Opiskelijoita tietokoneen äärellä

Savonia Article: How to learn Finnish quickly?

Teachers of Finnish as a second language often hear the question “How to learn Finnish quickly?”. There are a lot of issues that affect language learning, but I believe the main factors are the learners themselves. The purpose here is to give some tips to boost progress.

  1. Motivate yourself!
    Think about your plans. Why do you need Finnish? Do you have Finnish friends or relatives? Dream about your career: do you need to speak to Finnish people as your daily duty? Do you want to enjoy Finnish culture by visiting the theatre or cinema? Do you play football or hockey in a team? What is your reason to start a wonderful way of learning a new language?
  2. Plan!
    When you have decided what your reason to learn Finnish is, plan several goals and deadlines in written form. What level of proficiency is enough for you: elementary, intermediate, or advanced? The plan will be realistic if you follow your progress and update deadlines, if necessary.
  3. Reflect on your language background!
    To be fluent in a foreign language you need a foundation from your mother tongue and other learned languages. Analyze the words or phrases you usually use to speak in these languages. Probably, you will tend to use them also in Finnish. Find similar rules in Finnish grammar by comparing them with other languages.
  4. Pay attention to the very basic grammar!
    The most important grammar material is taught in the course for beginners. It includes locatives and types of words. Understanding of basics facilitates the construction of more complex forms in the future.
  5. Find your way!
    Think about the best form of learning for you. Choose the Finnish course in class or online depending on your studying preferences. Individual teaching is usually too expensive and less effective for speaking, but it may also be a suitable form to achieve special goals. Learning in a group you will get the opportunity to practice speaking in safe surroundings, where you can feel free to make mistakes.
  6. Allow mistakes!
    Making mistakes is a talent! As a first necessary skill, you must allow yourself wrong answers and slips in spoken language. Nobody expects a beginner to write or speak perfectly. The mistakes will disappear from your language path if you are brave enough to make them.
  7. Do not use electronic translators!
    If you can speak and understand English, you will survive in Finland. It means that there is no good reason to use electronic devices to write or understand Finnish texts. Electronic services keep you addicted because you do not train your brain to produce sentences or understand the meaning of grammar constructions.
  8. Focus on!
    Calendar time for learning and stay focused for a scheduled time. For example, it may be 25 minutes or one hour. If you want to study for a longer time, remember the short breaks for relaxing.
  9. Keep going!
    Try to take Finnish into your everyday life. You can write down a phrase you want to practice and use in some conversation. Alternatively, you can just try to speak to everybody.
  10. Stay curious!
    Are you better at writing or speaking? Do you like to read books, blogs, and articles? Do you listen to podcasts and songs with pleasure? Choose your way to enjoy learning. Finnish is a fantastic logical language: just try to solve this puzzle!

Hopefully, these tips will help you to learn efficiently and keep your mind positive. As you see, progress depends on you, your goal, and your motivation.

Veronika Mysheva

Lecturer at Savonia University of Applied Sciences