Finnish alphabet

The Finnish alphabet has core letters and borrowed letters.

In Finnish, there is a one-to-one relationship between a letter and its sound, and vice versa. Put simply, the letter e only corresponds to the sound /e/, and the sound /e/ only corresponds to the letter e. A rare exception to this rule is the borrowed letter c, which can be pronounced /seː/ as in CD-ROM or /k/ as in costaricalainen.

For the purpose of convenience, the table that follows is a combination of core and borrowed letters in the Finnish alphabet. The letters in bold are vowels.

Table 1. Complete Finnish alphabet, including core and borrowed letters
Letter IPA1 Example in Finnish English translation of Finnish example
a /ɑː/ appelsiini orange2
b /beː/ banaani banana
c /seː/; /k/ CD-ROM; costaricalainen CD-ROM; Costa Rican
d /deː/ diplomaatti diplomat
e /eː/ elokuu August
f /æfː/ farkut jeans
g /geː/3 geometria geometry
h /hoː/ helmikuu February
i /iː/ iso big
j /jiː/ joulukuu December
k /koː/ kaksi two
l /æl/ lokakuu October
m /æm/ maaliskuu March
n /æn/ nolla zero
o /oː/ omena apple4
p /peː/ poika boy
q /kuː/ Qatar (/'ka.tar/) Qatar
r /ær/ raha money
s /æs/ sisko sister
t /teː/ tyttö girl
u /uː/ ulos out
v /veː/ veli brother
w /kaksois.veː/ Waltari Waltari, a famous Finnish author
x /æks/ - -
y /yː/ yksi one
z /tset/ Zaire (/'tsaire/) Zaire
ä /æ/ älä do not
ö /ø/ öljy oil
å /ɔ/ Åbo Swedish name for Turku
Table 2. Core letters of Finnish alphabet
Letter IPA Example in Finnish English translation of Finnish example
a /ɑː/ appelsiini orange
d /deː/ diplomaatti diplomat
e /eː/ elokuu August
g /geː/ geometria geometry
h /hoː/ helmikuu February
i /iː/ isä father
j /jiː/ joulukuu December
k /koː/ kaksi two
l /æl/ lokakuu October
m /æm/ maaliskuu March
n /æn/ nolla zero
o /oː/ omena apple
p /peː/ poika boy
r /ær/ raha money
s /æs/ sisko sister
t /teː/ tyttö girl
u /uː/ ulos out
v /veː/ veli brother
y /yː/ yksi one
ä /æ/ älä do not
ö /ø/ öljy oil

The following letters are grouped together because they occur infrequently in the Finnish language, and are typically borrowed from other languages.

Table 3. Borrowed letters in Finnish alphabet
Letter IPA Example in Finnish English translation of Finnish example
b /beː/ banaani banana
c /seː/; /k/ CD-ROM; costaricalainen CD-ROM; Costa Rican
f /æfː/ farkut jeans
q /kuː/ Qatar (/'ka.tar/) Qatar
w /kaksois.veː/ Waltari Waltari, a famous Finnish author
x /æks/ - -
z /tset/ Zaire (/'tsaire/) Zaire
å /ɔ/ Åbo Swedish name for Turku

See also

http://users.jyu.fi/~pamakine/kieli/suomi/aanneoppi/aakkoset.html

1 IPA stands for International Phonetic Alphabet.
2 This is not a mistake.
3 If the letter g immediately follows an n within the same syllable, the letters ng form the sound /ŋ/. For example, the ng in Helsingissä (English: in Helsinki) is pronounced /helsiŋisːæ/. The sound /ŋ/ exists at the end of the English word sing.
4 This is also not a mistake.