Muhamed Abdimajed Murshid: Osatko suomea? Can you speak Finnish?

by , under Muhamed Abdimajed Murshid

This cartoon by Muhamed Abdimajed Murshid was published in Otavan Sanomat in May 2013. It was a magazine project by the students of Otava Folk High School. The cartoon shows what a lot of immigrants face when studying Finnish.

Magiccartooon

Picture one: Studying Finnish in the beginning.

Picture two: Two years later… Do any of you know basic Finnish grammar?

Picture three: At a job interview…You have learned Finnish but your accent doesn’t sound Finnish.

  1. PS voter

    I am not sure if it was intentional or not, but the text in the cartoon contained a lot of errors. And I am not sure about the translation of the text in the second picture as it says something like “Who knows when Finnish language based on?”, which is a bit strange sentence.

  2. Brave

    Kokeile yrittää kokeilla
    Mutta loppujen lopuksi kukaan ei hyväksy sinua
    Tämä on Suomen
    Unohda ihmisoikeuksien
    Tämä on Suomen
    Unohtaa onnea
    Tämä on Suomen
    Unohda ahkera … se ei toimi täällä, ei ei ei
    Tämä on Suomen … unohda elämäsi
    Vain kuntele, sano kiitos kun saat loukkaus
    Tämä on Suomen … Suomessa on vasara
    Ole varovainen…. jos sinulla on sydämen
    Ole varovainen…. jos sinulla on luut
    Vasara keskittyä sydämesi
    Vasara ei ole vitsi kanssasi
    Vasara on vasara
    Vasara ei ole ystävä
    Et ole tervetullut tänne
    Muista tämä, seiso jalat ja olla ystävällinen kanssa Suomessa
    Koska paras tapa on RAKKAUS
    Rakkaus on mitä Suomi tarvitsee
    Rakkaus on lääke kaikille
    Keskity rakkautta
    Vasara rakastua pian

    Vasara ja rakkaus
    Vasara ja minä

    Hi Enrique… wish a happy day for u

  3. PS voter

    It quite typical that persons who try to learn a language when they are adults, never the language that well. Of course, with enough motivation, at least younger adults should be able to learn language well enough to work on many fields which don’t require native level language skills. However, there are some exceptions.

    For example, if I remember correctly, Neil Hardwick and Roman Schatz speak quite good Finnish, although you can still hear accent. For example, many think that Roman speaks better Finnish than Astrid Thors, who was born in Helsinki, but has Swedish as her mother tongue.

    And a Arab who has lived in Finland since his teenage years, told to me that he knows a Finnish man who speaks better Arabic than he does, but he also knows a Finnish woman who speaks so good Arabic that it sounds like it was her native language.

  4. PS voter

    The fact that both Neil Hardwick and Roman Schatz have done good TV/radio interviews of their guests in Finnish, is a good example of their Finnish skills. In interview you have to have large active vocabulary, as you cannot stop and try to remember some words and you have pay attention to what the guests say and to answer back appropriately.

  5. Brave

    And PS voter can u speak English completely correct and without Finnish accent? hee heee

    I like it this cartoon… its a happy cartoon ha ha ha
    Well done to Muhamed

    Osaatko suomea?
    Kyllä mutta ei täydellinen kuten PS voter LOL
    La la la la

  6. PS voter

    Brave, I known I make mistakes. Some of them are because I have been too careless (e.g. writing “a Arab” instead of “an Arab” in my previous message), some of them are because of lack of English skills.

    However, I am not working in UK or United States and I do think that my English is better than the Finnish of many immigrants that have lived long time in Finland. If you have lived decades in a country, I think you should have at least basic level skills in the local language. If even I can order a tea in an Arabic country, although I have never lived in an Arabic country, I think it is not too much to ask that after living decades in Finland, you should be able to handle basic tasks in Finnish.

  7. PS voter

    Jani Toivola, despite looking quite African, feels quite Finnish because he speaks Finnish as a native language and seems culturally Finnish. So it not as much the looks but other things that really matter.

    • JusticeDemon

      Jani Toivola, despite looking quite African

      In what way does he look African?

      In the same way that you look Austrian, or in some more specific way?

  8. Brave

    PS voter,
    Even teachers in schools dont know enough Finnish language, why??? Most of them are not teacher but they could not find a job so they come and teach foreigners at schools.
    English has regular grammer
    Finnish has irregular grammer
    In Finland people ignore u… even when u r working with them, they try very carefuly to dont let u come in their circle.
    So for me i just tried hour by hour on Finnish and has bad Finnish courses always, all were waste of time.
    So what now?
    U studied English with real books and schools, step by step but its not possible for an adult in Finland to learn Finnish step by step… thats only possible for children.
    But okay after a long time living in Finland like 5, 10 15 and 20 years for sure a foreigner should speak more than a hi and how are u in Finland but then thats other story,i am wondering too.
    OH we all have our culture dont forget that.
    Foreigners are happy with their own foods, language, culture and else… lets be happy for them…their culture helps them to feel safe and at home.
    Your culture is cold and not friendly… u want we change ourselves for %100 🙂 why we should?
    I am happy with myself i dont like be a Finn and culturally Finnish… because i am happy with my colour race, face, eye colour, hair colour and culture.

  9. Brave

    So how is ur English Accent PS voter?? Its like u r speaking Finnish yes? 🙂

    Every body has own character and own accent … nothing is wrong with that so we dont need bring examples for foreigners… specially i dont like it at all.
    I am me… i dont want be like YOUR EXAMPLE.
    Hurray to me and my Finnish language i learned it with alot of problems that racists made for me in here, there was a storm of hate on me and i was standing for ur irregular language and leraned it…..

    I learned Finnish language by watching me under control and attacks from everywhere.

  10. JusticeDemon

    Who is easier to understand speaking Finnish? The immigrants in this clip:

    Or the main character in this one:

    Would you hire Antti Rokka for the job done by Sami Quarab at Helsinki City Hall?

    If so, then the first thing that comes to mind is saesit männä piätäs kuppuuttammaan 🙂

  11. PS voter

    Who is easier to understand speaking Finnish? The immigrants in this clip:

    Or the main character in this one:

    I don’t particularly like nonstandard dialects in Finnish (as a child I lived in a region where nonstandard dialect was widely used and I never liked hearing it) or in other languages, but I would say that the actor who was playing Antti Rokka, was easier for my ears than Sami Quarab. Talibuya Conteh was also easier for me to listen than Sami Quarab, but it may be unfair comparison, because Talibuya spoke only shortly and using much easier language than Sami or the actor. Both of the immigrants had relatively good pronunciation.

    Sami Quarab had relatively good Finnish skills and he wasn’t that difficult to understand, if you pay attention. However, listening him requires more effort than listening a person who speaks Finnish as a native language and that makes it more tiring to listen him for long periods. He made some grammatical errors, but I think that more serious problem were pauses in wrong places (maybe he had trouble finding the correct words) and on the other hand, lack of pauses in some places I would expect them.

  12. PS voter

    BTW, as I watched the videos JusticeDemon mentioned, I noticed a related video where there is an immigrant who speaks quite good Finnish. Peter Kariuki makes some mistakes, but he speaks Finnish quite fluently:

  13. JusticeDemon

    I don’t particularly like nonstandard dialects in Finnish

    You evidently don’t realise how fundamentally offensive this characterisation is, either.

    Compare with “I don’t like nonstandard complexions/religions/sexual orientations …”.

    I didn’t ask you which speaker was “easier on your ear”. I asked you whether you would hire Antti Rokka (“a farmer from the Karelian Isthmus”) for the job done by Sami Quarab at Helsinki City Hall. This involves a broader judgement about which speaker would communicate more effectively with clients at Virka Info.

    Ordinary unscripted oral communication in any language nearly always involves grammatical errors, hesitation devices and other superfluous elements. Learning to ignore these is part of the process of adjusting to a speaker’s idiolect.

    The greatest service that you can pay to an advanced learner of your native language is to clarify misunderstandings in the same way as you do when in conversation with another native speaker.

  14. PS voter

    You evidently don’t realise how fundamentally offensive this characterisation is, either.

    Nonstandard dialect is the opposite of standard dialect or standard language (in Finnish yleiskieli), and those terms are commonly used and accepted. And you cannot force me to like nonstandard dialect any more than you can force me to like a certain foods. There is also a freedom of though, if you haven’t heard.

    Compare with “I don’t like nonstandard complexions/religions/sexual orientations …”.

    Using nonstandard dialect is usually a choice, just like are religions in a country with freedom of religion. And I don’t like religions either, as terrible things has been done in past and are still made because of them.

    Usually person who speaks nonstandard dialect of Finnish is able to speak standard dialect of Finnish as well. Using nonstandard dialect is annoying and usually makes it at least somewhat more difficult to other persons to understand them. And don’t be a hypocrite. Even you don’t seem to believe that speaking nonstandard dialect is as acceptable as speaking standard dialect, because you on purpose selected as your example a person who speaks Finnish with a nonstandard dialect and tried prove that immigrants speak better Finnish than a person who speaks Finnish as a native language.

    I didn’t ask you which speaker was “easier on your ear”. I asked you whether you would hire Antti Rokka (“a farmer from the Karelian Isthmus”) for the job done by Sami Quarab at Helsinki City Hall. This involves a broader judgement about which speaker would communicate more effectively with clients at Virka Info.

    You asked: “Who is easier to understand speaking Finnish?” and I answered that question.

    I didn’t comment the hiring part, because your example was absurd, as we lack the necessary information, like:

    -what kind of job qualification are needed in that job
    -what kind of job qualifications these persons have, especially the “Antti Rokka”, who is a fictional character and not a real person

    Ordinary unscripted oral communication in any language nearly always involves grammatical errors, hesitation devices and other superfluous elements.

    That is true, but it is much easier to ignore the kind of errors, pauses etc which are typical for a native/fluent speaker instead of the kind of errors which are typical for a person who has less fluent skills. And people with fluency in language, tend to make less mistakes. I gave you better example of an immigrant who speaks Finnish quite fluently and who doesn’t seem to struggle much.

    • Mark

      PS Voter

      Usually person who speaks nonstandard dialect of Finnish is able to speak standard dialect of Finnish as well.

      Why should they have to? You are speaking the dialect you choose, why should yours be the ‘norm’ above anyone else’s in Finland? Just because YOU don’t like the sound of it? Grow up, you idiot! Why should someone else’s identity be remotely offensive to anybody else! Confusing, hard to understand sometimes, that would be normal, but something you get offended about? Gosh, and I BET you are exactly the kind of person complaining about Muslims being offended!

    • JusticeDemon

      Nonstandard dialect is the opposite of standard dialect or standard language (in Finnish yleiskieli), and those terms are commonly used and accepted. And you cannot force me to like nonstandard dialect

      Please explain how that “standard” emerged. Why is southern Karelian not similarly “standard”? At what point were the southern Karelians consulted when the “standard” was chosen?

      This is not about what you like or dislike. It is about showing respect for individual identity.

      Using nonstandard dialect is usually a choice, just like are religions in a country with freedom of religion.

      What you like and dislike is a choice in exactly the same way.

      I didn’t comment the hiring part, because your example was absurd, as we lack the necessary information, like:

      -what kind of job qualification are needed in that job
      -what kind of job qualifications these persons have, especially the “Antti Rokka”, who is a fictional character and not a real person

      You dodged the question, as I expected you to. When asking a question of this kind we normally assume ceteris paribus, but we can also spell this out:

      Who would you hire for the Virka Info job assuming the same general competence of candidates in terms of relevant knowledge (i.e. of official functions and public administration) and general demeanour in a public service position (i.e. a friendly, welcoming and helpful disposition)? Focus purely on the manner of oral expression and tell us whether you would hire someone who sounds like Sami Quarab or someone who sounds like a farmer from the Karelian Isthmus.

      Examples of unscripted local speech forms heard in various parts of Finland are hard to find online. I really ought to record some of the stuff that I have heard over the years. Can you explain what my friend meant by saesit männä piätäs kuppuuttammaan?

      About 15 years ago on the Helsinki 77 bus route we had an extraordinarily garrulous driver who was originally from Eastern Finland. This bus driver became something of a legend. While some people (myself included) thought he was tremendously entertaining, he irritated the hell out of a minority of passengers with his general manner and mode of speech. Perhaps you were one of those passengers… 🙂

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