Author image Jarkko Hietaniemi


Lingua::FI::Transcribe - Finnish transcription


    use Lingua::FI::Transcribe;

    print Lingua::FI::Transcribe->English("sauna"), "\n";
    print Lingua::FI::Transcribe->English("sisu"), "\n";
    print Lingua::FI::Transcribe->English("olut"), "\n";

    print Lingua::FI::Transcribe->English("jarkko hietaniemi"), "\n";

    # The results being

    yahrrk-kaw hheeeh-tah-neeeh-mee


With this module you can get a rough approximation of Finnish pronunciation by transcribing Finnish into something (awful mess, usually) that sounds somewhat similar to Finnish if read aloud (with a straight face). In addition to transcribing the sounds the module also hyphenates the word so that you get more hints as to the correct rhytm. (The stress is always on the first syllable.)

However, currently only transcription into English is implemented. Contributions from speakers of other languages gladly accepted.

One more time: the approximation is very rough. I disclaim any responsibility if after ordering a beer in a Finnish pub the bartender looks at you funny and hands you an umbrella.

About the English transcription

Note that the transcription of Finnish to "English" is very rough: it is basically a very simple substitution of one or more letters of Finnish to one or more letters of "English". The highly irregular pronunciation of English doesn't help things. The vowels are the hardest part to right. In principle the basic vowels

        a   e   i   o   u

are simple: just use the simple vowel sounds you can find in the English words

        pun pet pit pot put

but consider how "pun" and "put" have different vowels, and when Finnish diphthongs like "au" are introduced, the above simple rule breaks down horribly. (That particular Finnish diphthong is pronounced like the English "ow" in "how", in case your are wondering.)


Finnish is a highly phonemic and phonetic language-- what this means is that the correlation between graphemes/letters and phonemes/sounds is really strong: all you can see you can hear, all you can hear you can see. One letter corresponds to one sound, and no silent letters. Since Finnish is a natural language, this is of course an oversimplification, there are nuances and exceptions to the above ideal. More information about Finnish pronunciation can be found from

and sound examples from


Only English transcription has been implemented.

Only lowercase letters are transcribed.

Only Latin-1 (ISO 8859-1) is supported as the encoding.


Jarkko Hietaniemi <>


Copyright 2001 Jarkko Hietaniemi

This library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.