The difficulty of the Finnish language is a national myth

We know that Finnish is not the simplest language in the world, but I find that its difficulty is a little bit exaggerated and has become a source of national pride, however right or misguided (nothing wrong of being proud of your language, but because it’s perceived to be difficult for others to learn?).  Every once in a while people are surprised that I would have taken the time to learn it, but I’d say that its learning curve is quite steep in the beginning due to the amount of new vocabulary and grammar that needs to be learned, but tapers off later (unlike English for example, where it is very easy to get started but there are lot of irregularities).

I am very grateful to have had very competent teachers in the beginner and advanced levels, but was just  listening to an acquaintance who mentioned that even his teacher said “Don’t worry of you don’t learn, it’s a difficult language anyway”.  Now that’s a way to motivate people!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: “Suomen kieli ei niin vaikea ole, vaan erilainen” (The Finnish language is not so difficult, only different).  Very different maybe, but if you unlearn what you have learned you’ll be fine.

pixelstats trackingpixel

8 thoughts on “The difficulty of the Finnish language is a national myth”

  1. One of my teachers once explained it like this:

    English is like an inverted pyramid, with very few knowledge (words and grammar) you can say a lot of things, but as long as you advance things get complicated due irregularities and idioms, so practically anyone can speak it, but few can speak it properly.

    Finnish is like a normal pyramid, first you need to learn tons of things, words and rules, to being able to make a simple sentence. But when going further things begin to fall by themselves on its place, and following the logic structures it’s easier and easier.

    I think this famous “difficulty” concept was initiated originally by english-speakers, for whom I see is specially hard, then Finns took it as a pride flagship, which is perfectly OK.

    Kielen ymmartäminen on Suomen yhteiskunnan ymmärtaminen :o)

  2. As a finn, I hope you can let me make some improvements to your comments:
    @chivacongelado: “Suomen kieli ei niin vaikea ole, vaan erilainen”, this sounds more like native finnish: “Ei suomen kieli niin vaikea ole, vaan erilainen” or “Suomen kieli ei ole niin vaikea, vaan erilainen”.
    @Delfin: “Kielen ymmartäminen on Suomen yhteiskunnan ymmärtaminen 😮 )” you have to use ä twice in “ymmärtää”, also you should add “Suomen to the beginning, it sounds more natural, it sort makes the difference between “a” and “the”: “Suomen kielen ymmärtäminen on Suomen yhteiskunnan ymmärtäminen”

      1. Excuse me, the last one should be “Suomen kielen ymmärtäminen on suomalaisen yhteiskunnan ymmärtämistä.” 😉

        as you can see, Finnish language isnt easy 😉 not even for Finns.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge