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Finnish as a World Language

I suppose those who actually read this stuff occasionally are not going to be so happy that I stayed home today because of my cold. I had a sore throat when I was awaken by the water-meter reader's angry ringing on the doorbell very early, and the sore throat was compounded by some swollen stuff behind my ears. The positive side of all this is that I'm just sitting around surfing the Web. I found this entertaining article:

"The problem we now face is how to convince the remaining 99.95% of the global population to learn Finnish." (More...)

Would you like to imagine what I do whenever I open my mouth in Czech? The above article captures the experience and, surprisingly hilariously, the thought process. When you read the next excerpt, substitute Czech for Finnish/Finn, eliminate a few cases, and throw gender into the mix for good measure. Enjoy:

When you are about to use a noun, always reflect according to the following pattern:

· Which is the corresponding noun in Finnish?

· Singular or plural?

· What case? Nominative, accusative, genitive, essive, partitive, translative, inessive, elative, illative, adessive, ablative, allative, abessive, comitative or instructive?

· Is it possible to avoid using the noun?

After you have contemplated this during the proverbial fraction of a second, take a deep breath and pronounce the first half of the noun in a huge, booming voice. Then gradually weaken the voice so that by the time you pronounce the case ending, it is only in a hoarse whisper. This method of demonstrating your mastery of case usage is completely safe since, although you cannot prove that you were right, nobody, Finn or otherwise, can ever prove that you were wrong. Above all, look confident.

And an often interesting blog by an aspiring comparative linguist who often discusses Finno-Ugric languages.


Anonymous Jesse said . . .

Yes, it may be a little bit of a niche field, but that article is absolutely the most hilarious thing I've read today and, possibly, anything I've read recently except Lucky Jim and White Teeth. I don't think you have to have spent 4+ years learning a language like Czech to enjoy it, either. (Laughter.)    

12:40 PM, December 12, 2005

Blogger Karla said . . .

I knew I should have given you the rest of those homeopathic pills... (am also lazing around at home but not sick, merely pretending to reading Czech articles about the surrealists and Bataille)

Great articles. Now I know both why I considered studying linguistics and why I never actually did so.

And, do we have to learn Finnish in order to stay at the ice hotel, or can we visit the hotel first and then worry about the language? (How many additional friends would we need to bring to the hotel in order to keep warm? Could some of them be trained to imitate Finnish speech?)    

6:16 PM, December 12, 2005

Anonymous MOM said . . .

A good explanation of why I have not been able to learn a second language, and bearly handle a first. I know some folks who speak Finnish and would probably be willing to go to the ice hotel with you.    

12:13 AM, December 14, 2005

Blogger plasticattack said . . .

I'll be there at the hotel, singing Sibelius (though apparently his Finnish was not very good) in lieu of speaking. Those poor Finns must feel quite alienated...now we know why Suomi College changed it name to FU.    

5:52 PM, December 17, 2005

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