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Is Finnish Hard To Learn? Here’s Why You Should Try It Anyway

Metropolia Full Degree Nursing Students, saying “Moi, tervetuloa Suomessa!” which means, “Hi, welcome to Finland´!”

Finland, known for its thousand lakes and sauna culture, attracts tourists with its beauty. But a barrier often stops people in their tracks: the language. Is Finnish hard to learn? 

Even though learning Finnish is difficult, the benefits outweigh the challenges. Let’s explore what makes Finnish a complex language and why you should consider giving it a go!

Book a free counseling session and let us discuss why it could be one of your most rewarding learning experiences.

5 Reasons Why Finnish Might Make Your Head Spin

Finnish is a Finno-Ugric language, distinct from Europe’s Germanic and Slavic languages. This means you won’t find many familiar words if your native language is English. 

Here’s a glimpse into what makes Finnish considered difficult:

1. Structure of Finnish grammar

The way it is structured can make it seem hard to understand at first. This means that words are formed by adding suffixes to a root word. 

For example, take the word “talossanne,” which means “in your house.” Here, “talo” means “house,” and by adding suffixes like “-ssa” for “in” and “-nne” for “your,” we get “talossanne.”

2. Vowel Harmony

Another thing that can help you say Finnish words more easily is something called vowel harmony. Front vowels (ä, ö, y) and back vowels (a, o, u) cannot coexist in the same word. 

Then, there are two neutral vowels (i and e) that can be used with both front and back vowels. So, if you are wondering how to conjugate a specific word, this information will be useful.

3. Grammatical Cases

Is Finnsh hard to Learn?

Learn to spell your first and last name with Finnish alphabet.
You can learn to spell your first and last name with the Finnish alphabet.

Finnish has 15 grammatical cases, which may sound intimidating.  Cases are forms that nouns, pronouns, and adjectives take to indicate their role in a sentence. They impact word endings, showing possession, location, or direction. 

For example, the difference between “nominative” (the subject of a sentence) and “accusative” (the direct object) can change a word’s ending and its role in the sentence structure.

same word, different meaning

Finnish words can be difficult to learn because they can mean different things depending on the situation. Take, for instance, the word ‘maa‘ and ‘kuusi palaa

It can mean ‘ soil,’ ‘dirt,’ ‘country,’ ‘ground,’ ‘earth,’ ‘countryside,’ ‘world,’ or ‘land.’

Kuusi palaa can also mean ‘the spruce is on fire, ‘the spruce returns,’ ‘the number six returns,’ ‘the number six is one fire,’ ‘six of them are on fire,’ ‘six of them return,’ ‘your moon is on fire,’ your moon returns, and kuusi palaa can also mean ‘six pieces’

Because of this, learners need to understand the bigger picture to understand what is being said. These kinds of words show how poetic and situational Finnish is, which makes learning new words even more interesting.

4. Lengthy Words

Another challenge in Finnish is the presence of lengthy words. Finnish frequently combines multiple concepts into single words, resulting in lengthy compounds. 

For example, “lentokonesuihkuturbiinimoottoriapumekaanikkoaliupseerioppilas” translates to “airplane jet turbine engine auxiliary mechanic non-commissioned officer student.” While these words might look intimidating, breaking them down into smaller parts can make them easier to understand.

5. Verb Conjugation

Finnish verbs can be hard to understand because they change form depending on the subject, tense, and mood. Unlike in English, where verbs are frequently unchanged, Finnish verbs undergo significant modifications. 

To give you an example, the verb “olla,” which means “to be,” can be formed in different ways depending on whether the subject is singular or plural and whether the action is past, present, or future. 

Learning these patterns of conjugation takes time and practice, but they are necessary to fully understand Finnish grammar.

While this may sound complex, many learners find mastering these unique aspects of Finnish deeply rewarding and fun. Hence, understanding these challenges is the first step, and in the next section, we’ll explore effective methods to learn Finnish in a more natural and intuitive way.

How to Learn Finnish in a Natural Way

Is FInnish Hard to Learn?

Students having a conversation while holding white papers

Finnish is considered one of the hardest languages in the world, making it intimidating for first-time learners. However, approaching it through natural, intuitive methods can make your process more enjoyable and effective. 

Learning Finnish naturally involves immersing yourself in the language every day. Like listening to Finnish music and radio broadcasts helps you become familiar with the language’s sounds and rhythms. 

Meanwhile, watching Finnish TV shows and movies with subtitles can also progressively improve your understanding, and gradually watching without subtitles can challenge you to comprehend more.

Also, speaking with native speakers is vital for your practical learning. For example, conversing with others in person or through apps and online language exchanges encourages you to use Finnish in everyday situations.

Additionally, writing daily in a journal in Finnish and speaking the language aloud to yourself can significantly improve your fluency.

Tips for Getting Started with Finnish

At first, the task may seem impossible, but if you take the right approach and keep the right mindset, you will soon be making steady progress and feeling better about your language skills. 

To help you get started learning Finnish, here are some important tips:

Utilize Resources

There are a lot of excellent resources available to help you learn Finnish. From online courses and language learning apps to textbooks and audio resources, there are plenty of options to choose from. Some popular online platforms for learning Finnish include Duolingo, Babbel, and Mondly. 

You can also explore different resources to find the ones that best suit your learning style and preferences, such as Edunation’s Finnish Language Course.

Finnish Language by Edunation

To help you further, we are excited to offer you Edunation’s online Finnish Language course which started on April 16th. This course allows you to learn from the comfort of your home with experienced instructors. 

It’s an excellent opportunity to learn Finnish directly from experts and immerse yourself in the rich culture of Finland.

Read more on the top reasons why a lot of students want to study in Finland.

You can take advantage of flexible learning at your own pace and structured lessons by utilizing technology tools like our extensive online courses. To kickstart your Finnish language journey, let’s begin with the basics: Finnish greetings.

Is FInnish Hard to Learn? 

Learn it by starting with Finnish  introduction and greeting

Learning how to greet others in Finnish is not only practical but also a fantastic way to break the ice in conversations. Take a look at the photo above for some common Finnish greetings to get you started.

The full Finnish Language Course that Edunation offers goes over these important phrases in great detail, making sure you have a solid foundation for everyday conversations.

Start Slow

Learning a new language is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s important to pace yourself and not rush through the learning process. Begin by mastering the basics, such as pronunciation, greetings, and simple vocabulary. 

Pay close attention to Finnish phonetics, as the language has some unique sounds that may be unfamiliar to English speakers. By starting slow and building a strong foundation, you’ll set yourself up for success as you progress to more advanced topics.

Focus on Pronunciation and Basic Grammar

As you start learning Finnish, prioritize developing good pronunciation habits and understanding basic grammar concepts. Practice speaking aloud and listening to native speakers to improve your pronunciation skills. 

Familiarize yourself with Finnish grammar rules, such as noun cases and verb conjugations, and practice applying them in context.

Don’t worry too much about making mistakes; learning a language is a process, and stumbling along the way is okay. The important thing is to keep practicing and striving for improvement.

Find a Finnish Learning Community

Learning a language is much more enjoyable and effective when you have a support system. Seek out a Finnish learning community—a local language exchange group, an online forum, or a social media community—where you can connect with other learners and native speakers. 

Surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals who share your passion for Finnish will provide valuable support, motivation, and encouragement throughout your language-learning journey. Plus, you’ll be able to practice speaking and listening to Finnish in a supportive and collaborative environment.

Read more here to learn some facts you should know about Finland.

Remember to be patient with yourself, stay consistent in your practice, and celebrate your progress. With dedication and determination, you’ll soon find yourself speaking Finnish with confidence and fluency.

Onnea matkaan (good luck on your journey)!

Finnish is Different, but not Difficult. Ready to Take the challenge?

As we have seen, Finnish is a complex language, but the rewarding learning experiences are well worth the effort. While mastering the language opens doors to diverse cultural experiences, it can also serve as a gateway to academic opportunities in Finland.

Edunation, committed to empowering learners on their Finnish language journey, also offers Pathway to Master’s programs in the top Finnish universities. This unique opportunity allows dedicated learners to transition seamlessly from language learning to pursuing advanced degrees in various fields.

If you think learning long words and various grammar cases will be challenging, remember that every language journey begins with a single step. At Edunation, we can make your learning process as smooth and engaging as possible. Our online Finnish Language course, started on April 16th, is designed to help you learn from the comfort of your home. 

Under the supervision of experienced instructors, you will gain firsthand knowledge and insights into Finnish culture while interacting with other students who share your enthusiasm and passion.

So, why wait? Enroll in our Finnish Language course today and begin a journey beyond just learning a language—it’s about discovering a new way of seeing the world. 

Book a free counseling session, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. Let this be the year you challenge yourself and achieve something extraordinary. Hei hei and see you soon!


Rene Kris Novises has been a content writer for four years. He excels at simplifying complex topics, particularly in the fields of education and studying abroad, making reading enjoyable. When he’s not crafting written content, you’ll find him juggling his dynamic skill set and passion for creating innovative and engaging visual content.

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