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