Learn the Finnish language
Updated: Nov 17
The Finnish language is quite different from the usual European languages that most people study. This is perhaps the reason why Finnish is considered challenging and difficult to learn. But does different necessarily mean difficult? Sure, the Finnish language can be demanding and complex according to many linguistics, but to answer that question, we need to go deeper and look at it in more details.
1- Finnish is a logical language
Students who have studied it methodologically agree that Finnish is logical. The study of any language requires hard work, but bearing in mind that the language is logical can be useful in the learning process. If you know that rules are expected and every grammar has a sound reasoning, then learning it gives more confidence and motivation.
2- Finnish is a phonetical language
Words in Finnish are pronounced as they are written, except probably for a couple of letters that are pronounced differently in the English language. But overall, as we all know, phonetics makes the learning much easier and faster. To compare to the English language, some words have silent letters, that when we hear these words, as a first timer, spelling could be quite challenging. However, in the Finnish language, after learning the alphabet, one can be confident in writing the words exactly as how they were heard.
3- There are a few exceptions
Following the rules and learning the grammar remain as the main points in learning any language. Having only few exceptions saves lots of time hence making the learning process much easier. This is because every time we learn a new grammatical rule, we usually keep that in mind, start to use it, and try to keep up with the rule.
4- The alphabet is short in Finnish language
Finnish language has 29 letters and some letters in the alphabet are not even used that much: B, C, G, Q, W, X, Z, Å. They are in some words borrowed from other languages, for example banaani, or the word grill or to barbecue becomes grillata. Å is called Ruotsalainen O - a Swedish letter not used in Finnish that sounds the same as O in Finnish language. Another example is when the letter X is dropped and taxi becomes taksi. This means that there are fewer letters to learn.
5- Having a larger vocabulary
Compound words are common in the Finnish language. This is when two words that have different meanings are combined to form a new word, hence a new meaning. For example: työnantaja (work-giver) and työntekijä (work-doer). This saves time in memorizing as compared to learning two different words such as employer and employee. The Finnish language has many compound words and learning more combinations expands your vocabulary.
6- Spoken Finnish
Like many other languages, the written Finnish language differs from the spoken one. Usually, the spoken language doesn't focus much on the rules and grammars since understanding them can be quite difficult and complex to start with.
To be fully conversational, foreigners who want to really learn the language need to be motivated in participating in activities that encourage speaking. The opportunities to learn more of the Finnish spoken language are in many places such as language cafés and workshops, with the collaboration of Finnish people who interact with foreigners and teach them as well. There are also books that include spoken Finnish lessons. But, as we all know, the best way to learn is to converse regularly with the locals.
How to find Finnish courses for foreigners To find very useful information on Finnish courses for foreigners, visit infoFinland.fi.
All the information is provided in several different languages including English.
In addition, in every city, there are different centers which provide Finnish courses such as university courses, aikuisopisto kurssit, and library free courses.
Selkouutiset / Yle uutiset / yle.fi is a site where you can listen to the news more clearly and slowly. You can even have the chance to read them afterwards, do some exercises of the Finnish language, and learn about different terms, rules and regulations in Finland.
Now, are you ready to practice your Finnish? Try exploring your local area and find out what else can you do.