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Finland belong to the top four countries in the world when it comes to speaking English. But Christian Evans, a native Brit, has been collecting some of the most common mistakes that Finns make during his 20 years of teaching English to Finns from preschoolers to retirees.
He has collected these blunders in a recent book titled “101 English Mistakes Finns Do.” The first mistake can be found in the title. Can you spot it? “In all of those years of teaching, the same mistakes come up again and again,” he said in the introduction of the book.
Evans stresses that the book is not intended to make fun of Finns in any way. It’s intended to serve as a helpful dictionary to correct these small mistakes and improve language skills.
We picked 10 of some of the most interesting mistakes:
1. “I have one Finnish friend who is an absolutist.” This mistake probably derives from the Swedish word “absolutist,” meaning a teetotaler. (A rare thing among Finns anyway. Just kidding.)
2. “It’s nice to have a bear after a sauna.” This, according to Evans, is a common pronunciation mistake. For the word “beer” the last part “eer” should sound like the word “ear” in English.
3. “I’m learning a lot in the cookery curse.” This is a common pronunciation mistake where the last word should rhyme with “horse.” The English word curse means “kirous” in Finnish.
4. “I learned to drive a bike when I was five years old.” In English, cars are driven, bikes — like horses — are ridden.
5. “I eat medicines for high cholesterol.” In Finnish, you can use both “syödä (eat)” or “ottaa (take)” when talking about medication but in English, you can never use the verb “eat.”
6. “I like to add almonds and raisins to my glass of “glue wine.” According to Evans, this mistake could be due to German language interference. In German “mulled wine” is gluhwein.
7. “I don’t like doing homework especially vacuuming.” The English word “homework” means “läksyt” in Finnish. “Housework” would be the correct word choice.
8. “We have a really big kettle for boiling potatoes.” The English word “kettle” means “vedenkeitin” in Finnish. The correct word would be “saucepan.”
9. “Would you like some juice or lemonade?” Here, the correct word should be “soft drink.” But we doubt that no one will beat you with a slapstick if you should happen to use the word “lemonade” in everyday speech.
10. “I can play many instruments, till example, cello, piano, guitar and xylophone.” The Swedish language is interfering again. “Till exempel” means “for example” in English.
Would you have made the same mistakes?