The Finnish language has eight vowel sounds and thirteen consonant sounds. Each

(with the exception of one consonant) has its own symbol in writing. almost all Finnish sounds can be short or long,The long sound has the same quality as the short one, being just prolonged. It is extremely important to distinguish clearly between long and short sounds, as difference in length also reflects difference in mean ing.

The descriptions of sounds given below must necessarily be considered rough ap proximations, and learning the pronunciation of Finnish by imitating a native speaker of the language, for instance by listening to cassettes or tapes, is strongly recommend ed.


Finnish vowels are, in general, more sharply and vigorously pronounced than their English counterparts. They retain the same quality in all positions within a word: they must never be slurred or swallowed, not even in unstressed syllables.


i like in sit (but raising the tongue higher towards the roof of the mouth) 

e like in set (but raising the tongue higher)

 ä like a in hat (but opening the mouth

wider in all directions)

y like German ü, French u (that is, like i but with rounded lips)

ö like German ö, French eu (that is, like e but with rounded lips)

u like u in loose (but with tightly pursed lips)

o like o in hot (British pronunciation; but with more rounded lips)

a like a in father 

Short sound

nimi name

 lasi glass

meri sea

kolme three

sa you, thou 


älä don't (sing.)

kylä village

 syksy fall

hölmö fool

uni sleep

 suku family, 


 jo already

sano! say!

 ja and 

Long sound

niin so

lasiin into a glass Meeri (girl's name) kolmeen until three sää weather

älkää don't (pl.)

kyy viper syksyyn till fall,

autumn Töölö (district in Helsinki)

Töölöön to Töölö uuni oven

sukuun into the family

joo yes


sanoo he says Jaana (girl's name) Vantaa (city near


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