Welcome to my blog. I write about fitting in, sticking out, and missing the motherland as a serial foreigner.

How to cheat at Finnish

The official languages of Finland are Finnish and Swedish. Here in Turku, where there is a substantial Swede-Finn population, almost everything is printed in Swedish as well as Finnish. (This includes street name signs, and sometimes the Swedish name for a street is completely different than the Finnish name. Or even the name of the town - Turku in Swedish is Åbo.)

The thing is, if you're, say, an American who has studied German but does not really speak Finnish yet (like me), these Swedish subtitles are a gift. That's because Swedish is very close to German, at least in its written form. Often, the printed Swedish means the difference between confusion and comprehension for me. I've collected a few examples for you.

This is a gift card/coupon thing. A present card, if you will (Swedish is underneath the Finnish).

OK, so I would have known these were eggs due to the shape of the container, but "hönsägg" certainly made it easier.

Entrance/exit in Finnish and Swedish.

East city center (Centrum Öst). Much easier than Keskusta Itä.

Fat-free milk: Rasvaton maito vs. fettfri mjölk.

For now, Swedish is a crutch, and not always a reliable one. There are times when the Swedish doesn't help me at all. But it's gotten me out of a pinch a few times already here. Hopefully I'll be able to rely on Finnish more and more as time goes on.

25km of books

August 14th, outsourced