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Brun Ugle’s log

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Brun Ugle
Senior Member
Joined 4304 days ago

1292 posts - 474 votes 
Speaks: English*, NorwegianC1
Studies: Japanese, Esperanto, Spanish, Finnish

 Message 1 of 27
13 June 2014 at 6:34pm | IP Logged 
I'm back (I think). I guess I've been rather depressed for a while because I'd totally lost all interest in studying languages or doing anything else, but a couple months ago, I started up again with a little bit of Spanish and Japanese. At first, I just made myself do it, but then I started getting interested again. Then a few weeks ago, I suddenly got an urge to study Finnish and that's about all I've been doing for the past three weeks. It's fabulous! I love this language. So far it doesn't seem so terrible either, although I don't particularly like the idea of the spoken and written languages being so different and that learning materials for foreigners mostly concentrate on the written version and don't bother to teach the way real people talk. I had a bit of the same problem with Norwegian. I'd taught myself a good bit of Bokmål before coming here and when I got here, I thought maybe they'd sold me the wrong textbook at the store because it didn't even sound like the same language.

The materials I'm mostly using right now are:

FSI - Conversational Finnish: It's not bad, just a bit boring. It's not nearly as good as the Spanish Programmatic though and is more clearly meant for a classroom. It's still pretty good though and I think it should take me pretty far.

Supisuomea: It's entirely in Finnish, but that's not a problem. I was able to dive right in after only one unit in the FSI. Just try clicking on things until you find out what's what on the site. There are a lot of exercises and grammar explanations on the site, but some of the videos aren't that great. For some reason, they've left of the so-called soap opera at the end of the original videos and on a few of them, the sound and the video aren't lined up right, so it's very annoying. Fortunately, someone put them out on Youtube with Finnish subtitles. So I usually watch them there and sometimes I do a bit of shadowing and read the subtitles out loud as they talk. On the Supisuomea site, they have scripts written out for the main part of the show and after I've watched it once or twice, I read that. I usually put it into Google Translate and read Finnish and Norwegian side by side. Google really mangles translations of Finnish and these are even worse because there are places where they discuss grammar and say what stems and endings are being used and Google tries to translate them as words. Still, I find it useful. I couldn't possibly just read the translation and make any sense of it, so I'm forced to read the Finnish and just look over at the translation to see the meanings of words I don't know. So I'm using it sort of like a dictionary, but without having to look up each word one at a time. After going through the script, I usually watch the show again and do the exercises. I think I've learned quite a lot from this.

I have some other sites bookmarked (some I think I've already outgrown), but these are the ones I'm mostly concentrating on right now. I'll gladly take any tips though on learning materials or techniques or any other useful information anyone has on Finnish.

Usually, I'm very reserved and don't speak any language unless I already have a fairly good background in it, but this time, I've decided to try speaking right way. It just so happens I'm going to be going to a Finnish physical therapist. I saw her briefly on Thursday and I did try to speak a little Finnish to her. She got very excited and seemed very happy, but she only spoke to me in Norwegian. I think maybe she was afraid I wouldn't understand anything because I told her that I'd only been studying for 3 weeks. Anyway, I'll see her again next Thursday, so I'm going to try again. I might also try at some point to find some Skype friends to talk to now that I can Skype. The hard part is that we will most likely have at least one and maybe two other languages that we could communicate in better than in Finnish. I have a tendency to enjoy talking to people so much that we end up speaking in our best common language just so we can communicate better. And at this point, I can barely string a sentence together in Finnish.

I will, of course, also continue with Japanese and Spanish, but I'm trying to study Finnish intensely right now since I actually have occasionally access to a real live Finnish person (who is also incredibly nice), and I don't know how long I will be going to her, so I want to learn as much as I can and use it with her as much as I can while I still have the chance.

1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 2557 days ago

629 posts - 187 votes 
Speaks: Norwegian*, EnglishC2, German
Studies: Japanese, Spanish

 Message 2 of 27
13 June 2014 at 7:44pm | IP Logged 
Vælkomemn tebake te HTLAL - og lykke te med finsken ;)

Senior Member
Russian Federation
Joined 4281 days ago

9756 posts - 6179 votes 
4 sounds
Speaks: Russian*, English, FinnishC1, Latin, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
Studies: Danish, Romanian, Polish, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Catalan, Czech, Galician, Dutch, Swedish

 Message 3 of 27
13 June 2014 at 8:44pm | IP Logged 
Tervetuloa takaisin! :)))))
I think the diglossia problem is overrated. Finns are just more ready to speak informally with strangers, using other means to maintain the distance. And the usual "my native language is hard even for me" fallacy is also involved here. Natives go from dialect to the standard language, learners normally take the opposite path (which is easier).
And like in any language, learning to understand a specific speaker is easier than learning to understand any speaker you come across. I'd say go ahead and ask the physical therapist to reply to you in Finnish. Just explain that you've been learning kirjakieli so far. At your level simplifying her speech shouldn't take too much effort. I admit that later it might be more difficult to get i+1 input in real life :)

Good luck! And remember that you can still join TAC :)
1 person has voted this message useful

Brun Ugle
Senior Member
Joined 4304 days ago

1292 posts - 474 votes 
Speaks: English*, NorwegianC1
Studies: Japanese, Esperanto, Spanish, Finnish

 Message 4 of 27
15 June 2014 at 10:58am | IP Logged 
Thank you Stifa and Serpent. It's good to be back. I'm glad to see you're both still going strong.

Serpent, I really haven't found Finnish to be that hard at all. It's kind of shocking. I feel like something must be wrong. Like maybe I studied this language once before and forgot about it, or maybe I was Finnish in an earlier life. It's probably the combination of loan words from Swedish and the fact that studying Japanese has kind of prepared me for the grammar. Anyway, I'm a bit shocked over how far I've come in such a short time. Still, I've only been studying for less than a month, so maybe the hard stuff comes later.

I do really want to speak to her in Finnish. I am a bit of a chicken, but I'll try to overcome that. The other problem is that she is such an interesting person and she's so much fun to talk to that it's kind of nice talking to her in a language I can understand. If we speak Finnish, we are very limited.

You are a big Harry Potter fan too, aren't you? Look what I found! I've been trying to listen to a few random bits and I was a little disappointed that the reader isn't as good as Stephen Fry or the guy who did the Japanese ones. They actually do the voices for all the different characters. From the few bits I've heard of this, the reader seems to just read. The other thing I noticed was that I usually understood what I was listening too. I think that says more about how well I know Harry Potter than how well I know Finnish though. I've read the books so many times that if I can catch three or four words out of an entire paragraph, I know exactly what's going on.

Senior Member
FranceRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 2316 days ago

414 posts - 173 votes 
Speaks: French*, EnglishB2, EnglishC2, Spanish, Japanese
Studies: Korean, Norwegian, Mandarin

 Message 5 of 27
15 June 2014 at 5:27pm | IP Logged 
Welcome back!! A real pleasure to have you here again. I knew you hadn't forgotten us ;)
とにかく、フィンランド語頑張ってください !やる気があれば絶対できると思いますよ!

Senior Member
Joined 2531 days ago

1031 posts - 537 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Japanese, Portuguese

 Message 6 of 27
16 June 2014 at 4:40am | IP Logged 
Welcome back!

Senior Member
Joined 4840 days ago

4232 posts - 4077 votes 
20 sounds
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Polish, Slovak, Uzbek, Turkish, Korean, Finnish

 Message 7 of 27
16 June 2014 at 6:06am | IP Logged 
Tervetuloo takasi!

As a beginner, I'd stick to learning standard Finnish. If Finns know that you are learning Finnish but you want to practice, they will use standard language on you since that is what foreigners have typically learned as "Finnish". They will keep colloquialisms to a minimum and won't go full throttle on them (let along slang) unless they're sure that you can handle colloquialisms and are in informal settings. At worst as a learner, they'll probably switch to English (or Norwegian/Swedish in your case) if they feel that you struggle unduly with standard Finnish.

However, if you do want extra practice with colloquial Finnish, check out Korvat auki. Because the dialogues and exercises assume that you are at A2 in Finnish, you'll need to be familiar with basic grammar and vocabulary.

A couple of courses do teach colloquial Finnish from the outset in "Colloquial Finnish" and "Kato Hei!". However for the reasons listed above (and more), I wouldn't touch these courses until you have a decent grasp of the standard language.

Brun Ugle
Senior Member
Joined 4304 days ago

1292 posts - 474 votes 
Speaks: English*, NorwegianC1
Studies: Japanese, Esperanto, Spanish, Finnish

 Message 8 of 27
16 June 2014 at 7:47am | IP Logged 
Wow! Thank you, everyone. You're all so nice. I'm almost overwhelmed.

Thank you, Yuhakko. I hope you're right!

Thanks, Kugichagulia.

And thank you, Chung. You might be right about waiting with colloquial language, but the problem with that is difficult to switch once you've learned how to talk one way and if you keep speaking the standard language, you will always sound extra foreign. But, I'm not likely to live there, so I guess it doesn't matter. I haven't bought any books yet, but I might try that later. I'd already heard of "Colloquial Finnish" and "Kato Hei" and thought to look into them. I looked at the example pages of "Colloquial Finnish" on Amazon, but it looked like it might be a bit confusing. It didn't seem to clearly separate out colloquial language from standard language, but I only looked briefly, so maybe I just haven't figured out how the book works. I haven't seen any example pages from "Kato Hei."

I had also tried the first three "chapters" from "Korvat auki" and they seemed very easy. I can't imagine I'm at A2 already after less than a month, so maybe those were just meant as a sort of warm-up. I will probably try the rest of them before long. They are very short though.


Now for what I've been doing lately. I'm still going very slowly through FSI. FSI is always heavy going and I don't think I can do more than a chapter a week, if that. I am currently reviewing chapter 2, which is technically the third chapter since there is an unnumbered pronunciation chapter at the beginning.

I'm watching the seventh episode of Supisuomea, but I haven't been working as intensely at understanding everything before moving on, and my understanding has really dropped on these last two episodes, so I probably need to go back and work through all the old ones again and reread the grammar points and redo the exercises.

I've ripped the audio-tracks from the Supisuomea episodes on Youtube and I listen to them while I take walks. One walk is equal to about one episode. I wait until I get past the E6 to turn on the sound because I find traffic noises too distracting, so I just listen as I'm walking along the fjord and that is about 30 minutes -- the same as an episode. I also sometimes listen to the FSI audio files, but those are really hard to do while walking. I can't keep pausing the audio and sometimes there is a little too little room for thinking before they give the answer, which basically means I need to work more. There are also some exercises that you need to look at the book to do, so I just use those as listen-and-repeat exercises if I'm walking. At least I get some pronunciation practice then and of course I try to understand what they are saying.

The other thing I started doing yesterday was preparing for physical therapy. I'm not sure I have enough time before Thursday to really learn much, but I figured I could at least try and if I'm not ready for this session, maybe I will be for the next one (I'm hoping it will take more than one session). Anyway, I've been trying to learn the names of the most important body parts as well as some words for directions and movements (sit, stand, bend, twist, forward, backward, up, down, etc.). Hopefully, I will eventually be able to do physical therapy in Finnish. I think we will work on stretching exercises this first time, so I looked up "venyttely" on Youtube and have been watching a few videos. That's how I'm getting my vocabulary list. I try to catch some words, then I pause and look them up and write them down. I've only watched a couple of videos so far, but it is very exciting when I actually understand a sentence or two. I think I'm kind of lucky that it is stretching videos I need to watch because stretching is a sort of slow motion activity, so they tend to talk a little more slowly and pause a lot between sentences.

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