Think in Finnish

Alphabet

The Finnish alphabet has core letters and borrowed letters. There is a one-to-one relationship between a letter and its sound, and vice versa. For example, 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.

Complete Finnish alphabet

The complete Finnish alphabet combines core and borrowed letters. The emphasized letters are vowels:

Letter IPA1 Finnish English
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] 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 apple
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

Core letters

The core letters of Finnish are as follows:

Letter IPA Finnish English
a [ɑː] appelsiini orange1
d [deː] diplomaatti diplomat
e [eː] elokuu August
g [geː] 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 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

Borrowed letters

The following letters are borrowed from other languages:

Letter IPA Finnish English
b [beː] banaani banana
c [seː], [k] CD-ROM, costaricalainen CD-ROM, Costa Rican
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

  1. IPA stands for International Phonetic Alphabet. [return]
  2. This is not a mistake. [return]
Last updated on 21 Apr 2019

© 2019 Ursula Kallio