Monday, January 2, 2012

It's raining ___________

We don't do small talk in Finland. We don't even have a Finnish word for small talk - jutustelu is probably quite close, but not exactly the same. For us it's perfectly normal to be quiet in company - for example at a lunch table. The only chit chat topic that we master is the weather. That's what we do, in Facebook too: snow <3

My colleague moved to Finland in the beginning of November, and he said that on the first two weeks the Finns were mostly apologizing the weather. But honestly, that's what you can expect from people whose native language has a three-digit number of words for different weather phenomena - and no word for "please". So if you really want to master the Finnish language in your everyday life, you should focus into the weather terminology and phrases. You can start by sneaking the following into your lunch table discussion (it's impossible to translate these into English, but I'll try):
  • On ilmoja pidellyt - It's been keeping weathers. The mother of all starter phrases.
  • Tulee vettä kuin Esterin perseestä - Water is coming from Esteri's ass. Ideal for emphasizing the volume of the rain.
  • Alavilla mailla hallan vaaraa - There's a danger of night frost on the flat nether lands. That's when the strawberry farmers in Pohjanmaa get angry. 
  • Talvi yllätti autoilijat - The car drivers were surprised by the winter. A news that is reported every year after the first real snow storm and the consequent car crashes. At the headlines tomorrow.
I think I just realized what's the touché translation for small talk: lätinä! The primary meaning of lätinä is a jolly good continuous splashing sound on asphalt. The secondary meaning of lätinä refers to kind of empty talk, you know, lots of talk with no real content or message. How conveniently weather related is that!

No comments:

Post a Comment