There are currently 7.7 billion people on Earth and no less than 7,139 living languages worldwide. But what are the...
Gather around, language learning aficionados from around the world! With only 5.4 million native speakers, Finnish is the kind of language for which good courses are generally scarce. But not anymore. Lucky for you, with Mondly you can learn Finnish in just 10 minutes a day from your native language.
Finnish, the language that inspired Tolkien to invent Elvish
Finnish (or Suomi, as Finns would say) is the official language of Finland (alongside Swedish) and one of the 24 official languages of the European Union. Additionally, there are also some Finnish-speaking minorities in Russia, Norway and Sweden.
The Finnish language is a member of the Finno-Ugric group of the Uralic language family and although it had its first comprehensive writing system in the 16th century, it became an official language of Finland only in 1863.
While the FSI (Foreign Service Institute) of the US government classifies Finnish as a tier 4 language (of 5 tiers) in terms of learning difficulty for native English speakers, Dr. Riitta-Liisa Valijarvi, senior teaching fellow in Finnish Language at University College London, says Finnish doesn’t deserve its reputation as one of the hardest languages to learn.
“There are many grammatical cases (…) and the vocabulary is not familiar. But the sound system is very easy, very basic, and that is what inspired [Tolkien’s] Elvish,” she says.
As probably die-hard The Lord of the Rings fans already know, J. R. R. Tolkien took inspiration from Finnish to create the Elvish language. Although he never visited Finland and didn’t even speak Finnish fluently, Tolkien became captivated by the language. And for good reason! The Finnish language is notorious for the way it sounds to non-speakers who often say Finnish seems like a language from another universe or an alternate dimension.
Finnish learning made easy
Let’s look at the bright side and see why Finnish is not actually that hard to learn.
First of all, Finnish has no grammatical gender. This means that there is no distinction between masculine, feminine, or neuter (not even in the personal pronouns). Hän, for example, can mean both “he” and “she”.
Additionally, Finnish also has no articles as we do in English.
Secondly – and most importantly – Finnish is pronounced as it is written. There is almost a 100% correspondence between letters and their sounds so you’ll have no problem reading Finnish even though you may not know what the words actually mean.
Thirdly, the Finnish language loves working with literal words. And you’ll love it too. A lot of Finnish words have very literal English translations that make learning super fun. For example, a computer is a “knowledge machine” (tietokone), a treadmill is a “running carpet” (juoksumatto) and a refrigerator is an “ice cupboard” (jääkaappi).
Another interesting thing about Finnish is that it has some prepositions, but more postpositions. “What are postpositions?”, you’ll say. Well, postpositions are similar to prepositions, but they come after the word that they add meaning to.
Furthermore, – this doesn’t necessarily make Finnish easier to learn, but it’s a valuable piece of information for every Finnish beginner – Finnish is an agglutinative language. This means that words can be formed by attaching together pieces that add meaning to the word.
As you can see, Finnish truly fascinating and we promise you’ll have a great time learning it with Mondly!
Learn Finnish online with Mondly
You spoke. We listened! Practical Finnish courses are hard to come by. That is why we created a fun, easy and effective Finnish course for all of you out there who would love to learn Finnish but didn’t find the right course yet.
The Finnish course from Mondly is packed with practical topics so you can only learn what’s useful, real conversations so you can practice speaking Finnish from day 1, smart vocabulary builders so you can learn new words fast, crystal-clear audios recorded by Finnish native speakers so you can learn from the best and so much more.
Learn Finnish from English, Spanish, German, French and 29 other languages only with Mondly.
10 basic Finnish phrases and words you can learn right now
Are you excited to learn Finnish yet? Did you know that Finnish has one of the longest words in the world? Lentokonesuihkuturbiinimoottoriapumekaanikkoaliupseerioppilas is 61 letters long and translates to “airplane jet turbine engine auxiliary mechanic non-commissioned officer student”. Don’t worry though, you won’t need to use it too often, if at all.
But let’s not waste any more time and start with your first Finnish lesson right now. Here are the top 10 basic Finnish phrases you should absolutely know before your first trip to “the land of a thousand lakes”:
- Hello! – Hei!
- yes – kyllä
- no – ei
- Thanks. – Kiitos.
- I’m sorry. – Olen pahoillani.
- What’s your name? – Mikä on nimesi?
- I am… – Minä olen…
- How are you? – Miten voit?
- Great! – Mahtavaa.
- Goodbye! – Näkemiin.
Speak Finnish fluently in just 10 minutes a day
Do you want to speak Finnish fluently fast? Get Mondly, the award-winning language learning app that will help you speak Finnish as if you were born in Helsinki.
It can be tricky to master Finnish pronunciation if you don’t actively live in Finland. But with Mondly you’ll have access to a unique, fast and highly efficient learning method that allows you to learn Finnish naturally with practical topics, authentic conversations and bite-sized Daily Lessons.