Typography

Finnish after dark

Learning the Finnish they don’t teach in school

Sika (noun, adjective)

Literally: “pig”

Example of usage: “Meidän uus auto on sikamakee” (Closest English equivalent: “Our new car is way cool”)

Language learners could well be forgiven for not guessing that the word ‘pig’ might be used as a) an adjective, or b) as a positive. But sika plays an essential role in modern Finnish, being the word that can be used to describe almost anything at any time, with the possible exception of your new girlfriend. Often used in combination with makea (cool), or hauska (fun), the word sika can be dropped into virtually every phrase in every sentence, especially if you are talking to someone below the age of 20. While rarely used in home loan applications or when addressing parliament, no party can be considered fun until the term ‘pig’ has been used extensively to describe it.

David Brown with Tarja Jolma