Reading is quite a simple way to practice language skills. As we live in a world of texts, it is possible to read Finnish every day. It doesn’t really matter whether you’ve lived in Finland or not – the internet offers you a great variety of texts in Finnish.
What to read?
When choosing what to read, there are two things you should remember. Firstly, you should pick something you find interesting. It doesn’t have to be a Finnish classic or a book at all. Instead, you could go for advertisements, articles, blog posts, discussion forums, encyclopedias, lyrics, magazines, memes, menus, news, recipes, subtitles, websites and so on – anything you can think of!
Secondly, remember to be open-minded. I recommend you to pick something that suits the level of your proficiency in Finnish. If you have just begun to study Finnish, it’s not a bad idea to read something simpler than a novel. When learning a new language, children’s books and comics are my personal favorites. They both have less text than novels, but the writing is still rich and the pictures help you to understand.
Where to find something to read?
One would think that the easiest way to find something to read is to go to the nearest library or a bookstore. However, you can find some Finnish texts to read at home too. If you’ve got a computer with an internet connection, you only need to open the browser and begin to search.
On the internet, you can find almost any kind of text you could think of. If you’re looking for news or different types of articles, I highly recommend reading in plain Finnish. Yle Uutiset selkosuomeksi (https://yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/selkouutiset/) for example. Also, searching for suomalaiset sanomalehdet and suomalaiset aikakauslehdet will lead you to find electronic newspapers and magazines in Finnish. By exploring the sections you’re interested in, you learn the language and something about the topical issues and culture of Finland too.
Finnish blogs are an excellent insight
In addition to news and articles, there are many Finnish blogs to explore. You’ll find a wide range of suomalaiset blogit concerning almost anything. The most popular Finnish bloggers write about hyvinvointi, kauneus, käsityö, leivonta, liikunta, muoti, ruoka, sisustus and perhe. Still, you could try your luck and search for any Finnish word combined with blogi. Maybe you’ll find the blog that’s just perfect for you.
Blogs are a perfect way to learn Finnish because many of them are written in a mix of standard and spoken Finnish. Especially cooking and baking blogs are great for learning because recipes contain many partitive forms. If you are not a fan of blogs, you could have a look at social media. By searching for suomalaiset somevaikuttajat or suosituimmat somettajat you can find Finnish actors, athletes, singers, and social media influencers to follow on Instagram or Twitter for example. On social media, you could also follow Finnish newspapers, magazines, companies or maybe even pet or meme accounts. Reading short texts, like status updates and captions, pays off: active users post on a daily basis so you have the opportunity to learn all through the week.
There are reading opportunities everywhere
If you live in Finland, you shouldn’t forget about the other opportunities to read at home. Even having an ei mainoksia note on your mailbox, you’ll probably still receive lots of different kinds of advertisements several times a week. Before throwing them away, you should read them: ads are a perfect way to study the names of different products. If you don’t have time for this kind of reading, pay attention to the little things. When watching television, watch your favorite television show with Finnish subtitles on.
Stay open-minded – you could learn the language in different and unexpected situations. Just look around and you’ll probably see some text in Finnish – on a milk carton or maybe a bottle of shampoo. Creativity is an asset!
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A few book recommendations
The team here at MEDI Connection would like to share some recommended reading to keep you turning pages.
Ross recommends Matti in the Wallet and Murphyn laki lääkärit. They both contain simple Finnish but Matti in the Wallet is certainly an excellent starting point as it contains common Finnish sayings, their English translation, and the meaning. Murphyn laki lääkärit (Murphey’s law doctors), a book of humorous, medically related sayings, doesn’t have any translations but the texts are simple and it should keep you amused and picking up new words for quite a while. As an example, here’s Jaffen laki (Jaffe’s law)
“On asioita, joita on mahdoton tietää – mutta mitä ne ovat, sitä on mahdoton sanoa.”
“There are things, which are impossible to know – but what they are, it’s impossible to say.”
Marjo recommends Very Finnish Problems books by Joel Williams, they provide knowledge about Finland and it’s people through entertainment. The currently 2 books are 101 Very Finnish Problems and More Very Finnish Problems, which prepare you for life in Finland through a comical take on climate and culture.
Riikka recommends Pate and Ella books by Timo Parvela, who has written many wonderful Finnish children’s book series that have won awards and been adapted into plays and movies.
Tuija recommends books by Eve Hietamies, including Yösyöttö (Night feed), Tarhapäivä (Nursery day) and Hammaskeiju (Tooth fairy). They explore a single father’s shaky start to parenthood with even further surprises and challenges as the series continues.
We hope you find these books useful in continuing to learn more about the Finnish language and customs. There are also plain language (selkokieli) versions of many Finnish books to assist language learners, go ahead and google selkokirjat to find more accessible editions of popular titles like Yösyöttö and Mielensäpahoittaja (The Grump).
For a more comprehensive strategy to learn Finnish, read more here.
Also, we now offer Private Finnish language lessons, if you would like individual tuition to continue your journey of development with personalized guidance.
Writer of the blog post:
Finnish language specialist