If I want to add Finnish sentences to Tatoeba (a database of sentences in different languages and translations among them), then should I stick to kirjakieli, fairly conservative puhekieli, or also write the kind of puhekieli that I would personally use?

For example:

  • En minä tiedä. (Kirjakieli, but not especially formal.)
  • En mää tiedä. (Puhekieli.)
  • Emmää tiiä. (Puhekieli, thicker accent.)
  • 1
    I am not sure if this is on-topic on the site, as the question is about contributing to a language learning website, rather than using such a site for learning. Close or start a meta thread if appropriate.
    – Tommi
    Jul 30, 2018 at 21:34
  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this is about the contribution to language learning Aug 4, 2018 at 21:01

1 Answer 1


Kirjakieli is what is in books and other written language, as well as formal speech (news, etc). It's less common in everyday interpersonal speech. It's also what is normally taught as a second language. Puhekieli is the normal speaking language that you typically hear from people, TV, and from your own mouth (if you're native). This is very similar in concept to Arabic diglossia, except less extreme differences between the formal and informal.

Therefore, I would default to kirjakieli if choosing one, but ideally write sentences in both. If your goal is to become fluent in Finnish, then you'll need to know both anyway. Putting both types of sentences on Tatoeba would be the best and an excellent contribution to the community.


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