Out of all languages to choose from, Finnish doesn’t seem a very obvious one to start learning.
Next to its complex grammar and long, long words, there’s also the fact that even my native language, Dutch, is more widely spoken than Finnish, which is actually spoken in Finland and small parts of Sweden and Norway only (plus, most people in Finland also speak Swedish as their second language, so it would be easier – or more obvious – to start learning Swedish).
But then again, I’m not. I’ve just had my birthday and I asked for some pretty cool Finnish study books. I’ve been studying online for quite some time now, learning silly words and phrases like “Talo on pieni“: The house is small (still not sure when I would be able to use this sentence; it’s fun to say though).
I must say: I’m nowhere close to actually getting a grip on this language, since I’ve never really focused on the grammar (that’s why I wanted those study books, obviously). But I love this weird, foreign language so far.
The fact that it’s so different from every language I’ve ever known, makes it worthwhile. It doesn’t have any real connections with Germanic languages (like my own) or Romance languages (like French, which I studied In high school), but is more related to Estonian and Hungarian (two languages I’ve never spoken or listened to).
Hearing this strange language for the first time a few years ago during summer, I wanted to know more about it. And since then, I’ve only been amazed more.
I mean, take the Finnish word for computer, “tietokone“, meaning literally “information machine“. That’s just amazing, right?
And some words are just so beautiful in itself: e.g. “kukka“, meaning flower, “aurinko“, meaning sun.
The thing is, I don’t think that learning a new language should always be about the functionality of it. There’s also a whole lot of other aspects that often go unseen.
For example, while learning a new language, you learn more about another culture. Did you know, for instance, that Finland is famous for its saunas and almost every Finnish house has a built-in-sauna? Not so surprising, when you look at the weather forecast in Finland during winter with very low temperatures and periods of continuous darkness that last for about two months.
Furthermore, by remembering new words and trying to understand complicated grammar, you’re also busy training your brain!
Last thing I want to mention is that learning a new language is just so much fun to do. It’s like discovering a whole new world among all those words and letters. And once you’re able to understand a small text or even just a sentence, it feels like crossing a bridge that will take you to a new place full of new mysteries and wonders.