Finnish: the language of challenge and adventure

Terve, dear readers!

Today I would like to discuss with you something really special – the Finnish language, which is an essential part of Finlandization.

Finnish has a reputation of being a very difficult language, which is totally different from all the other language groups. Well, I believe it is probably not the easiest one, but to tell the truth the level of difficulty depends a lot on a person learning it: if you are really into languages and have enough motivation, Finnish will be kind to you. The Finnish language is truly unique and far from all the languages we are used to hearing. The good news is that it is very logical. Just understand the logic of the language, and you are half way there!

Facts about the Finnish language:

  • Spoken by over 6.5 million people worldwide
  • Belongs to Finno-Ugric group of languages
  • Finnish has very regular pronunciation, almost always there is 100% correspondence between letters and sounds
  • The main stress is always on the first syllable
  • Finnish has 8 vowels: a, o, u, e, i, ä, ö, y (My Russian friends, the dots are obligatory) 😀
  • The vowels have two durations – short and long – depending on the their number (“auto” – short “a” sound, “aamu” – long “a” sound)
  • Finnish is a suffix language. Suffixes and prefixes can make words super long
  • The longest acceptable Finnish word is “lentokonesuihkuturbiinimoottoriapumekaanikkoaliupseerioppilas”. The word has 61 letters and roughly means “airplane jet turbine engine auxiliary mechanic under officer student”. What is more shocking, this word is really in use in the Finnish Air Force (Finnish edition of Guinness Book of Records)
  • The world’s longest palindromic word is Finnish – “saippuakivikauppias”, which means “a dealer in lye”
  • Finnish has a word for “I wonder if I should run around aimlessly” – “juoksentelisinkohan?” 😀
  • One phrase or sentence can sometimes mean many different things:

kuusi

Picture source 

Why learn Finnish?

Firstly, Finnish will help you better understand Finland’s culture and people. Moreover, it is not secret that the knowledge of English is not something special anymore. A lot of workplaces now require their employees to speak at least 3 languages. Since if you are/will be in Finland, emerged in the culture, having many opportunities to effectively study the language, why not learn Finnish? Finnish is not only a fun language to learn – it can definitely add value to your CV, and positively influence you career development. Knowledge of Finnish is not a very common thing. Thus, you can make it your competitive advantage.

How to learn Finnish?

As far as I know, there are quite many options for learning Finnish in Jyväskylä:

  1. Self-study is always an option. Get a good book such as “From start to Finnish” by Leila White, for example, and study it chapter by chapter. Youtube videos are very helpful too. Luckily, nowadays there are tons of information online about any language: from grammar to vocabulary.
  2. JAMK’s language school offers Finnish courses on several levels: from 0 up to advanced. What is more, there is a course specifically targeted at speaking Finnish, which is particularly useful if you know the basics of Finnish and have a language barrier
  3. University of Jyväskylä (Jyväskylän Yliopisto) offers Finnish courses on levels 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, 70 contact hours each. These are free only for University of Jyväskylä students, but if you are a registered student of JAMK it is possible to attend the courses for free also.
  4. Jyväskylän aikuislukio offers evening Finnish courses from 0 to advanced level. The price is 70 euros per year.

If you are interested in more Finnish courses in Jyväskylä, check out this link.

Tips for learning Finnish

  1. Get motivation and never give up. It may be hard in the beginning, just keep going.
  2. As I mentioned in the previous posts, I believe that reading is a key to learning a language. As soon as you learn the basics, such as the alphabet and sentence construction, try reading and translating Finnish books for children (I like Muumit). Of course, dictionary is you best friend 😉
  3. Speak it! As soon as you have an opportunity try to speak Finnish as much as possible. Especially in daily situations – in the bus, shops, cafes. Do not be afraid to make mistakes.

Thank you for attention! If you have any questions do not hesitate to leave them in comments.

Have a great time of the day,

Alena

My references / interesting links:

http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/1/longest-palindromic-word

http://europeisnotdead.com/disco/words-of-europe/european-longest-words/

https://www.facebook.com/SatWcomic?hc_location=timeline

http://www.puhutaan-suomea.net

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