Learn Finnish at last!

Language learning has many advantages. One of these is that it enables you to understand and also learn a culture. Because learning a language is not only studying. To learn a language and a culture, you must put your skills to practice. After all, people do not study e.g. chemistry to brag about their theoretical knowledge, but to help create medicine, etc.

In Finland, you will hear Finnish spoken the most. People talk about different things on the street, stores, etc. When you understand what the conversations are about, you know which topics are currently relevant. However, many foreigners are surprised by the Finns’ preference to talk to them in English instead of Finnish. In many other countries, people expect foreigners to talk in the local language. The Finns’ attitude might be simple politeness – they think they are helping the foreigner by speaking English. So do not be afraid to ask Finns to speak Finnish, they will surely agree!

When you actually speak a language, you quickly learn when and where certain words and phrases are used, and you begin to understand the conversation culture as well. In the USA, people say ”please” a lot, but in Finnish there is no such word. In Finnish, politeness is indicated by asking, e.g. ”Could you give that glass?” (Voisitko antaa tuon lasin?) Once you get what you asked for, you reply ”Thank you!” (Kiitos.) Americans start conversations with small talk; asking how you have been and talking about common topics, such as the weather, or what they have recently been doing. In Finland, after saying hello, conversations usually quickly move to the point. People do not customarily inquire too much about the comings and goings of people they do not know well, while more familiar people might be asked a lot of questions. Someone accustomed to a very talkative conversation culture might find the low-key, tight-lipped conversation culture of the Finns odd, and vice versa. In the end, it comes down to different cultures and customs. So do not feel offended if the Finns do not prefer to chit-chat, but move straight to the point instead.

Language skills are a great advantage in the employment market. In Finland, companies both small and large consider knowing – or at least learning – Finnish as an advantage, and oftentimes it is also a prerequisite for landing a job.

So, how about setting your goal to learning Finnish this year?
Here are a couple of tips to make sure you get results:

1) Start right away!

”It’s always difficult to start the victory”, as they say. When you manage to start something, it becomes a lot easier to continue along. Begin from the little things, such as talking to the cashier at the convenience store. That’s a great way to learn!

2) Do it together!

Doing things in a group is fun, and peer pressure helps you along when you’re suffering from lack of motivation to learn. You’ll get a nice kick ahead in your Finnish by partaking in Learnia’s Talk course.

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