Humor among the Finns

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According to The Economist (July 9, 2016, "Just visiting" [p.30 in UK edition]), a joke was "making the rounds" in Finland back in 2008 when Russia invaded part of Georgia (and Finns aren't laughing at it quite so much since the Ukraine conflict flared up):

Vladimir Putin lands at Helsinki airport and proceeds to passport control. "Name?" asks the border guard. "Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin," answers the Russian president. "Occupation?" asks the border guard. "No, just visiting," answers Mr Putin.

But wait a minute, I thought: that relies on a pun. In English the word for a militarily backed presence and control of governmental functions imposed by one state on the territory of another happens to be identical with one of the words for a person's regular paying job or profession. Are the two also, by pure accident, identical in Finnish (a non-Indo-European language)? That somehow feels implausible to me.

I'm no Finnish expert (the tale of my one triumphant active use of the language is described here, and it was quite brief); but if I use Google Translate to tell me the Finnish for "the Russian occupation of Crimea" it says Venäjän miehityksen Krimin whereas if I ask for a translation of "What is your occupation?" I get Mikä on ammattisi?.

There are no words in common, so there can be no pun.

Venäjän is "Russia" and Krimin is of course "Crimea", so "occupation" in the sense of occupying a country or territory is miehityksen. And "occupation" in the sense of job or profession is ammatti. So the joke couldn't have been told in Finnish, could it? The pun just isn't there.

Maybe the spread of English has proceeded so far that all jokes in Finland are now told in English? Maybe. But I'm suspicious: I think the joke must have been current only among Anglophone specialists in Baltic-area geopolitics.

However, just to cover the possibility that Finns really do enjoy all of their verbal humor in English, here is a joke for our Finnish readers:

A rabbi, a priest, and a mullah walk into a bar in Helsinki. So the barman says: "What is this, some kind of joke?"

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