#MicroblogMonday – Foreign, Languages

I don’t consider myself a foreigner here in Finland anymore. I’ve lived here since July 1998 (15 years). I’m used to (most of) the ways of life, living and people in Finland. It just feels right. If anything, I feel more foreign when I am “home” in the US.


This morning I heard two obvious foreigners speaking Finnish with each other on the bus. It makes me smile and I think it is great to hear foreigners speaking Finnish, at all levels. Especially ones you know are not native to Finland. These two now have common language between the two of them who normally wouldn’t have a common language.


I am by no means 100% fluent in Finnish, but I do speak and write the language decently well. I get by, to say the least. I have done all of my IVF treatments in Finnish (with an explanation or two in English for further clarification, after it was said in Finnish), I go to doctors’ appointments for myself and Paxlet, the store, talk in Finnish at work in person and phone (although mostly in English). I survive.


It may have taken me ages to get where I am in my language skills with Finnish, due partly mostly to laziness. Especially as I don’t consider myself to be good at learning languages. But I sure enjoy the little idiosyncrasies of languages.

Piece of cake = helppo nakki (easy hotdog*/wienie/fankfurter)

Okay, okie dokie = selvä pyy  (It’s clear partridge)

Slowly, little by little, bit by bit = pikku hiljaa (little quiet)

Kill two birds with one stone = lyödä kaksi kärpästä yhdellä iskulla (Hit two flies with one hit)

Like two peas in a pod = Kuin kaksi marjaa (Like two berries)

A slip of the tongue = Päästää sammakko suustaan (To let a frog out from oneself’s mouth)

*When someone says “hotdog”. What do you envision? The ‘dogs’ themselves or a ‘hotdog and a bun’?

MicroblogMonday For more microposts, go visit Mel’s blog.


8 thoughts on “#MicroblogMonday – Foreign, Languages

  1. I wish my Spanish was better….but I would assume that it would be pretty good if I lived in a Spanish-speaking country full time.

    Finnish looks like it would be a hard language to master.

    • Oh, my Spanish has gone to the wayside…. In the beginning I would just get so confused between the two, as they are pronounced quite similarly (y, h, j, and a few others are different, but mostly the same).

      Finnish isn’t so hard, but it is challenging and different than most languages. You definitely need to learn to think differently.

  2. I love the idioms in other languages too. We have a Chinese friend who speaks English incredibly well and he told us the secret to his success was urbandictionary.com where he learned all the idioms 🙂

  3. This is so fascinating. And I love the way you opened this post – with thoughts about being “foreign” and being “at home”. Lots to think about. I’ve lived away from home for 20 years, but this still only partially feels like home. Hawai`i will always be home and I guess Seattle will just be where I’m based right now? Anyway, gave me lots to think about. 🙂

    And I *adore* the list of idioms.

  4. So how did you learn the language? Did you take a class before you moved there? A class once you arrived? No class at all but just threw yourself into life there and picked it up over time? I do think that it’s close to impossible to learn a languge unless you have cause to use it daily.

  5. As a Finn I Iove Your post. In 1969 I learned to speak Spanish in the Canary Island in four and half months when working there. I never learnt to write it although my blog is also in Spanish. French I learned in school and now since last year I started to learn Portuguese, although I am so called former young. Those other languages makes it easy for me to learn more languages.

    Have a nice day!

  6. I love love love languages, and so I love this post! My favourite is “to let a frog out from one’s mouth” but I’m also tempted to try “easy hotdog” in casual conversation too. Thank you for this.

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