English Writer describes Finnish

Learn and discuss the Finnish language with Finn's and foreigners alike
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lairdkw
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English Writer describes Finnish

Post by lairdkw » Sun Jun 20, 2004 6:59 pm

I am reading To the Hermitage by Malcolm Bradbury, published in 2000. Thought people might be interested, amused, or prompted to comment on his description of Finnish when he first encountered it in the early 1960's:
I found myself staring at a language of total incomprehensibility. The nouns behaved like cancerous bodies, adding syllables with careless profusion; the verbs seemed missing. The vocabulary came from ancient word-stock carelessly thrown about as in some semantic accident. Everything was prolix, random, anarchically inventive, as if the whole language was still being made up.
He does come away with fond memories of Finland and the Finns.


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English Writer describes Finnish

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Phil
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Post by Phil » Sun Jun 20, 2004 10:51 pm

He's right on the money. During my Finnish classes I say that to myself all the time, "They're just making it up as they go along!!"

I have a feeling that a few decades ago the Finns got together and were like, "!"#¤%, all the other countries in the world have documented their language and have some rules and stuff, we better try and write some official rules so people don't start making jokes about Finnish like they do with Swahili."

The whole language just feels thrown together like what some kid would do the night before his term-paper is due.

"Finnish: It's like mathematics but without the logic."


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lairdkw
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Post by lairdkw » Mon Jun 21, 2004 5:00 am

Phil wrote: "Finnish: It's like mathematics but without the logic."
As a math teacher starting to learn Finnish I find this amusing and frightening. I've a roomful of students who swear algebra is math without logic - maybe I should teach 'em Finnish instead.
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Gonzo
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Post by Gonzo » Mon Jun 21, 2004 7:00 am

"Logic is like Finnish and math mixed up in a bowl without algebra." -Wilde.


But yes, I do like that last minute homework analogy.

And the teacher asks little Timmy "but why does the verb do that?" Timmy (or my wife) mumbles "I don't know, it just does."

:lol:


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lairdkw
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Post by lairdkw » Mon Jun 21, 2004 5:40 pm

Gonzo wrote:"Logic is like Finnish and math mixed up in a bowl without algebra." -Wilde.
Gonzo, are you funning me?! :roll: Can't find any trace of that quote attibuted to Oscar Wilde or anyone else for that matter. I like it but can you verify its origin?
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Gonzo
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Post by Gonzo » Mon Jun 21, 2004 8:45 pm

lairdkw wrote:Gonzo, are you funning me?! :roll: Can't find any trace of that quote attibuted to Oscar Wilde or anyone else for that matter. I like it but can you verify its origin?
Yes, you have been funned! It's origin is my head.

Oh, how I make myself laugh sometimes! :lol:


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lairdkw
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Post by lairdkw » Mon Jun 21, 2004 10:19 pm

I guess you did verify its origin. :lol:
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