Tips for studying Finnish in July
Question: All my usual Finnish courses are on a break in July, but I’d like to keep up with my Finnish. Any ideas on how to do that?
What a great and timely question! Most schools and training providers are closed in July (including my own small teaching business), but otherwise the summer is a great time to study and practice Finnish. Here are some ideas on how to do that.
1. Speak Finnish in real life situations. I know that this can feel like jumping into the deep end if you’re still at the beginning of your journey (and even later on), but there’s no shame in just using the Finnish you have and then switching to English or another language when you need to. Even if you just know a few words in Finnish, there’s already a lot you can do with just ”Hei, kahvi, kiitos” (look at you ordering a coffee in Finnish just like a native speaker would). If you’re in Finland, there are countless opportunities to speak Finnish in everyday situations: cafés, shops, libraries, the market, museums… The list is endless! You can also find some great opportunities to practice online, like social media (especially groups and pages centered around your interests are great, though a bit more advanced of course). For example, you could join a online bookclub, chat about parenting or join a foraging group.
2. Talk to yourself in Finnish. Out loud or by trying to think in Finnish, at home, in the car, while exercising. Just switching your brain to Finnish (or trying to) once in a while is really beneficial for your overall language skills. Don't worry about making mistakes, the key thing is to practice speaking or thinking in Finnish.
3. Self-study courses. There are some great self-study courses and learning materials that you can use any time, many of them free of chage. For beginners, Superalkeet is great, and Työelämän suomea is excellent if you’re at a more intermediate level. Puhutsä suomee is a good introduction to spoken Finnish and suitable for many levels, depending on how familiar you are with puhekieli. The freely available material Kotisuomessa goes from 0 all the way to B2. Apps like Duolingo, WordDive and Glossika can also be great. This is another list that just goes on and on!
4. Series, books, podcasts, music. These are always a good idea, even alongside a course. Books in easy Finnish are a great idea at level A2 and up, watching tv in Finnish with or without subtitles is great at every level. Listening to podcasts and music in Finnish will help you level up your language skills even if you don’t understand a single word at first.
5. Clubs and language cafés. Many Finnish language clubs and language cafés still continue meeting up in the summer, both online and offline. For example, here are all the events organized by the public libraries in Helsinki, all over the capital city region and online as well. Once you’re at an intermediate level, the topic of the meetup doesn’t have to be about learning Finnish at all – think of what you’re interested in and find out how to do that with others in Finnish. It could be an open university course on a topic you love or a dance class.
7. Attend a course or hire a private teacher. Luckily, not everyone is on a summer break in July. For example, my lovely colleagues Päivi Virkkunen and Liis Viks are available for private lessons all through the summer.
= Have a lovely summer!
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Ask a Finnish Teacher / Toiminimi Mari Nikonen
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