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Brief Guide to Finnish vol. 4  —  Saapas

Juho Vepsäläinen

In the previous edition of our language guide, we learned how to say “hi” in Finnish. Now we are going to learn something about boots, arguing, and Italy, one of my favorite countries.

If you are saying you have new boots🔗

In Finnish, a boot is “saapas”. If you have multiple boots (usually a pair), then you can say “saappaat”. To make your friend aware of your new boots, you could try to say the following:

“Minulla on uudet saappaat” (“I have new boots”)

If you like walking around in your new boots, you could say

“Tykkään saapastella” (“I like to walk around wearing boots”)

If you start arguing with your friend about Prettier🔗

Let’s say after a while you get into an argument with your friend. You are arguing whether or not it’s valid to use Prettier for formatting your code. Your friend might argue like this:

“Prettieriä ei saa käyttää koodin formatointiin” (“You should not use Prettier for formatting your code”)

To argue back, you need to know only single word:

“Saapas” (“Yes, you should”)

If your friend repeats the argument, reply with the magic word “saapas” until they get fed up and you win the argument:

The trick here is that “saapas” is derived from the verb “saada”. It happens to resemble the same word used to describe a boot when you conjugate it according to our simple grammar.

If you start arguing with your friend about whether your colleague can use TypeScript🔗

You’ve recently learned there’s someone in the company using TypeScript. Your friend is doubtful if they can really use it, though. They might argue like this:

“Päivi ei osaa TypeScriptiä” (“Päivi cannot use TypeScript”)

Again, there’s a single word response that will eventually win the argument if you are persistent enough:

“Osaapas” (“Yes, they can”)

If the argument would be about you, then it would go something like this:

“Et osaa TypeScriptiä” (“You cannot use TypeScript”)

And to reply:

“Osaanpas” (“Yes, I can”)

The reason why “osaapas” works is because it’s derived from the verb “osata”. It’s a coincidence it happens to be close to “saapas”.

If you want to make fun of Italy in a friendly manner🔗

If you use a little bit of imagination, Italy looks a tiny bit like a boot. It’s clearly kicking something but it’s difficult to tell what.

Officially we call Italy as “Italia” in Finnish. But let’s say they are beating our football team badly, we might get a little nasty and call their country as “saapasmaa” (the boot country).

It’s a friendly insult, though, and it doesn’t mean we don’t like Italians. It’s a popular holiday destination for many Finns after all.

Learn about six and firs in the next part of the series.