Monday, February 04, 2013

Joku, jokin

At my work we often have very interesting discussions about the Finnish language.

The other day one of my colleagues used the word joku when referring to some object he needed to pick up from a shelf. I asked him that shouldn't he have used jokin instead? He was so convinced that he used it right, adding that actually jokin should be used when referring to people. I told him yes, it is right, but only in the spoken language, not in the so called
"kirjakieli" - the literary language. He
strongly disagreed! We argued a bit, we almost bet on who is right, and finally searched it up on the internet.

As a side note, once the same colleague - a native Finn from the far north - claimed that the word optimistisemmat is written correctly as optimistisemmät - for him this is so much easier to pronounce.

In the literary language joku means
someone and jokin means something (or some, one, a) So the former is used when referring to people, while the latter is used when referring to objects. Some examples:Anna se jollekulle! - Give it to someone!
Ota jokin niistä mukaan! - Take one of those with you!
Onko jokin hätänä?

When we go to the spoken Finnish things get more complex.
Jokin (its forms except the nominative, accusative - jonkin and partitive - jotakin) is used when referring to people:
Anna se jollekin! - Give it to someone! (Lit.: jollekulle)
Kysyin joltakin, missä mä oon. - I asked someone where I am. (Lit.: joltakulta)

Joku is used for persons when in nominative (and sometimes in accusative when there is no confusion about the meaning).
Tuleeko joku mukaan? - Anyone coming with me?
Tunnetko jonkun Helsingistä? Tunnetko jonkin Helsingista? - both are used in spoken Finnish: Do you know anyone from Helsinki?

Joku (mainly in nominative and accusative - jonkun) is used in spoken language when referring to objects.
Ota joku niistä mukaan! - Take one of those with you!
Otan jonkun mukaan. - I take one with me.

Onko joku hätänä?- Is anything wrong?

Generally, in spoken language the shorter between joku and jokin forms are used when there is no confusion about the meaning.

It appears to me that native Finnish speakers are so used to the spoken language that sometimes it is really hard for them to realize what the literary forms are. And sometimes they really don't know how to say it in the literary form.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

"En ollut ollut baarissa humalassa yli vuoteen!"

I recently listened to a recorded episode of the "Kesälomautus" radio show called "Mökkinisti" (something like "cottager" - someone who is addicted to going to the cottage every weekend) on Yle site. It is about the story of a guy who confesses about his problem, even having to steal in order to afford to go there.

Something what caught my attention was the way he realized that he had a problem: while sitting in the sauna it suddenly struck him that he had not been in a bar, getting drunk, for over a year!

What on earth?!?!?!

If someone has not been drunk his/her all life, he/she must have a pretty crappy life (I know at least one guy, Vanhanen, the prime minister, is an absolutist, poor guy! ;-))! So hey, people, if you don't drink to get drunk, your life sucks! You have a problem. Accept it, it's the first step... and then head to the bars. They are waiting for you to get wasted!

After this, you can proudly say that you have finally gotten on the right track (after years of confusion), and become part of those with a real life: the crowd whose members are crawling to the taxi stations at 4am and then finding themselves the next days with a bill to be paid, from the taxi driver who had to take his cab interior to be cleaned...

The radio show can be listened to here:, available until 26.07.2008, 15:23.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Life is so cheap in Finland

Again, no language related, but a news in today's newspaper. A youngster who run away with 190 km/h driving a car under the influence of alcohol (1.24 pro mil), killing a policeman, only gets 3.5 years in jail.

People are outraged about how life means nothing for the government and law makers in Finland (I read the comments to the news on the newspaper's site). They are also speculating that because the convicted was under 21 and first conviction, he will get away with under 2 years in jail.

Long live justice!

Original news in Finnish.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Beggars vs. drunken people... and Vappu!

In this post I will not talk about the language. No. It is Vappu! The drunken people's day!

I read today an article in Helsingin Sanomat about the beggars in the capital area. Summer is here and it seems that a new round of beggars is due to arrive in Finland. People are debating it, talking about it, turning the issue upside-down, inside-out, and then back... Some of them are supporting the total banning of begging, some of them oppose it. Some of them are disturbed by them, others give them money, others pass by without giving them not even a look.

I, myself, do not give them ever money. Why? Because I do not want to support this kind of activity. I am sure there are other means of getting enough for the daily bread, instead of just begging. But the truly poor will not just go beg. They will try all other means first...

No, I am not bothered by beggars... I am bothered by the drunken. The drunken who after 1o pm, especially on week-end nights, I have to avoid while driving in the center. By the drunken who sometimes willingly breaks the beer glass on the sidewalk where I drive my bike, and makes my ride a pain... By the drunken who in Finland is so privileged! So privileged that the Police see them in the middle of the road or just crossing on red and just toot their horn while passing by (the traffic is a mess on those week-end nights). So privileged, that people dare without any remorse to take out the bottle and drink on the street. And not one... but tens, hundreds. Almost never Police intervenes.

Drunken people will get smaller punishments when committing a crime. Why? Because they did not know what they were doing... Yeah, sure! It all started with the first drink before the crime, and there is no doubt they knew what they were doing then...

I staid in for Vappu. I guess there's no way to enjoy it unless you get drunk!

I wish you all a sunny spring!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Finnish Language and its Verbs

I find the verbs of the Finnish language quite easy compared to other languages, especially to romance languages (Spanish, French and especially Romanian). The pattern is so regular in Finnish that one can automate their conjugation. Of course, there are exceptions, which must be treated separately, but all in all, they are a piece of cake compared to other languages (exclude English ;-)

So I searched the internet, I studied all the groups, exceptions and more... and after a few weeks of work I have created an automated Finnish verb conjugator. But I did not stop here... as similar tools were available on the internet (see Conjugation is not a big deal compared to the reverse engineering of the conjugation process.

I remember, when I was at the beginnings with my Finnish studies, I had big troubles looking up a verb in the dictionary, guess why? Because the dictionary has only the basic forms (very seldom some conjugated forms which are used as adjectives and so on). So I extended the functionality of my conjugator with the reverse recognition of the Finnish verb forms.

You are welcome to try it out. Go to this page:
and start firing!

and remember to post your critics, if any.

Have a nice weekend!