All posts by Elina Suortamo

The first teaching lesson in Finnish

It was time to start so all four of us gathered to Teams for a meeting. I admit it was very hard to begin as the teacher because Finnish is such a complex language with all it’s inflected word forms. Like, if we teach the word maanantai (Monday), how can we explain simply enough why it is maanantaina (on Monday) or maanantaisin (on Mondays) at the next moment. Or why the verb olla (to be) has so many different forms. Oh boy do we have a big job on our hands.

So, we decided to start with how the language works. We taught that the Finnish words play with the ending of the words, not with prepositions or such. Which is also why the language is so difficult to learn – and to teach as we found out.

In this session we went through the numbers, time (hour, day, week, month etc) and some very basic sentences but we focused more on the words. We taught how we form numbers (yksiTOISTA, kaksiTOISTA and kolmeKYMMENTÄ, neljäKYMMENTÄ, kaksiKYMMENTÄyksi, kaksiKYMMENTÄkaksi). We had some talk about the pronounciation as the non-Finnish speakers would have naturally pronounced some of the words very different (like our y isn’t pronounced as i). We also taught some examples on how Finnish has sometimes very describing words, like joulukuu being ”Christmas month” and kesäkuu being ”summer month”. I’m sure we will have more examples later.

Some things we went through:

Minä olen…/Minun nimeni on…

I am…/My name is…

How to tell the time:

Kello on puoli seitsemän

Literal translation: The clock is half to seven (instead of half past six)

Sekunti = second

Minuutti = minute

Tunti = hour

Päivä = day

Viikko = week

Kuukausi (kuu = moon, kausi = period) = month

Vuosi = year

Teaching was super fun but it would have been easier if we structured the lesson in advance which we didn’t do. Heini had some nice basic Finnish instructional pages she shared with the group, which helped a lot, but we need to plan the hour better next time.