10 Finnish Words Every Visitor Needs

Memorize these ten Finnish words for your trip!

Boats in Helsinki, Finland
Visit Finland © P. Bertrand

Here are a few important Finnish words that every traveler should know when visiting Finland:

1. Suurlähetystö: Translates to "Embassy". While it might seem difficult, the pronunciation is fairly straightforward. It is pronounced as "Soor-lahe-tys-ta". An example would be: "Missä on suurlähetystöön?" - "Where is the embassy?"

2. Miehet: Translates to "Men". Knowledge of how to differentiate between genders comes in handy when searching for restrooms and trail rooms. "Miehet" (pronounced as "mi-ye-het") is one of the most common signs for men indoors and outdoors.

3. Naiset: Translates to "Women". Pronounced as "na-i-set", it is the term used all over Finland to signify Women's restrooms and trial rooms.

4. Aika: Translates to "Time". It is pronounced as "aa-i-ka". An example would be: "Mikä on aika?" - "What is the time?"

5. Poliisi: Translates to "Police". It is pronounced as "Po-lee-si". They are also known as "Poliisilaitos", but the term is too long to remember: therefore, the shortened colloquial version is used. An example would be: "Aion soittaa poliisille." - "I will call the police."

6. Markkinat: Translates to "Market". It is pronounced as "Mar-ki-nat". Many other terms are used to refer to a market, but "Markkinat" is the colloquially accepted term. An example would be: "Mihin suuntaan markkinat?" - "Which way to the market?"

7. Hotelli: Translates to "Hotel". It is pronounced as "Hote-lli". An example would be:"Mihin suuntaan hotelli?" - "Which way to the hotel?"

8. Sisäänkäynti: Translates to "Entrance". It is pronounced as "Si-saan-ka-yan-ti". For those who find it too complex and daunting to pronounce, there is also the term "Pääsy", which translated loosely to "admission" or "access" and is pronounced as "Paa-sy". An example would be: "On sisäänkäynti." - "There is the entrance."

9. Poistuminen: Translates to "Exit". The pronunciation goes like, "paw-is-tyu-mi-nen". There are other terms in Finnish used to refer to exits, such as "uloskäynti" ("ulos-ka-yanti") and "maastalähtö" ("maa-as-ta-lah-t"). An example would be: "Mikä tapa poistua?" - "Which way to the exit?"

10. Apua!: Translates to "Help!". It is pronounced as "Aa-pua". It is a useful term to know if you land yourself in trouble. An example would be:"Auttakaa minua." - "Please help me."

A noteworthy thing about Finnish is that there is no specific word in the vocabulary to define the English word "Please". The term often changes with the context in which it is used. Common usages are "Saisinko" which means "Could I please", and "Voisitko", meaning "Could you please". Apart from this minor quirk,

Finnish is a very easy language to learn, thought you might not need it since most locals speak or at least know English. It is, nonetheless, good to learn a few basic and important Finnish words, because word has it that Finnish people love it when they hear foreigners speaking in their tongue.

There is no language from Iceland to India that Finnish can identify with. In fact, the culture of Finland itself is set apart from the rest of Europe, which is what makes it so unique. Famous for its vast amount of lakes, and the sight of Northern Lights in the night, Finland is truly a delight for the nature lover and the individualistic. It is fairly easy to learn as almost all the words are pronounced exactly as they are written.

More: Scandinavian Languages

Was this page helpful?