Learning the language Finnish

Learning the language

Finnish is a language that you do not just «pick up»! It seemed to take me forever to remember even everyday words such as “kiitos” (thank you), “kylla” (yes) and “hyvää huomenta” (good morning). As foreigners, our problem is that we have no hook on which to hang even simple information—nothing relative or similar to combine new knowledge with old. My experience of learning languages has been confined to European languages, but there is nothing in them to help me master even a modicum of Finnish. I»ve had two short bursts at learning Finnish and I can say that it is both challenging and fascinating. A dedicated linguist will be entranced. So, for anyone wanting to learn the language—best of luck!

Roman Schatz describes Finnish as beautiful and practical, like Lego bricks, 1,000 pieces all fitting together. Every word and piece means so much. It expresses very subtle differences that other languages can’t.

However, a consistent and disciplined effort will let you achieve huge results, but dipping in and out of learning it will leave you none the wiser. The logic and the process of the language structure have been likened to mathematics, and studying Finnish can be seen as a similar challenge. I would like to thank my colleague Timo for his clear and uncomplicated explanations of his language, though after three years, I think he is almost giving up on me.

A more in-depth overview of the language can be found on www.virtual.finland.fi and www.hut.fi.