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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Next Challenge – Becoming Fluent in Finnish

Moi moi. (Hello in Finnish) My next challenge is going down a slightly different route. For the next six months I am stepping away from physical challenges and I am going to try something different – to become as fluent as possible in Finnish.

Why Finnish? My answer is, why not? I am going to be working there for the next 6 months, so I thought it was a good opportunity to learn the language. I nearly didn’t do it. Finnish is meant to be a really tough language to learn, and my over riding fear was ‘What if I fail?’. What if I fail! Seriously, why does the thought of failing hold you back so much? It’s like your body would rather just carry on in its comfort zone than trying something new.

I have lived in Finland for a year before, and felt like I had started to understand their culture, but at the same time I felt I was only scratching the surface. I feel like learning the language will help me to explore Finland in a new light, and get to know its people from a different perspective.

I have never been much of a language-y person. I mean I did French GCSE, but left feeling confused, and incredibly un-confident at speaking the language. I have spoken to my Dad about learning a language a few times, and he texted me the other day saying:

“Remember you were going to learn a new language – you could get a Finnish tape.”

I replied saying it was a good idea, bu the only thing holding me back was the fear of not being able to learn it. To which he replied.

“Remember the famous saying. There’s nothing to fear except fear itself. Don’t expect miracles, its obviously a very tough language – give it a go.”

So that’s what I am going to do. And even though I am still a bit worried I wont be able to grasp it, I am going to give it my best shot and see what happens.

End Goal

I feel like having an ‘end goal’ will help to see how much I have learnt over the next 6 months. So, I am going to perform a speech/song/poem and also write a blog post in Finnish.

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I have been recommended this book by a friend who is learning Arabic. Let the learning commence.