EDIT: Oops, noticed a couple of typos in here, so excuse the update!
Hello everyone! ( ￣▽￣)/ It is I, back with a new Finnish 'lesson'! Aren't we all excited! :D If you got a headache from the previous one, well, hope you've some aspirin nearby for this one... I mean - wot. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
Anyway, I've a few ideas on what to write about to these posts, but this time I wanted to discuss something that probably makes Finnish so hard to learn for non-natives. D; And well, these things can confuse even the natives, so--
I mean... keep on reading. [̲̅$̲̅(̲̅ ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°̲̅)̲̅$̲̅] Yes...
So standard language vs vernacular vs dialects.
First, some definitions and an attempt to describe Finnish language features! And this time, I have *gasps* recorded the pronunciations for you so you don't have to rely on Google Translate! Excuse the rattling mic, lol... anyway. (By the way, the linking system didn't want to co-operate, so some should open automatically in a new tab, while others won't.)
Standard language = a variety of a language treated as the official language and used in public broadcasting, publishing and education (Yule, 2010); also formal language. In Finnish, this is called kirjakieli, which literally translates as 'book language' - kirja = book, kieli = language (or, in some contexts, 'tongue' ಠᴗಠ). This is usually the type of tong-- language that gets taught to learners of Finnish as a foreign language, which is why these learners may find it difficult to actually converse with native speakers (I'll get to this in a bit).
Vernacular = a social dialect with low prestige spoken by a lower-status group, with marked differences from standard language (Yule, 2010); also informal language or colloquial, or even spoken language. In Finnish, this is called puhekieli, which literally translates as 'speech language' - puhe = speech. The Finnish vernacular that is most used in say, TV series, hails from the southern / south-western parts of the country.
Dialect = aspects of the grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation of a variety of a language (Yule, 2010) which can help identify where someone is from. In Finnish, this is called murre informally (roll that RRRRRR), and dialekti in more formal / academical settings.
Note: Some of the Finnish dialects use totally different vocabulary than the others, two that come to my mind are from Rauma and (the depths of) Savo. Then there's the whole Finnish-Swedish deal.... I come from Tavastia, so my language use is influenced by western features.
Next, some facts about Finnish. First, the language is called suomi. (Note: if you write Suomi, with a capital S, that refers to the country.) According to our dear friend Wikipedia, Finnish is "the eponymous member of the Finnic language family and is typologically between fusional (tending to overlay many morphemes [smallest linguistic units which can carry a meaning, such as 'un-', 'break', and '-able' in 'unbreakable'] in a manner that can be difficult to segment) and agglutinative (having words derived by combining parts, each with a separate meaning) language. It modifies and inflects nouns, adjectives, pronouns, numerals and verbs, depending on their roles in the sentence."
This literally means that almost any word (commonly the nouns) can be attached to another, and another, and another, into this long, seemingly never-ending string of what looks like syllables, and it could still make some sense. (Well, we do have rules on what kind of words can't be combined together, but I won't get into that.) Of course, in conjugation, the usability of the word would 'degrade' - in other words, lengthily derived words are not too popular in the actual spoken language.
A nice example is a nowadays-less-used military term for an "airplane jet turbine engine auxiliary mechanic non-commissioned officer student" - lentokonesuihkuturbiinimoottoriapumekaanikkoaliupseerioppilas.
This is a bit besides today's subject, but it's easier to pronounce monstrous words like this when you recognize the different words in there and pronounce those one by one, as I attempted to do.
lentokone = airplane; suihkuturbiinimoottori = jet turbine engine; apumekaanikko = auxiliary mechanic; aliupseeri = NCO; oppilas = student.
And these words can be further broken down (note that some words have more than just one translation, but for the sake of your guys' sanity I'm just using the ones that come to mind first):
lento = flight, kone = machine, suihku = shower, turbiini = turbine, moottori = engine, apu = help, mekaanikko = mechanic, ali- = under; -las can be removed from oppilas to result in oppi = teaching.
Now, you might be thinking Holy hell, this language is difficult as heck to learn - how could it be more difficult!?
Fear not, I will tell you! We only have the vernacular language and the 7 dialects to further confuse you with-- I mean, relax, there's nothing to worry about. つ ͡° ͜ʖ ͡° ༽つ
Next, I will present to you some example phrases, with their standard and vernacular forms, as well as an example of the dialect I use. Or well, it should probably be called an idiolect in my case - a personal dialect. See, if you look at the map, then I'm originally from an area where they speak Tavastian dialect... but I know live in an area where Savonian (and northern Finland) dialect(s) has influenced the local language a lot. So I often switch between how I use certain words and their pronunciation. <__<;;
I won't explain any single words and these examples aren't many, but hopefully you can start seeing the differences and recognize why it might be difficult for Finnish learners to grasp the everyday use of our language. :') Please note that the subject in () can be dropped out from the sentence; the other words' conjugations will reveal the subject.
To explain vernacular in short, it's basically just dropping out 1) pronouns from sentences, and 2) dropping out letters, morphemes or phonemes from words to make them shorter. In the local dialect I've picked up, we sometimes 'lengthen' vowels that are not supposed to be long. :') Like in the first example sentence, the 'i' in the verb opiskelen (opiskella = to study) should be a short vowel sound, but around here it often gets 'stretched'.
ENGLISH | STANDARD | VERNACULAR | LAURATALK
* I study in Jyväskylä | minä opiskelen Jyväskylässä | (mä) opiskelen Jyväskyläs | (mie) opiskelen Jyväskyläs
* I want to buy a car | minä haluan ostaa auton | (mä) haluun ostaa auton | (mie) haluun ostaa auton
* you are surely going to like this | sinä tulet varmasti pitämään tästä | sä tuut kyllä tykkään tästä | sie tuut kyl tykkään tästä
* she is late | hän on myöhässä | se on myöhäs | soon myöhäs (se actually means it... yes, we refer to people as it)
* we came home | me tulimme kotiin | tultiin kotiin | tultiin kotio
* they went to a bar | he menivät baariin | ne meni baarii(n) (ne is actually like se, very informal and not referred to living human beings in standard grammar) (the last n in baariin is kinda silent)
NO NIIN. Eiks ollutkin helppoo? = WELL THEN. Wasn't that easy? :)
I could go on and on about this subject with more and more examples, the examples I now gave were kinda lazy, but jössis this post is already so long I doubt y'all read it to the end. ヽ(°◇° )ノ
Anyway! This was it for now! Next time I'll discuss the words yes and no. :) I'll give a hint - one of them gets conjugated..........
PS. I'm not on the language teaching program, so you might not want to believe my use of grammar terminology. (╥_╥) Forgive me pls.