Answering the Critics of the President’s Finnish Society

Inspired by the success and resolve of the Queen’s English Society, I created the President’s Finnish Society, or Presidentin Suomenkielen Mielisairaala. Our intention is to improve the standards of Finnish, to encourage people to know more about the wonderful Finnish language, to use it more effectively and to enjoy it more, to rid Standard Finnish of vulgar slang and foreign words. Or, as the Finns would say, “sinun seura on paska.” Just like the QES, the PFS awards an annual prize for excellent Finnish usage – the Jussi Sekopää award. Last year’s winner, for the eighth time in a row, was Matti Nykänen.

The PFS has been around for twelve years and we are still going strong. But I feel it is time to answer some of our detractors. I do not want to, but it seems they just won’t go away. On the contrary, it seems they might be multiplying. This will not do.

The first criticism to address is that I am not qualified to monitor the progress of the Finnish language. My opponents will say that just because I’m neither a native Finn nor a fluent Finnish speaker, I should therefore not “comment on any alterations to the language that are felt to be not in keeping with clarity and elegance in written or spoken” Finnish, as the QES does for English. I say that I am the proud father of not one, but two native Finnish speakers. So you could call me not just fluent, but proto-fluent.

That’s pretty much the only charge that has been leveled against me. Well, some like to point out that there is already an organization that polices the Finnish language. But those fools just don’t realize that two is better than one. Duh!

Read all about it

Translate “Suboptimal Productivity Drivers” and Win a Dictionary

Stan Carey of Sentence First and Macmillan Dictionary Blog fame has set up a challenge at the Macmillan Dictionary Blog. He has written a letter in “business-speak” and tasked readers to translate it. One winner will receive a Macmillan Dictionary of their choice. Below is the opening of the letter. Follow this link to read the rest and participate.

Dear employee,

It has come to our attention that productivity drivers are suboptimal, which clearly impacts performance deliverables. We have touched base with HQ and undergone a period of extensive consultation. Actioning this decision-making process requires frontminding streamlined competencies. We anticipate a needs-based harmonisation gap in employee feelings vis-à-vis these necessary outcomes, but we are tasked with maximising the ball-parking of our projected equity outcomes.

My translation of that paragraph is:


You have failed yet again, which means the company is failing because of you. The powers that be know of your failings. They have given us the authority to act swiftly and brutally. For the good of the company, you will be granted no mercy.

Go here to see the rest of my translation.

Good luck and happy translating!

Image courtesy of the Macmillan Dictionary Blog.