Thursday, 2 July 2015


The German media has found the Finnish word "kalsarikännit" and they apparently find it funny.

I wanted to offer a deeper look into this word, so that Germans and other non-Finns could appreciate the nuances better.

As explained, the word consists of two parts: "kalsari", the singular of "underpants" (kalsarit), and "kännit" (drunkenness). Especially, "kalsarit" refers to old-fashioned male underwear, in the 70s style.

It's also often associated with an essential garment in Finland, long underwear ("pitkät kalsarit"), worn by both genders.

Coincidentally, I'm posting this in July, which is the only month in Finland which you might be able to survive without long underwear.

"Kännit" (plural) or the singular "känni" is usually translated as "drunkenness", but the English word is not nearly as versatile as the Finnish one. For example, you can "take a känni / kännit" and that means getting drunk. You can also attach adjectives to it, e.g., "that was a horrible känni" to describe how it was being drunk. And when you're "in känni" ("kännissä"), you're drunk.

There's a well-known song "jouluaattona kännissä", "drunk in Christmas Eve". And because the French pronunciation is so weird, it sounds exactly the same as "jouluaattona Cannesissa", "Christmas Eve in Cannes". I think it's worth travelling to Cannes during Christmas time just to be able to use this joke in a Facebook status.

(This joke was ruthlessly stolen from my better half without asking him. Haha! Note: he should read the small print of our marriage agreement.)

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