Finnish language basics are fascinating for two reasons. First, Finnish seems so random to most people. Second, the language explains many hidden cultural things.

I think it’s always a good idea to learn a little bit about the language of any country if the information is easily accessible!

Soft Introduction to Finnish Basics

You might have seen the hilarious memes of a word similar in every other language but Finnish.

It’s like other languages are smoothly playing football together. Then the Finnish language arrives with ice-hockey skates. 

Finnish language basics start from the fact that Finnish comes from another language family than most other European languages
I think you got my point.

Finnish belongs to the Finno-Ugric family of languages. Most of the other languages spoken in Europe belong to the Indo-European languages.

We Finns are used to being different. Nobody in Finland is expecting a visitor to speak Finnish. 

That being said, we are deeply honored if you try to speak a couple of words or know a bit of our language. That makes us feel very special. Also, the Finnish language is a great conversation topic if you are trying to make friends with a Finn. 



Five Things to Know about the Finnish Language

#1 Finnish has no article

A, an or the – Finnish has no such things. It’s the reason why we always forget articles in other languages. 

#2 Finnish has no please

We are straight-forward as it is but then there’s the fact that in Finnish we have no word for please. It may seem that a Finn is plain rude when he actually thinks he is being very polite.

#3 Finnish has no gender

There’s a strong emphasis on gender equality in the Finnish culture. It’s also hidden in our language. We don’t have she or he. Our one word meaning the third person is hän and it can be a female or male.   

#4 Finnish has no prepositions

We kind of put prepositions at the end of the actual word connected to it and build the word longer.

#5 Finnish has a lot of compound words

Do Finnish words look long to you? Yep, that’s because of our love for compound words.  

A Wednesday evening, a summer holiday, a family gathering are all compound words in Finnish. Combine #4 and #5 and you’ll get word monsters. 

Basic Phrases in Finnish

The most common phrases for a Finland visitor are included in this article of Finnish language basics

How to Learn Finnish and Have Fun?

Learning languages should be fun! I believe fun also helps our brain to remember and absorb new words.

If you want ‘to put on your Finnish antennas’ (that’s a Finnish idiom that sounds ga-ga in English), try:

  • Listening Finnish music in Spotify (just type suomi into the Search box)
  • Checking Finnish recipes, translating them into English and then cooking Finnish food
  • Checking if your local library has any Finnish books
  • Following Finnish-English Instagram accounts. Like mine!

Free Tools to Help Learning Finnish

#1 Online Pronunciation Dictionary

How to pronounce Finnish words? I recommend a site called FORVO. It’s a free online pronunciation dictionary. Just type the word into the search box, and native Finnish speakers will say the word for you so you know how it should sound. There are over 50 000 Finnish words & phrases on the website.

#2 Online Dictionary is a quality online English-Finnish-English dictionary. I use it all the time. 

#3 My Free Finnish Online Course

I’m so excited to tell you that I have a free Finnish pronunciation course for you! By enrolling in course you’ll be subscribing to my email list.

I can’t wait to help you with your Finnish language journey! There are 900+ enrolled students already on board. 

Is there anything you would like to know about the Finnish language? Comment below!

Looking for more information about the Finnish language and culture? Check out some of my other posts:

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Hello there!

I’m Varpu. One blonde,
Finnish engineer driving this site.