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difficulty of Finno-Ugric languages

Discussion in 'Suomi (Finnish)' started by janecito, May 31, 2006.

  1. janecito

    janecito Senior Member

    Γρανάδα, Ισπανία
    Slovene, Slovenia
    This is what Wikipedia has to say about Finnish language:
    I suppose what this wants to say is that Finnish is difficult to learn for native speaker of Indoeuropean languages because it is so different (i.e more difficult than learning another IE language). But I was wondering would Finnish also be more difficult to learn compared to other Finno-Ugric languages like Estonian or Hungarian (for a native speaker of an IE language that is)?
     
  2. Etcetera

    Etcetera Senior Member

    St Petersburg, Russia
    Russian, Russia (St Petersburg)
    Estonian is very close to Finnish - I've never done any Estonian, but I'm currently studying Finnish, and when I see a text in Estonian, I always find a lot of words which greatly resemble Finnish ones. For example, compare Finnish päivälehti and Estonian paevaleht - both mean 'daily newspaper'.
    As for the Finnish language, I must admit that I totally agree with this article. My first Finnish classes were extremely difficult, 'cause the language is so unlike my native Russian and English (which I've been studying for ten years already)... But now I find Finnish less difficult, as I know the basic construction, the main functions of all those endings, and so on.
     
  3. jester.

    jester. Senior Member

    Aachen, Germany
    Germany -> German
    This is a common phenomenon. I like to call that the concept of the language.

    Additionally I think this problem is not only restricted to Finno-Ugric languages but applies to any language of a language family different from your native one. Example: I have recently started to learn Russian and this is actually quite difficult, not only due to the cirillic alphabet, but because I have yet to understand what I formerly called the concept of Russian. Additionally the vocabulary and grammar are quite different from the Germanic and Romance languages that I have studied so far.

    EDIT: Your profile says that you learn Polish. I presume, as you are Russian, that this is much easier for you than learning Finnish, isn't it?
     
  4. Etcetera

    Etcetera Senior Member

    St Petersburg, Russia
    Russian, Russia (St Petersburg)
    Yeah, you're right. It must be easier to learn a language from the same lahguage family as your own.
    Polish for me is much easier to learn. The languages are quite similar, they use the same words for the basic concepts, and even grammatical constructions are to an extent the same. But another problem arises from this similarity: I often find out that I tend to use some Russian construction instead of a Polish one; then, there's a number of words which looks quite similar, but their meanings are just opposite...
    I suppose it's also easier to learn English when your native language is German, isn't it? I used to study German at school, and later at the University I've done Germanic Philology. German and English seem to be quite close, in my opinion...
     
  5. janecito

    janecito Senior Member

    Γρανάδα, Ισπανία
    Slovene, Slovenia
    I agree and as we have already figured out more related the language you're learning is to your mother tongue, easier it is to start understanding its concept. So, I guess what I was asking was whether for, a 'Indo-European person', the concept of Finnish would be more difficult to understand than, let's say, that of Estonian or Hungarian.

    That is definitely true. Above all in the beginning. That's why it is (I suppose) easier for a German speaker to learn Russian (they are both Indo-European languages) than learning Finnish (or Estonian) would be for the same person. Of course, learning Swedish or Norwegian should be even easier (as they belong to the same subgroup of Indo-European languages – the Germanic ones; just like Russian and Polish are both Slavic languages).

    Tell me about it – I'm a native speaker of Slovene, I studied Russian and I'm currently living in Poland. When I came here I couldn't say a word of Polish – whenever I gave it a try, Russian started coming out of my mouth. Now (after only a couple of months living here) it's the other way around – I don't seem to be able to pronounce a single Russian sentence correctly. Every time I try, there's at least one Polish word in it. :) The interesting thing is that my Slovene has never interfered in this, I only mix Russian into Polish and vice versa. These two languages really are far more similar than any of them is to Slovene.

    So, Etcetera, how long did it take you to grasp the concept of Finnish? :) When did it start to sound less strange and more familiar to your ears? Are we talking about months or years of learning? I also wanted to ask you how you were learning it – are you taking a course or is it a self-learning project.
     
  6. Etcetera

    Etcetera Senior Member

    St Petersburg, Russia
    Russian, Russia (St Petersburg)
    janecito
    It sounds very interesting. I once took also several classes in Serbian, but I never messed it with Russian or Polish.
    As for Polish... I can think of one example right now. There's a Russian phrase, 'Kakoe segodnya chislo?' This can be translated in Polish as either 'Kt[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]ó[/FONT]ry jest dzisiaj?' or 'Kt[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]ó[/FONT]rego jest dzisiaj'. It took me a pretty long time to agree with the second variant of the phrase, because in Russian it's impossible to say *'Kakogo segodnya chisla?'
    Words which are quite similar in spelling or ptonuciation, but different in meaning, present a serious problem for a learner. My Polish textbook even lists such words apart. Compare Polish 'zapomniesz' and Russian 'zapomnish':).

    And now let's talk about Finnish:) I chose it as my minor language two years ago, while being in my second year at the University. It took me five months to get familiar with the basic constructions of Finnish grammar, and about a year to learn to use them correctly (the classes I had at the University were too few, so I had to buy several books with exercises - rather simple, but effective).
    I'm studying Finnish for two academic years already, and now I use most of the constructions which used to make me embarrased almost automatically. You know, when learning a foreign language, there's always a moment when you realise that you just know how to put this or that idea in a grammaticall correct form, but you cannot explain why you must use here that very construction.
     
  7. janecito

    janecito Senior Member

    Γρανάδα, Ισπανία
    Slovene, Slovenia
    In Slovene we simply say 'Katerega smo danes?' which would sound in Polish (literally translated) as 'Którego jesteśmy dziśaj?' and in Russian something like 'Какого мы сегодня?'. :)
    That works the same with Slovene. :)

    As to Finnish, I was thinking about 'taking a closer look at' (= learning some basics of) one non Indo-European language. And I'm deciding between Finnish and Estonian, hence my question. ;)
     
  8. Etcetera

    Etcetera Senior Member

    St Petersburg, Russia
    Russian, Russia (St Petersburg)
    Interesting. I heard once that Slovene is the less like Russian of all Slavic languages. As for the phrase, it sounds so nice:).

    It seems to me that it's easier to find Finnish courses, Finnish textbooks and so on, than the Estonian ones. Isn't it so in Poland? Here in Russia I've never seen any courses in Estonian, but Finnish is *very* popular in St. Petersburg (which is situated very close to Finland), there are different courses and all such things. In Moscow Finnish is taught at least at two universities (Moscow University and Moscow Linguistic University).
    I'd like to study Estonian, BTW. And if I ever have the possibility, I'll surely take Estonian classes.
     
  9. cajzl Senior Member

    Prag
    Czech
    Not necessarily.

    I learned Hungarian and I found the Hungarian grammar quite easy and much more regular than e.g. the Czech one. IMHO a German (or Romance) speaker will find the Hungarian language easier than a Slavic language (not to say Old Greek or Persian).
     
  10. janecito

    janecito Senior Member

    Γρανάδα, Ισπανία
    Slovene, Slovenia
    Really!? A couple of years ago I tried to start learning Hungarian, but I didn't last long. Well, obviously I wasn't motivated enough and if I had persisted, I would have probably learnt something. But I agree that Hungarian grammar is very regular but I found it very hard phonetically. Still, there are a lot of endings in Hungarian, wouldn't you say? :)

    So, basically you're saying it was easier for you to learn Hungarian than, let's say, English or German (if you did learn German), right? As I said, I've never tried learning a non Indo-European language before which makes it impossible for me to judge, but it sure does surprise me to hear that. ;)

    PS: What does IMHO stand for exactly?
     
  11. Etcetera

    Etcetera Senior Member

    St Petersburg, Russia
    Russian, Russia (St Petersburg)
    IMHO = In My Humble Opinion:).
    At my University, they offered us students to decide whether we want study Finnish or Hungarian. We chose Finnish, but there are several students who do study Hungarian.
    Well, there's a lot of endings in Finnish, too, because both languages use them instead of prepositions (as most European languages do). As for Finnish grammar, it's quite regular, the only serious problem for me is still the so-called 'konsonattien astevaihtelu', when you have one consonant in a word's root in Nominative and the other in Genitive...

    As for the difference between learning Finnish and, say, German - I must admit that it was easier to me to learn Finnish then German (I'd been studying German for six years while being at school). I tried hard to master German syntax, for example, but I failed completely...
     
  12. Tisia Senior Member

    Finland
    Iran, Persian, Kurdish, English, Finnish
    I would say Estonian and Finnish are pretty similar in sentence structure. But Estonian words look shorter compared to Finnish. What makes these languages difficult is not having prepositions such as in, at, to.... rather they use suffixes. For example city is kaupunki and in the city becomes kaupungissa. So for preposition in/at they use -ssa/ssä or -lla/llä. It is also necessory to know the stem of the words.

    I don't know if they have propositions in Hangarian language.

    Tisia
     
  13. cajzl Senior Member

    Prag
    Czech
    Hungarian has no prepositions, but "postpositions" and suffixes.

    For example (H - Eng - Cz):

    a kert = the garden = zahrada
    a kertben = in the garden = v zahradě
    a kertek = the gardens = zahrady
    a kertekben = in the gardens = v zahradách

    You can see that the Hungarian morphology is much simpler than the Czech one. The only complication is the so-called vocal harmony. It means that the majority of the Hungarian suffixes has two or more forms, for example:

    the English preposition in = the Hungarian suffix -ban -ben
    the English preposition on = the Hungarian suffix -n -on -en -ön
    the English preposition under = the Hungarian postposition alatt

    the table = az asztal = stůl
    on the table = az asztalon = na stole
    in the table = az asztalban = ve stole
    under the table = az asztal alatt = pod stolem

    the tables = az asztalok = stoly
    on the tables = az asztalokon = na stolech
    in the tables = az asztalokban = ve stolech
    under the tables = az asztalok alatt = pod stoly

    Hungarian has no grammatical gender!

    Only few nouns change their stem.
     
  14. Tisia Senior Member

    Finland
    Iran, Persian, Kurdish, English, Finnish
    In Finnish as well nouns are all neutral, no masculine or feminine. A language like Finnish shouldn't be compared to any Indo-Eropean language. No strings attached:) Just learn everything you hear.

    Tisia
     
  15. janecito

    janecito Senior Member

    Γρανάδα, Ισπανία
    Slovene, Slovenia
    I know Finno-Ugric languages are agglutinative languages – which means, what you already said, that they do not preposition as we know them in IE languages, but express these relations through suffixes that are added (“glued”) to the steam of the noun (also called cases). And gender issue is sometimes quite difficult to comprehend for native speakers of these languages – how is it possible that things/objects have gender? - while this is something usual in most IE languages.

    I understand that Finno-Ugric languages are very regular as far as the system goes, but I'm still not sure if a regular systems automatically means an easier language to learn. Might be. And your posts have definitely encouraged me to start learning one of these languages. :)

    What about stress position in these languages? Is it fixed or can it fall on any of the syllables in the word? That is one of the most difficult things for me in languages like Russian, Lithuanian etc. I'm never sure how to stress them.
     
  16. Etcetera

    Etcetera Senior Member

    St Petersburg, Russia
    Russian, Russia (St Petersburg)
    Yeah, Russian stresses are really difficult, even for native speakers:).
    As for Finnish, the stress usually falls on the first syllable. But, as Finnish words are exceedingly long, there are sometimes two stresses - on the first syllable and on the third or fourth.

    Im my opinion, a regular system doesn't mean that it's easier to apprehend. Finnish grammar is rather regular, but there's so many different rules that a learner may feel clueless at first...
     
  17. cajzl Senior Member

    Prag
    Czech
    As for Hungarian, the main stress allways falls on the first syllable.

    I think the total absence of the grammatical gender in Hungarian is a significant simplification (cf. the English vs. German language).
     
  18. gorilla Junior Member

    Hungary
    Hungarian - Hungary
    This total absence of grammatical gender makes translation really hard. There is no difference between "he" and "she", there is only one word "ő".
    Most times English texts are translated like: she -> a lány / a nő (the girl / the woman), he -> a fiú / a férfi (the boy / the man)
     
  19. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    The stress is always on the first syllable. Only in the compound words there seems to be another stress on the third or fourth (or fifth ... etc.) syllable which in fact is the first syllable of the second part of the word.
     
  20. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    This fact gives problems in translation both ways, from English into Hungarian/Finnish and from Hungarian/Finnish into English. But after all, there are similar or comparable translation problems even between Indo-European languages. For example, the English word 'Sir' has no direct equivalent in any other Indo-European language, as far as I know. It must be translated in many different ways in different contexts, and sometimes it can't be translated at all.
     
  21. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Prague
    Hungarian
    I have not found Finnish difficult at all.

    1/ no grammatical gender (then German is much difficult for me, no logic in gendres, Slavic or Spanish and Italian have some tricks to memorize gender at lease, German has not)

    2/ no definite or indefinite article (it is sometimes difficult to use the artciles properly at profeciancy level)

    3/ the word stress is always on the first syllable (there is also no logic in langauges where to put stress, especially Russian and English, Romance langauges mark it sometimes at least)

    4/ it is not a tonal language (unlike Chinese, Vietnamese - no logic)
    5/ anything else is logic or interesting, the consonant changes remind me of other Indo-European languages
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2010
  22. Zsanna

    Zsanna ModErrata

    Hungary
    Hungarian - Hungary
    I don't think that the existance or lack of logic within the structure of a language interferes really a lot in how easy/difficult it is to learn. (In any case, the question "why" is always a bad question for a language learner... You either want to learn the language or its linguistics - no point in doing both at the same time! Especially to start with.)

    Hakro, it is difficult to translate "Sir" or any other "addressing word" (like mister/miss/madam etc.) into Hungarian because we don't really use them. However, when "sir" indicates a title or an addressing word a servant would use, there is no problem with a translation.
    Nowadays, (ever since the changes) suddenly, there are an awful lot of "misters" and "madams" (= úr /hölgy) but they sound very artificial and "unHungarian".
     
  23. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Which languages do they remind you of? They remind me somewhat of alternations in Celtic languages (t > d, b > v etc.), but the Celtic alternations are generally caused by a preceding vowel or consonant rather than a closed syllable.
     
  24. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Prague
    Hungarian
    Not the concrete change, but if I am not mistaken there are no changes of that type in Hungarian. Slavic languages: Czech k>c (kluk-kluci), ch>š (Čech>Češi), English leaf > leaves...
     
  25. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Prague
    Hungarian
    I am afraid I must disagree, I think, human brain arranges "logical" matters easier. What's more it arranges it in different parts of the brain (like the regular and irregular verb conjugation). I admit the word logic is not the proper word, but you know what I mean. :)
     
  26. Icetrance Senior Member

    US English
    Great thread! (I'm reviving it.)

    We have Estonian, Finnish, and Hungarian being compared here, and the question of which one is most difficult among them? The better question may be: How do these languages compare, one aspect at at time, while considering the native language of the learner?

    You always here that Finnish is one of the world's most difficult languages. But that just can't be said as a fact, I'm afraid. Sure, there are complex aspects of the language, but you can't just come out with that statement because its structure is very different from Indo-European languages, in addition to its abundance of suffix cases and supposed nil "regular" verbs.

    A single aspect of a given language can be enough to keep a learner from reaching real fluency. For example, there are folks who have a horrible time getting their head around German word order after a long time of study, and consequently feel stagnated. On the other hand, these same people may have studied Russian just as hard and made greater progress with it, despite all its cases, pronunciation issues (stress), etc. Russian syntax, although considered very "free", still follows a SVO base, which is the typical word order for many Indo-European languages.

    In conclusion, with regard to language difficulty rankings, syntax is often downplayed while high inflectional frequency (cases) is hyped up. I'm not saying that cases are easy or are learned overnight, but very "foreign" syntax can really cause some headaches and ultimately make things difficult for a long, long time (Turkish, Japanese, etc, while having an Indo-European language as native tongue). Mastering syntax can really require "reprogramming" of the mind, but learning to add simple, short endings to a direct object, for example, is much less so the case.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2010
  27. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    For me, one of the hardest aspects of Finnish grammar is the partial blurring of the distinction between adjectives and adverbs (and sometimes nouns as well):

    pitkästä aikaa
    hirveästi taloja
    lisää kaloja
    se on irti
    / irrallinen / irrallista
    kaksi kirjaa,
    but kahdessa kirjassa
    etc.

    Still, by far the hardest aspect of Finnish as a whole for me is the vocabulary rather than the grammar.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2010
  28. Grumpy Old Man Senior Member

    Your Finnish is exceptionally good, Gavril. :thumbsup: I don't speak any other Finno-Ugric language than Finnish, so I can say nothing about the relative difficulty of the languages. Finnish and Estonian are so closely related that I understand the occasional Estonian sentence I hear in Tallinn - or in Helsinki, where there are lots of Estonian workers.
     
  29. Trauer

    Trauer Junior Member

    Finland
    Polish
    That's so true!

    Studying Finnish and Estonian at the same time I can say that Estonian grammar* and pronounciation** is much more difficult than in Finnish.

    * I can't see many regularities actually (especially when it comes to partitive, genetive and short illative) and the only grammatical thing that's easier than in Finnish is making plural stem.
    ** The hardest thing is to learn three phonetic lenghts - how and where to use them as the lenght changes the meaning/case of the word.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2010
  30. macforever Senior Member

    Italian
    Finnish is a very difficult language to learn, in my opinion. Moreover, very few bookstores sell good grammar books, at least here in Italy. But that's another story.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2010
  31. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Prague
    Hungarian
    Do you buy grammar books at shops? There are some good ones on the net to download. ;)
     
  32. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    In my (limited) experience, Finnish grammar books spend too much space on topics like consonant gradation and too little space (if any space at all) on topics like descriptive vocabulary. Do you know of any exceptions to this?
     
  33. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Prague
    Hungarian
    Mamma mia, what do you mean by descriptive vocabulary? :) I haven't heard that expression.
     
  34. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    1. Onomatopoeic vocabulary: napsauttaa "snap, click", helistä "jingle", naukua "meow (like a cat)", etc.

    2. Vocabulary that isn't onomatopoeic (at least not directly), but is still viewed as sound-symbolic: hymy "smile", rähinä "brawl", huhu "rumor", etc.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2010
  35. Ototsan Senior Member

    Tokyo
    Japanese
    Hei! Olen uusi tulokas tässä foorumissa. Tässä pikku kommenttini.

    Though I have no idea whether Hungarians find Finnish less difficult to learn than Romanian or Slovakian, I noticed that Finnish students seemed to find Hungarian much more difficult to learn than Swedish back in late 70s, when I was a Finno-Ugrics student in Helsinki and took a Hungarian course. The teacher was a Hungarian from Budapest and the only students who tried to speak anything in Hungarian in the class were foreigners (Japanese, American). This situation was described by a Finnish student as "mä kuuntelen unkaria sujuvasti" :)

    It's true that written Estonian appears very similar to written Finnish, but the two languages are very different when spoken. I'm curious how many of you understand the following sentence. It's Estonian.

    Kas lähme kinno või hoopis memme juurde?
     
  36. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Not surprising: I doubt there are any Hungarian/Finnish pairs comparable to

    Sw. hylla /Fi. hylly
    Sw. hyvel / Fi. höylä
    Sw. kälk / Fi. kelkka
    Sw. löp(sedel) / Fi. lööppi
    etc.

    Without consulting an Estonian dictionary, all I can make out are juurde = juurten and või = (hän) voi -- both uncertain.
     
  37. hollabooiers Junior Member

    Estonia
    Estonian
    Haha that's a pretty good sentence for confusing Finnish people you have there. :D

    Hungarian really has very little in common with Finnish, but I'd say Estonian is -relatively- easy for a Finn to learn. Swedish is so much easier than Hungarian mainly because 1) Finnish has loaned a lot from the language; 2) it's enough to know an IE language like English for a lot of Swedish structures to make sense to you; and 3) the sound and rhythm of it is familiar to most Finnish people, simply because if you live in Finland, you hear it on TV/at the mall/whereever every once in a while. While Hungarian is related to Finnish, it probably sounds a lot more alien to most Finns. Estonian again is -much- closer to Finnish than Hungarian is, so at least a conversational level (albeit perhaps mistake-ridden ;D) of it should be well within the reach of Finnish people and pretty effortlessly so.

    Of course that's just what it looks like to me personally. I'm not really "authorized" to comment on this - I can speak Finnish, but I never actually studied it, I just picked it up living in Finland as a child. But then again, I do know that it's possible for Estonians and Finns to hold a conversation on simple topics while each speaking their own language (I've witnessed it in action), so there's definitely at least some truth in what I've said.
     
  38. sakvaka

    sakvaka Moderoitsija

    Ehm... how close to the snowdrift can you jump before landing? ;)

    Don't reveal the solution, even if I got it all wrong (which I strongly suspect)! :)
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2010
  39. Elvus Junior Member

    I'd like to know what does that sentence finally mean and how would it sound in Finnish to compare. :)
     
  40. hollabooiers Junior Member

    Estonia
    Estonian
    Mmkay. Anyone who doesn't want to know, don't look below. :p



    *


    *


    *


    It basically means "Should we go to the cinema or to visit granny".

    Kas lähme kinno või hoopis memme juurde?
    Mennään elokuviin tai mummin luo?
    Should/will
    we go to the cinema or to granny's place?

    Kas/-ko is a question thing that can mean a number of things, it can most often be found in constructions like: Tiedät/Kas tead = Do you know?

    The än part of mennäänkö doesn't really correspond to "we", it's impersonal voice used much like the French on, as in on va au cinéma ce soir means "we're going to the cinema tonight".

    Juurde/luo is another thing I don't really know how to say in English, it's like the French chez.

    I honestly don't know how to translate hoopis, I don't think there is an English/Finnish equivalent. Hoopis teine asi would mean "quite another thing", hoopis vastupidi is "au contraire", and in this sentence it expresses like a turn in the sentence followed by a surprising-ish suggestion. :D If that makes sense.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2010
  41. sakvaka

    sakvaka Moderoitsija

    OK, I was compelled to have a look. ;) A small correction: Mennäänkö elokuviin vai mummin luo? Shall we go to cinema or visit granny?
     
  42. hollabooiers Junior Member

    Estonia
    Estonian
    Oh right, okay. Would tai be completely incorrect in that sentence though or does vai just sound better? :D Sorry about the off topic-ness of this.
     
  43. sakvaka

    sakvaka Moderoitsija

    Vai is used in questions. :) However, I know people who say before they think, and they may use tai in that sentence. But vai is the only option that the grammar accepts. Hold on a sec... good question, I have to say! I think tai indicates that we have to go somewhere, for example to movies or to meet the granny. Vai refers to a counterposition: there are two options we can choose of.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2010
  44. hollabooiers Junior Member

    Estonia
    Estonian
    I see, that probably explains why both sounded more or less okay to me. Thanks!

    Edit: Ah of course. I thought I remembered someone telling me something similar once, but I really wasn't sure anymore. But yes, thanks again. ;D
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2010
  45. hui Senior Member

    Finnish
    No, tai indicates that we
    a) do not have to (go here, there, or anywhere) and
    b) can also choose to
    ... c) do something else (perhaps go somewhere else) or to
    ... d) do nothing.
     
  46. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    So far, we've mainly been discussing Finnish/Estonian/Hungarian -- does anyone have an idea about how difficult the Sámi languages are to learn? Do Finnish/Estonian speakers find Sámi easier than people who don't speak a Finnic language?
     
  47. sakvaka

    sakvaka Moderoitsija

    First of all, Sámi has dozens of different dialects, and not all of the natives understand one another. The language is not very close to Finnish, though it's a language relative as well. As for the specialities of its grammar, let me mention the existence of dual. Besides, there is no translative, adessive, ablative, or ablative in Sámi.

    I have read that Sámi is, for a Finn, "fairly easy to understand, but talking is difficult". There are many special sounds, â, đ, and soft consonants that don't exist in Finnish. However, only the qualities of some vowels, basically a and â, need careful practice — many European languages already have đ, š, and č.

    Let me paste here some lines of an old folktale from Teno of Finnmark, Norway, copied from an old article by N. A. Outakoski.


    Lohi tuli kosken niskaan. Se käännähti ympäri ja katsoi alas, että näkyykö ahventa. Ei näkynyt ahventa. Lohi huusi: "Missä sinä olet, ahven?" Ahven oli päästänyt irti lohen pyrstöstä silloin, kun lohi käännähti ympäri. Sieltä ahven huusi: "Minä olen ollut täällä kosken niskassa jo paljoa ennen kuin sinä."
     
  48. Izhora New Member

    Russian - Russia
    I don't know about Saami languages from Finland but another difference in "Murmansk" Saami is that locative noun case stands for locative, inessive and elative, and there is no partitive. Consonant mutations of course is different also and sometimes has three gradations like in Ingrian (only two in Finnish). For example, the following reduction: ххть > ххт > дт (hht' > hht > dt).

    It's true that pronunciation is harder than in Finnish (from the bit of Finnish I know) but it's still easier than some other Finno-Ugric languages like Komi, Tver Karelian or Valday Karelian. Here's a small excerpt of Tver Karelian by Pavlova Aksina Ivanova:

    Translation:
    I will tell you about me, how I lived. I'm old, but I remember everything: my memory is good.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2010

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