For this article, we ask friends and colleagues what textbooks they’re using, and request tips on mastering Finnish. 2. Students often believe, or expect, that a language can be learnt by osmosis – just like that, in the classroom. But if you are a perfectionist or otherwise take your studies seriously, you will want to know how a Finn says it. Recent years have seen numerous new Finnish-as-a-second-language textbooks hit the market – so many that one article cannot claim to encompass … If you search for most difficult languages to learn, you will find Finnish in the top 10, or even top five. 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). What you're comparing it to. 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. ", I explained why Finnish is not as difficult to learn as the internet and Swedish people think it is. Or is the learner going to be a translator or interpreter who has to understand all the nuances of the language? Colloquial Finnish often differs markedly from the standard language. 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. But this does not make it more difficult than other languages. Finnish is unrelated to any other language in the area. Well, of course, this is fact only for native English speakers, and simialiar language family. The English sentence is very easy for a foreigner to handle because you simply place one word after the other. This is based on my own experience of studying and teaching Finnish. 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! Despite these simplifying factors, Finnish is undoubtedly an exceedingly difficult language to learn. In a very close election, the Social Democratic Party won the most seats in Parliament – but only just. Depends what kind of Finnish you want to learn. Close • Posted by 48 minutes ago. If you want it, then go get it! Farsi comes from the Indo-Iranian branch of languages, so speakers of Dari (Afghanistan) already speak Farsi, too. Finnish grammar rules are unimaginably crazy for an English speaker. By Hannele Branch, lecturer in Finnish, University of London. This brings us to the reality that every language has a range of dialects and registers. Published by the Finland Promotion Board Up to the challenge of learning Finnish? What is your French like now? Thanks to it being a tonal language, every sound in Mandarin’s phonetic transcription system pinyin has four distinct pronunciations. I don't know about how hard it is to learn, but I just wanted to pass on a little bit of trivia. This simple sentence translates into Finnish as Minä pidän sinusta. Read my suggestions carefully. In my previous article "Finnish: An easy language to learn? So yeah, it's difficult. Interestingly, the hardest language to learn is also the most widely spoken native language in the world. Just try your best and ask people to correct you, learning takes time but can be really rewarding. Both nouns and verbs have a large number of inflectional types, some of which are more frequent than others. Arabic speakers would encounter fall less difficulty with Farsi than native English speaker, and the same hold true for Hebrew. Finnish does not have to be a difficult language. 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. 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. But this does not make it more difficult than other languages. 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. Before being part of the Foreign Correspondents’ Programme (FCP), I knew how challenging the mastery of the language is. 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. Unfortunately, the study of any foreign language requires work – and often very hard work. 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 . I dont really know about other native speakers, how hard it is to them, to learn Finnish. Nouns have 15 different cases, while in English, they have only three: subjective, objective, possessive. Start by giving yourself a strong basis in the sounds and phrases of the language. In other words Finnish is different. Most teachers give students some homework but many students do not do it. Linguists recognise a phenomenon called Sprachbund. Thanks for your comment, Amanda. This year marks the centenary of Finnish independence. One example of this is the change ti > si which started hundreds of years ago and is still continuing. If you want to learn Finnish then I suggest you read this article first. 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. However, that is only the start of the problem. Finnish speakers around the world: 5.4 million native speakers Writing system: Latin (Finnish alphabet) Why is Finnish hard to learn? But is Finnish more difficult than French or Spanish or Latin or German which you might have studied at school? They change, and, therefore, it is often impossible to give a strict rule for a particular grammatical point. Is it just to learn a little conversational Finnish and to keep the students amused for two hours per week? In reality it is not very likely that a Finn today would say: Minä pidän sinusta. When people study Finnish abroad it is most often once a week for perhaps two hours at a time in an evening class. 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. 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. 1. 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. Like most languages, you can learn to speak Finnish with time, effort, and dedication. Many native speakers might hesitate, for example, between the imperfect forms kielsi and kielti, meaning “he forbade”. 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. Press J to jump to the feed. Finnish is in the Finno-Ugric language family, with Estonian and Hungarian. The level of difficulty you're likely to face depends on a couple of factors. Create your own unique website with customizable templates. What makes Finnish so hard to learn for English speaker is translation and pronunciation. Remember how you learnt (or failed to learn) French at school. How much home work did you have? First and foremost, the writing system is extremely difficult for English speakers (and anyone else) accustomed to the Latin alphabet. The answer to this depends on the aim of the language course. Finnish often expresses ideas very differently from the ways of the more commonly studied European languages. Log in sign up. But I do agree that Chinese language(s) are the most difficult to learn languages and master in the world. For people who are learning or want to learn the Finnish language. In addition, their writing sy… The Finnish language can “boast” an extremely complicated grammar structure with numerous derivative suffixes, which makes it especially difficult to learn. Practice often using smart techniques, and practice it on fluent speakers as often as possible. How many years did you spend on it? 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 … How easily can a foreigner learn a language like this? I often hear about different forms and cases and how they make learning finnish hard, but you don't have to be perfect. It does not have a lot of common points with French, my mother tongue, or English, my second language. The biggest problem is where to start. It is quite subjective to say which is the most difficult language(s) to learn in the world. 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. In fact, Finnish is a very logical language, as many students who have methodologically studied it admit. For a foreigner, however, it is always best to start with the standard form of the language. Besides that, however, Hindi has some challenging differences in terms of grammar, pronunciation and writing. 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. Hi! My advice, don’t try learn this language especially if you speak English. Finnish has regional dialects and different social variants (jargons, slangs). I think that it can be hard to learn, but Finnish doesn’t is that difficult, what many of you guys think. Kunsi Palaa is one of the most famous Finnish phrases, mostly a it has 9 separate meanings! "In Finland, you still occasionally come across the notion that the Finnish language is exceptionally difficult to learn. Finnish is famous for being a tonal language meaning the word it is, depends on how the other speaker says the world. What was your French like when you left the school? 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. To start with, Finnish is a very demanding language, not least for a teacher and an author of a Finnish textbook. (: Reply. Many ask "Is Finnish difficult to learn or not?" 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. 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. 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 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. For Chinese speakers like us, we would find learning Japanese, Korean much easier. I'd like to explain to you why Finnish can actually be very easy to learn. Tamil is a Dravidian language, which would be significantly less difficult to learn for speakers of languages from the same family. Why learn Finnish. In fact, Finnish is a very logical language, as many students who have methodologically studied it admit. Finnish pronunciation isn’t far from English, but this language’s grammar certainly makes it one of the hardest languages. User account menu • They weren't kidding when they said that Finnish is a difficult language to learn. 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. Why? Actually it's not! In other words Finnish is different. Get to know the Finns with our abbreviated but thorough guide – a starter kit for keeping up with the Finnish culture. Finnish often expresses ideas very differently from the ways of the more commonly studied European languages. This all brings me back to the question: Is Finnish a difficult language? I prefer ofc "almost", since im finnish ^^ its cool to handle *so* hard language. As the reader might already have guessed, my usual reply to the question is: it is not difficult but different. Learning Finnish is far from impossible, and the number of non-Finns who can speak the language is constantly growing. Let’s have a word about the origins and idiosyncrasies of the Finnish language. The FSI estimates that it would take 44 weeks or 1100 hours to before Finnish rolls off the tongue. Our article tells you why that’s simply not true. 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! It all starts in your mind. But wri… Sure, Finnish is difficult to learn. Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts. Finnish grammar can be learnt logically. Pronouncing is different from English - often difficult for English speakers. But this does not make it more difficult than other languages. 1.9K views View 6 Upvoters The greatest obstacle is the vocabulary, which requires memory; and the teacher cannot memorise for you. Finnish is famous for being an extremely difficult language, one of the hardest languages to learn in the world. For an English speaker, however, mastering Mandarin is a tall order. 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 Estonia and Hungary are almost, or completely as hard as Finnish, to learn. How many classes did you have with teacher every week? This kind of phenomenon exists, for example, in the Baltic region. 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. Mandarin Chinese is challenging for a number of reasons. Yet it’s up to you to judge whether Finnish (or any language, for that matter) is difficult to learn or not. 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. 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). Join our tour of prose, poetry and publishing (and Finland-Swedish books). Finnish has a reputation of being very hard. Whether or not you’ve mastered Finnish, dive with us into its different dialects, as deep as you dare. I don't consider myself a novice at languages, having learned English, Mandarin and and German, but Finnish is the next level. Finnish has a reputation for being a tricky language to learn, and with good reason. First, Hindi uses an SOV (subject object verb) word order and has new sounds for English speakers, including dhaand hka. There are so many words which all seem to look the same but which have different meanings and functions. People often assume that Finnish must be similar to the languages of neighbouring Sweden or Russia. Furthermore, as I have already mentioned, languages are never static. 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. Finnish is different. But let’s face another fact: Finnish is not only intimidating, it is hard. 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. You’ll get a closer look at the essence of the language. I’m Finnish myself, and as I’ve seen so many foreigners learning Finnish, I can tell it’s not easy. Without Germanic or Latin influence, Finnish vocabulary is completely alien to English speakers. Saana says: 05/11/2017 at 13:21. Finnish literature is going further than ever. Add that to the fact that Chinese is a language rich in homophones and full of idioms and aphorisms picked up … Because Finnish is a very synthetic language. Finnish. 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. 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! Or I don’t know, ’cause I’m from Finland and I speak Finnish so… whatever. Mandarin is a language within the Chinese language group and is actually the most spoken language in the world. 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