Referring "kiitos" and "ole hyvä" to English analogs

Discussion in 'Suomi (Finnish)' started by Just Sasha, May 1, 2013.

  1. Just Sasha New Member


    Sorry for dumb question:) Please help me understand these tangled meanings.

    Dictionary says that beside 'thank you',
    'Kiitos' may be used as a polite request to something, like

    kahvia, kiitos - coffee, please

    BUT can we say
    kahvia, ole hyvä
    or not, and why?

    Also, it seems they are not applicable vice versa:
    We can say 'Ole hyvä ja auta', but I never heard 'kiitos auta' and I assume it's weird at least, if not wrong. Why? Is first option idiomatic?

  2. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    Hi Sasha,

    Your question isn't dumb at all. Finnish and English simply use different expressions. I'll try to explain.

    In modern English "please" is a polite request: "Please give me a cup of coffee." Originally it was something like "if you please" (French s'il vous plaît) – it wasn't a request. In Finnish it would be maybe "jos teille sopii".

    When somebody asks, "Do you want coffee or tea?"
    - an anglosaxon answers, "coffee, (if you) please", meaning something like "I'll take coffee if it's OK for you".
    - a Finn answers, "kahvia, kiitos" meaning something like "I'll take coffee, thank you for your offer".

    The Finnish expression "ole hyvä" means a polite request. You can ask "kaada minulle kahvia, ole hyvä." But you can't answer to an offer, "kahvia, ole hyvä".

    When asking for help, it's correct to say "ole hyvä ja auta". But when somebody offers you help, "can I help you?", you'll answer "kyllä kiitos" or for example "kiitos, auta minut ulos täältä".

    So in Finnish "ole hyvä" means asking, "kiitos" means answering.

    Hope this helps. Maybe other Finns have different explanations.
  3. Grumpy Old Man Senior Member

    Not really different but I'd like to add that "kahvia, ole hyvä" is also possible for a person to say when he/she offers and pours coffee to someone.
  4. Just Sasha New Member

    Yes, now it's quite clear.
  5. Määränpää

    Määränpää Senior Member

    It seems to me that ole hyvä is used in requests when the speaker is hierarchically superior to the addressee, or at least somehow in control. In desperate pleas, I would expect to hear ole kiltti instead.
  6. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    What about "Herra johtaja, ole / olkaa hyvä ja palkkaa / palkatkaa minut, sillä tarvitsen todella tämän työpaikan."

    I would say ole kiltti only to kids. To adults I could possibly say ole ystävällinen.

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