When studying a new language, it’s essential to practice all the language skills. As a Finnish teacher, the idea of comprehensive language learning is close to my heart. However, I often must remind myself of practicing all the language skills when I’m learning languages myself. Usually, I learn to read and write quite quickly but forget about listening and speaking just as fast. By practicing the language comprehensively, it’s possible to improve and maintain your language skills. It’s also a fun journey – by reading, writing, listening, and speaking the language comes to life!
It’s quite exciting to recognize words and grammar structures in authentic texts. When choosing what to read, picking something you’re interested in is the key. If you want to practice standard Finnish, you could try reading the translated version of one of your favorite books. As you already know the story, it’s easier to understand, and you will no doubt enjoy it in Finnish too.
On the other hand, if you are interested in spoken Finnish as texts, there are many Finnish blogs to explore. Most of the bloggers use a mix of standard Finnish and spoken Finnish in their blog posts, so reading them could be an excellent opportunity to get to know spoken Finnish. If you have social media accounts, don’t forget Finnish social media influencers. Many professional social media influencers post daily on Instagram or Twitter. By following Finnish influencers, you could read short Finnish texts every day.
For more reading tips from a Finnish teacher, read more here.
When studying Finnish, you run into useful phrases all the time. I suggest you write them down in a way that supports your learning process: grouping by subject, creating a mind map, or drawing, for example. Writing the phrases down is a useful way to lodge them in your mind for future reference. It’s also quite a simple way to practice writing.
If you want to practice writing in Finnish, it would be a great idea to use the language whenever you can. Do you know anyone who understands Finnish? If so, you could send them a text or an email. I’m sure at least your Finnish teacher would be delighted to receive a text message from you in Finnish! If you don’t know any Finnish speakers, don’t worry – there are many possibilities to communicate in Finnish online. The most accessible platform would probably be social media: leave a comment and wait for an answer.
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When studying Finnish, listening is crucial as spoken Finnish differs from standard Finnish in many ways. If you already live in Finland, you most likely have the possibility to listen to Finnish every day. I highly recommend watching Finnish television series and films as they are great for learning both the language and something of the Finnish culture too. With television programs, you are also able to practice both standard and spoken Finnish. Standard Finnish is used in news and documentaries, whereas spoken Finnish features in different kinds of soap operas and entertainment programs.
If you don’t live in Finland, you can listen to Finnish on the internet. You can find some news broadcasts, documentaries, and television series but also music and video blogs. Listening to both standard and spoken Finnish is useful even if you didn’t understand much. Persistent listening helps you to get used to the speaking rhythm, and after a while, you can separate words and understand what was said.
If you already live in Finland, you probably speak Finnish every day. It doesn’t matter if you only had a chance to greet the bus driver or to thank a cashier – if you know how to communicate in Finnish in these kinds of situations, you should go for it. Using a language is the key to learning it.
In case you do not live in Finland, it’s even more important to use the language when you can. If you ever meet a Finnish-speaking person in your home country, why not take advantage of the good fortune and start a conversation in Finnish. In the past, I often thought I couldn’t speak the foreign languages I had studied because I didn’t travel so much. Surprisingly, I found myself using them in Finland. When working in a bookstore, I met people from all over the world, and even if I couldn’t speak fluently, I tried my best. Usually, it was quite simple: I said hello, told the price, thanked, and said goodbye. It wasn’t much, but it was a real situation I managed to handle with the language skills I then had. The feeling of being understood was amazing and inspired me to learn more.
Some people are quick to call Finnish difficult or even impossible to learn but you can put that right by changing your perspective.
If you are interested in one-to-one tuition, we provide Private Finnish language lessons to help prepare you to pass the intermediate YKI language proficiency test.
Writer of the blog post:
Finnish language specialist