Sunday, November 12, 2006


Every dog has it's day, right? Well, this weekend I had mine. First, many thanks to my friends for all sorts of congratulations. Thanks for some nice material stuff too (though I would not like to be a materialist). I am looking forward to read some new books... while eating dark chocolate, mljac.

So this weekend I decided to treat my selfish-self a bit more. The magic word: sauna. Finnish sauna in a small wellness-centre. I like this cosy place, nevertheless it is pretty far from Ljubljana and I had to travel with a bus quite long. However, sauna happens to be the only Finnish word used and known just everywhere (besides Nokia and Kimi Räikkönen...oh, and Lordi). Okay, in Slovenian we spell it savna. Some Finnish words to add here. Kiuas warms the sauna up. And when water is thrown on the stones topping kiuas, rises löyly. Well, learning a foreign language can implant some characteristics as well as traditions of a foreign culture, it seems. Before I started to deal with Finnish, I did not think of having a sauna. And my first real sauna actually happened in Finland. Last January. Traditional sauna at friend's place. Then I often had a sauna while living in Helsinki last summer (hei, it was free). So I have really attached to it.

One just has to find the sauna-feeling by one's own self, I guess. That heat. So warm silence. The world stops moving, for a while. A ritual. Cleansing by all means. Skin softens; it glows nicely. In Finland I was told one should not care about the time while having a sauna. Just relax, listen to your own (phisical) feelings... free your mind (at least try to). I rahter borrow a thought from the ARTICLE I recommend if you are a Finnish sauna fan.

The feeling is blissful. The sauna relaxes the body and soothes the mind. ''Re-created'' best describes what the refreshed mind feels after bathing in the steam.

For the end of my sauna day, I have copied the following short (hi)story.

The Middle Ages. That's about the same time the Swedes came to Finland. Tall, blonde, blue-eyed and bringing something with them called culture. The Finns found themselves with no choice but to surrender to them and make the best of it. Upon realizing this was their only choice, the Finns sent a delegation to speak to the Swedish invadors. Finns: Well, we'll let you stay, but on one condition. Swedes: What's that? Finns: We want to know what you think of us, of our country. Swedes:, there are lots of trees? Finns (looking hopeful): Yes...? Swede 1: And...erm, lots of lakes. Swede 2: Yeah, we haven't got nearly as many lakes as at home. Swede 3: And your selection of berries is unbelievable! Finns (nearly with pleasure that someone likes their country): Well, that's good then. Now... err...we can still use our saunas right? Swedes: Sauna? What's that? (They see naked women running from building into a lake.) Oooh! Sauna! Yea, sure! You can keep the sauna. In fact, we'll join you! Finns (quite pleased): Excellent.


kaarlo-hermanni said...

But them bastards renamed it: bastu.

I sorta knew I would forget your birthday, that's why I unintentedly apologised beforehand. Now the apologies are more than needed.

My poor excuse is that I spent all last week with swollen cheek after wisdom tooth operation.

Congraz nevertheless.

kaneli said...

''/.../Internationellt används ordet sauna, vilket är det finska ordet för bastu. I Ryssland används ordet banja för fristående bastubyggnader.''

Sure they renamed it, using in Finnish language more or less uncommon lettre ''b'' as well.


*Whisper* - how about using a calendar (in general), and writing all sorts of stuff in it? ;)

kaarlo-hermanni said...

I have a calendar but sometimes I forget its existence for some time. For example if I am overwhelmed with stress, really depressed or got sick.

Reading your quote made me understand why learning Swedish for me and most of the Finns is useless. Think about English. Language mostly spoken with non-natives, and between non-natives. Both speak the same language: bad English.

Who speaks bad Swedish? Only those who most likely have also some other language in common, some they know better. So we are supposed to speak Swedish with Swedes or Finnish Swedes. And we cannot communicate. They use dialect, they speak too fast etc.

Of course based on this only few languages should be learned. Wrong. A person is allowed to learn any language. Having own will, it will probably be succesfull. But making it mandatory for five million Finns to learn a language around 250000 speak in our country, around 9000000 beyond border and worldwide virtually none, who gets kicks out of this?

I understood the text but in the same time remembered how I started speking Swedish to fluently (yet non-natively) Swedish speaking Ronnie in Spain and ended up with hearing a flood I was unable to process, and ashamedly asking to be able to turn the conversation back to English.

kaneli said...

Then I hope all your last week's troubles have been successfully cured.

''Meistä suomalaisista on itsestään selvää, että vieraita kieliä ei voi oppia nopeasti, koska meidän oma kielemme on niin erilainen kuin muut Euroopan kielet.''

Now I will probably a bit widen the theme you have started. Brainstorming. :)

The quote is taken from my Finnish textbook. When it comes to learing a foreign language, first basis is mother tounge. Finnish being so unique among other Indo-European languages could be an overall difficulty every Finn encounters. At least slightly. And how about languages within related Fenno-Ugric group? Hungarian too would not be easy for the Finns. Perhaps Estonian is the best and the easiest choice.

Discussing Finnish, just consider all the cases (approx.35). Then, no future tense. Oh, and no gender. And so on.

The upper goes more for general learning/understandig difficulties. In my opinion, Finnish native speakers do have special basis. And this basis should be considered. Still you are able to learn a language, for instance English, more than excelent.

When it comes to mandatory Swedish, the will might be the biggest case. I am an outsider here, but nevertheless. Ages under the Swedish rule, with different culture, craving for independancy on your own land. And nowdays Swedish is still so present everywhere in free Finland.It felt weird to me as well while living in Helsinki. Second official language.

Those who would like to learn and thus use Swedish within several fields could study it, right? And the will of all the others could be used for learning some more widely spoken languages...

Mandatory Swedish for all Finns is(quite disputing) social and political case, I would say. Hei, and why not learning saami too, then?

In Slovenia we have 3 minorities. But do we all have to learn, let's say, Hungarian? And on the other hand the Austrians. Recently they have not been even that kind to tolerate duble-signing in the places of Slovenian minority.

kaneli said...

Oh, yes, also something. I understood the Swedish quote here via my knowledge of German. I do not speak Swedish.

Though I have been slightly interested also in those Nordic languages, like Swedish or Norwegian and above all, Icelandic.

ब्रह्मकमळ said...

Hehe... that was fun to find out. I suppose you might already know this, but Kiuas are a Finnish power metal band :)

And I love uncyclopedia. :) One of the best things you can read on a bad day.

kaneli said...

Hm,have I ever at least heard this name? I can't tell... I do not prefer power-metal that much, actually.

Thanks to the post you wrote on the Gil-Galad forum ;), I was also able to copy this Uncyclopedia Finlad-fact here.

Funny/ironic thingies indeed. Not to mention that article on Slovenia. ''Slovenia has only one cleaning lady from Bosnia who works part-time; she cleans the whole country and then goes home to her husband who beats her up for the job well done.''