Three handy dictionaries
A sort of a warning: there was a group of us who found this book, along with some other similar looking Gummerus volumes. There was a Finnish lady nearby who was helpful answering some questions we had; she picked up one of the other volumes and recoiled in shock, saying something on the lines of 'Oh no don't buy that one!' It was a dictionary of bad language. If you didn't already know, Finnish has a rich vocabulary of swear words, just like English. It's up to you... but I would respectfully suggest that the puhekieli sanakirja is more useful.
See the examples here on the right - do you find it fairly straightforward, to grasp that a nimikirjoitus is a signature? Nimipäivä is also simply explained, but you can also appreciate a dictionary's limitations, when it comes to cultural differences - the concept of a 'name day' is unknown here in the UK. Overall, it's done quite well, I think, and it encourages you to browse further. I find I don't necessarily pick this book up to look up a word in the first place, but occasionally, when I want some alternative clear explanations.
Finnish Dictionary for the language learner (Zsuzsanna Oinas 2007 Finnlibri). At last - you may say! - we're being recommended a book in English. Yes, it is indeed. But what's this about, when we probably already have a Finnish Dictionary. Ah ha, this one's different. Instead of listing words alphabetically, it's organised according to theme and subject matter. It offers phrases as well as words, 13,000 or so. So, as you can see here below right, it groups together a whole variety of different sorts of greeting. And the variations go far enough to teach you something about nuance and tone, about how to express yourself in different situations.
I make no apologies for recommending yet another book by this author. And no, I have received no kickbacks for doing so! This is the nearest thing I've yet found to something I've searched for in every Finnish bookshop I've visited, namely a Finnish thesaurus. In the English speaking world we have any number of clones of the famous Roget's Thesaurus - ie. a vocabulary resource which organises words according to theme and meaning, rather than alphabetically. It's a kind of book which would be useful in any language, and I'm baffled that I haven't found a Finnish one yet. But until that happens, Zsuzsanna Oinas' book will do.