Vowel combinations and vowel harmony


Vowel combinations

Finnish has lots of sounds made by combining two vowels (au, iu, ou etc.). Each vowel in the combination is pronounced in the same way it is as a single vowel.

viulu (violin)
koulu (school)

Vowel Harmony

Finnish has vowel harmony, which means that a non-compound word can only contain front vowels ä, ö, y or back vowels a, o, u.
The vowels e and i are neutral and can mix with all other vowels. If they are the only vowels in the word, they behave like front vowels. Because of the vowel harmony most endings have two variants, both carrying the same meaning, e.g.

baari+ssa (in a/the bar)

työ+ssä (at work)

hylly+llä (on a/the self)

tuoli+lla (on a/the chair)

tie+llä (on the street)

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Last modified: Wednesday, 26 October 2016, 1:47 PM