Have you recently moved to Finland or are you currently trying to learn Finnish? Good, then you are at the right place! Language courses and classes are unquestionably the best ways to learn a new language, but there are also many other ways to enhance your learning along the way and implement the new language into your life.
And to be fair, learning Finnish can be a bit intimidating at times, so here are five ways to boost your learning journey!
Try to Speak Finnish with Finns
First, let’s state the obvious. Even Finns themselves think that Finnish is a bit of a complicated language to learn and speak, so don’t worry. You don’t have to speak it perfectly to be understood.
Speaking a foreign language for the first time can be daunting! However, you’ll learn the language faster when you use it on a daily basis (1). So, when you are at the grocery store, for example, bravely say “kiitos” and “hyvää päivänjatkoa!” to the cashier. In general, we Finns are really friendly and kind, contrary to all stereotypes, so don’t be afraid and just go for it! If you can use Finnish every day, even in these little moments, you’ll become more confident using it, and in the long run, you’ll end up learning it faster.
It’s also worth mentioning that in Finland, everyone speaks English quite well, so sometimes when we want to be friendly, we switch the language to English quite easily. But if you want to talk in Finnish, just do it!
Watch Finnish TV Shows and Movies
This may seem obvious, but I still want to mention it. To learn a new language, you need to read it, write it, speak it, and hear it (2). That being said, it is a great idea to watch TV shows and movies in the language you want to acquire.
It doesn’t matter if you have the subtitles on; you just need to hear Finnish. Even though you don’t understand everything they say in the shows and movies, you’ll still hear the language, and it will help you learn.
Another way to do this is to watch a movie or a show you have already seen, dubbed in Finnish. This way you already know the plot and it’s much easier to follow along!
Listen to Finnish Podcasts
This is also an excellent way to hear Finnish and learn to comprehend it little by little. The same goes for podcasts as with TV shows and movies; you don’t have to understand everything, you just have to listen!
There are plenty of good options when it comes to podcasts. If you want to listen to a learning podcast, then there are, for example, Opi Suomea -podcast and Random Finnish Lesson -podcast, which can help you learn Finnish faster. In these podcasts, the language used is simple and easy to understand. Then, of course, there are multiple other Finnish podcasts on different topics. You can find them on Yle Areena or Spotify. If you are interested in history or true crime, you can listen to a Finnish podcast about these topics and learn a lot.
Watch Finnish Children’s TV Shows
This may seem really silly at first, but it is actually a helpful way to boost your language learning. The reason is that the language in children’s TV shows is way simpler and easier to understand. Therefore, it’s a great way to improve your language learning, plus it’s really fun!
For example, the Moomins (Muumit in Finnish) are a great option for this. The Moomin characters speak very simple and basic Finnish, making it easy to follow along. You can watch The Moomin series on Yle Areena for free, so check it out! In addition, you get to know the Finnish culture since the Moomins are a big part of the Finnish cultural identity.
Use Post-it notes to Learn the Finnish Vocabulary
When you need to learn Finnish vocabulary, post-it notes can useful. For example, write the Finnish words for different furniture items and stick them to the furniture. You can start with five words for instance and then change the post-it notes when you already know them. You can also try saying the words out loud to practice the pronunciation of the words.
You can apply this method to other things, too. If you want to learn food vocabulary, stick post-it notes to the items in your fridge. This can really speed up your learning as you see the Finnish words every day in your home!
Let’s Get to Learning Finnish
There are many ways to learn a new language, and different things work for different people. You can use one of the ways mentioned in this blog post to boost your Finnish, or you can even try them all if you’d like. The key to learning Finnish is to immerse yourself in it! And in no time, you’ll notice yourself getting better and better in Finnish and soon enough you’ll be a fluent speaker.
And in case you are looking for Finnish language courses, please take a look at Metropolia’s Finnish language courses for immigrants. We’d love to have you here in Metropolia!
Jenni Savolainen is a communications intern at the Learning Networks and Services team at Metropolia University of Applied Sciences and a master’s student at the University of Turku majoring in the Finnish language.
- Tandem 2017. Want to Learn a Language Quickly? Get Speaking! Web page. Viewed on 18th of October 2023.
- UNC Learning Center 2015. Learning Languages. Web page. Viewed on 25th of October 2023.