Finnish at U of T
Why Study Finnish?
- Finnish is a Uralic (Finno-Ugric) language and is unrelated to the Indo-European language family. It is spoken by over 5 million in Finland and hundreds of thousands more in the Diaspora. Finnish is a musical language, rich in vowels and in descriptive vocabulary.
- Finnish uses the Latin alphabet. Students will find it easy to write Finnish, as long sounds, both vowels and consonants are consistently written with double characters (muuttaa "to change, to move") and short ones with one character (matala "low, shallow").
- Finnish is one of the languages of the European Union. And it is the language of the world epic, the Kalevala, which inspired much of the world of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and other writings. It is also the language of other great classic literature by such writers as Aleksis Kivi, Paavo Haavikko and Pentti Saarikoski.
- The great filmmaker and auteur Aki
made most of his films in beautiful Finnish.
- Finland's contributions to the English vocabulary include sauna and sisu. The latter is the name of a national character trait that denotes "perseverance, determination, relentless pursuit, even a tinge of "stubbornness". It explains the caption above: Vaikka läpi harmaan kiven — Even through granite if need be.
- Finland’s story of the last 150 years is nothing short of spectacular: ascending from one of the poorest countries in the world to the status of a sophisticated, highly educated welfare-state nation with a reputation of exceptional honesty and high quality of life.
Study Elsewhere Opportunities
- Finland offers generous opportunities for work and study in the country: from totally free summer courses funded by the Finnish government to various exchange programs, work internships and special courses. The Finnish Studies Program can advise you on different types of arrangements, deadlines, application procedures, etc. Our students have studied and worked in Helsinki, Kuopio, Joensuu, Oulu, Turku, Tampere, etc.
- See also:
- Is it true that Finnish is one of the most difficult languages in the world?
Not really! What is sometimes perceived as difficulty is degree of structural and lexical difference. The case system and the verb conjugations present some challenges for speakers of English (that has a very limited number of cases and verb forms). However, both cases and verb conjugations are logical and systematic, and therefore eminently learnable. They do, however, require memorization and practice. Once learned, the language provides boundless enjoyment.