|(From: Sesquipedalian Vol III numbers 8-11)
Is it now the time for
Finnish to take its place as the international language?
It is obviously difficult to answer this question with certainty. At the
moment there seem to be several factors which would hinder such a development.
First of all, Finnish is currently spoken by a mere 0.05% of the world's
population; secondly one cannot learn the language in ten easy lessons;
thirdly, a large number of Finns still do not understand it. Although the
advancement of Finnish has been a bit slow, there are Finns who point out
the following advantages Finnish would have as a world language:
In light of these facts we can see that the introduction of Finnish as
a world language would be a blessing to all mankind. The problem we now
face is how to convince the remaining 99.95% of the global population to
learn Finnish. We hope the world can receive the benefit of our own experience
with the language. After a few months of intensive (and sometimes downright
desperate) research we have developed a method of fording this linguistic
barrier which has so far proved to be one of the world's most formidable
It is an essentially logical language. The rules are absolute and reliable
in all situations, except exceptions.
It is a good sounding language; in other words, it is pleasing to the ear.
This has to do with its wealth of vowels, which rules out ugly consonant
clusters. It was recently suggested that some vowels should be exported
to Czechoslovakia, where shortage of vowels is imminent, and that some
Czech consonants should be imported to Finland. However, negotiations collapsed
at an early stage. The Finns would not deal with a language that calls
ice-cream 'zrmzlina,' while the Czechs in turn distrusted a language that
calls it 'jäätelöä.'
It is a concise language. One Finnish word can mean several different things
in English. Why lose time and energy saying 'the committee that takes care
of negotiations concerning the truce' when you can use a simple little
word like 'aseleponeuvottelutoimikunta?'
Learning Finnish builds confidence. If you can learn Finnish, then you
can learn anything.
Finnish has longer and better swear words than any other language.
Nouns and Their Cases. Remember,
self-confidence is the key to success. Never hesitate. When you are about
to use a noun, always reflect according to the following pattern:
After you have contemplated this during the proverbial fraction of a second,
take a deep breath and pronounce the first half of the noun in a huge,
booming voice. Then gradually weaken the voice so that by the time you
pronounce the case ending, it is only in a hoarse whisper. This method
of demonstrating your mastery of case usage is completely safe since, although
you cannot prove that you were right, nobody, Finn or otherwise, can ever
prove that you were wrong. Above all, look confident.
Which is the corresponding noun in Finnish?
Singular or plural?
What case? Nominative, accusative, genitive, essive, partitive, translative,
inessive, elative, illative, adessive, ablative, allative, abessive, comitative
Is it possible to avoid using the noun?
Numerals. Superficially, there are few
similarities between the Finnish and English systems. For example: yksi
one kaksi two kolme three neljä four viisi five kuusi six seitsemän
seven kahdeksan eight yhdeksän nine kymmenen ten A closer inspection,
however, reveals the following facts that are useful to the beginner:
Other cues for the acquisition of numerals:
(a) 'kolme' and 'three' each have five letters;
(b) 'viisi' and 'five' are both formed around the letters 'v' and 'i';
(c) 'seitsemän' and 'seven' seem to share a common root (apparently
a word beginning with 's').
This will save you the two years it takes to learn these names and shifts
the burden of labour over to the person you are talking to.
Forget the English numerals altogether. This done, you will have to learn
the Finnish ones in order to tell the time. If you should run into problems
when using English at a later stage you can consult a Finnish-English dictionary,
or, when you need numerals up to twenty, make use of fingers and toes.
Do not waste time learning numerals higher than 20,000,000. It is unlikely
that you will ever have that much money, even in Finnmarks. Months and
Days: Say 'the first day,' 'the third day,' 'the second month,' 'the next-to-last
The Direct Object. Most Finnish
grammars are particularly easy to understand on this point. The basic idea
is: In Finnish the direct object (commonly called the accusative object)
may occur in the nominative, the genitive, or the partitive case. In order
to make things easier to understand, nominative and genitive are called
There is also a real accusative which is not called anything at all.
Utmost care must be applied when interpreting the grammatical terminology.
Verbs. The best piece of advice is do not use
verbs at all. Sometimes you may find it a little difficult to pursue a
meaningful conversation without one, but with diligent practice you will
become adept at this. We reduced the number of conversational errors by
20% after discovering the method of omitting verbs. Another 15% can be
eliminated by omitting all adjectives, adverbs and pronouns, although at
this point conversation tends to sink to an extremely superficial level,
unless you are very good with your hands.
If you encounter the word 'accusative,' it can mean nominative or genitive,
but never the real accusative. The term 'nominative' can mean accusative
or, possibly, nominative.
'Genitive' can mean accusative or simply genitive, while partitive is always
called partitive, although it may be accusative.
Pronunciation. Some difficult sounds:
ää : like 'e' in 'expatiatory,' but longer and more intense.
Mouth as open as possible, ears backward and plastered to head. äy
: half palatal, half alveolar, half dental. Look disgusted. yö: be
very, very careful with this one. uu: as in Arabic. r: a forceful trill.
Loose dentures will be an advantage here.
Conclusion. We hope that this article
will be of great help to all those who wrestle with the question of whether
to study Finnish. For those already studying the language, this method
can provide helpful and easy applications for using conversational Finnish.
As to the question of the prospect of Finnish as a global language, I think
I do not misspeak myself by saying that the work of this article should
settle the matter clearly and finally.