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How Long Does it Take to Learn Finnish?

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If you’re like most aspiring language learners, this question has likely crossed your mind: How long does it take to learn Finnish? 

The answer is, of course: It depends! 

In order to work out a realistic estimate, there are many factors to consider. These include your native tongue, how experienced you are at learning languages, and your learning environment, for example. We’ll look at each of these factors to help you work out how much time you might need; we’ll also give you some tips on how to learn the Finnish language more effectively! 

Another thing to consider is what proficiency level you’re talking about. Is your goal to master the basics of the Finnish language, to become a fluent Finnish speaker, or something in-between? Whether it’s the beginner, intermediate, or advanced proficiency level you’re aiming for, there are several tips and tricks you can utilize right from the start to learn Finnish faster.

Close-up of a Stopwatch.

Ready, steady, learn Finnish!


Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Finnish Table of Contents
  1. The Factors That Influence Your Learning Speed
  2. How Long Does it Take to Achieve a Beginner Level?
  3. How Long Does it Take to Achieve an Intermediate Level?
  4. How Long Does it Take to Achieve an Advanced Level?
  5. Lopuksi

1. The Factors That Influence Your Learning Speed

The FSI (Foreign Service Institute) has ranked Finnish as a Category III language. This means that, based on the differences between English and Finnish, Finnish is one of the harder languages for English speakers to learn. According to this ranking, it should take approximately 1100 hours or 44 weeks on average for an English-speaking learner to reach a general proficiency level in Finnish. This corresponds to the level B2 in CEFR, Level 3 on FinnishPod101, and Level 4 of YKI (the official Finnish language proficiency test).

Naturally, we’re not all going to progress at the exact same speed. In this section, we’ll consider the most important variables to take into account when working out your own estimate. Keep these in mind when we move on to the next section, where we’ll discuss what skills you should have mastered by the time you reach levels A1, B1, and C1, and what you can do to reach these proficiency levels a bit faster!

Your Language Background 

While you’re reading this article in English, perhaps it’s not your native tongue. Or maybe you are a native English speaker, but have also learned another language or two. The languages you know can potentially make a huge difference in how fast you can learn Finnish.

For example, if you speak Turkish or Indonesian, the fact that Finnish is an agglutinative language will not baffle you. Or if you know Hungarian or Estonian—languages that share roots with Finnish—you’ll have no trouble with the concept of using a large number of grammatical cases. In other words, the more linguistic aspects Finnish shares with the languages you already know, the easier it will be for you to learn the language. 

  • Curious about how closely related the languages you speak are to Finnish? This language family tree beautifully illustrates the relationships between different languages.

Your Language Learning Experience  

How strong is your language learning game?

Research shows that language learning skills are transferable. Therefore, even if the languages that you’ve studied before are not exactly similar to Finnish, those past learning experiences will have developed and strengthened many cognitive skills that will also help you with your Finnish studies.

Furthermore, having a language learning success already under your belt, you’ll feel more confident in your own abilities and will know which learning methods work best for you.

A Woman Looks Up from Her Books to Think.

Your Motivation Levels

Why do you want to study Finnish?

The goal you have in mind matters and can make a real difference in how fast you’ll progress. The more passionate you feel about learning Finnish, the easier it will be to motivate yourself to put in the necessary effort and carve out the time to keep at it even when life gets busy.

So what are your reasons? Do you want to travel or live in Finland? Have you fallen in love with the Finnish language—or a Finn? Are you simply looking for something fun and challenging to do, and learning Finnish seems to fit the bill? Whatever it is, be prepared to remind yourself why you’ve decided to do this on a regular basis, especially if you ever find yourself frustrated and unmotivated. Keeping that passion alive is important in learning Finnish faster!

Your Learning Environment

How, where, and with whom you’re studying all play a role in how long it takes to learn Finnish.

There are many ways to learn a language, and your choices can influence how quickly and efficiently you’ll develop your skills. You could learn in a formal setting under the guidance of a qualified teacher, enroll in an online course, or teach yourself using books or an app, for example.

The more independent your approach to learning Finnish, the more self-motivated you need to be to make steady progress. It’s always a good idea to mix various learning tools, and to try connecting with other learners even if you’re otherwise studying by yourself. And if it’s an option, completely immersing yourself into the language by spending time in Finland is the best way to really speed up your Finnish learning. We’ll talk more about that later!

A Group of Students in a Class.

Connect with other language learners for mutual support.

2. How Long Does it Take to Achieve a Beginner Level?

So you’d like to reach a beginner level in Finnish? Let’s see what that involves.

The beginner level A1 in CEFR corresponds to YKI 1.

At this level, you will have learned…

  • …basic vocabulary such as common nouns, colors, numbers, and days of the week.
  • …everyday expressions, such as hei (“hi”), kiitos (“thank you”), and näkemiin (“goodbye”).
  • …how to ask and answer basic personal questions and how to form very simple sentences.
  • …how to conjugate common verb types in the present tense.
  • …how to form the t-plural.
  • …the basics of using the most common grammatical cases.

How quickly can you expect to reach level A1 in Finnish? It should take roughly 140 to 180 hours.

Tips for Reaching the A1 Level in Finnish Faster

Wondering how to learn basic Finnish easily? 

First piece of advice: Keep it fun! Now is not the time to get bogged down in complex grammar concepts. Focus on the basics—pronunciation, key vocabulary, and simple phrases—to build your confidence. Start talking as soon as you can, and don’t be too afraid of making mistakes.

Frequent repetition is key when you’re learning a completely new language, so rather than scheduling a marathon session once a week, try to incorporate Finnish learning into your daily life as much as you can. Using a language learning app is a fun way to turn frequent downtime (like your morning commute or waiting for a friend) into an opportunity to pick up a couple of new words or to practice introducing yourself in Finnish. And using flashcards is always a neat way to memorize essential phrases and core vocabulary faster.

FinnishPod101 Beginner Lessons

Our curated pathway for Level 1 Finnish is a great place to start learning Finnish. The 32 lessons included in the pathway make up about 5 hours of audio, and you can test your skills along the way with 12 interactive assignments.

In the first lesson, Welcome to Finland, you’ll learn simple dialogue, vocabulary, and grammar. You’ll have access to audio recordings, comprehensive lesson notes, and a lesson transcript. You have the option of listening to the recordings at either normal or slow speed, and you can also record yourself to improve your pronunciation. The lesson notes introduce you to essential grammar points and the Finnish alphabet. Finally, the section on cultural insights helps you put your new skills into use in real life!

A Smiling Woman on the Street Looks at Her Phone.

Take Finnish lessons with you anywhere with a mobile app.


3. How Long Does it Take to Achieve an Intermediate Level?

The intermediate level B1 in CEFR corresponds to YKI 3. This is the level that you would need to reach if you wanted to pass a Finnish language exam in order to apply for a Finnish citizenship.

At this level, you should be able to…

  • …pronounce Finnish clearly and understandably.
  • …write everyday vocabulary without mistakes.
  • …use adverbs, as well as comparative and superlative adjectives.
  • …read and understand simple news articles.
  • …express opinions and describe how you’re feeling.
  • …ask for and give directions and advice.
  • …use common idioms.
  • …conjugate verbs in different tenses.
  • …use most grammatical cases.

How quickly can you expect to reach level B1 in Finnish? It should take roughly 630 to 730 hours.

Tips for Reaching the B1 Level in Finnish Faster

It’s quite a jump from absolute beginner to intermediate! To reach this level quickly, you’ll want to make sure that you’re covering all the different language learning bases: grammar, vocabulary, reading and listening comprehension, and writing and speaking skills. If you can, take progress tests on a regular basis to identify which areas need more work.

At this point, you’ll also want to immerse yourself in Finnish as much as you can. Listen to Finnish music, watch Finnish films and TV shows with subtitles, and find interesting things to read (anything from short news stories to web comics). To hone your writing skills, try keeping a simple journal in Finnish, or write to your language learning buddies or Finnish friends.

Check out our guide on must-watch Finnish TV shows to get started with your immersion!

FinnishPod101 Intermediate Lessons

Our curated pathway for Level 3 Finnish will build your confidence and help you express yourself in a range of situations, from ordering food to opening a bank account. It will also deepen your understanding of grammatical cases and different tenses.

The first lesson, A Finnish Job Interview, introduces work-related vocabulary, which you can add to a personalized flashcard deck or a word bank. The grammar notes walk you through how to use the present tense to discuss your qualities as a candidate and the past perfect tense to describe your work history. You can take a quiz after the lesson to see how well you can remember the new vocabulary!

A Woman Watches a Show on a Tablet.

Find something enjoyable to watch in Finnish to accelerate your learning.

4. How Long Does it Take to Achieve an Advanced Level?

The advanced level C1 in CEFR corresponds to YKI 5.

At this level, you’ll feel very comfortable communicating in Finnish and can…

  • …speak fluently and spontaneously about a large range of topics in both personal and professional contexts.
  • …follow discussions, TV shows, and films with ease.
  • …understand literary texts and specialized vocabulary.
  • …compose detailed and well-structured texts on a wide range of topics.
  • …use complex grammar correctly.

So how long does it take to learn Finnish fluently? You’re probably looking at about 1550 to 1650 hours.

Tips for Reaching the C1 Level in Finnish Faster

It takes commitment to take your language skills to the advanced level. The best way to get there faster, of course, is to spend time in Finland. Your language skills will be reinforced constantly and you’ll absorb new vocabulary quickly when you’re hearing, seeing, and speaking Finnish on a daily basis.

What if spending time in Finland is not an option for you? In that case, find other ways to make Finnish an integral part of your daily life. If you don’t know any native Finnish speakers, try an online conversation exchange to practice talking in Finnish. If you’re on social media a lot, follow interesting Finnish people and organizations to see Finnish content on your timeline—make sure to leave some comments in Finnish, too! Combine your favorite hobbies with your language learning by listening to Finnish podcasts, playing games in Finnish, or cooking your next meal following a recipe in Finnish.

To make sure that your grammar and pronunciation are up to scratch, it’s a good idea to seek detailed feedback from an experienced teacher.

FinnishPod101 Advanced Lessons

Our curated pathway for Level 5 Finnish focuses on growing your vocabulary, boosting your reading and listening skills, familiarizing you with complex grammar, and immersing you deeper in Finnish culture.

In the first lesson, Top 10 Finnish Tourist Destinations: Inari, you can hear or read about this northern destination in both Finnish and English to hone your comprehension skills.

A Dinner Party.

At an advanced level, you can easily participate in real-life conversations.

Lopuksi

In this article, we’ve considered the various factors that can make learning Finnish easier, discussed the different levels of Finnish proficiency, and shared various language learning tips to help you reach your learning goals faster. We hope that this information has been useful to you!

Or perhaps you already know Finnish? If so, share your experiences with the community in the comments below! How long did it take you to learn Finnish? What proficiency level have you reached? Which tools have you found especially useful?

Whether you’re an absolute beginner or have already mastered an intermediate level of Finnish, we have lots of resources and tools for you at FinnishPod101. Get started with free resources, or learn new words and correct pronunciation with our vocabulary lists. For a personalized lesson plan and one-on-one tutoring with an experienced Finnish teacher to fast-track you to Finnish fluency, try our Premium PLUS account.

Happy learning, and good luck!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Finnish

Is Finnish Hard to Learn?

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Finnish has a reputation of being a difficult language to learn. But is Finnish hard to learn, really? 

The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) has come up with a difficulty ranking for language-learning based on how different each language is from English. Using this system, FSI has placed Finnish in category IV. In other words, an English-speaker would need approximately forty-four weeks (or 1,100 hours) to reach general professional proficiency in Finnish (speaking and reading).

In general, it’s the Finnish grammar that tends to put learners off. However, there are many aspects of the language that learners also find very straightforward and simple! So perhaps we should reframe the question: How easy is it to learn Finnish?

Let’s take a closer look at each side of the coin so you can decide for yourself!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Learning Finnish Table of Contents
  1. Why Finnish is a Lot Easier to Learn Than You Think!
  2. What are the Challenging Parts of Learning Finnish?
  3. I Want to Learn Finnish. Where Should I Start?
  4. A Few More Quick Tips for New Finnish-Learners
  5. Why is FinnishPod101 Great for Learning Finnish?

A Boy Having Difficulties in His Study

Does Finnish deserve its reputation as a difficult language?

1. Why Finnish is a Lot Easier to Learn Than You Think!

1 – The pronunciation is highly regular.

If you’ve ever struggled with unpredictable pronunciation and silent letters while learning a new language, you’re going to love Finnish! In general, each sound in the Finnish language corresponds to a specific letter in the alphabet. Learn these sounds and you can simply “say what you see” (with very few exceptions).

The Finnish stress pattern is also a gift to language-learners: the primary stress always falls on the first syllable of a word. So forget about awkward accent marks—you’ll find none in Finnish. 

Why not learn the Finnish alphabet from A to Z with our free eBook?

The Alphabet

Most sounds used in Finnish correspond to a specific letter.

2 – There’s no grammatical gender or articles.

If you were learning a language like French or Spanish, having to memorize the gender of each noun would certainly slow you down. Finnish-learners rejoice: You can forget all about that nonsense! There are no gendered nouns in Finnish. Even the third person singular pronoun hän (“he” / “she”) is gender-neutral, so there’s no risk of offending anyone by accidentally using the wrong pronoun.

There are no articles either. Whether you’re talking about “a dog” or “the dog,” in Finnish, it’s the same: koira.

A Male and Female Symbol

You’ll find no gendered nouns in Finnish!

3 – It’s easy to expand your vocabulary fast.

At first glance, Finnish can look completely alien to an English-speaker. However, learning new words can be surprisingly easy.

Loanwords

It won’t take long until you start spotting familiar words. Finnish has borrowed many words from other languages, and according to lexicographers, the number of English loanwords entering Finnish is growing every year. A relatively recent addition is internetti (“internet”), or netti for short. 

Compound words

Another reason you’ll be able to expand your Finnish vocabulary faster than you thought is the large number of compound words in the language. It’ll often be a breeze to work out the meaning of a compound word if you’re already familiar with the component words. 

  • jääkaappi (“fridge” – “ice + cupboard”)
  • tietokone (“computer” – “knowledge + machine”)

Derivative suffixes

Another thing that can help you pick up Finnish words quickly is to learn related words in groups. All the words in the list below are derived from the same word stem:

  • kirja (“book”)
  • kirjain (“letter” / “character”)
  • kirjasto (“library”)
  • kirjanen (“pamphlet”)
  • kirjoitus (“text” / “writing” – noun)
  • kirjailija (“writer”)
  • kirjaimellinen (“literal”)
  • kirjallisuus (“literature”)
  • kirjoittaa (“to write”)

Many of these words have been created by attaching a suffix to the word stem. For example, the word for “library” is created by applying the suffix -sto, which signifies a collection of things (books, in this case). Familiarizing yourself with some of the more common suffixes can really speed up your vocabulary learning!

Learn more about Finnish noun-forming suffixes here and find more derivational suffixes here.

A Little Girl in the Library

Kirjasto (“library”) literally means ‘a collection of books.’

 4 – There’s no future tense.

Could Finnish be any more streamlined? Yes! Because there’s no future tense. Why overcomplicate things? 

Future actions in Finnish are usually expressed using the present tense. You can work out the difference from the context or from the use of adverbs like huomenna (“tomorrow”) or ensi vuonna (“next year”).

A Woman with Artificial Intelligence

Talking about the future? Just use the present tense!

 5 – The grammar is consistent.

Few things about language-learning are as frustrating as learning a rule by heart only to trip over one exception after another. We’ll get to the challenging aspects of Finnish grammar in due course, but for now, let us just say this: Finnish grammar is typically very consistent and regular. Yes, it may take you a while to become ‘besties’ with Finnish grammar, but once you do, you’ve found yourself a very good friend that you can rely on!

 2. What are the Challenging Parts of Learning Finnish?

We’re never going to lie and say that learning Finnish is all easy. There are aspects of the language that can feel very frustrating at first—but the same is true about any language, right? The trick is to know what you’re in for, take it step-by-step, and keep the faith!

Here are a few things that make Finnish hard to learn…

1 – The notorious noun cases

English-speakers are used to relying on lots of little words, like prepositions, to convey information. In Finnish, the same is usually achieved by inflecting words. While only three noun cases are used in modern English (the subjective, the objective, and the possessive), there’s a grand total of fifteen noun cases in Finnish.

Understandably, this can make prospective Finnish-learners nervous. To illustrate the difficulties, let’s talk about cake.

  • Minä pidän kakusta. (“I like cake.”)
  • Minä haluan kakkua. (“I want cake.”)
  • Minulla on kakku. (“I have a cake.”)
  • Minä söin kakun. (“I ate a cake.”)
  • Minä olen kyllästynyt kakkuun. (“I’m sick of cake.”)

You’ve just seen five different cases (elative, partitive, nominative, genitive, and illative) in action! Wherever you turn, you’re bound to run into noun cases. But while it may take you a while to learn the rules, remember that Finnish grammar is consistent and logical. You’ve got this!

A Slice of Cake

Sick of cake—or noun cases?

2 – Say hello to even more word endings

As if noun cases weren’t enough, there are even more endings for you to learn. You have a choice of seven different clitics. They can often be combined, like this:

  •  Onkohan se totta? (“I wonder if it’s true?”)

In the example above, the ending -ko turns the verb on (“is”) into a question, while the ending -han changes the tone, making the question less pressing and direct (“I wonder if”). If using more than one clitic, you need to get the order right!

Learn more about Finnish clitics and their uses here.

A Woman with Lots of Questions on Her Head

Onkohan se totta? (“I wonder if it’s true?”)

3 – Verb conjugation

Verb conjugation is another thing that can make the Finnish language hard to learn and induce feelings of dread in new learners! In Finnish, there are six main types of verbs that all behave somewhat differently. In order to inflect verbs correctly, you’ll need to be able to recognize the different verb types and remember what changes take place when the verb is inflected.

However, we’ve got some good news, too. You’ll be glad to know that irregular verbs are very rare in Finnish! The main offenders are the verb olla (“to be”), juosta (“to run”), tehdä (“to do”), and nähdä (“to see”). Once you’ve dealt with those, you’re unlikely to come across another irregular verb.

Find a concise introduction to Finnish verbs on our website, learn more about the six different Finnish verb types in this lesson, and dive deeper into Finnish verb conjugation on Wikipedia.

Children Happy Running

Juosta (“to run”): a rare example of an irregular verb in Finnish.

4 – Consonant gradation

Consonant gradation has to do with spelling changes that affect the stem of a noun when an ending is added. It’s also considered one of the most tedious aspects of learning Finnish! However, the rules of consonant gradation are logical, so there’s no doubt that you’ll master this skill—as long as you’re willing to put in the effort.

Learn about consonant gradation here, and see more examples in this lesson.

5 – Finnish is full of long words

The Finns’ love for compound words can get out of hand sometimes. In theory, it’s possible to coin massive word monsters by combining any number of words (though four words is typically the maximum you’ll see). From a learner’s point of view, this can make some Finnish words a nightmare to make sense of.

Here are some long Finnish compound words that you might come across: 

  • käsipyyherullajärjestelmä (“hand towel roll system”)
  • pyyhkäisyelektronimikroskooppi (“scanning electron microscope”)
  • elintarviketurvallisuusvirasto (“food safety authority”)
  • kolmivaihekilowattituntimittari (“three phase kilowatt hour meter”)

As you can imagine, these are not only hard to spell, but they’re also some pretty hard Finnish words to pronounce! 

Thankfully, most compound words consist of only two words! And once you’re more comfortable with compound words, you can even start having fun with them. That is, you can create your very own compound words in Finnish, and no one will bat an eyelid as long as they make sense!

A Woman Making Funny Face

Is that a word or a tongue-twister?!

3. I Want to Learn Finnish. Where Should I Start?

1 – Define your goal.

First of all, be clear about why you want to learn Finnish! Do you want to learn a little conversational Finnish in preparation for a trip to Finland? Are you dreaming of living in Finland one day and want to pass the YKI exam? Or are you addicted to Nordic Noir and desperate to read Finnish crime novels that haven’t been translated yet?

Your learning strategy will depend on what you want to achieve, so define your goal and keep it in mind to stay motivated!

A Dart Bullseye

Stay focused on your learning target.

2 – Start with the vocabulary that you need the most.

If you’re planning to learn Finnish, you’ll want to start using the language as quickly as possible. To do just that, make sure you prioritize learning the most relevant vocabulary and expressions. Of course, what’s most relevant depends on you! Are you planning to travel around Finland? Get started with some essential travel vocabulary. Or perhaps you’re dating a Finn? Learn how to compliment him or her.

You can create personalized flashcards to help you learn your chosen words. Alternatively, get started with the 100 most common Finnish words.

A Man Travelling with Suitcase

Plan to travel in Finland? Start learning travel vocabulary, like matkalaukku (“suitcase”).

 3 – Break grammar into manageable chunks.

Finnish grammar can feel overwhelming at times, but you don’t need to take it all in right away! Focus on practicing just a few noun cases at first, and tackle the conjugation of one verb type at a time. And if you do get frustrated, remember that Finnish is a very logical and methodical language. Remain patient, and you’ll get there!

4 – Speak from day one.

You may think of speaking as one of the last steps you take in the process of learning a new language. You wouldn’t want to embarrass yourself by mispronouncing words or making grammar mistakes, right? No—we passionately advocate the exact opposite! Start speaking Finnish as soon as possible, and use every opportunity to use the words and phrases that you’re learning. This will boost your confidence and also help you learn by trial and error. Don’t ever let the fear of making mistakes hold you back.

Get started right away with these Finnish key phrases.

Friends Chatting with Each Other while Drinking

Don’t be shy! Speak Finnish from day one.

4. A Few More Quick Tips for New Finnish-Learners 

1 – Don’t give up!

Learning a language takes time and effort. If it didn’t, we’d all be polyglots! Therefore, you’re likely to get frustrated at times. If this happens to you, take a break from whatever you’re struggling with and focus on something easier (like learning new vocabulary) for a bit. And if you ever get really stuck, you can always reach out to an experienced Finnish tutor for extra help and guidance.

2 – Immerse yourself.

Boost your learning by taking every opportunity to expose yourself to Finnish. Find Finnish music and podcasts to listen to (you’re getting used to the sounds and the rhythm of the language, even if you understand very little to start with!). You should also watch YouTube videos and films in Finnish, and start reading articles and books as soon as possible. Seeing and hearing Finnish used in real life helps solidify the lessons you’ve learned in a fun and exciting way.

3 – Team up with other learners.

Sharing your triumphs and struggles, and exchanging language-learning tips with other people, can be really motivating! Why not chat with other Finnish learners on social media? Check out our Instagram and Facebook pages to engage with other learners.

4 – Make language-learning a part of your routine.

If you can make time for language-learning on a regular basis, you’ll make progress a lot faster. The best way is to schedule time to study Finnish each day. Could you fit in a lesson or two during your morning commute or your lunch break? Our language apps allow you to access Finnish lessons anywhere, and are the perfect way to incorporate Finnish-learning effortlessly into your life, no matter how busy you are!

A Man Listening Something with His Headphone

Use our app to access Finnish lessons on-the-go.

5. Why is FinnishPod101 Great for Learning Finnish?

If you’re keen to learn Finnish, FinnishPod101 has an effective learning system for learners at every level.  

1 – An integrated approach

One of the strengths of our method is combining multiple skills into a single lesson. Combining grammar notes with a listening exercise, for example, makes our lessons more organic and powerful, helping you progress faster.

2 – Plenty of free resources

Whether you’re just dipping your toes into Finnish-learning to see if it’s really for you, or are already fully committed to becoming fluent, we have a huge collection of suitable learning materials for you. Even better, a lot of our content is completely free to use.

3 – Customizable content

From customized vocabulary flashcards to lesson pathways tailored to your specific needs, our system is designed to support you and help you reach your personal learning goals, whatever they are.

4 – Extra help from a Finnish tutor

If you ever need extra support or want to take your language learning to the next level, our Premium PLUS program gives you access to a private Finnish tutor. Your tutor can help you with all aspects of language-learning, such as giving you feedback on your pronunciation and providing personalized assignments to help you test your knowledge.

A Woman Hands Up in the Air

We’ll help you succeed!

So how hard is it to learn Finnish? In this guide, we’ve discussed the notorious noun cases (among other stumbling blocks that Finnish-learners face), as well as the many ways in which Finnish can be surprisingly straightforward. Our final verdict is this: The language has its challenges, but learning Finnish is definitely doable—and also very rewarding!

What are your thoughts? Are you feeling more hesitant or reassured? Feel free to reach out to us if you want to know more about how we can help you learn Finnish!

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The 10 Most Common Finnish Mistakes That Learners Make

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Learning a new language is a great adventure. On your journey, you’ll come across many tricky sounds, some confusing grammar, and many words that seem to behave strangely for no good reason… 

But all good adventurers come prepared, and we’re here to help you prepare! That is, we’ll shine our spotlight on the ten most common Finnish mistakes, so that your journey will go that much more smoothly. In addition, knowing what Finnish mistakes to watch out for will give you an easier time making yourself understood when speaking with locals.

We’ll be looking at common pronunciation mistakes for Finnish-learners, typical mistakes in Finnish grammar, and a few other things that Finnish-learners often struggle with. Be sure to read to the end of this guide, where we’ll reveal the biggest mistake of all!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Finnish Table of Contents
  1. Long Vowels and Double Consonants
  2. Tricky Sounds
  3. Common Homonyms
  4. The Many Meanings of No niin!
  5. Postpositions
  6. The Object Trilemma: Partitive, Nominative, or Accusative?
  7. Vowel Harmony
  8. Consonant Gradation
  9. Repeating Things Unnecessarily
  10. Not Preparing for Spoken Finnish
  11. The Biggest Mistake!

A Little Boy Frustrated with His Homework

Älä huoli, kaikki tekevät virheitä! (“Don’t worry, everybody makes mistakes!”)

1. Long Vowels and Double Consonants

Have you noticed how many Finnish words sound extremely similar to each other? Often, the only difference is a double letter, so it’s very easy to mix up similar words. However, taking time to tune your ear to the sound of long vowels and double consonants—and getting your pronunciation right—is very important. A single letter can change the meaning of a word drastically.

Consider these very similar-sounding statements:

  • Tapaan Esan huomenna! (“I’m meeting Esa tomorrow!”)
  • Tapan Esan huomenna! (“I’m killing Esa tomorrow!”)

Poor Esa will surely hope you meant the first one! Here are other examples of words that look and sound very similar:

  • tuli / tuuli / tulli (“fire” / “wind” / “customs”)
  • muta / mutta / muuttaa (“mud” / “but” / “to move”)
  • tili / tiili / tilli (“account” / “brick” / “dill”)

 Here’s the rule of thumb when it comes to pronunciation: Double equals longer and stronger.

Flames Against a Dark Background

Tuli, ei tuuli! (“Fire, not wind!”)

2. Tricky Sounds

While most sounds in Finnish will present no problems for English-speakers, there are a couple that can be challenging and require some practice to get right. Trust us, with enough practice and exposure, you’ll be able to avoid an embarrassing pronunciation mistake in Finnish later on down the line.

 Let’s take a closer look at the Finnish ä, ö, y, and r!

Ä

Ä: pronounced like “a” in “that” and “cat”

Ää: pronounced like the “a” in “bad” and “sad”

Go ahead and say these words out loud:

  • äkkiä (“quickly”)
  • äiti (“mother”)
  • ääni (“sound”)
  • häät (“wedding”)

Ö

 Ö: Pronounced like “e” in “better”

Öö: Pronounced like “ea” in “earn” or “u” in “turn”

 A few words for you to practice with:

  • öinen (“nightly”)
  • ötökkä (“bug”)
  • lööppi (“headline”)
  • söötti (“cute” – colloquial) 

Y

The “y” sound is one of the trickiest for Finnish-learners to master, because it isn’t found in English. The best way to get the sound just right is to listen to recordings of Finnish words with y and repeat those words until you feel confident. 

For example, listen to the recording of tyttärentytär (“granddaughter”) on this vocabulary list.

Here are a few more words for you to practice with:

  • yksi (“one”)
  • nyt (“now”)
  • kyynel (“teardrop”)
  • tyyny (“pillow”)

R

If you’re struggling with the Finnish “r,” take heart—even many Finns get help from a speech therapist to correct their ärrävika (saying “r” incorrectly) while growing up!

If you’ve ever studied Spanish, you’ll have an advantage because the Finnish “r” is similar to the “r” sound in Spanish. The key to getting the clear sound is to really roll the “r.” You can literally feel your tongue vibrating when you’re doing it right!

Note that the Finnish “r” is made at the front of the mouth (the same place where you make the “d” sound!), while the English “r” is made further back in the mouth.

Here’s a selection of Finnish words to practice rolling your “r” with. Remember to make the sound longer when you see a double “r”!

  • ravintola (“restaurant”)
  • radio (“radio”)
  • suuri (“big”)
  • murre (“dialect”)

If you’re feeling especially brave, try this Finnish tongue-twister:

  •  Ärrän kierrän ympäri orren. (“I wrap the ‘r’ around the perch.”)

Would you like more help with your pronunciation? FinnishPod101.com has a comprehensive guide to Finnish sounds and how to master them, a Finnish alphabet page, and a relevant audio lesson.

A Little Kid Holding Snow in Hands

The Finnish sound “y” is made with rounded lips.

3. Common Homonyms

Alright, so we’ve gone on quite a bit about Finnish words that are similar to each other. Now we’re going to talk about homonyms—words that sound and look the same but have different meanings. They’re very common in Finnish!

Being aware of common homonyms means that you’re less likely to trip over them, so let’s take a look at some examples, starting with the classic kuusi palaa.

The word kuusi can mean any of these things: 

  • “Six”
  • “A fir tree” 
  • “Your moon” (kuu + the possessive suffix -si)

The word palaa can mean any of these things: 

  • “Pieces” (in the partitive case)
  • “Burns” 
  • “Returns”

Therefore, kuusi palaa can mean a fair number of things, including “six pieces” and “the fir tree is burning”!

Here are a few more words with different meanings:

  • Tuli (“fire” or “came” in third person singular)
  • Keksi (“biscuit” or “invented” in third person singular)
  • Kurkku (“cucumber” or “throat”)

Discover more Finnish homonyms on this list.

4. The Many Meanings of No niin!

If you’re spending time in Finland, you’ll probably hear no niin (or noni) uttered a lot. Many Finnish-learners are confused by the sheer range of meanings that this simple utterance can have. It can signal enthusiasm, disappointment, and irritation, for starters. You can’t simply decide that no niin means “well” or “now” and be done with it. The Finnish stand-up comedian Ismo Leikola went so far as to claim that no niin is the most important Finnish expression there is!

 Here are a few examples of no niin in action.

  • No niin, ruoka on valmista! (“Okay, the food is ready!”)
  • No niin, hieno homma! (“That’s great, well done!”)
  • No niin, taas mennään. (“Oh dear, here we go again.”)
  • No niin, aika näyttää. (“Well, time will tell.”)

5. Postpositions

In general, you’ll find that Finnish word order is not that dissimilar from the English one. Take this basic declarative sentence:

  • Mies söi omenan. (“A man ate an apple.”) 

It follows the subject + verb + object order that you’re already familiar with. 

However, there are still a few word order surprises for Finnish-learners. A case in point is Finnish postpositions, which express place, cause, time, consequence, or relation. While in English, you would say “behind the sofa” or “after school,” in Finnish, you’ll put the adposition after your noun, hence the term postposition. Note that the noun will usually be in the genitive case.

Look at these examples with the postposition underlined:

  • Sohvan takana (“Behind the sofa”)
  • Pöydän päällä (“On top of the table”)
  • Maton alla (“Under the rug”)
  • Laatikon sisällä (“Inside the box”)
  • Koulun jälkeen (“After school”)

You can learn more Finnish postpositions on Wiktionary.

Though far less common, there are a few prepositions in Finnish as well. The most useful ones to memorize are ennen (“before”) and ilman (“without”). Note that the noun is now in the partitive case.

  • Ennen joulua (“Before Christmas”)
  • Ilman apua (“Without help”)

Wait! Then we have a couple of words that can be either, such as keskellä (“in the middle of”) and lähellä (“near”)! Remember that the order affects the case of the noun. 

  • Keskellä kaupunkia (“In the middle of the city”)
  • Kaupungin keskellä (“In the middle of the city”)

Learn more vocabulary related to positions and directions on our website.

A Man Crossing His Fingers Behind His Back

Selän takana (“Behind the back”)

6. The Object Trilemma: Partitive, Nominative, or Accusative?

One aspect of Finnish grammar that scares prospective learners (and frustrates the current ones) the most is the use of numerous noun cases. We agree, it’s a lot to wrap your head around. But on the bright side, once you’ve mastered your noun cases, you’ll be well on your way to Finnish fluency!

The best approach to learning the noun cases is to focus on a few at a time and practice them a lot (and then practice them some more). Right now, we’ll focus on the tricky trilemma of choosing whether to put the object of your sentence into the nominative, accusative, or partitive case. Getting it wrong is one of the easiest mistakes in Finnish to make, but we know that you can do this!

1. The object in the partitive case

Choose the partitive when:

  • The object follows a partitive verb, such as rakastaa (“to love”), vihata (“to hate”), or odottaa (“to wait for”).
  • The object is a part of a negative sentence.
  • The object follows a number.
  • The action is taking place now and may not be fully completed.
  • The object is uncountable.

 Examples:

  • Minä rakastan sinua. (“I love you.”)
  • En halua koiraa. (“I don’t want a dog.”)
  • Sanna lukee kirjaa. (“Sanna is reading a book.”)
  • Arto juo kahvia. (“Arto is drinking coffee.”)

 2. The object in the nominative case

Choose the nominative when:

  • The object follows a verb that’s in the passive form.
  • The object follows a necessive, such as minun on pakko (“I have to”), minun täytyy (“I must”), or minun pitää (“I need”). 
  • The object follows a command.

Examples:

  • Tänään siivotaan keittiö. (“Today, the kitchen is cleaned.”)
  • Minun täytyy pedata sänky. (“I must make the bed.”)
  • Ota puhelin. (“Take the phone.”) 

3. The object in the accusative case

Finally, choose the accusative case when: 

  • The action has been fully completed.
  • The intention is to fully complete the action.

Examples:

  • Ostin kesämökin. (“I bought a summer cottage.”)
  • Aion sulkea oven. (“I’m going to close the door.”)

No niin, you’ve probably already spotted a problem here. What if several of these rules apply to the same sentence? Well, in situations like that, the partitive trumps the nominative, and the nominative trumps the accusative. So, the hierarchy looks like this:

Partitive > Nominative > Accusative

Can you think of a mnemonic to help you remember the correct order? Things get more complicated when you add things like plurals or possessive suffixes into the mix, but that is a lesson for another day! For now, keep your eye on objects and cases whenever you’re reading Finnish sentences, and see if you can work out which rule is being followed.

A Girl Reading a Book

Tyttö lukee kirjaa. (“A girl is reading a book.”)

7. Vowel Harmony

Compared to the difficulty of wrestling with the Finnish noun cases, figuring out vowel harmony is a walk in the park. Still, forgetting about vowel harmony is a common mistake in the Finnish language, so let’s take a closer look.

What exactly is vokaaliharmonia (“vowel harmony”), and why does it matter? In Finnish, vowels are grouped into front, back, and neutral vowels. 

  • Front vowels: A, O, U
  • Back vowels: Y, Ä, Ö
  • Neutral vowels: E, I

Normally, you can’t mix front and back vowels in the same word, while neutral vowels can mix with either front or back vowels. Knowing this will help you with your spelling, but more importantly, it will help you choose the right endings when you inflect words.

For example, talo (“house”) in the partitive case becomes taloa, but mörkö (“ghost”) inflected in the partitive case becomes mörköä. Words containing only neutral vowels generally take the same ending as words with back vowels. For example: vintti (“attic”) becomes vinttiä in the partitive case.

Note that there are some words that don’t follow the rules, including many loanwords.

  • konduktööri (“conductor”)
  • Olympialaiset (“Olympics”)
Olympic Rings on White Background

Vokaaliharmonia ei päde olympialaiset-sanaan.
(“Vowel harmony doesn’t apply to the word ‘Olympics’.”)

8. Consonant Gradation

Another type of error Finnish-learners make quite often has to do with astevaihtelu (“consonant gradation”). It’s something you’ll come across a lot in your Finnish studies, so it’s good to learn about it sooner rather than later!

Consonant gradation comes into play when we add an ending to a noun or a verb. There are “strong” and “weak” grades of words, and these grades determine whether the word changes or not. As you probably guessed, “strong” words don’t change while “weak” words do.

We’ll look at simple consonant gradation affecting words with the consonants K, P, and T.

Examples of words in the nominative case (the basic form), which is always strong:

  • pankki (“bank”)
  • kuppi (“cup”)
  • katto (“roof”)

The same words are also strong in the following cases:

  • Partitive: pankkia, kuppia, kattoa
  • Illative: pankkiin, kuppiin, kattoon
  • Essive: pankkina, kuppina, kattona

See? No changes there. However, when the same words are in the following cases, they become weak and drop a letter:

  • Plural: pankit, kupit, katot
  • Genitive: pankin, kupin, katon
  • Inessive: pankissa, kupissa, katossa
  • Elative: pankista, kupista, katosta
  • Adessive: pankilla, kupilla, katolla
  • Ablative: pankilta, kupilta, katolta
  • Allative: pankille, kupille, katolle
  • Translative: pankiksi, kupiksi, katoksi

That was so easy that you’ll no doubt want to know more about Finnish consonant gradation. Luckily, there’s a lot more to learn! You could start by reading this Wikipedia article or listening to this audio lesson.

A Woman with a Large Stack of Papers in Front of Her

Just doing some light reading on Finnish consonant gradation.

9. Repeating Things Unnecessarily

One mistake that many Finnish-learners make is putting a lot of effort into things like memorizing correct verb conjugation but not taking advantage of what they’ve learned! Whatever do we mean? Well, conjugating like a pro allows you to become “lazy.” That is, you can start dropping unnecessary words like minä (“I”)!

Take a look at this introduction:

  • Hei, minä olen Helena! Minä asun Oulussa. (“Hi, I’m Helena! I live in Oulu.”)

Our example is grammatically correct. However, the conjugated verb already tells us that the subject of the sentence is “I.” Therefore, you can drop it and no one will miss it!

  • Hei, olen Helena! Asun Oulussa.

Leaving out words that aren’t strictly necessary sounds more natural to Finnish ears. The same applies when you’re asking questions. Feel free to drop sinä (“you”) as well. For example:

  • Puhutko sinä suomea? (“Do you speak Finnish?”)
  • Puhutko suomea?

Listen to this audio lesson, where we chat more about this common mistake.

10. Not Preparing for Spoken Finnish

For many Finnish-learners, their first time talking to a Finn in real life comes as a shock. Why? Spoken Finnish can sound very different from standard Finnish!

In general, spoken Finnish is simply more economical than standard Finnish.

Here are some common features of spoken Finnish:

  • Syllables are dropped. 
    • e.g. mutta (“but”) becomes mut.
  • Words are ‘squished’ together. 
    • e.g. Tuutsä? (“Are you coming?”) instead of Tuletko sinä?
  • The word se (“it”) replaces hän (“he” / “she”).
  • The verb is in the passive form in the first person plural. 
    • e.g. Me ollaan koulussa. (“We are in school.”) instead of Me olemme koulussa.
  • The possessive suffix is dropped. 
    • e.g. Minun koira (“My dog”) instead of Minun koirani.

Learn more about colloquial Finnish on Wikipedia.

Two Women Chatting with Each Other on a Park Bench

Wait, are we speaking Finnish?

11. The Biggest Mistake!

No niin, we’ve finally made it to the big reveal! So, what is the biggest mistake a Finnish-learner could make? Being afraid of making mistakes! That’s right; mistakes are a part of your learning journey, so embrace them.

We certainly don’t expect you to never make any of the mistakes mentioned in this article. What we do hope, though, is that you’ve become more aware of the common pitfalls, so that you’ll notice more easily when you might have stumbled. In order to learn from our mistakes, we need to be able to notice them first!

FinnishPod101 is full of free resources to help you with your Finnish studies, so remember to make full use of them! For example, a brilliant way to perfect your pronunciation of tricky Finnish sounds is to listen to the audio recordings that accompany our vocabulary lists and repeat each word out loud!

And if you’d like an experienced teacher to help you wrap your head around consonant gradation or any other grammar rules, our Premium PLUS one-on-one coaching is perfect for you. 

However you prefer to learn, we’re cheering you on!

Before you go, let us know in the comments how many of these mistakes you’ve made before. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Finnish Keyboard: How to Install and Type in Finnish

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You asked, so we provided—easy-to-follow instructions on how to set up your electronic devices to write in Finnish! We’ll also give you a few excellent tips on how to use this keyboard, as well as some online and app alternatives if you prefer not to set up a Finnish keyboard.

Log in to Download Your Free Finnish Alphabet Worksheet Table of Contents
  1. Why it’s Important to Learn to Type in Finnish
  2. Setting up Your Computer and Mobile Devices for Finnish
  3. How to Activate an Onscreen Keyboard on Your Computer
  4. How to Change the Language Settings to Finnish on Your Computer
  5. Activating the Finnish Keyboard on Your Mobile Phone and Tablet
  6. Finnish Keyboard Typing Tips
  7. How to Practice Typing Finnish

1. Why it’s Important to Learn to Type in Finnish

A keyboard

Learning a new language is made so much easier when you’re able to read and write/type it. This way, you will:

  • Get the most out of any dictionary and Finnish language apps on your devices
  • Expand your ability to find Finnish websites and use the various search engines
  • Be able to communicate much better online with your Finnish teachers and friends, and look super cool in the process! 

2. Setting up Your Computer and Mobile Devices for Finnish

A phone charging on a dock

It takes only a few steps to set up any of your devices to read and type in Finnish. It’s super-easy on your mobile phone and tablet, and a simple process on your computer.

On your computer, you’ll first activate the onscreen keyboard to work with. You’ll only be using your mouse or touchpad/pointer for this keyboard. Then, you’ll need to change the language setting to Finnish, so all text will appear in Finnish. You could also opt to use online keyboards instead. Read on for the links!

On your mobile devices, it’s even easier—you only have to change the keyboard. We also provide a few alternatives in the form of online keyboards and downloadable apps.

3. How to Activate an Onscreen Keyboard on Your Computer

1- Mac

1. Go to System Preferences > Keyboard.

2. Check the option “Show Keyboard & Character Viewers in Menu Bar.”

3. You’ll see a new icon on the right side of the main bar; click on it and select “Show Keyboard Viewer.”

A screenshot of the keyboard viewer screen

2- Windows

1. Go to Start > Settings > Easy Access > Keyboard.

2. Turn on the option for “Onscreen Keyboard.”

3- Online Keyboards

If you don’t want to activate your computer’s onscreen keyboard, you also have the option to use online keyboards. Here are some good options:

4- Add-ons of Extensions for Browsers

Instead of an online keyboard, you could also choose to download a Google extension to your browser for a language input tool. The Google Input Tools extension allows users to use input tools in Chrome web pages, for example.

4. How to Change the Language Settings to Finnish on Your Computer

Man looking at his computer

Now that you’re all set to work with an onscreen keyboard on your computer, it’s time to download the Finnish language pack for your operating system of choice:

  • Windows 8 (and higher)
  • Windows 7
  • Mac (OS X and higher)

1- Windows 8 (and higher)

  1. Go to “Settings” > “Change PC Settings” > “Time & Language” > “Region & Language.”
  2. Click on “Add a Language” and select “Finnish.” This will add it to your list of languages. It will appear as suomi with the note “language pack available.”
  3. Click on “suomi” > “Options” > “Download.” It’ll take a few minutes to download and install the language pack.
  4. As a keyboard layout, you’ll only need the one marked as “Finnish – suomi.” You can ignore other keyboard layouts.

2- Windows 7

  1. Go to “Start” > “Control Panel” > “Clock, Language, and Region.”
  2. On the “Region and Language” option, click on “Change Keyboards or Other Input Methods.”
  3. On the “Keyboards and Languages” tab, click on “Change Keyboards” > “Add” > “Finnish.”
  4. Expand the option of “Finnish” and then expand the option “Keyboard.” Select the keyboard layout marked as “Finnish.” You can ignore other keyboard layouts. Click “OK” and then “Apply.”

3- Mac (OS X and higher)

If you can’t see the language listed, please make sure to select the right option from System Preferences > Language and Region

1. From the Apple Menu (top left corner of the screen) go to System Preferences > Keyboard.

2. Click the Input Sources tab and a list of available keyboards and input methods will appear.

3. Click on the plus button, select “Finnish,” and add the “Finnish” keyboard.

Adding a system language

5. Activating the Finnish Keyboard on Your Mobile Phone and Tablet

Texting and searching in Finnish will greatly help you master the language! Adding a Finnish keyboard on your mobile phone and/or tablet is super-easy.

You could also opt to download an app instead of adding a keyboard. Read on for our suggestions.

Below are the instructions for both iOS and Android mobile phones and tablets.

1- iOS

1. Go to Settings > General > Keyboard.

2. Tap “Keyboards” and then “Add New Keyboard.”

3. Select “Finnish” from the list.

4. When typing, you can switch between languages by tapping and holding on the icon to reveal the keyboard language menu.

2- Android

1. Go to Settings > General Management > Language and Input > On-screen Keyboard (or “Virtual Keyboard” on some devices) > Samsung Keyboard.

2. Tap “Language and Types” or “ + Select Input Languages” depending on the device and then “MANAGE INPUT LANGUAGES” if available.

3. Select “suomi” from the list.

4. When typing, you can switch between languages by swiping the space bar.

3- Applications for Mobile Phones

If you don’t want to add a keyboard on your mobile phone or tablet, this is a good app to consider:

6. Finnish Keyboard Typing Tips

Typing in Finnish can be very challenging at first! Therefore, we added here a few useful tips to make it easier to use your Finnish keyboard.

A man typing on a computer

1- Computer

  • If you don’t have access to a virtual keyboard, the Finnish letter “Ä” can be written as “ae” and “Ö” can be written as “oe.” This system is used internationally in official documents (such as passports and ID cards) and even in sports competitions. 

2- Mobile Phones

  • Like before, if you don’t have access to a virtual keyboard, the Finnish letter “Ä” can be written as “ae” and “Ö” can be written as “oe.” On a mobile keyboard, though, these characters should appear as options if you press and hold the “A” and “O” keys, respectively.

7. How to Practice Typing Finnish

As you probably know by now, learning Finnish is all about practice, practice, and more practice! Strengthen your Finnish typing skills by writing comments on any of our lesson pages, and our teacher will answer. If you’re a FinnishPod101 Premium PLUS member, you can directly text our teacher via the My Teacher app—use your Finnish keyboard to do this!

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Learn How to Talk About Your Family in Finnish

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Did you know that only some reptiles and birds don’t parent their offspring? Except for crocodiles, all reptiles (and one family of bird species called megapodes) hatch from eggs and grow up alone, without any family.

The rest of us need family if we are to survive and thrive – humans and animals alike!

At FinnishPod101, we know how important family is. Therefore, we take care to teach you all the important vocabulary and phrases pertaining to family.

Table of Contents

  1. Why Is It Important to Know Finnish Vocabulary about Family?
  2. Learn a New Culture? Learn its Family Vocab first
  3. How FinnishPod101 Can Help You Learn Finnish Family Terms

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Family Phrases in Finnish

1. Why Is It Important to Know Finnish Vocabulary about Family?

Lioness with Cub

Well, if you’re serious about studying any new language, then learning about the most important social unit in Finnish culture would be a crucial part of your education.

What is family, though? Strictly speaking, it’s a group of people who live together and are supposed to take care of one another. Some of them are genetically linked.

Family isn’t just about who we’re related to by blood, of course. It’s also one of the main influences in shaping every child’s life.

Family is Important for Children’s Healthy Development

Phrases Parents Say

Family is the single most important influence in a child’s life. Children depend on parents and family to protect them and provide for their needs from the day they were born.

Primary caregivers, which usually comprise parents and family, form a child’s first relationships. They are a child’s first teachers and are role models that show kids how to act and experience the world around them.

By nurturing and teaching children during their early years, families play an important role in making sure children are ready to learn when they enter school.

Families Can Take All Shapes and Sizes

However, the way families are put together is by no means standard.

Mom and Daughter

Single-parent and same-gender households have become a new norm the past few decades, and there’s no shame in this. When there is love, connection and proper care, a child can thrive anywhere.

Everyone also knows that sometimes friends can become like family and remain with us for life, because it’s all about human connection.

After all, we share many commonalities simply because we’re human, and we are programmed to connect with one another and belong to a group. This is very important for our well-being and survival.

It’s All About Feeling Connected

As John Northman, a psychologist from Buffalo, NY, told WebMD – feeling connected to others contributes to mental as well as physical health.

He pointed out that when people feel connected, they feel better physically, and they’re also less likely to feel depressed.

Couples Chatting

Or, if they do feel depressed, they’d be in a better position to get out of it when they feel they are connecting with others. This is because they would be psychologically supported too, Northman said.

There has even been some links drawn between addiction and feeling disconnected from others. According to an article in Psychology Today, research indicates that addiction is not solely a substance disorder, but also affected by people feeling insecurely attached to others.

It showed that securely attached individuals tend to feel comfortable in and enjoy life, while insecurely attached people typically struggle to fit in and connect.

2. Learn a New Culture? Learn its Family Vocab first

So, it’s clear that for most of us, family is our entry point into connection and belonging. This is true of every culture, so in every country, family takes prominence.

For this reason, FinnishPod101 offers culturally-relevant lessons that will equip you well to understand families in Finland.

Here are some of the most important Finnish vocabulary and quotes about family and parenting!

A) Finnish Family Vocabulary

Let’s start with the basic vocabulary. Without this collection of words, you’ll have a hard time describing any member of your family at all.

Family Terms
Family
perhe
Great grandfather
isoisoisä
Mother
äiti
Grandmother
isoäiti
Father
isä
Grandfather
isoisä
Wife
vaimo
Grandchild
lapsenlapsi
Husband
aviomies
Granddaughter
pojantytär, tyttärentytär
Parent
vanhempi
Grandson
pojanpoika, tyttärenpoika
Child
lapsi
Aunt
täti
Daughter
tytär
Uncle
setä, eno
Sister
sisko
Niece
veljentytär
Brother
veli
Nephew
veljenpoika
Younger sister
pikkusisko
Younger brother
pikkuveli
Older brother
isoveli
Great grandmother
isoisoäiti
Cousin
serkku
Mother-in-law
anoppi
Father-in-law
appi
Sister-in-law
käly
Brother-in-law
lanko
Partner
kumppani

Family of Three

B) Quotes About Family

Finnish Family Quotes

One of the ways to improve your Finnish language skills is by memorizing quotes from books, or poems.

Either source some from Finnish literature, or make use of ours!

Sinä et valitse perhettäsi. He ovat Jumalan lahja sinulle, kuten sinäkin olet heille.

“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.” – Desmond Tutu

Perhe ei ole tärkeä asia. Se on kaikki.

“Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.” – Michael J. Fox

Perhe tarkoittaa, ettei ketään jätetä yksin eikä unohdeta.

“Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.” – David Ogden Stiers

Perheeni on voimani ja heikkouteni.

“My family is my strength and my weakness.” – Aishwarya Rai

Perhe on yksi luonnon mestariteoksista.

“The family is one of nature’s masterpieces.” – George Santayana

Kun ongelmia tulee, perheesi on se, joka tukee sinua.

“When trouble comes, it’s your family that supports you.” – Guy Lafleur

Perhe on yhteiskunnan perussolu.

“The family is the first essential cell of human society.” – Pope John XXIII

Ei ole olemassa sellaista asiaa kuin hauskaa koko perheelle.

“There is no such thing as fun for the whole family.” – Jerry Seinfeld

Sinun täytyy puolustaa kunniaasi. Ja perhettäsi.

“You have to defend your honor. And your family.” – Suzanne Vega

Kaikki onnelliset perheet ovat toistensa kaltaisia; jokainen onneton perhe on onneton omalla tavallaan.

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” – Leo Tolstoy

C) Test Your Knowledge!

Do you feel you have learned a lot in this blog? Let’s quickly test that!

In the table below, match the Finnish vocabulary on the left with the definition of the relative in the right column.

MY RELATIVES
Relative Name Definition
1. perhe a. My male child
2. äiti b. My older male sibling
3. isä c. My female sibling
4. vaimo d. My child’s child
5. aviomies e. My child’s female child
6. vanhempi f. My female parent
7. lapsi g. My grandparent’s mother
8. tytär h. Mother to one of my parents
9. poika i. Relatives
10. sisko j. My female child
11. veli k. My younger male sibling
12. pikkusisko l. Male spouse
13. pikkuveli m. The father of one of my parents
14. isoveli n. My child’s male child
15. isoisoäiti o. My children’s father or mother
16. isoisoisä p. The sister of one of my parents
17. isoäiti q. The brother of one of my parents
18. isoisä r. My male parent
19. lapsenlapsi s. My sibling’s female child
20. pojantytär, tyttärentytär t. My sibling’s male child
21. pojanpoika, tyttärenpoika u. My male sibling
22. täti v. My parents’ sibling’s child
23. setä, eno w. Female spouse
24. veljentytär x. The grandfather of one of my parents
25. veljenpoika y. The person I am a parent to
26. serkku z. My younger female sibling

How did it go? Don’t worry if you had trouble with it – you’ll get there! With a bit of practice, and our help at FinnishPod101, you’ll soon have these family terms under the belt.

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3. How FinnishPod101 Can Help You Learn Finnish Family Terms

We hope that we helped you expand your family in Finnish vocabulary!

FinnishPod101, with its innovative online learning system, stands out among online learning platforms to help you master Finnish easily.

Our lessons are tailored not only to increase your language skills, but to also inform you of Finnish culture, including the Finnish family structure.

When you sign up, you will get instant access to tools like:

1 – An extensive vocabulary list, regularly updated
2 – A new Finnish word to learn every day
3 – Quick access to the Finnish Key Phrase List
4 – A free Finnish online dictionary
5 – The excellent 100 Core Finnish Word List
6 – An almost limitless Lesson Library for learners of all levels

Further speed up your learning with the help of a personal tutor, who will first assess your current Finnish language abilities to personalize your training and tailor it to your needs.

Hard work always pays off, and to help you in this, FinnishPod101 will be there every step of the way toward your Finnish mastery!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Family Phrases in Finnish

Answers: 1.i. 2.f. 3.r. 4.w. 5.l. 6.o. 7.y. 8.j. 9.a. 10.c. 11.u. 12.z. 13.k. 14.b. 15.g 16.x. 17.h. 18.m. 19.d. 20.e. 21.n. 22.p. 23.q. 24.s. 25.t. 26.v.