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CB27
975175.  Thu Feb 21, 2013 9:46 pm Reply with quote

That would be great for the K series for Stephen to drop in.

I wonder where the idea that Finnish has less loanwords than other languages comes from? I ask because it's an agglutinative language, and as such has a reduced grammar base to many other languages (and also why some people thought it was related to Turkish and Japanese). A loanword might be apply to a single word, but will therefore apply to many other related words as well.

suze or someone far better qualified than me will probably be able to explain :)

 
Zebra57
975275.  Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:49 am Reply with quote

Basque and Korean are also classed as agglutinative languages. Have scholars ever tried to link Finnish to these languages?

 
suze
975510.  Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:24 pm Reply with quote

CB27 wrote:
I wonder where the idea that Finnish has less loanwords than other languages comes from?


I think that to some extent it's ignorance. Finnish is rather strict about assimilating loanwords - they are forced to alter their sound patterns to the rules of the Finnish language, and they are forced to spell themselves in a way that Finnish allows. As a result, a lot of Finns probably don't realize that particular words are loans.

For instance, the Finnish word for a potato is peruna. Do most Finns even know that this is a loan from Swedish of a word that is now obsolete, but with the vowels changed to be Suomi-legal.

Comparably, a lot of Japanese don't know - and even if they are told, they try to deny - that more than half of pre-C20 Japanese vocabulary is actually Chinese. Almost half of the French vocabulary is of Germanic origin, but no Frenchman is ever likely to admit it.

Mind you, if the proportion of Finnish words which are loans really is 80%, that's lower than the proportion of loans in many other languages. About 85% of English words have been borrowed or stolen, and for some languages the figure is well over 90%.


Zebra57 wrote:
Basque and Korean are also classed as agglutinative languages. Have scholars ever tried to link Finnish to these languages?


Oh yes! The Ural-Altaic hypothesis, which sought to relate Finnish to Korean, Japanese, Mongolian, and Turkish has been around since 1848; it was first expounded by a Finn called Matthias Castren. It was pretty much the received wisdom for a century or so. Only in the 1960s did it begin to be seriously doubted, but within twenty years or so it had been almost completely abandoned.

Inuktitut too is an agglutinative language, and the Ural-Eskimo hypothesis is even older - it was first stated by Rasmus Rask in 1818 - and is now as popular as it's ever been. Which is to say "not very", but it's been "policy" at the University of Oslo for sixty years at least.

There is a Finno-Basque hypothesis; it's best described as "esoteric". A handful of French academics actually seem to believe it, but there's some suspicion that its original statement - which was anonymous on Usenet in about 1997 - was a joke.

 
CB27
975587.  Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:01 pm Reply with quote

I'm surprised the loan rate in English is as low as 85%, I always assumed it was one of the worst languages for borrowing from others :)

 
suze
975594.  Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:18 pm Reply with quote

Ultimately it's very hard to produce meaningful figures for this, for which reason there's no ranking in the Big Fat Book of Language Lists. (A book which doesn't exist, but ought to.)

When it comes down to it, very few words indeed are pure invention. Quiz is often cited as one that was - the story goes that a guy in Dublin decided that the best way to become famous would be to make up a new word. But in fact, the story isn't true - the word quiz already existed, albeit with a different meaning.

Most neologisms are devised in one of four ways. Either we take an existing word and give it a slightly new meaning, we combine existing words or word elements in a new way, we adopt a personal name or a place name - or we borrow a word from another language.

All bar the last would make a word "not a loan word" in the eyes of those who seek to produce figures such as those quoted above. And since English certainly has more C20 neologisms than any other language, we can get to somewhere around 15% of words as not loan words.

I'm not sure about the 80% figure for Finnish. There are reckoned to be about 400 "pure Finnish" words which came from Proto-Uralic and are not found in the Indo-European languages. But after that, the vast majority of new words have been borrowed from Swedish (until about 1800), Russian (for the next century), and English and German (thereafter). Even so, there will be neologisms that can be counted as "not a loan word".

Some languages have very few words indeed which are not loan words. The vast, vast majority of the pre-1900 Spanish vocabulary is either Latin or Arabic, and most new words since have come from English and French. Armenian is reckoned to have even less vocabulary of its own - when you take out the Greek, Persian, and Russian words and the recent English-inspired words, there ain't a lot left.

 
aahaavis
976135.  Sun Feb 24, 2013 2:44 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:

I'm not sure about the 80% figure for Finnish. There are reckoned to be about 400 "pure Finnish" words which came from Proto-Uralic and are not found in the Indo-European languages. But after that, the vast majority of new words have been borrowed from Swedish (until about 1800), Russian (for the next century), and English and German (thereafter). Even so, there will be neologisms that can be counted as "not a loan word".


The 80% figure comes from a book called "Suomen peruskielioppi" (The Basic Grammar of Finnish) by Fred Karlsson, a professor of general linguistics at Helsinki University

I figured there might be more borrowed words in some of the bigger european languages, but I believe there are many languages where there are less borrowed words. What I meant is that Finns tend to believe it is significantly less, something like 20 %.

Another interesting thing that Karlsson also says in his book is that "Suomi" (Finland in Finnish) is one of the most used words of Finnish language. Maybe it means Finns are very nationalistic?

 
aahaavis
976149.  Sun Feb 24, 2013 3:51 pm Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
Oh I love that! Will steal all those Ks for K series research...



Well, now that I think about it, "kokko" is actually a special kind of bonfire for the midsummer night. Usual bonfire would be "nuotio".

Here's my new translation:

-Collect all the wood for the midsummer night bonfire.
-All the wood for the midsummer night bonfire?
-Yes, all the wood.




(I should also note that in the original one the word for wood is omitted and the literal translation of the first sentence would say "collect the whole midsummernight bonfire", but a Finn would understand it as how I translated it above)

 
suze
976171.  Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:10 pm Reply with quote

aahaavis wrote:
Another interesting thing that Karlsson also says in his book is that "Suomi" (Finland in Finnish) is one of the most used words of Finnish language. Maybe it means Finns are very nationalistic?


Perhaps they are!

There is in fact another piece of language-related evidence for that, which may indeed be part of the explanation for the relatively low incidence of loan words.

In most languages, words for modern concepts which originate in the English-speaking world are borrowed from English. So for instance, in most languages the word for "television" is something which is recognizably similar - French télévision, Polish telewizja, Arabic talafazi, and so on.

Finnish, together with German and Icelandic, has tried to avoid this and has concocted some improbable words of its own for modern concepts. In German a lot of those have fallen out of use since WWII (Telefon is by now much more common than Fernsprechapparat), and indeed in more recent time Finnish has started to drop some of them too (trains increasingly stop at the station, rather than at the rautatieasema).

Icelandic still resists - to this day, an Icelander might give you a call on her farmálţráđur (cellphone, literally "moving talking wire") before sitting down to watch sjónvarp (television, literally "seeing thrower-out"), all made possible by the wonders of rafmagn (electricity, literally "amber magic").

 
aahaavis
997728.  Sun May 19, 2013 2:55 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
(trains increasingly stop at the station, rather than at the rautatieasema).


I don't think that's true. I've never heard that, nor does it sound like something that would be used. It is true that it is more common to say just "asema" instead of "rautatieasema", exactly how you might say "station" instead of "train station" in English.

"television" is "televisio" in Finnish (altough it is shorted to "telkkari", "telkku" or something like that in colloquial language)

 
Saerdna
1052403.  Fri Jan 31, 2014 5:09 am Reply with quote

sry for my english in advance. =)

what i know about the Finnish language:
they use the swedish alphabet, but use it more logical than us swedes.
like:
if you know how each letter is pronounced in finnish you know how the words is pronounced.
unlike the swedish, were it could be spelled exactly the same and pronounced different. and not even an apostrophe to help...
like:
rom (rome)
rom (alcohol drink/rum)
rom (fish eggs/spawn)
rom (person with origin from rome)
this is just one example that shows words with different pronunciation and still looks the same, which make it harder for immigrants to learn swedish.

and in finnish
the finnish o is pronounced o and nothing else..

(ofc this is from my own experience, so please correct me if im wrong)

 
Saerdna
1053679.  Wed Feb 05, 2014 3:26 am Reply with quote

2 finnish war against the russians:

the "winter war"
Russian strength .VS. Finnish Strength
998,100 men (overall) .VS. 337,000–346,500 men
2,514–6,541 tanks .VS. 32 tanks
3,880 aircraft .VS. 114 aircraft

Russian .VS. Finnish Casualties (dead or missing)
126,875 dead .VS. 25,904 dead
188,671 wounded .VS. 43,557 wounded
3,543 tanks .VS. 20–30 tanks
261–515 aircraft .VS. 62 aircraft

--------------------------------------------
Finnish civil war
white guards vs red guards

white guard supporters: mostly finnish soldiers
White Finland
White Guards
Jäger Movement
German Empire
Swedish volunteers
Estonian volunteers
Polish volunteers

red guard supporters: mostly finnish soldiers
Red Finland
Red Guards
Russian SFSR

Strength
red .vs. white (total)
90000-100000 VS 90000-105737

Casualties:
red .VS. white
33,100 .VS. 5,600


I know the civil war was mostly done by finnish soldier but supported by soviet republic.

but still, look at the difference in strength and casualties =)
really impressive...

 
AlmondFacialBar
1053682.  Wed Feb 05, 2014 4:07 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
aahaavis wrote:
Another interesting thing that Karlsson also says in his book is that "Suomi" (Finland in Finnish) is one of the most used words of Finnish language. Maybe it means Finns are very nationalistic?


Perhaps they are!

There is in fact another piece of language-related evidence for that, which may indeed be part of the explanation for the relatively low incidence of loan words.

In most languages, words for modern concepts which originate in the English-speaking world are borrowed from English. So for instance, in most languages the word for "television" is something which is recognizably similar - French télévision, Polish telewizja, Arabic talafazi, and so on.

Finnish, together with German and Icelandic, has tried to avoid this and has concocted some improbable words of its own for modern concepts. In German a lot of those have fallen out of use since WWII (Telefon is by now much more common than Fernsprechapparat), and indeed in more recent time Finnish has started to drop some of them too (trains increasingly stop at the station, rather than at the rautatieasema).

Icelandic still resists - to this day, an Icelander might give you a call on her farmálţráđur (cellphone, literally "moving talking wire") before sitting down to watch sjónvarp (television, literally "seeing thrower-out"), all made possible by the wonders of rafmagn (electricity, literally "amber magic").


Irish is also quite good at that. E-mail is rhiomhphost. On the other hand, stockbroker is stocbhroiceir, so consistency is not really their thing...

All time favourite in that regard is a Low Saxon one, though. Mobile phone translates into Ackersnacker, i.e. field chatting device. Lovely, no?

:-)

AlmondFacialBar


Last edited by AlmondFacialBar on Wed May 07, 2014 2:21 am; edited 1 time in total

 
lehtisaari
1069442.  Thu Apr 17, 2014 4:13 pm Reply with quote

[quote="aahaavis"][quote="Jenny"]Oh I love that! Will steal all those Ks for K series research...[/quote]


Well, now that I think about it, "kokko" is actually a special kind of bonfire for the midsummer night. Usual bonfire would be "nuotio".

Here's my new translation:

-Collect all the wood for the midsummer night bonfire.
-All the wood for the midsummer night bonfire?
-Yes, all the wood.


(I should also note that in the original one the word for wood is omitted and the literal translation of the first sentence would say "collect the whole midsummernight bonfire", but a Finn would understand it as how I translated it above)[/quote]

nah "kokko" is just big bonfire. now you might make a big bonfire for example if you are getting rid of old tables and stuff. you would not say nuotio. "nuotio" is just small bonfire to make when you want to make some food or something.
juhannuskokko is the special midsummer bonfire.

 
remainsme
1071911.  Wed Apr 30, 2014 6:45 pm Reply with quote

lehtisaari wrote:
aahaavis wrote:
Jenny wrote:
Oh I love that! Will steal all those Ks for K series research...



Well, now that I think about it, "kokko" is actually a special kind of bonfire for the midsummer night. Usual bonfire would be "nuotio".

Here's my new translation:

-Collect all the wood for the midsummer night bonfire.
-All the wood for the midsummer night bonfire?
-Yes, all the wood.


(I should also note that in the original one the word for wood is omitted and the literal translation of the first sentence would say "collect the whole midsummernight bonfire", but a Finn would understand it as how I translated it above)


nah "kokko" is just big bonfire. now you might make a big bonfire for example if you are getting rid of old tables and stuff. you would not say nuotio. "nuotio" is just small bonfire to make when you want to make some food or something.
juhannuskokko is the special midsummer bonfire.


Kokko is large bonfire or fire used as to selebrate occasions, such as mid night summer or easter or just a very big fire. finnish language is very complicated

 
Jenny
1072007.  Thu May 01, 2014 10:00 am Reply with quote

Thank you remainsme, and welcome to the QI forums :-)

 

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