Monday, 1 August 2011

Never Trust a Dictionary!

At a recent event, I wanted to say a few nice words in Finnish about someone dear to me. As there is no way I could ad-lib something like that with my limited command of the language, I decided to prepare my mini-speech beforehand, in writing.

A good thing I did too, because I came close to making a bit of a faux-pas.

In my address, I wanted to list some of the things that make this woman special. One of her qualities, in my opinion, is that she is a generous person. I can't quite recall if I used a dictionary or Google Translate, but either way, I ended up picking the word “antelias”.

Luckily, I had the presence of mind to let my Finnish tutor review my little speech before I gave it. She kindly informed me that “antelias usually means a person who gives a lot of sex or money”.

Oops, not quite the eulogy I had in mind.


  1. Your tutor seems to read all sorts of innuendo from innocent statements.

  2. Obviously, I wouldn't know, but this interpretation was confirmed by others, including the person whom I wrote it for...

  3. "Siitä puhe, mistä puute."

  4. In my opinion, "antelias" is not that bad. It depends on the context and tone I guess. Sometimes it may sound proper and sometimes not. ;)

    Thanks for the best blog! Keep up the good work!