My mother came to visit on the weekend, and I tried my luck at doing one of her Finnish crosswords. I only got one answer correct – Atkins – and it’s not even a Finnish word.
However. I did understand a few clues (like karhu talo), even if I didn’t know the answer in Finnish.
We went out for breakfast on Sunday and we were able to have basic conversations. Is your tea good? I’ll take another cup. And for the first time I started to feel hopeful about my eventual fluency in this crazy language. I still am not so great with my vocabulary (I don’t remember the difference between tall and long, and the words for cold and hot are so maddeningly similar), but I think I understand the part of the language that used to frustrate me the most.
In English, we say, “Samantha is in the store.” In Finnish, we say, “Samantha on kaupassa.” There’s no separate preposition in in Finnish. Instead, there’s a word ending that means the same thing.* In this case, you add it to the word for store, kauppa. This was very hard for my English-speaking mind to believe was possible. In English, the construction of that sentence is pretty much, “Samantha is store-in.” But now I’m learning how to think like a Finn about it**, and things are opening up.
* – Dear Finnish speakers: I apologize if I gave a bad explanation! I’m still learning, and I’ve heard a rumour that spoken Finnish is different from what I’ve been learning anyway, but I wanted to give a general example.
** – I already think like a Finn about personal space, privacy and being on time for things, so I’m on the right track!