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Brief Guide to Finnish vol. 3 — Hello and goodbye

Juho Vepsäläinen

If you thought Finnish is an easy language to learn, think again. I’ll prove it in this part of our brief guides to the language. In the previous one we learned about “kuuluu”, now we are going to learn about “terve” and its variants.

If you are saying hello🔗

Let’s say you are meeting a new person. A common way to break the ice, should you prefer to, is to begin with:

“Terve” (“Hello”)

If you forget to shake hands or exchange names, don’t worry. Sometimes those are done when you conclude the discussion if it was considered to provide value for the parties involved.

The process of saying hello is called “tervehtiä”. You could say:

“Tervehdin sinua” (“I am greeting you”)

If you are welcoming someone🔗

You are going to meet some new friends or business partners, or literally anyone you want to make feel welcome. To achieve this, repeat after me:

“Tervetuloa” (“Welcome”)

Now they know they are welcome and you can enjoy some traditional Finnish dark coffee or whatever you happen to have in mind. Karelian pasties with egg butter maybe?

If you are getting rid of someone🔗

Assume the situation escalated and now you want to get rid of the guests as they are starting to be too chatty and you are tired. Assuming you are too annoyed and don’t want to see them again, try:

“Tervemenoa” (“Good riddance”)

If you instead want to see them again in the future, use:

“Näkemiin” (“Goodbye, see you again”)

How logical is that?

If you are saying you are healthy🔗

To say you are healthy, as in not sick, try this:

“Olen terve” (“I am healthy”)

You can tackle both this case and greeting people with the same word. How nifty is that?

If you are saying you eat healthily🔗

This one is a bit advanced:

“Syön terveellisesti” (“I eat healthily”)

It literally means you don’t eat pizza and burgers all the time. The base word here is “terveellinen” which is somehow derived from “terve”.

If you want to send your best regards🔗

Now that you have learned a lot of Finnish, it’s time to send best regards to your friends and family, to achieve this, try:

“Terveisiä” (“Best regards”)

If you want to specify it’s best regards from you, adjust as follows:

“Terveisiä (i)lta” (“Best regards from ”)

The rule here is that you should use that “i” if your name ends in a consonant, otherwise you should skip it as it will sound weird.

Learn about boots in the next part of the series.