Beautifully Red

Recently I started learning Finnish – I have a few Finnish friends, and just like the sound of the language. I’m currently using Duolingo, and may try other apps and resources.

Höytiäinen - Suomi, Finland.

One of the words that comes up quite often in my lessons is kaunis [ˈkɑ̝u̯nis̠], which means beautiful, pretty, or fair (weather). For example, Hän on todella kaunis (She is really beautiful).

It comes from the Proto-Finnic *kaunis (beautiful), from the Proto-Germanic *skauniz (beautiful, shining) from the PIE *(s)kewh₁- (to perceive, pay attention) [source].

Related words include:

  • kauniisti = beautifully
  • kaunistaa = to embellish, beautify, prettify
  • kaunistella = to embellish, sugar, prettify, euphemize, be euphemistic
  • kaunismuotoinen = shapely, with a beautiful shape
  • kuvankaunis = picturesque

Words from the same Proto-Finnic root include kaunis (beautiful) in Estonian, kaunis (pretty, beautiful) in Karelian, and kauniz (red) in Votic [source].

Words from the same Proto-Germanic root include sheen in English, skön (fair, beautiful, comfortable, pleasurable) in Swedish, schoon (clean, beautiful) in Dutch, schön (beautiful, lovely, pretty, good, great, nice) in German, and שיין (sheyn – beautiful, pretty, cute, handsome, nice) in Yiddish [source].

Have you learnt any languages because you like the sound of them?

2 thoughts on “Beautifully Red

  1. Although they are fairly similar, it’s more fun to speak Italian than French, so even though I have a lot of background in French I’ve learned some Italian just for the fun of it.

    And good luck with the Finnish! That, along with Hungarian, have gone in my “probably never going to do it” pile.

  2. I learned Welsh because of the sounds as well as study Polish and Finnish, again due to the sounds.

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