Haluatko Lukea Jotain Mielenkiintoista?

It means something close to “Want to read something interesting?” This is my wobbly beginner’s Finnish.

Finnish is maybe not the easiest thing for speakers of the Latin group of languages to learn, as you can see by trying to decipher a random front page of the country’s biggest newspaper, the Hensingin Sanomat. Like this one from last week:

Finnish, spoken by about five million people, is a “Finno-Ugric” language, with vague origins in the Ural mountains. Have a look at this nice photo essay about Finno-Ugric people called In Search of Russia’s First Inhabitants.

Read This in Your Vafri

Department of admirable ideas: In Iceland, instead of borrowing words from English, when a new word is necessary they invent a new Icelandic word,

“rooted in the tongue’s ancient Norse past: a neologism that looks, sounds and behaves like Icelandic.

The Icelandic word for computer, for example, is tölva, a marriage of tala, which means number, and völva, prophetess. A web browser is vafri, derived from the verb to wander.”

Here is the whole article, headlined “Icelandic language battles threat of ‘digital extinction’.” In English.

European Languages in Danger?

Euronews has an article with a nice map of European languages in danger. The map is interactive on the Euronews site, here. Every now and then we hear a story about the rampant death of languages around the world. The news here is that in Europe, at least, languages are largely holding their own. The Euronews article is built around a UNESCO report, which you can view here.