Studying Finnish – 2 Years Down the Line… Fluent yet?

I’ve been studying finnish now for almost 3 years. I was about to start writing a 3 year review and some trip reports and came across this unfinished post from a year ago. I thought I’d post this 2 year marker, although it’s a year late. I’ll add in some additional thoughts in *bold text.

I’ll do a ‘3 years of learning finnish’ post soon!

So, after two years of studying these were my thoughts.


Studying Finnish – 2 Years Down the Line… Fluent yet?

Last time I wrote about this challenge was a year ago, which means I have been learning Finnish now for 2 years.

The aim of this challenge was to become fluent, in *cough*, 5 months. In the last post I explained that I still hadn’t reached fluency after 1 year of learning, but would aim for a B2 level by August 2018. So, after 2 years of trying to crack this language have I reached fluency yet? The short answer is no. Did I reach the B2 level I had wanted – yes and no.

In this post I will explain what level I am at now, give brief overview of what I have been up to over the last year, how I have been studying, how I am feeling about this challenge, what I am good at, where I can improve and where I will take it next.

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A Year of Studying Finnish – What’s Next?

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The last post I wrote about learning Finnish was in April (almost 7 months ago now!). I had just moved to Helsinki and I was a few weeks into a 2 month intensive Finnish language course. I have been studying Finnish for over a year now. 8 months in Finland and 4.5 in the UK.

So, on returning to Finland for another winter season as a Husky Guide, I think it is about time to explain: Why I am doing this challenge? What I have been up to for the last few months? Did I achieved my language goal? What are my next steps…


WHY?

I have been thinking about this a lot recently. There was a particularly uninspiring day where I questioned whether it is even worth it… So, I think a re-evaluation of why I am learning the language will be beneficial.

  • Curiosity – To see if I can…
  • To learn about the culture and people on a deeper level – Languages are there to communicate with others, through writing, speaking and listening. But, every language has unique qualities, and by learning it, you will understand more about the culture.
  • To be able to communicate with people in their own tongueAlthough many Finns do speak good English, many don’t and it always feels great to have exchanges in the native language.
  • To challenge myself – Challenges help me focus my energy and time, and I enjoy doing them and find them rewarding and interesting.
  • To learn – I’ve always wanted to speak another language, fluently, so… (next point)
  • Why not? – There’s nothing to lose by trying.
  • I work and live here – I am a trained guide, and will be working a second season here now. It will only help if I have a good grasp of Finnish, and being in the country is the perfect place to learn. 

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Learning Finnish – 6 Months Are Up – Am I Fluent?

Just over 5 months ago I came to Finland to spend the winter working as a husky guide. I set myself the goal of becoming fluent in Finnish in these 5 months. I didn’t know whether ‘fluency’ was even possible in this time, but it had a nice ring to it, and I think it is always better to aim higher. So here I am, almost 6 months down the line.

So, am I fluent in Finnish I hear you ask? Hell no! But, I can speak basic Finnish, and can have simple conversations with people. The purpose of this post is to sum up the last 5.5 months, and also state my next plans. It’s quite a mammoth post, and I found it pretty hard just trying to write down everything in some kind of order – languages are absolute beasts! But maybe, if you’re learning Finnish or another language you can take some pointers. If I were to offer just one piece of advice for aspiring language learners, it would be:

“Just Start”

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Becoming Fluent in Finnish – Dealing with Procrastination / Studying Wisely

If there was an award for procrastination I would be some kind of world champion I am sure of it.

I know this and if I let myself get distracted I will spiral out of control on an eating / cleaning binge, suddenly spark up an interest in double clutch gear changes or watch super slow motion videos of people being slapped in the face, or sometimes, I even find myself writing a blog post when I should be studying. (I actually started writing this a month ago, then procrastinated about my procrastination). You get the idea.

This was starting to happen more regularly, and at times I really wasn’t looking forward to doing my language studies. So I thought it would be useful to look at my routine and try a new approach.

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An Overdue Update – Becoming Fluent in Finnish

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Selection of my Finnish books

Almost three months have passed since starting my challenge of becoming fluent in Finnish. I don’t even know where to begin with this journey, but here goes. It has been very tough at times, and hugely rewarding in others. I won’t go into massive detail about the language itself, but rather I will explain my approach, where I am now with Finnish, the highs and lows, and where I see myself at the end of 6 – 8 months.

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