Kalevi (coranglaisman) wrote in linguaphiles,

Spoken/idiomatic Finnish question

There's a song that I really like and I've translated before, about a year ago. But there's something in it that still just doesn't quite make sense to me.

"Hiljaisuutes aion rikkoa
Tulen vaikka karmit kaulassa
Onhan tässä näitä vuosia
Ollaan sun puolella"

1. I originally translated "tulen vaikka karmit kaulassa" as "I'll come even though you're giving me the creeps", and I was told that that's not quite what that means here, but the person who told me this also couldn't come up with a good English equivalent. Was I close enough originally, or what would work better?

2. "Ollaan sun puolella" -- I just couldn't figure out what this is supposed to be, whether it was "let's be on your side" or what. The only "we" I can even see in this whole song is the singer and the other person, and that seems like a really odd thing to say in that light. Even if it should we "we're on your side", it feels really strange to me. What could be going on there? Is "ollaan" referring to something else other than spoken first-person plural form here?

3. Later on in the song, there's the line "minä olen sinun, ja sinä olet minun jokapäiväinen". I think I translated it awkwardly ("I am your and you are my everyday") because I assumed "jokapäiväinen" was a noun here. Am I right, or does Finnish also do that thing where adverbial forms don't always get used in informal speech ("I'm good, thanks" in response to "how are you?" in English)? Because if it had been something like "jokapäiväisesti", that would change it to something that makes a lot more sense to me, unless I'm just missing something.

Paljon kiitoksia!
Tags: finnish, translation
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  • 1 comment

elfbiter

January 24 2014, 22:20:53 UTC 9 months ago

Lyrics do have lots of poetic license in them so I am not surprised this would be hard to figure out. Grammatically speaking, the last two examples would be incorrect, for one.

1: I think "tulen vaikka karmit kaulassa" would be better translated as "I'll come to you through Hell and high water" or something like that. Well, it literally means jumping through a window (or walking through a door) to get to someone and that the frames end up around your neck after you've done that. "Karmit" here does not refer to word "karmia" ("to give the creeps") but to "karmit", "frames". Someone may also leave the same way, meaning that they walked out angry.

2 "Ollaan sun puolella" is "(we) are on your side". I think it is sort of poetic license meaning "we both are on the same side".

3: "minä olen sinun, ja sinä olet minun jokapäiväinen" - "I am yours and you are mine every day".

(Extra layer with the word "jokapäiväinen" is that it may mean "ordinary, common" but may also refer to fact that something is so important it is needed (or wanted) every day. For example "Give us this day our daily bread", in the Lord's Prayer is "Anna meille tänä päivänä meidän jokapäiväinen leipämme". Probably the word in this song is used in the latter meaning.)