11.14.2006

Don't try to explain it...

Finnish, that is…

 

I was having a nice linguistic discussion yesterday with a brother (an MTS grad) who speaks lots of languages and we got to talking about Finnish. He had some friends from Finland and said that the couple would speak Finnish to one another pretty regularly, and he said he thought the sound of the language was really cool. I agreed. We talked about how it’s different from the other European languages in so many aspects (foremost that it’s not Germanic or Romance) and what qualities give it the sound it has. We also talked about the infamous grammatical structure Finnish boasts. There was another person that invited themselves in on this discussion that had no business trying to do so, and it was funny to see her try to try her hand at Finnish as opposed to Spanish or something. We talked about how Finnish has sixteen noun cases, and she concluded that it must be related to German, because, as we had established already, German had three noun cases. Nope, sorry. She next asked if Finland was east or west of Norway and Sweden, and I explained that it shares a border with Russian, and that languages like Mari were examples of Finno-Ugric/Uralic languages that have adopted the (or a form of the) Cyrillic alphabet because of their geographic proximity. She then concluded that Finnish MUST be a Slavic language. Nope, actually not. (Mind you, she had heard the entire discussion of how the ONLY [major] languages [excluding dialects and minority/dead languages] Finnish is related to are Estonian and Hungarian, [and very distantly at that]) She wasn’t getting the idea that it’s NOT (really) related to ANYTHING. It was necessary to convince her that it was also not a Scandinavian language, and it also came up that they roll their R’s instead of swallow them like the Germans or French, and she then concluded that it MUST be related to Spanish. Guess what… Nope. Finnish is a Finnic language, just like Turkish is a Turkic language. Done.

Anyway, I think that’s all I have for now, aside from the fact that Latvian and Lithuanian were mentioned somewhere in there as representin’ the Baltic language family (holla’!!!), but we didn’t discuss that because we’d have to differentiate that from the ever-present enigma of what Finnish is related to.

IT’S NOT!!! I just wanted to be sure to clarify. Thank you.

 

Näkemiin

 

6 comments:

Jules said...

Thanks for clearing that up! ;-)

Book Reader said...

Yes - IT'S NOT!!!! Therefore that is why I just walked away to preserve my somewhat slipping grasp on sanity.

Horse N. Buggy said...

I want to defend this post. It has a tendency to come across as VERY snobbish. But seriously, the situation was incredibly annoying. But on a different note, it gives me a great idea for a sketch...

Anonymous said...

have you heard the theory that Finnish might also be related to Turkish and Korean? (maybe you already wrote that somewhere in your blog...sorry if I missed it...) Oh, and by the way, I'm still mystified by who you are and how you got the link to my blog! thanks for writing interesting nerdy stuff...--the afternica writer

Affable Olive said...

All of the sudden, I have this urge to learn a language that's related to Finnish... and Wednesday's convo makes much more sense now. I could barely hear y'all

The Polyglot said...

H'n'B: I agree. Thank you for backing me up. I know it sounded snobbish, and i thought that before i posted, but i couldn't help it. It had to be said.
AfterNica: I have heard that, and I'm going to make that my next topic. By the way, did you not get that email I wrote you?
Affie: glad it's cleared up.