Monday, November 22, 2010

Finish* + Finnish (for Finnish or Finish*)

Finish and Finnish are homophones or, to be more specific, heterographs (words that have different meanings and spellings, but that sound the same), a combined search on which will frequently turn up a few typos. We found eight examples of this one in OhioLINK today. Tove Jansson, who passed away in 2001 at the age of 87, was Finland's gift to children's literature, a field that features a great many Scandinavians—from Hans Christian Andersen in Denmark and Alf Prøysen in Norway, to Astrid Lindgren, Selma Lagerlöf, and Maj Lindman in Sweden, among others. Jansson wrote over a dozen books about the strange and amazing, but thoroughly engaging, denizens of Moominvalley, a various and sundry lot if ever there was one. The character Too-ticky is based on her longtime companion, Tuulikki Pietilä, and some of the others are reminiscent of Jansson's friends and family as well. (The president of Finland herself has been dubbed "Moominmamma.") To know them is to love them and the Moomintroll books are known and loved throughout the world. If you start reading them now, you'll be Finnish before long.

(Finn Family Moomintroll cover, from the blog Oliver Weiss Designs.)

Carol Reid

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