Anyone in Finland?

Section for overseas clubs, those planning travel, or those who are currently overseas. Aimed to provide a means of finding who's in your area, offering support or advice to travelling students etc.

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Mrs C.
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Re: Anyone in Finland?

Post by Mrs C. » Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:48 am

Are you anywhere near Julkujarvi?
... I had a penfriend there many years ago and was once invited over but my parents wouldn`t let me go as I was too young....
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Re: Anyone in Finland?

Post by Jo » Sat Aug 21, 2010 8:39 am

Hungarian and Finnish are indeed related - the Finno-Ugric languages if I remember correctly. They are extremely unusual in not being part of the Indo-European language family (I believe the only other exceptions are Turkish and Basque).

I'm surprised you heard that Lithuanian is closest to Finnish - I understood that Latvian and Lithuanian were Slav family, but that Estonian was related to Finnish (this was told to me by an Estonian tour guide, in Tallinn :D - though tour guides are well known for their regaling of urban myths). I haven't got an example to hand at the moment but I think I've looked at samples of each in the past and that it did seem correct to me. If you look at an atlas, Estonia is due south of FInland so it's not surprising.
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Re: Anyone in Finland?

Post by Fjgrogan » Sun Aug 22, 2010 9:42 am

Jo, if geographical proximity were a deciding factor then Finnish ought to be related to Swedish and/or Russian, but it isn't! I agree with the Finno-Ugric notion. However, I have a friend (English, but married to a Finn and living in Finland) who spent five years studying at a seminary in Tallin, so I thought I would consult her. Here is the gist of her reply: -
'There are actually a lot of similarities in that the grammar works with cases, although in Estonian there are even more' [ that alone sounds like a nightmare - Finnish has about 15/16 cases!] Also some words are similar eg Ramatu in Finnish = Bible, but in Estonian it means book, but that might be for a whole lot of reasons, including loan words or the spread of Christianity etc. But I speak Finnish reasonably well and I cannot communicate in Estonian. I understand at best 15 - 20% of the sermon in Estonian :roll: , and that's after having been there on and off for five years and having picked up the odd phrase and word. My Finnish husband can understand even less. But because Estonians in Tallinn could (illegally) get Finnish TV before the fall of the Berlin wall, many of them can speak Finnish quite well, and they do seem to be quick at learning it, probably because of the similarities in grammatical structure.'

Anyway I am seriously considering starting to learn Finnish. There is a Suomi School in Kingston, which originally only catered for children, but apparently now accepts adult beginners. I didn't get on very well with German in my youth because of all those case endings, so I must be mad to attempt this, but at least now I have motivation for doing so!!
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Re: Anyone in Finland?

Post by mvgrogan » Sun Aug 22, 2010 11:34 am

Well, I have an estonian friend and I can understand some of her entries on Facebook - short sentences, simple meanings, very similar to finnish but that's only a tiny written snapshot.

I bought a new grammar book yesterday (co-incidentally) and there's a very long explanation of the relationships between finnish and other languages. It states that the closest languages are estonian & sami (the language of the sami people in Lapland) and within the Finno-Ugric Language family, Finnish and Hungarian are the furthest from each other - makes sense, I guess! You've proably never heard of the languages in between..... Karelian, Ingrian, Vepsian, Olonetsian, Ludian, Votian and Livonian - most of them are spoken in Russia. "Roughly speaking, finnish is as far from hungarian as english is from persian"

There's also a mention of Meänkieli - spoken by about 150,000 people - including John Hopgood's daughter in law (if i remember correctly!). However, the mention is at the end of a passage on Uralic Languages and mentions it as a recently (1999)recgonised official language of Sweden; not finno-ugric!
Fjgrogan wrote:
Anyway I am seriously considering starting to learn Finnish. There is a Suomi School in Kingston, which originally only catered for children, but apparently now accepts adult beginners. I didn't get on very well with German in my youth because of all those case endings, so I must be mad to attempt this, but at least now I have motivation for doing so!!
If I ever needed incentive to get on and learn finnish properly this might be it.. :lol: .. it's bad enough knowing my children will speak it far better than I ever will - they will both be naturally bilingual! But my mother!!! AAAgggh!

Now, where that tutor's number? :shock:
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Re: Anyone in Finland?

Post by Jo » Sun Aug 22, 2010 11:44 am

You're right about geographical proximity, Frances - Finnish being related to Hungarian proves the point :D.

I didn't mean to imply that Finnish and Estonian were mutually intelligible; I'm quite sure they are not. However they are related, being part (with Hungarian) of the Finno-Ugric, or Uralic, language family. As opposed to the Indo-European language family - which means they will be no more mutually intelligible than, say, English or Russian - or indeed, English and the Indian languages. But Finnish, Hungarian and Estonian do all derive from the same original language, which is not Proto-Indo-European.

I don't know why Finnish and Estonian are so different from their neighbours and uniquely related to each other, but I imagine it must be something to do with historical boundaries, and trading and migration routes. Language relationships often give clues to historical - and prehistoric - events, developments, migrations, etc. It's fascinating stuff.
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Re: Anyone in Finland?

Post by Fjgrogan » Sun Aug 22, 2010 11:59 am

Jo - you make me wish I had pursued my interest in linguistics. If historical boundaries, trading etc are a factor, then why no similarity between Finnish and Swedish? Until 90 years or so ago Finland was part of Sweden and many parts of Finland are still Swedish-speaking - road signs around Turku are still in both languages, and even place names are often totally different in the two languages. That guy Michael Agricola (former Bishop of Turku) has a lot to answer for - he was the person who first turned spoken Finnish into a written language (there is even a flag day in his honour, when flags are flown from public buildings) - personally I think it would have stayed a much simpler language if it was only spoken! I must remember to spit on his statue next time I am over there!

Maria - fear not - I have not actually filled in the application form yet! I would quite like to be able to communicate with your mother-in-law though, and swap grandmotherly comments, without the need of an interpreter. By the time I can do so we shall probably both have died of old age! Perhaps it would be easier to learn Swedish and at least get a headstart on Hanna and Xander who will presumably learn it as their second (or in their case third) language at school eventually.
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Re: Anyone in Finland?

Post by Jo » Sun Aug 22, 2010 12:52 pm

I'm not sure, Frances. I would guess it's because it goes way back to the mists of time - millennia rather than centuries, long before modern political boundaries - although obviously physical geography doesn't change. I do remember being told once that some of the Hungarian Magyar tribes migrated north round the eastern fringes of Europe and settled in what is now Finland, bringing their language with them. If that migration was relatively quick, in historic terms, then they wouldn't have left a lingustic imprint along the way, only where they settled. And given that Sweden and Finland are largely separated by the Gulf of Bothnia, maybe that explains why there hasn't been more linguistic merging between them. Unfortunately, I remember being told more about the "what" than the "why", so I am speculating somewhat!
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Re: Anyone in Finland?

Post by Fjgrogan » Sun Aug 22, 2010 5:01 pm

This is getting terrribly serious! My point about Sweden and Finland is that until about a century ago they were not separated by the Gulf of Bothnia (a lot of which is frozen all winter anyway). Finland was part of Sweden, so all that (probably frozen) water ran up the middle of Sweden! Presumably linguistically Swedish moved in from the west, and the Magyars from the east and south - to be honest I'm beginning not to care. I find the migrations of the Celts far more interesting!
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Re: Anyone in Finland?

Post by jhopgood » Sun Aug 22, 2010 8:21 pm

Maybe I should involve my daughter-in-law, who wrote the following to me some time ago.

The language my father grew up speaking in his home is called “Tornedalian Finish” in Swedish, or in Finish (more commonly used for some reason) Meän Kieli. It was recognised as a minority language by EU around ten years ago, before then it was only a spoken language. Nowadays one can actually buy literature written in Meän Kieli.

Unfortunately it is dying out, as so many old dialects.
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Re: Anyone in Finland?

Post by Fjgrogan » Sun Aug 22, 2010 10:24 pm

Jo listed a number of languages that we had probably never heard of from Finland. Well we have heard of Karelian, because there is a dish in Finland called Karelian pies. I have a recipe for them, described as 'rice porridge surrounded by a rye flour crust, baked until slightly browned' - 'delicious eaten for breakfast or lunch topped with ham, cheese, or just butter'. I don't much like them myself and they don't travel well, but my husband likes them, so I shall eventually get around to trying to make them. Karelia is a region in the east of Finland, towards the Russian border, I think.
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Re: Anyone in Finland?

Post by Jo » Sun Aug 22, 2010 10:37 pm

Fjgrogan wrote:Jo listed a number of languages that we had probably never heard of from Finland. Well we have heard of Karelian, because there is a dish in Finland called Karelian pies. I have a recipe for them, described as 'rice porridge surrounded by a rye flour crust, baked until slightly browned' - 'delicious eaten for breakfast or lunch topped with ham, cheese, or just butter'. I don't much like them myself and they don't travel well, but my husband likes them, so I shall eventually get around to trying to make them. Karelia is a region in the east of Finland, towards the Russian border, I think.
That was Maria :)

I was just reading something earlier today in a language newsletter, coincidentally, about someone doing an intensive Finnish course. She mentioned many of the other participants wanting to be able to communicate with Finnish relations and in-laws. I can't remember who the workshop was run by, but if you're interested I'll look it out and let you have the details.
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Re: Anyone in Finland?

Post by Fjgrogan » Tue Aug 24, 2010 8:30 am

Yes please Jo - although it may turn out to be happening somewhere inaccessible - I don't travel well these days, although I do get ferried back and forth to the Medway for grandmotherly duties now that Kirri is back at work. And of course you are right - the list was from Maria (I really must learn to check things rather than relying on my memory) - it just indicates how much attention I pay to what my daughter says! She, of course, knows all about Karelian pies!
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Re: Anyone in Finland?

Post by mvgrogan » Tue Aug 24, 2010 9:56 am

Fjgrogan wrote: it just indicates how much attention I pay to what my daughter says!
:roll: :lol:
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Re: Anyone in Finland?

Post by englishangel » Mon Sep 06, 2010 10:04 pm

Have just noticed that our newest member jkl is in Finland. Have you been in contact?
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Re: Anyone in Finland?

Post by mvgrogan » Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:59 am

thanks! I will now...

quick update - we have swelled our numbers from 3 to 7!

Found Mark Laurence & Jo King in Pietersaari, Peter Herring in Helsinki and chasing up Julian Garner, too.

Hurrah!

EDIT - I already know jkl - pointed them in this direction!
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