How to Learn Finnish: 6 Effective Ways to Learn the Finnish Language

Kelsey Wetherbee Published on March 8, 2023

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Hei! Voitko puhua suomea? Are you learning Finnish but haven’t found the right resource for you?

Finnish is an interesting, yet complex, language. If you want to speak Finnish, you’ll need the right tools for the job. In this article, we’ve compiled some of the best resources available to help you learn effectively. No matter what your learning style or budget is, there’s something for everyone on this list. Whether you prefer a more traditional method like books or courses, or want to explore more modern ways to learn like apps, online tutors, and YouTube videos, this guide can help you find a method that’s right for you.

Here at Langoly, our team has over 5 decades of combined language learning experience, and we’ve tested and reviewed over 600 language products. We’ve helped millions of readers through the language learning process, and this article will help you find the best tools to learn Finnish.

Best Finnish App

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Best Finnish Course

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Best Finnish Tutors

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Finnish is the official language of Finland (along with Swedish) and is the native language of 87% of Finns. With over 5.4 million speakers, it’s one of the most spoken languages in Europe and is an official langauge of the European Union. Finnish is a unique language. Unlike its Nordic counterparts, it’s not a Scandinavian language like Swedish or Danish. It’s a Finno-Ugric language, making it more closely related to languages like Estonian and Hungarian.

How to Learn Finnish: Achieve Fluency with These 6 Proven Methods

There’s no magic formula you can follow to learn Finnish overnight, but there are ways to help you learn more quickly. The best way to study the Finnish language is to use a variety of study methods. Different study methods excel at teaching specific skills, and using multiple tools will help cover all areas of language learning. To get you started, this article includes 6 different and effective ways to learn Finnish.

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The methods and resources included on this list were selected because of their effectiveness to learn Finnish. We follow a strict testing methodology to make sure any products we recommend are high quality and worth your time. Any of the products you see below will help you master the different aspects of Finnish.

Use the Best Finnish Apps

Language apps are one of the most popular ways to learn Finnish. They are convenient because you can learn wherever you can take your smartphone or other device. Apps also make learning fun. They have interactive lessons and many include features that track your progress or have other motivating features to keep you learning. Pimsleur, Mondly, and Drops are three of the best choices for studying Finnish.

Commitment: Low

Price: Low-Medium

Convenience: High

See more Finnish Apps

Pimsleur

Pimsleur has a high-quality Finnish course that focuses on speaking and pronunciation. Each lesson breaks down a conversation in Finnish into bite-sized chunks. During the audio lessons, you listen and repeat after the native speakers to practice correct pronunciation. It doesn’t overwhelm you with complicated grammar and you start speaking from the first lesson. You can try Pimsleur for free for 7 days or read this complete Pimsleur review to learn more about how it works.

Mondly

The Mondly app is an easy way to learn the basics of Finnish quickly. It’s an interactive app that uses modern technology to create fun and interesting lessons. You can complete the lessons in any order you want and study what interests you. Mondly has lots of ways you can track your progress, which is perfect for helping you stay motivated. You can try Mondly with a free 7-day trial to see if you enjoy using it. You can also read our Mondly review to learn more about the app.

Drops

Drops is a vocabulary app that will help you learn a lot of Finnish words and phrases quickly. It has an excellent user design with simple activities that promote retention of the new words you learn. There are hundreds of categories to choose from, and you can study the words in any order you want. You can use drops for free for 5 minutes every day or get a premium subscription for unlimited practice. Learn more about the app in this Drops review.

Take an Online Finnish Course

Online courses are a comprehensive, yet flexible, way to study Finnish. They take the guesswork out of what to learn next by laying out the material in a structured way. Most courses are self-paced so you can study when you have the time. They take more time and commitment than other ways to study, but they can be more comprehensive and help you develop all language skills. Udemy, Finking Cap Club, and A Taste of Finnish are high-quality options that will help you take your Finnish to the next level.

Commitment: High

Price: Medium-High

Convenience: Medium

Udemy

Udemy is an online learning platform with educational courses covering every topic you can think of. They also have a few courses that teach Finnish. The courses are self-paced with video lessons as well as individual study material and homework. Most of the courses are for beginners, but you can also learn about specialized topics like pronunciation and how to pass the Finnish citizenship test. Each course has a preview video and a detailed description to see exactly what will be covered. You can also read this Udemy review to learn more about the platform.

Finking Cap Club

Finking Cap Club is a self-paced language course. The lessons are taught by Emmi, a Finnish teacher from Oulu. The course consists of Finnish grammar lessons that tackle the difficulties of the language and practical lessons that teach basic vocabulary and other important topics like the difference between spoken and standard Finnish. In addition to the video lessons, you also get access to practice activities, authentic texts and audios, and vocabulary flashcards. Learn more about the course on the Finking Cap Club website.

A Taste of Finnish

A Taste of Finish is a completely free course developed by the University of Helsinki. It was originally made for international university students that will study in Finland, but it’s available for everyone to use. The course has 10 lessons that teach communication in common situations such as introductions and visiting a cafe. Throughout the course, you’ll learn Finnish vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar.

Find an Online Finnish Tutor

One of the best ways to learn Finnish is taking class with a qualified teacher. But if you don’t know anyone who speaks Finnish, this can be difficult. Thanks to platforms like italki, Preply, and Verbal Planet, you now have the option to take online class from the comfort of your own home. And classes are completely customizable. You can choose which teacher you want, what time you want class, what you want to study, and more.

Commitment: Medium

Price: Medium-High

Convenience: Medium

italki

italki is one of the largest language learning platforms. There are currently 20 Finnish tutors available for online lessons. You choose when you want to take classes and what you want to study. Each teacher also sets their own price so you can find someone that fits your budget. Most tutors offer a discounted trial class so you can see if they are a good fit for you. You can also read this italki review to learn more about the platform.

Preply

Preply is a platform similar to italki. You can choose a Finnish teacher by looking at their profiles and schedule. Each teacher can customize their own lessons so you can focus on exactly what you want to learn. You can also read past student reviews of each teacher and see how many classes they’ve taught. You can take a discounted trial lesson with most teachers or learn more about the platform in this Preply review.

Verbal Planet

Verbal Planet is another platform that can connect you with a Finnish tutor. There are only a handful of Finnish tutors, but they all have excellent ratings from past students. To find a teacher that’s right for you, you can look at the teachers’ profiles to read a short bio and their past experience with teaching. Most teachers offer a free or discounted trial class to see if they are a good fit.

Study with High-Quality Finnish Books

Finnish textbooks are a traditional, but still effective, way to study. They include detailed explanations as well as practice exercises and cultural notes. Many books are made for self-studiers, but you can also use them in class with a Finnish teacher. Colloquial Finnish, Beginner’s Finnish with Online Audio, and Complete Finnish are highly-rated choices available on Amazon.

Commitment: Low

Price: Medium

Convenience: Medium

Colloquial Finnish

Colloquial Finnish walks you through Finnish starting at the very beginning and gradually progresses, building on what you previously learned. In each chapter, you’ll learn how to communicate in common situations that you might face in everyday life in Finland. The book is extensive, yet accessible, featuring succinct grammar explanations, vocabulary lists, realistic dialogues, and practice activities. There is also an answer key and downloadable audio recordings of native speakers that accompany the dialogues presented in the book. You can learn more about Colloquial Finnish here.

Beginner’s Finnish with Online Audio

Beginner’s Finnish with Online Audio is an introduction to the language that teaches basic conversation through everyday topics such as introductions, sightseeing, and going to a restaurant. In each of the 12 chapters, you work on all language skills. You learn Finnish grammar and vocabulary, listen to a dialogue, and answer comprehension questions. As the book name suggests, there is accompanying audio that can be downloaded online. See what you think about the book here.

Complete Finnish

Complete Finnish is a comprehensive book that will take you from beginner to an intermediate level of Finnish. There are 24 chapters that focus on everyday situations such as talking about time, expressing your likes/dislikes, and how to ask for directions. Each chapter incorporates grammar and vocabulary into texts and dialogues that you practice with. There are also practice exercises as well as cultural information boxes. The accompanying CDS are helpful for learning how to speak. See what you think about the book here.

Watch Finnish YouTube Videos

Watching Finnish YouTube videos is one of the most fun ways to learn! There’s a wide variety of videos that are helpful depending on your level. If you’re a beginner, you can watch free videos that teach the basics of the language. If you’re more advanced, there are others that are completely in Finnish. No matter your level, YouTube videos are a great way to hear how Finns really talk and learn about Finnish culture.

Commitment: Low

Price: Low

Convenience: High

KatChats Finnish

KatChats YouTube Channel

The KatChats Finnish YouTube channel has a mix of videos that teach you how to speak the language as well as vlogs that are in Finnish so you can practice your listening skills. Kat is a Finnish and English teacher. She explains Finnish language concepts in English and her vlogs have English and Finnish subtitles so learners of all levels can enjoy them. You can watch all of Kat’s videos on the KatChats Finnish channel.

Easy Finnish

The Easy Finnish YouTube channel is an excellent resource for intermediate learners. The host of the videos talks about Finnish cultural topics in slow spoken Finnish to build listening and comprehension in the language. There are also some videos in English and Finnish that teach the basics of the language, but his videos that are entirely in Finnish are better. You can check out all of his videos on the Easy Finnish channel.

Learn Finnish

The Learn Finnish videos are a mix of spoken Finnish, art, and ASMR. Each video shows the artist painting or drawing a picture while she speaks in slow Finnish. She often speaks about cultural topics which is a good way to learn about Finland. Not only will the videos help you understand spoken Finnish, but you’ll feel relaxed in the process. It’s a relatively new channel so keep your eye out for new content. You can watch all videos available on the Learn Finnish YouTube channel.

Listen to Finnish Podcasts

Podcasts are best to help you develop listening and comprehension skills in Finnish. Since podcasts are audio-based, you can also go hands-free and listen anytime and anywhere. Some podcasts focus on teaching specifics of the language, while others are entirely in Finnish and talk about different topics of interest. FinnishPod101, Random Finnish Lessons, and Opi suomea! are popular podcasts that have hundreds of hours of content for you to listen to.

Commitment: Low

Price: Low

Convenience: High

FinnishPod101

FinnishPod101 homepage

FinnishPod101 has hundreds of podcast-style lessons featuring dialogues between native speakers. After hearing the dialogue, it’s then broken down and explained to teach various vocabulary and grammar topics. There’s also tons of extra practice material such as extensive vocabulary lists and bonus lessons that can help you improve your listening and cultural understanding. Plus, they are constantly adding more content so there is always something new to learn. You can set up a free FinnishPod101 account and start learning today.

Random Finnish Lessons

The host of the Random Finnish Lessons podcast is Hanna Männikkölahti, a native Finn and Finnish teacher. Each episode covers a different cultural topic or interview with Finnish people. It’s designed to help Finnish learners and she speaks in easy and slow Finnish. Her podcast is extensive. She has hundreds of episodes and each one is 15-30 minutes. All episodes of the Random Finnish Lessons podcast are available on SoundCloud.

Opi suomea!

The Opi suomea! Podcast is another podcast that’s completely in Finnish. While the language is simpler than you might hear on the streets of Helsinki, intermediate and advanced learners will benefit more from this podcast than beginners. The episodes are usually 20-30 minutes and talk about topics like traveling, language learning, and daily life in Finland. There are also some blog posts and other material to help you in your studies. You can listen to all the episodes on the Opi suomea! website.

How to Learn Finnish: Final Thoughts

Wherever you are on your language journey, there’s a Finnish resource available for you on this list. When choosing a study method, you should consider factors like how much time you can dedicate per week, how you like to study, and what are your learning goals for learning Finnish. Since most language resources offer a free trial, you can try it out to see if it’s right for you. With dedication and hard work, you’ll be speaking Finnish before you know it! Kivaa päivää!

How to Learn Finnish: FAQ

How long does it take to learn Finnish?

According to the US Department of State, it takes approximately 1,100 class hours to learn Finnish. However, this is an estimate and your actual learning time can depend on a variety of factors such as your natural ability to acquire languages and if you already speak a language that’s similar to Finnish.

To see how long it will take you to learn Finnish, check out our Fluency Calculator.

How can I learn Finnish quickly?

To learn Finnish quickly, you should use a variety of resources to study. Each way to learn has its strengths and weaknesses, so using multiple ones ensures that you’ll have a comprehensive knowledge of the language. For example, a book can give you detailed grammar explanations, but taking classes with an online Finnish tutor is much more effective for improving conversation and listening skills.

How do I learn Finnish at home on my own?

There are many ways to learn Finnish at home, and one of the most popular ways is to use a language app. There are many choices available like Pimsleur, Mondly, and Drops that are high-quality and fun to use. Other ways to learn Finnish at home include taking online lessons with a Finnish tutor or studying with a book.

How hard is it to learn Finnish?

Finnish is one of the most difficult languages for English speakers to learn because of the major linguistic differences between the two languages. Finnish shares almost none of the same vocabulary as English. It also has a complex grammatical structure that’s quite different from English. But don’t let this scare you! With hard work and patience, you’ll be able to become proficient in Finnish.

How do I learn Finnish fluently?

If you want to become fluent in Finnish, you will need to develop all language skills, including speaking. It’s a good idea to practice with a native speaker. You can take online classes with a Finnish teacher or find a language exchange partner on an app like Tandem or HelloTalk. It’s also a good idea to incorporate authentic Finnish material in your study routine. There are many options like Finnish blogs, newspapers, and YouTube channels.

How do I learn Finnish for free?

There are many free resources available to learn Finnish. Many people like to use Duolingo since it has a fairly extensive Finnish course that you can study for free. You can also find free authentic Finnish material by searching for newspapers, blogs, websites, YouTube channels, and more from Finland.

Kelsey Wetherbee

Kelsey is the Content Manager and Editor of Langoly. She is a TEFL-certified English teacher with more than eight years of classroom experience in three different countries. She’s an avid language learner with an advanced level of Spanish and is currently studying French. Whenever possible, she loves to travel and enjoys meeting people from all over the world. Connect with Kelsey on LinkedIn.

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