Random thoughts on Finnish

1. What is it about not speaking a language that makes you feel like you're wearing a sumo suit while out in public? I feel like I (and we - this is especially true when we're out as a family) take up so much space in public, that I'm always going the wrong way and doing the wrong thing and staring blankly at people while they speak Finnish to me. It's like being the stupidest person in the room, all the time. The other day I was out with the kids on the playground. A man came up to me and said "blah blah blah blah tytöt blah blah." Tytöt means girls or daughters, so I knew it was something about them, but I had no idea what. Maybe they were making too much noise. Maybe his kid wanted to play with them. Maybe they were dangling from the monkey bars in mortal peril. I had no clue.

2. With Finnish, you start at the top of a word and ride it all the way down. They almost always put the stress on the first syllable, which means that you look at a word like Alkeisyhdistys (Primary, like the children's class at church) and brace yourself. It's like slalom skiing or something. Pronounce and emphasize the first syllable right out of the gate, then hope you hit at least a few of the rest of the syllable flags as you zoom down the hill out of control.

3. I love learning a language without inherent genders for nouns. German, sometimes you were the WORST with that.

4. I love learning a language that uses the Latin alphabet for once, but embellished with pretty umlauts and pure vowel pronunciation.

5. The Finnish keyboard is a little nuts. My favorite (=most annoying) part is how there is a secondary shift key, and that's the one you have to press to get the @ symbol from the 2 key. Ask me if it took me almost two weeks to figure that out, and whether in the end, I had to ask the department tech guy.

September 11th, outsourced