Pronunciation of Finnish in a nutshell (for linguists)

The following table presents the basic phonetic values of letters in Finnish. Legend:

  1. The first column shows a letter.
  2. The second column gives the regular pronunciation using an IPA symbol.
  3. The third column gives the regular pronunciation using Usenet IPA Ascii symbols, i.e. Ascii characters used as surrogates for IPA characters in contexts where the character repertoire is limited to Ascii. Warning: such notations have not been defined rigorously, so the information in this column is not very reliable.
  4. The fourth column contains some notes on the pronunciation, including irregularities.

If you are not familiar with IPA notations, please see my description of Finnish pronunciation in plain (?) English.

aɑAoften described as [a] but normally [ɑ], due to opposition with [æ]
bbboften close to or identical with [p]
ckk[s] before e, i, y; occurs in foreign words only
ddddialects usually don’t have this sound
eeemore accurately, [e̞] (lowered [e])
fffsometimes close to or identical with [ʋ]
gggoften close to or identical with k; usually [ŋ] before [n]
hhh[ɦ] between vowels; [ç] between front vowel and consonant; [x] between back vowel and consonant
jjjafter i, not pronounced in some contexts, e.g. lukija [lukiɑ] (usually)
kkkno aspiration
lll[l̪] after [t̪]
mmmoften ɱ before [f]
nnnoften [ŋ] or [m] or [ɱ] depending on next consonant; [n̪] before [t̪]
ooomore accurately, [o̞] (lowered [o])
pppno aspiration
qkkno aspiration; in foreign words only
rrra trill
sssless sharp than English [s], due to lack of oppositions with [z] and [ʃ]
šʃSoften close to or identical with [s]
ttno aspiration; dental (unlike [d]); but alveolar [t] after [l], [r], [s]
vʋr<lbd>approximant; sometimes [v]; usually [w] after a diphthong ending with [u]
wʋr<lbd>in new loanwords from English, often [w]
xksks(in foreign words only)
ztstsconsonant pair, not an affricate
žʒZoften close to or identical with [s] or [z] or [ʃ]
öøYmore accurately, [ø̞] (lowered [ø])

Additional notes:

For comparison, you may wish to check the Rosetta Project page on Finnish orthography, which contains a pronunciation table as images scanned from the book The World’s Writing Systems. The table is simplified but correct, except for the letter v (and w). The table, as well as many other descriptions of Finnish, describe its phonetic value as the fricative [v], but the labiodental approximant [ʋ] is more correct.

The finer points in this description are largely based on the book Fonetiikan ja suomen äänneopin perusteet by Kari Suomi, Juhani Toivanen and Riikka Ylitalo (Gaudeamus, Helsinki, 2006).