Re: Finnish

From: Klaas Ruppel (
Date: Mon Oct 20 1997 - 09:03:20 EDT

At 12.33 +0300 19.10.1997, Erkki I Kolehmainen wrote:
>Alain & Others,
>I just arrived (yesterday) from Dublin and I'm leaving (today) for ten days
>in Bad Boll; consequently, I right now cannot submit the proper material to
>you. When I'm back, I'll be back on this, unless Klaas Ruppel (on copy) will
>be able to do so in the meantime. Incidentally, Microsoft has found enough
>evidence on the validity of our claim to have now added them to their
>Regards, EIK
>At 09.50 1997.10.16 -0400, Alain La Bonté - ordi3dgsig wrote:
>>A 03:07 97-10-16 -0700, KNAPPEN@MZDMZA.ZDV.UNI-MAINZ.DE a écrit :
>>>Alain La Bonté schrieb:
>>>> [...] 4 Latin-1-less missing Finnish characters are concerned [...]
>>>How do \v{s} and \v{z} come into finnish? My (not necessarily newest)
>>>sources don't show them and scanning through some printed text in finnish I
>>>wasn't able to locate any instance of them.
>>>I have heard they were added to estonian some time ago, but again a longer
>>>text (40 pages) I have checked in estonian deos not show a single instance
>>>of them.
>>>So, if only for curiosity, I'd like to know about the usage of \v{s} and
>>>in finnish.
>>>--J"org Knappen
>>[Alain] :
>>Erkki, can you answer this question asked on the UNICODE list ?
>>If Finland asks for this, it must be in the Finnish repertoire, but you're
>>the expert in Finnish.
>>Alain LaBonté
>Erkki I Kolehmainen
>Salomonkatu 17 A, 10th floor, FIN - 00100 HELSINKI, FINLAND
>phone: +358 9 4763 0301, fax: +358 9 4763 0399,

Alain & others,

please let me clarify the matter. The letters \v{s} and \v{z} are not used
in originally Finnish words. However they are needed to write certain -
from other scripts transliterated - foreign names and loanwords. The
letters represent the soundless and the sounded fricative s.
Some examples:
foreign names: \v{S}ostakovit\v{s} (Russian composer)
                Jo\v{s}kar-Ola (Capital city of Mari El)

loanwords: \v{s}aahi (The King of Persia)
                d\v{z}unkki (certain kind of boat in the Far-East)
                pa\v{s}\v{s}a (a Osman title; compare the word
                                        "pasha" (an Easter dish), a Russian
                                        loanword in which s and h are
                                        as two different sounds)

This means that depending on what kind of text you are browsing you may or
may not see these letters.

Additionally I want to state:
1. As a result of the lack of the letters in question or their poor
accessability on keyboards and so on less conscious writers use sh or zh
instead of them. However you'll find them e. g. in every encyclopedia.

2. The Finnish Language Board does _not_ exept the writings sh or zh. The
Rationale for this is:

The Finnish language is one of the few languages (in Europa) that is
written exactly as it is spoken. In Finnish there is a very accurate
sound-letter correspondency. One sound is expressed by one letter and one
letter represents exactly one sound. Writing two letters (sh or zh) for one
sound would violate this correspondency.

Conclusion: The letters \v{s} and \v{z} are in the Finnish repertoire.

The above is the case in the Estonian language respectively. (There are a
lot of people living in Estonian (as citizens or not) who have Russian

Best regards

Klaas Ruppel (
Kotimaisten kielten tutkimuskeskus (Kotus)
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   Finnosko themmesko ts<imbengo dz<aanibosko institutos
    Research Institute for the Languages of Finland
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      Finnorsza/gi Nyelvek Kutato/ko:zpontja
So:rna:isten rantatie 25, FIN-00500 Helsinki
Tel. +358 (0)9 7315 268; fax +358 (0)9 7315 355

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