Kännykät soivat joka sekunti

Moikka Scrabble friends!

The subject of this E-mail (or sähköposti) translates to “Cellphones ring every second”. And I’m not kidding. The funniest thing happens at the end of class. My 23 fellow students have the courtesy to turn off their cellphones during our morning lesson. Yet as soon as noon hits, if the class goes over by one second, then a cacophony of various muzaky tunes and rings fills the classroom. I don’t know if cellphones are configured such that you can programme them to turn themselves back on at 12.00 or if impatient classmates all turn their phones back on once noon hits. Anyway, at 12.00.01 the calls come flooding in.

Just please don’t choose easy-listening seventies American tunes as your personal ring. If I hear “Killing Me Softly” as a ring I will grab that kännykkä of yours and throw it in the Gulf.

Helsinki has two enormous bookstores (kirjakaupat) and they are almost across the street from one another. First is the Suomalainen Kirjakauppa. They stock about 60% Finnish titles, 10% Swedish (the second official language of Finland), 25% English titles and 5% in other languages.

The overwhelming majority of books in English are travel and language instruction materials. There are not many books written in Finnish offering instruction in other languages, aside from Swedish and the Big Five: French, Russian, Spanish, English and German. It is hard to find (i.e., impossible) to find a Finnish text teaching a different language. Thus one has no other option than to learn English THEN buy an English text teaching one the language one really wanted to learn in the first place!

The second huge bookstore, Akateeminen Kirjakauppa, is part of Stockmann, the department store which likes to boast it’s the largest department store on the European continent. May be true. I liked the AK better because its language section was so much more diverse. Not only can you buy Finnish-to-XYZ/XYZ-to-Finnish dictionaries (and the same for Swedish), but you can also take your pick with the whole panoply of European languages. Although another of my linguistic passions, Malti (Maltese) was not represented at all. Sorry Jojo (deljos on MarlDOoM).

The markka is the official currency and one of its plurals is a word ending in -AA. Can you find the other SOWPODS words that end in -AA? [1]

Finnish Scrabble quiz kaksi (two): Find the four words in the OTaCWL that are of Finnish origin. I will not footnote the answer so think this one out fer yourselves.

I have come to the realization that I am the only one here without a cellphone. Finns are extremely mindful of other people’s business and although the phones ring everywhere you turn, people do not chat up a storm in public places. I find that if one’s phone rings, one will leave and talk in somewhat of a more private location.

Next post I will write about the oddities and curiosities of a Finnish Scrabble set (suomalainen
). I am off to a mökki (cottage) with some friends this weekend. The mökki is halfway between Helsinki and Turku. Turku is Finland’s former capital, and they still bear this grudge against the Hellies.

[1] I have neither the OTaCWL nor the OSW4 with me here so my answer may not be inclusive:


The list of Finnish words ending in -AA is uncountable.

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