After the good reception of the post “The 10 things that make a Finn happy” on both the English and Spanish version of Big in Finland, I became interested in writing a similar post. The closest thing I found is a list of the 12 favorite Finnish words , chosen by Finnish poets (original here).
Finnish words on a scrabble board. None of the 12 favorite Finnish words of Finnish poets are there (yet). Source (CC: by)
According to the poets, the list of the 12 favorite Finnish words goes as follows. There is no single defining criteria to the list, really. The words were not chosen by how they sound, what they represent, or by their relevancy in the everyday life of a Finnish poet. Maybe the list includes a bit of all of that. This is the Top 12.
1. Aalto – a sea wave
2. Hiljaisuus – silence
3. Kuulas – serene, clear
4. Taival – journey
5. Kehtolaulu – lullaby
6. Lumi – snow
7. Maailma – world
8. Lauha – tempered
9. Metsäpirtii – a cabin in the woods
10. Aamunkoi – sunrise
11. Nuttu – baby’s clothing
12. Lauantai – Saturday
I believe, and this is personal, that the ones that were voted onto the list by their relevance were Lauantai (of course, the day of resting), metsäpirtii (the Finnish forest cabin that every Finn has), lumi (the snow they see for the most part of the year) and hiljaisuus (the silence, something that the Finns revere and love, as it is better to say nothing than to say something bad).
Maybe not so common but desired are aamunkoi (wanting the sun to come back after 20-hour long nights in the months of winter is pretty important), lauha (mild temperatures when it is -30 degrees Celsius out there is also desirable) and kuulas (this one maybe becomes especially important on Sunday mornings while fighting a hangover).
Nuttu might be on the list because the Finns don’t wait as long to have babies as people of other nations do. Finally, aalto and maalima don’t tell me much besides being beautiful words, so we would have to ask the poets about the reason of them being on the list.
What are your favorite words in the English language? And in Finnish, of course. If I have mistranslated some of those 12 Finnish words, please also let me know in the comments.