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sister-in-law

Discussion in 'Suomi (Finnish)' started by the pensive wombat, Feb 16, 2014.

  1. the pensive wombat Senior Member

    Adelaide, Australia
    English - British & Australian
    Hei!

    I have started to teach myself Finnish. I am definitely a beginner!

    What word do I use to describe my sisters-in-law: that is, my wife's sisters? Is it käly or nato?

    Paljon kiitoksia.
     
  2. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    According to the dictionary at suomisanakirja.fi, nato is a dialect word meaning "husband's sister" (I'm not sure which particular dialects use it). The standard Finnish word for "sister-in-law" is käly.
     
  3. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    Nykysuomen sanakirja explains these word in a slightly different way, but most important is that neither nato nor käly are commonly used nowadays (except Nato for North Atlantic Treaty Organization).

    Wife's sisters are simply vaimon sisaret .
     
  4. the pensive wombat Senior Member

    Adelaide, Australia
    English - British & Australian
    Thank you both. Then is the singular - my wife's sister - vaimon sisar and/or vaimon sisko?
     
  5. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    Both sisar and sisko are commonly used but sisko is regarded as a spoken language word.
     
  6. the pensive wombat Senior Member

    Adelaide, Australia
    English - British & Australian

    Thanks.
     
  7. Tuuliska New Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish (suomi)
    I wouldn't call sisko a spoken language word. That makes it sound like it's only used in spoken language when it's perfectly normal in written language as well. On the other hand, I'd say sisar is a bit old-fashioned. Not so much that I wouldn't use it at all but definitely more marked than sisko.

    Also, I still use käly and nato but this could be a regional thing. I'm not originally from Helsinki or any big urban area. Admittedly, even I would say it's safer to use vaimon siskot, especially with younger people.
     
  8. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    Nykysuomen sanakirja calls sisko as a spoken language word. But, you're right, Nykysuomen sanakirja is a bit old-fashioned today. On the other hand, I would never use sisko in any official texts.
    That's funny, because in my ear these words are much more old-fashioned than sisar, although I also use them every now and then.
     
  9. the pensive wombat Senior Member

    Adelaide, Australia
    English - British & Australian

    Thank you both. The software I'm using to teach myself Finnish gives sisko as the word for sister and does not offer sisar. However, sisar does appear in the compounds sisarentytär and sisarenpoika - 'niece' and 'nephew'.

    In English, we are imprecise about these relationships and don't make the distinctions that you do: veljenpoika and sisarenpoika are both 'nephew'.
     
  10. Tuuliska New Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish (suomi)
    Actually I agree that they sound old-fashioned too. But unlike sisar, they don't have any newer alternatives. Or no simple one word alternatives at least.

    Yep. And in Finnish "uncle" is also different depending on whether it's your mother's brother (eno) or your father's (setä). Though there are sometimes mistakes in this in fiction, like with Donald Duck and his nephews: they are called veljenpojat and they call him setä even though it should be sisarenpojat and eno, but the translators apparently didn't know originally that he was their uncle from their mother's side.

    Still, Finnish is nowhere near as specific about the family words than some other languages. Even Swedish because it differentiates between faster and moster too.
     
  11. the pensive wombat Senior Member

    Adelaide, Australia
    English - British & Australian
    Thank you, Tuuliska. I didn't know eno.
     

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