Lost In Translation – Finnish Words We Could Use in English

18th October 2015

finnish for beginnersWhen I did my student exchange in Finland I tried my best to learn Finnish, but never made it past the essentials like ‘Hello’, ‘ Where is the nearest bar?’ and ‘ Yes, sure I’ll join you to the sauna!’  But I did pick up some of their unusual words, because it turns out the Finnish have found the right word for certain situations that I’d love to import into English.

jaksaa
used in situations to express the lack of energy to do something

kalsarikannit
drinking alone in your underwear with no intention of going out

pilkunnussija – literally “comma fucker”
a person who points out all spelling mistakes

perskärpänen – literally “ass fly”
a person who keeps following you without you wanting them to

raivoraitis – literally “rage sober”
a person who never drinks alcohol and might preach about it

sisu
taking action against the odds and displaying courage and resoluteness in the face of adversity

äpöstää
is when you are eating while drunk and forget about table manners and cutlery

rääppiäiset
a leftover party where you and your friends get together the day after a party to eat and drink the leftovers together

hiprakka
is mild drunkness or that phase before the actual drunkenness where the drinker gets all smiley and more talkative

laskuhumala
the phase that comes after intoxication. You know … when drinks begin to run out, you start to get tired and end up in a bad mood, where you start crying at your shitty life

What’s your favourite word that needs an English equivalent?

10 thoughts on “Lost In Translation – Finnish Words We Could Use in English

  1. Fiona

    Love posts like this! Although the phrase is translatable into english from Spanish I love ” Mono vestido de seda mono queda.” – you can change your looks as much as you want on the outside, but the person inside will never change – literally it means “a monkey dressed in silk remains a monkey” ahaha such a fabulous phrase! Great post 🙂

    Reply
  2. Rachel

    Kiitos tosi paljon Tea! I’m learning Finnish (remotely in the UK!) It’s such a beautiful language. These are both hilarious and rather useful! 😀

    Reply
  3. Ruurdje

    Nice! I love these lists of words that have no synonyms in the languages i know. Anyway: so many words for drinking, I thought it was crazy expensive in Finland!

    Reply
  4. Eleftheria

    I loved this post!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I google-translated all the words just to hear how they sound…….and I think I want to learn Finnish…..they are also very popular in my hometown Chania, Greece……we have many Fiinnish tourists!!!!!
    xxx

    Reply
  5. Sheelagh

    Haha, hilarisch! “drinking alone in your underwear with no intention of going out” daar zou ook een Nederlands woord voor moeten zijn 🙂 Er zijn er wel veel die met drank te maken hebben trouwens!

    Reply

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