Monday, 18 July 2011

Got a Spare Moose?

“Hey Jyrki”, I shouted to my colleague through the small cubicle wall that separates our respective workspaces. “Do you have spare hirvi [moose]?”

You see, even though my Finnish is very, very basic, I like to pepper my English sentences with Finnish words – just to show off my hard-learnt vocabulary to my work colleagues in Helsinki.

“What???”, replied Jyrki through the cubicle wall.

Oh no, I thought, let down by my accent once again…

“Yeah, if you have an extra hir-vi, could I have it?”, I responded. “Just throw it over the partition...”

“What are you talking about?”, insisted Jyrki. By now, he was standing up, staring down into my cubicle with a genuinely puzzled look on his face.

“You know, a hirvi for my laptop...”, I explained.


“Oh, you mean hiiri, a mouse!!”, exclaimed Jyrrki.

Hirvi, hiiri... Pah!

Regular readers of this blog will know that, at this point, I would normally bemoan the fact that Finnish words look and sound the same, and wonder why it is that Finns never realise how close two words are. Think “etänä” and “etana”, or “Hyypiä” and “hyppiä”.

This time though, I have to eat humble pie because moose and mouse do look and sound quite similar in English also, yet I would never associate one with the other. Mickey Moose? I don't think so.

Oh well, at least Jyrki didn't have a spare moose he could throw to me over the cubicle wall. That would have been a big surprise and a crushing blow to my Finnish-studying ego. Literally.

1 comment:

  1. I once drove to a train station in the middle of nowhere and was trying to warn an old couple about a moose in the road. I went all handsy, forming antlers on top of my head as they looked on thinking Americans are nothing like those rich folk on The Bold and Beautiful. Yes, I was telling them about the big, BIG mouse in the road.

    Funny blog you have here!