herb)
tylli tulle (material)
siis therefore
syys autumn
isi dad
ysi nine (spoken)
tiili brick
tyyli style
milli milli
mylly mill

Vowels: E vs. Ä

Finnish English
veri blood
väri color
veli brother
väli gap
hyve virtue
hyvä good
ele gesture
älä don’t
jäte waste
jätä leave (imp.)
yhteen together
yhtään at all

Diphtongs: EI vs. IE

Finnish English
leikki game
liekki flame
peili mirror
pieli corner, edge
mieli mind
meili email
veitsi knife
viesti message
teillä you have pron.
tiellä on the road
vie drop off v.
vei took v.

Diphtongs: EI vs. ÄI

Finnish English
teitä roads (part. pl.)
täitä lice (part. pl.)
veistää to sculpt v.
väistää to dodge, evade v.
heidän their, theirs pron.
häiden wedding’s

Read more elsewhere

I hope you found this article helpful and now know, at the very least, what the words tuli tulli tuuli tyyli mean!

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments