This time in Language Day we concentrate in one single language. There will be other times too when we do the same. Today’s language will be Finnish, and we concentrate here on the peculiar way the Finns shorten words with the ending -ri.
Sometimes a pretty long word in Finnish (a language of many, many long words) gets to be shortened to a mere three syllable word which of course is the main purpose with abbreviation of words. The secondary purpose is making a popular word or concept more catchy and trendy.
You can have these words in almost every category of nouns. Tools, cars, places, animals, food stuff, etc. Sometimes the same abbbreviation may mean two different things as it is derived from two altogether different sources.
The list below presents some of these short forms, ending in -ri. Sometimes the plural -rit. Used more or less extensively in the colloquial language. And as you can see, there are quite a few of them! These are words that you might not find in any ordinary dictionary.
Futari (jalkapalloilija) football player. Comes naturally from the word football. Note that the ending -ri is often used as an occupational ending or or someone doing a particular thing. Other such examples here would be: jepari, narkkari, rokkari, termari, vaihtari.
Hamppari (hampurilainen) hamburger. Hedari (headache) headache. That was easy – derived from English! But of course, not easy to have! Henkkari (henkilöllisyystodistus) identification document, ID. Hesari (Helsingin Sanomat) The leading Finnish newspaper. The short form comes from the colloquial name of the city (Hesa) as well as the first two letters of each word. Hevari (heavy metal fan) fan of heavy metal music. Hiippari (hiiviskelijä) sneaker, prowler – sneak. Huppari (hupputakki) hoodie.
Inkkari (intiaani) Indian. Only used of Native Americans. The people from India are called “intialaiset”. Itsari (itsemurha) suicide. Literally meaning “self murder”.
Jakkari (jakoavain) adjustable spanner Jepari (Jeppe) police officer. Comes probably from the Swedish male name Jeppe (originally Jakob) which was possibly used in Sweden of a police man in the colloquial language of that time, long time ago. Jesari (Jeesusteippi, ilmastointiteippi) duct tape. This wonderful, almost miraculous tape can fix almost anything! Jälkkäri (jälkiruoka) dessert Jälkkäri (jälki-istunto) detention. Literally meaning post session. When everybody else gets to go home from school. Jännäri (jännityselokuva/jännitysromaani) thriller, suspense film or novel Järkkäri (järjestelmäkamera) system camera, single-lens reflex. Järkkäri (järjestyksenvalvoja) security guard. “Järjestys” means order, and “valvoja” means overseer or supervisor.
Kaivuri (kaivinkone) excavator Kasari (kahdeksankymmentä luvun) from the 1980’s. Used a lot in music. You should know perhaps that “kasi” is often used for the number eight (kahdeksan). Kirppari (kirpputori) flee market. And “kirppu” means flee, and you guessed it, “tori” means market! But everyone in Finland talks about kirppari, or kirppis. Kumpparit (kumisaappaat) rubber boots, Wellington boots. Kylppäri (kylpyhuone) bathroom. Kyssäri (kyselylomake) questionaire Kässäri (käsikirjoitus) manuscript. Comes from the word käsi (hand) and kirjoitus (writing). The Finnish word for handwriting is “käsiala”.
Lattari (latinalaistanssi) Latin dance Lemppari (lempi-) favorite. Mikä on sun lemppari (filmi etc)? i.e. Which is your favorite (movie etc)? Which one you prefer? Limppari (limonadi) Soft drink. From Swedish limonad, from French limonade. Also called “limu”, but people in love with the -ri ending would of course use limppari! Lounari (lounasseteli) meal or luncheon voucher. These days often a digital version of the original paper voucher. Lumppari (lumipallo) snowball. Lälläri (LA-radio, i.e. lyhytaaltoradio) shortwave radio. More often called lälly. But the word lälläri is also a derogatory nickname for a shy person, or is even used for a thing easily done by anybody, a piece of cake. Lämäri (lyöntilaukaus) slapshot (in ice hockey). Läppäri (laptop) from the English word lapstop
Maikkari (Mainos-TV) From the time when this was the only channel that had commercials as opposed to the public broadcasting television where commercial advertising was not allowed. Yes, you guessed right: “mainos” means advertisement. Makkari (makuuhuone) bedroom. Mäkkäri (McDonald’s) McDonald’s. Comes naturally from the first part of this international fast food chain, Mc.
Narkkari (narkomaani, päihderiippuvainen) drug addict. Neppari (painonappi, neppi) snap fastener, snap. First patented in 1885 by the German inventor Heribert Bauer. Neukkari (neuvotteluhuone) conference room, meeting room. Nimppari (nimipäivä) name day.
Piikkarit (piikkitossut) track shoes, track spikes. Pimppari (pistiäinen) Hymenoptera is the order of insects, such as wasps and bees, with a stinger. Pipari (piparkakku) ginger snap. The word comes from the Swedish word pepparkakka where “pepper” means same as in English, pepper. So actually it should be pippurikakku in Finnish, only it’s not. But everyone knows that the original recipe calls for pepper, as well as ginger. Only these days some Finns may call any old cookie pipari which is really confusing! Pokkari (taskukirja, pocket book) pocket book, paperback. Comes naturally from the English word pocket book. Never heard of “taskari”. Polttarit (poikamiesilta) bachelor party, stag party. Poppari (popcorn) popcorn. Puimuri (puimakone) combine harvester. Pukkari (pukuhuone) changing room, locker room, dressing room. Punkkari (punk fan) fan of punk music. Pölkkäri (pölynimuri) vacuum cleaner.
Rekkari (rekisterikilpi) license plate. Ripari (rippikoulu) confirmation school. Arranged by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, and those that receive the conformation, also receive the right for a church wedding and the right to become godparents. Rivari (rivitalo) terrace house, row house Rokkari (rock music fan) fan of rock music. Roskisdyykkari) dumpster diver. Roskis is the colloquial word for garbage, and dyykkari is from the Swedish verb dyka (to dive). Ruuvari (ruuvimeisseli) screwdriver (tool)
Salkkarit (Salatut elämät) A Finnish television soap opera, meaning Hidden Lives. Probably someone just invented the word, and it spread. Stoppari (pysäytyslyönti, stop ball) drop shot. Comes from the word stop ball. Suihkari (suihkulentokone) jet plane. Sytkäri (sytytin) lighter (instead of matches)
Talkkari (talonmies) janitor, caretaker. Tekarit (tekohampaat, hammasproteesi) dentures. Telkkari (televisio) television. Very often referred to also as “telkku” or “teevee” (TV). Terkkari (terveydenhoitaja) public health nurse. Termari (terminaaliapulainen) terminal assistent (harbor/airport) Termari (termospullo) vacuum flask, thermos Tikkari (tikkukaramelli) lollipop. Tsemppari (tsemppaaja) an encouraging person. From the Swedish verb kämpa (to fight, persevere). Tsuppari (juoksupoika, lähetti) errand boy. Tuparit (tupaantuliaiset) house warming party. Työkkäri (työvoimatoimisto) employment agency, job center.
Änäri (NHL) NHL. Followed in Finland too by so many that of course it would get a nickname! And comes from the way the letter N is pronounced in Finnish.
Lastly, here are some other words resembling these shortenings, but that actually have another etymology. Very often loan words from Swedish or English.
henkari (from the Swedish hängare, meaning hanger. Not to be confused with henkkari), kippari, meaning captain, comes from the Anglo-Saxon word skeppare/skipper, kyyppari comes from the Swedish word kypare, meaning waiter, lukkari comes from the Swedish klockare, meaning bell-ringer. But it came to be used more of his position as a teacher who taught small children to read at the time when there where no public schools for everyone). Lääkäri comes from the Swedish läkare, meaning physician, and likewise tohtori comes from doktor, doctor.