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Thread: Estonian/Finnish: false friends

  1. #21
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    Re: Estonian/Finnish: false friends

    Another thing that could be called a "false friend" is the suffix -ma/-mä: for example,

    Est. koolema "to die"
    Finnish kuolema "death" (not used as an infinitive)

    However, it seems that surema is the more common word for "to die" in Estonian. Does koolema mean something slightly different from surema?

  2. #22
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    Re: Estonian/Finnish: false friends

    Quote Originally Posted by Gavril View Post
    Does koolema mean something slightly different from surema?
    After checking this, because I actually wasn't sure myself, it appears koolema doesn't officially exist in Estonian. ;D There's koolma, which is referred to as a dialectal word. You'd still hear and see koolema used every once in a while as well, though, so it can indeed create those false friend situations.

    To answer your original question, koolema/koolma sounds relatively literary and/or archaic and you don't hear it that often in everyday language. If you ask me, it also has kind of an "uglier" sound to it than the more neutral surema does, as in it could be used to describe the miserable death of a person who has suffered for years beforehand or a group of people dying as a result of an epidemic or something along the lines of that.

  3. #23
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    Re: Estonian/Finnish: false friends

    Quote Originally Posted by jonquiliser View Post
    Good ones, DrWatson! I especially like the puuviljamehu!!

    (Come to think of if, perhaps puuvilja makes sense - it's the crop of the (fruit) trees, so in a slight stretch of the concepts, why not call them the cereals of trees? )
    Not that different from pomme de terre or fruits de mer.

    Anyway, I only discovered this site because I knew that Estonia in Finnish was Viro, but I wanted to know what Estonians called Finland which I found somewhere else, Soome.

  4. #24
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    Re: Estonian/Finnish: false friends

    They call us "poro" (reindeer) because we come from the north.

  5. #25
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    Re: Estonian/Finnish: false friends

    Quote Originally Posted by Gavril View Post
    You could also translate it in Finnish as "I live in Vasalemma Castle/Fortress/Palace" -- according to my dictionary, "castle" is the primary meaning of linna.
    That's correct, using linna for "prison" is slang/informal. (Fortress, though, is in most contexts best translated linnake or linnoitus instead, and has slightly different connotations). The connection with Estonian linn is obvious if one considers that in early medieval times real cities were few: most comparable centres of habitation consisted of a fortified strategic point (castle) and a surrounding settlement. Estonian continues to use this word for modern cities where Finnish has kaupunki instead, but note that the names of some cities still end in -linna: Savonlinna, Hämeenlinna (both places with notable medieval castles still standing).

    As for the topic of false friends: I'm not sure if this was already mentioned but as a very young lad I once had a funny experience eating in Estonia: having said yes to an offer of viiner (sp?) I expected to be served a sweet pastry (the meaning of viineri in Finnish) but ended up disappointed when I was confronted with a sausage instead.

  6. #26
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    Re: Estonian/Finnish: false friends

    Do these entities qualify as false friends?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wikipedia
    In Estonia, a limited liability company is referred to as osaühing (OÜ)
    ...

    Although not an exact equivalent, the Finnish version of the LLC is the Oy (osakeyhtiö)

  7. #27
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    Re: Estonian/Finnish: false friends

    Quote Originally Posted by Lugubert View Post
    Do these entities qualify as false friends?
    The osa- in osaühing seems to be the Estonian word for "part" (osa, just as in Finnish), but I'm not sure about the composition of -ühing.

    My best guess (knowing very, very little about Estonian) is that üh- is based on üks "one": cf. the inflected forms ühes, ühel and so on. As far as the ending -ing, it resembles the Finnish suffix -inko seen in words such as osinko "dividend" < osa, but I'm not sure if the two are connected.

    osakeyhtiö is composed of osa- + the suffix -ke, and yht- "one" + the suffix - (cf. kolmio "triangle" < kolme "three").

    So, if the above is correct, the roots (osa- and üh-) of osaühing are not false friends with the roots of osakeyhtiö, but the suffixes added on to each root are different in the two languages.
    Last edited by Gavril; 18th April 2013 at 10:43 PM.

  8. #28
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    Re: Estonian/Finnish: false friends

    Hey all,
    here are a few more:

    EST: hallitus (mold, mildew) - FIN: hallitus (government)
    EST: kohtu (court, tribunal) - FIN: kohtu (uterus) <-- I've seen Finnish tourists take photos under the "Kohtu street" sign in my town
    EST: padi (pillow) - FIN: patja (mattress)
    EST: kalju (rocky mountain) - FIN: kalju (bald) <-- this is actually pretty funny

    there are so many!
    I've actually noticed a lot of false friends between Finnish and Italian as well, they're mostly rude for some reason.

  9. #29
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    Sep 2013
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    Re: Estonian/Finnish: false friends

    This thread is fund and useful.

    A couple more:
    EST: kull, -i, -i (hawk) - FIN: kulli (cock,dick) (When I first moved to Estonia, my only condition concerning the apartment was, that I didn't want it to be on Kulli Street. )
    EST: veski (mill) - FIN: veski (spoken language for 'toilet')
    EST: arvutada (to count) - FIN: arvuuttaa (ask riddles)
    EST: kallistada (to hug) - FIN: kallistaa (to tilt (one's head), to tip (a chair))
    EST: loss, -i, -i (castle) - FIN: lossi (ferry boat)

    Anyhow, my personal favourite are the Estonian names, which would be quite suspicious in Finland, such as the already mentioned Kalju (Bald), Aivo (Brain), Raivo (Rage) and Rivo (Obscene).
    Last edited by Mordong; 22nd September 2013 at 3:18 PM. Reason: insertion

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