Finnish language is often listed as one of the hardest to learn. Is that true? Is Finnish really harder to learn than any other language. Let’s find out!
Origin of the Finnish Language?
Finnish language is Finno-Ugric language. It is one of the Uralic languages which have all descended from Proto-Uralic language, spoken about 7 000 to 10 000 years ago in the area of Ural Mountains. Other Uralic Languages related to Finnish are Hungarian, Estonian, Sami (spoken in northern Finland) and some rare languages spoken in parts of Russia. It is believed that Finno-Ugric speakers have been living in the area of modern-day Finland for the last 5000 years.
Usually the languages spoken in neighboring countries are easier to learn because they are closely related. This is not the case in Finland. the only closely related language is Estonian. The languages spoken in Sweden and Russia sound very different compared to Finnish. That’s because Finnish is a Finno-Ugric language, while Swedish and Russia are both Indo-European languages.
Why Finnish Language is Hard to Learn?
Late Barry Farber, the author of “How to Learn any Language”, said that for him Finnish was one of the hardest languages to learn. And yes, Finnish sounds very different for English speakers because Finnish language doesn’t have Germanic or Latin influence. However, don’t give up just yet.
The most challenging part of learning Finnish language are the 15 grammatical cases. While in English there are prepositions, in Finnish language we have case endings which are added to words as suffixes. What makes is difficult to learn are all those small changes which can completely change the meaning of the sentence. But don’t worry, if you are just starting out, Finnish natives will probably understand what you are trying to say.
Learning the vocabulary naturally takes some time, but that’s always the case when learning a new language. And good news is that many loan words have been borrowed from Germanic and Scandinavian languages, especially from Swedish. Many modern words, especially words related to new technology, have been borrowed straight from English with minor modifications to make them sound a bit more Finnish.
Why Finnish language is Easy to Learn?
So now that we have covered all the difficulties learning Finnish language, how about some good news. Are some any things which make Finnish language easy to learn ? Oh Yes!
- Finnish is very logical language
- Finnish is written as it sounds (each letter is pronounced)
- Pronunciation of the letters never changes
- There are no silent letters
- There are no articles
- There are no grammatical genders
- There are no prepositions
- Adjectives take the same endings as their associated nouns
- There is no future tense
For the question “Is Finnish language hard to learn”, perhaps we should quote late Hannele Branch, who was lecturer on Finnish language at the University of London. She said that Finnish isn’t hard to learn. It’s just different.