Finnish

For this week's Mango Monday we will present Finnish.

In honor of Finnish Independence Day on December 6, we bring you Finnish as our featured language of the week. Finnish is spoken by about 6 million people in Finland and Karelia. It is one of two official languages of Finland, and Finnish is an official language of the the European Union. The language itself has Asian origins, and its closest linguistic neighbors in are Estonian and Hungarian.

Finnish uses the Latin alphabet plus 3 extra vowels, and it is extremely phonetic. Every letter is pronounced, and they always make the same sound. So while Finnish words can sometimes be long, it is always clear how to pronounce them. That is one thing that makes literacy easy for young Finns. As for the ease in which a native English speaker would learn Finnish, there are a few challenges. Unlike English, Finnish has 14 grammatical cases, and it has a concept called vowel harmony. The grammatical cases are different ways to express meaning where English will usually use small prepositions. The vowel harmony means that some vowels will go together in the same word, but not others. Once you learn the trick, it makes the language easier to spell!

For the tourists who would love to go to Finland, Mango writes:

Stroll the shorelines of the Baltic Sea, shop for local delicacies at the open-air markets, and dance the night away in the heart of Helsinki. For a more serene escape, do some island hopping in the Kvarken Archipelago, ski on the slopes of Lapland, and kayak in the crystal waters of Lake Saimaa. Sometimes surprising, often breathtaking, and always fascinating, your Finnish adventure is about to begin.

All conversational languages give you different language skills and situations to practice (Making Friends, Shopping, etc). Here is the first lesson about the seasons and weather you can learn from Chapter 12, Lesson 64: Summer is the Best Season.

  • My favorite season is summer. Lempivuodenaikani on kesä.
  • It has the best weather. Silloin on parhaat ilmat.
  • What do you normally do during the summer? Mitä yleensä teet kesäisin?
  • I go swimming in the ocean as often as I can. Käyn uimass meressä niin usein kuin voin.
  • Me, too! Although I also like the fresh water of the lakes. Niin minäkin! Vaikkakin pidän myös järvien makeasta vedestä.

    Finnish is available through both Mango Languages and Pronunciator. Each language product has different interfaces, and some will work better for you depending on what you want to get out of your language experience. Don't forget to take advantage of each product's mobile apps for language learning on the go!

    Next Monday we will be back with a new language you can teach yourself with resources from your library.