Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Vowel Pronunciation and Harmony

There are eight vowels in the Finnish language and they are separated according to its pronunciation.

Back vowelsMiddle vowelsFront vowels

A very important thing to note in this video is that you can not merge the back vowels with the front vowels in a word. The only exception to this rule is when a word is a compound (two words that make one word).

This list helps you understand how to pronounce the vowels and words with diphthong:

Vowel Orthography

The harmony of vowels
Finnish has an unusual feature called vowel harmony, which means that the front vowels (ä, ö, y) and the back vowels (a, o, u) can never be found in the same word. (Compound words don't count, and the mid-vowels i, e are OK anywhere.) This extends even into loanwords and conjugations: most Finns pronounce Olympia as olumpia, and suffixes with "a" bend into "ä" when necessary (jaa →jaatajää → jäätä).
Long vowels are indicated simply by doubling the vowel in question.
like a in father, but short and clipped
like a in father
like e in get
not found in English, but just stretch out the e sound
like ee in beet
like o in nor
stretch out the o sound
like ou in would
like oo in moon
like German ü, similar to ew in few but with lips rounded (transcribed uu )
not found in English, but just stretch out the y sound
like a in cat
like a in bad
like German ö, similar to e in her (transcribed eu )
not found in English, but just stretch out the "ö" sound

When pronouncing a word that has a diphthong (a word with vowel sequence) you can cut the word in half, for example:

Hotelli (HO-tehl-lee) would be Hotel/li

Learning Resource: 


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