Finnish has a reputation of being very hard. Maybe that reputation is deserved, but there are a couple of things that certainly don’t make Finnish as hard as people think it is.
1. No Articles
Like many “complicated” languages like Japanese and Chinese, Finnish frees you from mind-numbing memorizations of gendered articles. Speaking of being gender-free, one word is used for he and she: hän.
2. No Irregular Verbs
The verb ending is renting constant across thousands of verbs.
It has similarities to Swedish: Swedish has a well-earned reputation for being an easy language to learn among native English speakers. In Swedish, boy is pojke; in Finnish it’s poika. The word for marketplace in Swedish is torg; in Finnish the word for a marketplace is tori. Swedish can provide a headstart for Finnish.
3. No Silent Letters
If the letter, vowel or consonant, is in the word, it is pronounced. This makes spelling a cinch. For this reason, spelling bees in Finnish schools are unknown.
4. A Small Vocabulary
Sort of. Many Finnish words can be constructed by adding suffixes that can address emotion, location, emphasis, and negation.
Bonus: Finnish is unlike any other language (I’m not looking at you, Estonian). There is an elegance and poetry in learning a language that sounds like nothing you have heard spoken before. Author J.R.R. Tolkien said, “It [discovering Finnish] was like discovering a wine-cellar filled with bottles of amazing wine of a kind and flavour never tasted before. It quite intoxicated me.”
This guest post was written by Matthew Brooks. Matthew is conversational in Finnish, French, German, Spanish and in his native English. Fluency eludes him in all things.