8 Weird Finnish Sayings That Make No Sense In English

Suvi Helena
Jan 23 · 4 min read

It’s not a dragon, it’s a salmon snake.

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Rural Explorer on Unsplash.com

The beauty of being in a relationship with someone who doesn’t share your native language is that every once in a while, you get to make them question your sanity while trying to make sayings in your native tongue work in English. My boyfriend gives me these wonderful looks of “what are you?” when I say something like “run like your head is your third leg!” as we are spurting across the airport to make our connection flight or “I think she has her own cow in the ditch” when we are talking about someone behaving a bit fishy. I love it! But sometimes I fear he thinks not all my Moomins are in the valley (or that not all the cereal made it to the bowl, or the screws are a bit loose, or some pens fell out the pencil case).

Finnish is a pretty odd language. Exhibit A:

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Photo courtesy of geocoaching.com

Exhibit B:

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Photo courtesy of temporary.fi

Need I say more? I think not.

Without further ado, here are my 8 favorite Finnish sayings and phrases that make my boyfriend look at me like I’ve lost my mind when I use them:

Olla Matti kukkarossa

Keinot on monet, sanoi mummo kun kissalla pöytää pyyhki

Kel onni on, se onnen kätkeköön

Modesty is a common cultural trait in Finland. Showing others how happy you are might just depress and sadden those who have less than you, so better keep it to yourself. If you have a fancy car, hide it in the garage. Honestly, I think happiness should be spread instead of hidden, but whatevs.

Kuka kuuseen kurkottaa, se katajaan kapsahtaa

Häviää ku pieru Saharaan

Älä nuolaise ennen kuin tipahtaa

Se on helppo nakki

Oma lehmä ojassa

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Sup? Photo: Ryan Song on Unsplash.com

Ahh, this list could have been so long. I’m a little homesick now. Should I make a part 2? By the way, the translation for dragon is “lohikäärme”. Lohi: salmon. Käärme: snake. Logic: none.

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Suvi Helena

Written by

That girl next door.

Writers’ Blokke

The publication for writers and readers to create and read amazing content

Suvi Helena

Written by

That girl next door.

Writers’ Blokke

The publication for writers and readers to create and read amazing content

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