Rally English: One of Finland’s greatest gifts to the world

Like with a bat sign or spider-sense, my “Finland mentioned” senses suddenly started tingling and I immediately found myself drinking a cold Rallienglanti beer while swimming in the fountain of the market square. It happens! This time, it was Jalopnik that shed light on a time-honored Finnish tradition. Rally English, or rallienglanti indeed.

Put short, it’s the way we talk, when we want to get things done. Management by perkele, you see.

Your general idea of a Finnish accent might be something close to a hockey player’s turn of speech, with a bit of Kimi bwoah mixed in there, without any of the usual Scandinavian singsong or Minnesota nice. You’re not far off, and any Finns you meet here will generally speak perfectly passable English due to years of watching MacGyver on the Finnish TV. It’s still on, you know. But over the years the hard, stilted, pronounced-like-it’s-written Finnish accent has not softened that much, especially outside the capital region. Tö importtant thing is tu be andörstuud, not hau fänsi joor äksent is.

Finnish rally drivers may have appeared directly from the forest stages of the Thousand Lakes Rally in the ’60s or ’70s, and when you want to get the point across when the diff of the Escort has eaten itself, there’s no time to try and put it softly. Over the years, the true Finnish Rally English accent has made itself into a thing, to a point where you don’t really want to polish it at all, even exaggerating it a little for effect. The folks over at the Hydraulic Press Channel mangled rally English into a pointy thing of their own, and it certainly became a hallmark of the channel after toutal kommittin tu tö bit.

Head over to Jalopnik to read the whole Rally English piece and watch some of the best YouTube rally English clips while you’re at it. My favorite one is either the Black Round Pirelli bit by Juha Kankkunen or Marcus Grönholm’s total NO GUESS frustration, seen above.

[Image: Peugeot]

3 Comments

  1. Thanks Antti, I hadn’t realised it was different from speaking with an accent, plus generally being straight to the point to the extent some drivers can be pretty blunt (eg Kimi!)

  2. Maybe it’s just a rally driver thing, Irish rally drivers/co-drivers are borderline incoherent between swearing too despite being (technically) native English speakers.

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