One of the questions I often get asked after ‘how long have you lived in Finland?’ is the hard-to-answer-question: how did you learn Finnish?
It’s ironic because every time this question is asked, I know the person asking it is expecting some kind of magical answer:
“I had this amazing book – you have to read it!”
“There’s this awesome course you have to try – you’ll love it.”
“I was adopted by a nice Finnish Laestadian family who took me in and only spoke to me in Finnish until I caught on.”
But no. I’m not able to claim any of the above and so, my answer disappoints people. They usually conclude that I have some magical Finnish powers and we get on with our lives, forgetting the whole thing. The truth is, the conclusion they usually reach, that I’m ‘talented’ at learning languages leaves me feeling very uncomfortable. Mostly because it’s not true.
So what’s my big secret to learning Finnish?
It’s not what you want to hear but in one word: persistence (mixed in with stubbornness and a refusal to accept that I don’t speak Finnish yet). Before you roll your eyes and delete this email, hear me out.
My motivation to learn Finnish went up and down for years, like most people’s, but at some point I realized that my motivation is directly tied to how I see myself getting from point A (beginner) to point B (fluent).
If the road ahead is hard, filled with boring books and embarrassing moments, my motivation stays at zero. But if I realize that maybe, learning Finnish won’t be like that… that it could really be fun, get easier and feel rewarding, then we’re talking!
Often, realizing that things won’t happen the way we expect can be a blessing. And it can be quite eye opening to open your eyes a little wider every once in awhile and ask some questions we already thought we knew the answers to. With exactly this in mind, I planned the content for the webinar I taught last weekend: “Are these the 3 reasons you haven’t learned Finnish yet? And here’s what to do next!”
Each of the 3 reasons is surprising because all three of them are things that we think we HAVE to do when we learn Finnish. When actually, some of them end up getting in the way of us learning Finnish.
So I’m here today to tell you: you don’t need to learn Finnish in the way you necessarily though – and this can be a very good thing! AND if you missed the webinar, you can still watch it for a limited time until this Friday, by clicking here!
It is by far the most valuable & concise overview I’ve ever put together, that comes close to answering the question of how I learned Finnish. So I highly recommend you check it out 🙂
Here’s the full link again: http://languagecatalyst.com/wordpress2014/finnish3reasons
Until next time,