6 Finnish Terms You'll Want to Use in English, in Emoji Form
In late 2015, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland introduced a series of national emojis that celebrate all aspects of Finnish identity. The first images included Nokia phones, metal heads (Finns famously love the loud music), and naked figures in a sauna. Since then, the Ministry has added new emojis to the collection, including a few illustrating uniquely Finnish terms that we don’t have words for in English. Try using some of them in conversation—and to view and download the whole set of 56 emoji, visit thisisFINLAND, the Finnish government’s promotional website.
1. KALSARIKÄNNIT: "THE FEELING WHEN YOU ARE GOING TO GET DRUNK HOME ALONE IN YOUR UNDERWEAR"
The word quite literally (and delightfully) translates to "underwear drunk."
2. TORILLA TAVATAAN: "THE FEELING WHEN SOMETHING SO GREAT HAPPENS YOU JUST HAVE TO SHARE IT WITH SOMEBODY"
You'd say "Torilla tavataan!"—which literally means "Let's meet/see you at the marketplace"—to friends if you wanted to gather together in your city's public square and celebrate good news—say, your local sports team winning.
3. SUOMI MAINITTU!: "THE FEELING WHEN SOMEONE MENTIONS FINLAND ABROAD"
Finland is home to Nokia, the Angry Birds Land theme park, and even Santa Claus, but the tiny nation still feels like it doesn't get much international recognition. Suomi mainittu—which literally translates to "Finland mentioned!"—captures the excitement Finns feel when their country is discussed abroad.
4. PERKELE: "THE MOTHER OF ALL FINNISH SWEAR WORDS"
Perkele translates to "the devil," but like many swear words, it's not what it means—it's how you use it. Try rolling the "r" for extra emphasis.
5. SISU: "THE FEELING OF PERSEVERANCE"
Sisu can loosely be translated to "perseverance" or "having guts," but the word has a deeper meaning in Finland. "The Finns have something they call sisu," The New York Times wrote in 1940 [PDF]. "It is a compound of bravado and bravery, of ferocity and tenacity, of the ability to keep fighting after most people would have quit, and to fight with the will to win. The Finns translate 'sisu' as 'the Finnish spirit,' but it is a much more gutful word than that."
6. KAAMOS: "THE FEELING OF SUNLESS DAYS"
Finns use kaamos to describe the sunless period between December and January. Even though we don't experience polar nights in America, we can still relate with the gloomy feeling of summer being too far away.
All images courtesy of thisisFINLAND.