Before being part of the Foreign Correspondents’ Programme (FCP), I knew how challenging the mastery of the language is. The point of this article is to give you the information I wish I had had before I started learning Finnish, because (even though I learned it very quickly) it would have made the whole process much easier, and there would have been much fewer moments of tearing my hair out and screaming curses to the gods. As the reader might already have guessed, my usual reply to the question is: it is not difficult but different. What makes Finnish so hard to learn for English speaker is translation and pronunciation. One example of this is the change ti > si which started hundreds of years ago and is still continuing. The Finnish language can “boast” an extremely complicated grammar structure with numerous derivative suffixes, which makes it especially difficult to learn. I think that it can be hard to learn, but Finnish doesn’t is that difficult, what many of you guys think. This year marks the centenary of Finnish independence. Finnish is difficult because 1) the vocabulary is in no way related to the other languages of European origin, for example English origin Spanish origen Italian origine Portuguese origem French origine Swedish ursprung Norwegian opprinnelse Both nouns and verbs have a large number of inflectional types, some of which are more frequent than others. For this article, we ask friends and colleagues what textbooks they’re using, and request tips on mastering Finnish. Students of Finnish have to learn to use multiple modifiers to nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, as well as numerals, depending on their roles in the sentence. Let’s have a word about the origins and idiosyncrasies of the Finnish language. Read my suggestions carefully. According to a freshly-released list Finnish is among the group of languages the FSI considers to be the most difficult for English speakers to learn. 2. Long and short vowels, single and double consonants are separated and sound different -although- every letter always pronounced the same way and always every letter pronounced-in that respect not difficult to read . If a young Finnish man were bold enough to express such feelings in words, he would be more likely to say something like: Mä tykkään susta. For these reasons, the problem facing the teacher of Finnish is to decide in which order grammar and vocabulary should be taught and how thoroughly they should be learnt. Finnish does not have to be a difficult language. Recent years have seen numerous new Finnish-as-a-second-language textbooks hit the market – so many that one article cannot claim to encompass … How many classes did you have with teacher every week? Learning any language from scratch is difficult, and Finnish grammar is notoriously complex, with 15 cases that may or may not look totally different in their singular and plural forms. What is your French like now? Follow the facebook page for regular updates and lessons, Verbityypit ja preesens / Verb types and the present tense, Pluskvamperfekti / The Past-perfect tense, Komparatiivi ja Superlatiivi / The Comparative and Superlative, Monikon partitiivi / The Plural Partitive, Verbien "minen" substantiivimuoto / The Noun Form of a Verb, 1. infinitiivi pitkä muoto / 1st Infinitive: long form, Essiivi ja translatiivi / The Essive and the Translative, Aktiivin 1. partisiippi / The Active 1st Participle, Aktiivin 2. partisiippi / The Active 2nd Participle, Passiivin 1. partisiippi / The Passive 1st Participle, Passiivin 2. partisiippi / The Passive 2nd Participle, Agenttipartisiippi / The Agent Participle, Top 5 Finnish Textbooks for Teaching Yourself with, The 10 Best Words/Phrases in the Finnish Language, 5 Things That You Should Prepare For When Moving To Finland. In other words Finnish is different. I dont really know about other native speakers, how hard it is to them, to learn Finnish. Add that to the fact that Chinese is a language rich in homophones and full of idioms and aphorisms picked up … In addition, their writing sy… The level of difficulty you're likely to face depends on a couple of factors. Finnish is different. I’m Finnish myself, and as I’ve seen so many foreigners learning Finnish, I can tell it’s not easy. But is Finnish more difficult than French or Spanish or Latin or German which you might have studied at school? For a foreigner, however, it is always best to start with the standard form of the language. To start with, Finnish is a very demanding language, not least for a teacher and an author of a Finnish textbook. Saana says: 05/11/2017 at 13:21. "In Finland, you still occasionally come across the notion that the Finnish language is exceptionally difficult to learn. Kunsi Palaa is one of the most famous Finnish phrases, mostly a it has 9 separate meanings! The biggest problem is where to start. Hi! If you search for most difficult languages to learn, you will find Finnish in the top 10, or even top five. Learning Finnish is far from impossible, and the number of non-Finns who can speak the language is constantly growing. Unfortunately, the study of any foreign language requires work – and often very hard work. 1. Finnish. Published by the Finland Promotion Board Heck, even I think that finnish is hard language =D If you know some words and can put them together to form sentences that itself is really good start! But wri… The English sentence is very easy for a foreigner to handle because you simply place one word after the other. Our article tells you why that’s simply not true. In reality it is not very likely that a Finn today would say: Minä pidän sinusta. Mandarin is a language within the Chinese language group and is actually the most spoken language in the world. The grammar is insanely complicated and at least in Finnish people speak Finnish in a very slangy way and what you learn in school is written Finnish but people just do not speak that way. With its inflectional stems and 15 grammatical cases, Finnish is often considered to be an especially challenging language to learn, but this fearsome reputation in itself may be causing an even bigger problem for new learners. In other words Finnish is different. 1.9K views View 6 Upvoters Nouns have 15 different cases, while in English, they have only three: subjective, objective, possessive. There are so many words which all seem to look the same but which have different meanings and functions. Students often believe, or expect, that a language can be learnt by osmosis – just like that, in the classroom. Of course, you can say Minä pitää sinä leaving all the words in their basic form, and surprisingly the Finns will understand you (provided your body language is appropriate). Finnish has regional dialects and different social variants (jargons, slangs). But I do agree that Chinese language(s) are the most difficult to learn languages and master in the world. Finnish is famous for being an extremely difficult language, one of the hardest languages to learn in the world. Finnish has a reputation of being very hard. Many ask "Is Finnish difficult to learn or not?" I don't know about how hard it is to learn, but I just wanted to pass on a little bit of trivia. Or I don’t know, ’cause I’m from Finland and I speak Finnish so… whatever. Thanks for your comment, Amanda. Log in sign up. Press J to jump to the feed. This kind of phenomenon exists, for example, in the Baltic region. Finnish literature is going further than ever. Why learn Finnish. This brings us to the reality that every language has a range of dialects and registers. This means that in a certain geographical area, languages which differ from each other typologically share other similarities which result from living in a similar environment. In addition to the usual challenges that come with learning any language from scratch, people studying Mandarin must also memorize thousands of special characters, unlike anything seen in Latin-based languages. This is based on my own experience of studying and teaching Finnish. Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts. Yet it’s up to you to judge whether Finnish (or any language, for that matter) is difficult to learn or not. For an English speaker, however, mastering Mandarin is a tall order. The FSI estimates that it would take 44 weeks or 1100 hours to before Finnish rolls off the tongue. Without Germanic or Latin influence, Finnish vocabulary is completely alien to English speakers. Finnish pronunciation isn’t far from English, but this language’s grammar certainly makes it one of the hardest languages. When people study Finnish abroad it is most often once a week for perhaps two hours at a time in an evening class. Start by giving yourself a strong basis in the sounds and phrases of the language. But let’s face another fact: Finnish is not only intimidating, it is hard. Finnish often expresses ideas very differently from the ways of the more commonly studied European languages. Just try your best and ask people to correct you, learning takes time but can be really rewarding. My advice, don’t try learn this language especially if you speak English. Finnish is unrelated to any other language in the area. The answer to this depends on the aim of the language course. Thanks to it being a tonal language, every sound in Mandarin’s phonetic transcription system pinyin has four distinct pronunciations. Because of the same environment, a common history, culture and contacts, Scandinavian languages, German and Finnish share some features (perhaps mostly in vocabulary) which bind them together and accordingly make it easier for people who know these languages to understand some features of Finnish. This simple sentence translates into Finnish as Minä pidän sinusta. Spoken by about 6 million people, mostly in Finland and the autonomous republic of Karelia, Finnish is an Uralic language written with the Latin alphabet and whose writing is almost completely phonemic, which is a great help to beginners, whether they be Finnish or foreign. It all starts in your mind. It takes a real amount of hard work to translate from English, and even when that happens the result probably won’t be up to the mark. User account menu • They weren't kidding when they said that Finnish is a difficult language to learn. In a very close election, the Social Democratic Party won the most seats in Parliament – but only just. Arabic speakers would encounter fall less difficulty with Farsi than native English speaker, and the same hold true for Hebrew. So yeah, it's difficult. Up to the challenge of learning Finnish? Furthermore, as I have already mentioned, languages are never static. Maybe that reputation is deserved, but there are a couple of things that certainly don’t make Finnish as hard as people think it is. Interestingly, the hardest language to learn is also the most widely spoken native language in the world. It is quite subjective to say which is the most difficult language(s) to learn in the world. Besides that, however, Hindi has some challenging differences in terms of grammar, pronunciation and writing. The language is in the Finno-Urgic language family, so it doesn't have any Latin or German influence to help you guess what something means. Finnish often expresses ideas very differently from the ways of the more commonly studied European languages. But if you are a perfectionist or otherwise take your studies seriously, you will want to know how a Finn says it. Farsi comes from the Indo-Iranian branch of languages, so speakers of Dari (Afghanistan) already speak Farsi, too. Pronouncing is different from English - often difficult for English speakers. It does not have a lot of common points with French, my mother tongue, or English, my second language. There are three official languages in Finland – Finnish, Swedish, and Sami – but Finnish is the mother tongue of almost 90 per cent of the population. Colloquial Finnish often differs markedly from the standard language. Finnish (endonym: suomi or suomen kieli [ˈsuo̯meŋ ˈkie̯li]) is a Uralic language of the Finnic branch spoken by the majority of the population in Finland and by ethnic Finns outside Finland. Finnish has a reputation for being a tricky language to learn, and with good reason. In my previous article "Finnish: An easy language to learn? Despite these simplifying factors, Finnish is undoubtedly an exceedingly difficult language to learn. Now I would like to tell you how you can make it even easier, or rather, how you can not make it difficult for yourself. (: Reply. For Chinese speakers like us, we would find learning Japanese, Korean much easier. Actually it's not! Join our tour of prose, poetry and publishing (and Finland-Swedish books). However, that is only the start of the problem. Finnish grammar rules are unimaginably crazy for an English speaker. Finnish Barry Farber, the author of “How to Learn any Language” and a polyglot many times over, says that Finnish is one of the hardest languages for him to learn. The Defense Language Institute in California gives Finnish a difficulty rating of III (out of four) in terms of difficulty for native English speakers to learn, making it the perfect language for anyone who likes a challenge. Create your own unique website with customizable templates. Whether or not you’ve mastered Finnish, dive with us into its different dialects, as deep as you dare. Tamil is a Dravidian language, which would be significantly less difficult to learn for speakers of languages from the same family. Finnish is famous for being a tonal language meaning the word it is, depends on how the other speaker says the world. Linguists recognise a phenomenon called Sprachbund. ", I explained why Finnish is not as difficult to learn as the internet and Swedish people think it is. First, Hindi uses an SOV (subject object verb) word order and has new sounds for English speakers, including dhaand hka. Finnish grammar can be learnt logically. How easily can a foreigner learn a language like this? Well, of course, this is fact only for native English speakers, and simialiar language family. But this does not make it more difficult than other languages. In fact, Finnish is a very logical language, as many students who have methodologically studied it admit. Depends what kind of Finnish you want to learn. Sure, Finnish is difficult to learn. In fact, Finnish is a very logical language, as many students who have methodologically studied it admit. I often hear about different forms and cases and how they make learning finnish hard, but you don't have to be perfect. I prefer ofc "almost", since im finnish ^^ its cool to handle *so* hard language. By Hannele Branch, lecturer in Finnish, University of London. Finnish is in the Finno-Ugric language family, with Estonian and Hungarian. What was your French like when you left the school? Like most languages, you can learn to speak Finnish with time, effort, and dedication. This all brings me back to the question: Is Finnish a difficult language? The number of case forms for nouns is staggering: while German has four cases, Latin five, and Russian six, Finnish has no fewer than fifteen! Number of native speakers: 260 million Grammatical concepts: 3/5 Language family: 3/5 Sounds and tones: 3/5 Writing system: 4/5 Cultural distance: 3/5 Language resources: 1/5 Hindi is highly phonetic, which means it’s spelled the way it sounds – score! Finnish speakers around the world: 5.4 million native speakers Writing system: Latin (Finnish alphabet) Why is Finnish hard to learn? Get to know the Finns with our abbreviated but thorough guide – a starter kit for keeping up with the Finnish culture. What you're comparing it to. If you want to learn Finnish then I suggest you read this article first. I don't consider myself a novice at languages, having learned English, Mandarin and and German, but Finnish is the next level. You want to learn but there seems to be no end to what you have to remember before you can form even the most simple statement. How many years did you spend on it? Estonia and Hungary are almost, or completely as hard as Finnish, to learn. First and foremost, the writing system is extremely difficult for English speakers (and anyone else) accustomed to the Latin alphabet. Is it just to learn a little conversational Finnish and to keep the students amused for two hours per week? Remember how you learnt (or failed to learn) French at school. Many native speakers might hesitate, for example, between the imperfect forms kielsi and kielti, meaning “he forbade”. To understand the kind of complexities that Finnish presents to the beginner, let us examine the Finnish equivalent of the simple English sentence: I like you. Close • Posted by 48 minutes ago. The greatest obstacle is the vocabulary, which requires memory; and the teacher cannot memorise for you. Or is the learner going to be a translator or interpreter who has to understand all the nuances of the language? If you type "Learn Finnish" or "Finnish language" into a search engine, usually you'll see loads of stuff about Finnish being the world's second or third most difficult language, and there is a … Because Finnish is a very synthetic language. Practice often using smart techniques, and practice it on fluent speakers as often as possible. But this does not make it more difficult than other languages. People often assume that Finnish must be similar to the languages of neighbouring Sweden or Russia. They change, and, therefore, it is often impossible to give a strict rule for a particular grammatical point. Before you can produce this Finnish sentence, you have to know the following: It is quite a lot of grammar to handle such a simple sentence. Most teachers give students some homework but many students do not do it. You’ll get a closer look at the essence of the language. For people who are learning or want to learn the Finnish language. I'd like to explain to you why Finnish can actually be very easy to learn. How much home work did you have? Produced by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Department for Communications © 1995 - 2021, A next-level Finnish language experience: Discovering dialects, Finnish contemporary literature: A wealth of voices, Finnish parliamentary elections: Record number of women winners, Produced by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Department for Communications © 1995 - 2021. how a Finnish verb is conjugated (the personal endings). Why? Mandarin Chinese is challenging for a number of reasons. But this does not make it more difficult than other languages. If you want it, then go get it! , which requires memory ; and is finnish hard to learn teacher can not memorise for you impossible., how hard it is hard Finnish is undoubtedly an exceedingly difficult language most... 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