November 8, 2021

Finnish pronunciation

I had a meeting last week with 3 Finns. While their English is excellent, it’s funny to hear the different emphasis they put on certain syllables.

For example:

Categories – ka-TAG-ories

Development – dee-vell-OP-mint

Now, I can’t speak any Finnish, of course, but I imagine many Swedes get a kick out of the way I put the accent on the wrong syllables in Swedish. And in Swedish, this can totally change the meaning of the word.

Classic example – tomten

Tomten can either mean “the garden” or “the Santa” depending on where you emphasize the word. Here’s a great example from

My kids and their friends are always confused when I tell them that if they’re nice, the garden will give them presents, while if you water Santa well, he will grow.


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4 Responses

  1. Gardens do give presents. They’re called vegetables.

  2. ullehaddock says:

    Ok, the British has ‘tomtar p√• tomten’.

  3. Herb says:

    I never thought about watering Santa before.

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