Suomen kieli käyttöön
This is the English version of the Finnish Book Suomen Kieli käyttöön (Finnish Language in Use).
The title and all chapters names parallel the original book to make it easy to navigate from the English and Finnish Books. This is done merely by changing the address from en.wikibooks.org/ etc.... to fi.wikibooks.org/ etc....
Also in development is a translation in Russian and soon other languages.
Finnish Language in Use (this book) has a companion reference book Finnish Language for Foreigners which provides information about the rules of grammar and pronunciation in the Finnish language.
Who is developing this book?
This book began life as a project run at Timali the adult education centre in Raisio, near Turku, in Western Finland. The Timali school teaches Finnish to more than one hundred foreign students learning the Finnish language every year.
We hope that other people in Finland and around the world will join us in this project to make this book the best possible place to learn Finnish on the World Wide Web.
Why is this book being developed?
Grammar: Learning Finnish requires the student to develop many levels of understanding of the language. It is not enough to arm oneself with a book on Finnish grammar and an English-Finnish dictionary to become a competent user of the language. Certainly, a Finnish grammar is essential, but it is not sufficient. There are many idiomatic forms and usages that do not fit a "rule book", which is essentially what a grammar is. So one has to learn the exceptions and special cases as well as the general rules.
Similarly with vocabulary. Most dictionaries are a compromise between what the user needs to know and the limitations forced on dictionary compilers by the physical size of the dictionary. For instance, a small dictionary might tell you (as mine did) that the translation for "goodbye" is "hyvästi". But it is quite wrong to use "hyvästi" in most circumstances! It actually means "goodbye" when you are likely never to see the person again! "Näkemiin" (till we see again) or "Hei Hei" (Bye-bye) or "Nähdään" (see ya) are much more common everyday ways of saying goodbye. Some basic books teaching Finnish to foreigners do have these details, but they suffer from the same restriction on size that dictionary compilers have.
An on-line book such as this has no such restriction. Physical size is not really a problem.
Linguistic constructions: Some things in Finnish are rather similar to English (for example past tense constructions), but there are many instances that are different. The participle constructions can seem quite strange and there are many instances of verb/noun constructions that the foreigner just has to learn. So for instance a person in Finland will "EAT his medicine" (not "TAKE his medicine" as in English), and will check in the paper to see what is "COMING FROM TV TONIGHT" (not to see what is "ON TV TONIGHT"). No dictionary or simple grammar book will tell you these things. We hope that this book will. In this respect this translation of "Suomen kieli käyttöön" will differ from the original Finnish book under development and from other translations such as that in Russian.
This book aims to close the gap between dictionaries and grammar books by providing a book with lots of examples of the language in everyday use. From newspaper and magazine articles, letters and e-mails, to spoken interview and chat room dialogues. The latter especially tend to contain lots of contractions and dialectical forms extensively found in the spoken language.
The ultimate aim is to provide people who are learning the Finnish language an understanding of how sentences are constructed, and how to determine the right case for a noun (not always easy for a person not used to using a language that has 15 different noun cases!), and how to understand and correctly use the various passive, active, infinitive and participle forms of verbs. On top of that, students will also be able to identify and learn the various forms of "rektio" (case form governance directed by a verb). These are undoubtedly the biggest problems faced by foreign learners of Finnish.
How is this achieved?
This book has been created on the Finnish Wikibooks site at Suomen kieli käyttöön. It has parallel translations on other Wikibooks sites. It contains real life Finnish texts and some audio material. These translation pages are created by students who are expected to cross-check each other's work, and we hope that students wherever in the world they are, will add new texts here (as well as on the Finnish Wikibook version, being careful of course not to breach anyone's copyright!) and that they will encourage their friends who speak Finnish fluently to help out and correct any mistakes, or highlight any matter that he or she may think is of interest to students developing this book. Of course there is no guarantee that these translations are error free at any given time but hopefully, as with other WIKI type projects, any errors will soon be ironed out by those who understand things better. Its a good idea therefore to create a log-in ID and put pages you have read to your watch-list so that you can see the changes as they are being made.
We hope students will place links from the Finnish pages to the versions they have translated.
Texts are graded for complexity. Thus it makes sense if you are complete beginner to start with texts at Level 1 and work your way through the levels. This grading is done by taking an overall look at the complexity of the texts and assigning a complexity level. Because the texts are mostly from real life, some complex language may occasionally be seen in lower graded texts.
Formal analysis of texts is encouraged to point out grammatical features and highlight the special usages of words in particular contexts. Students will raise questions about the texts on the discussion pages. They can communicate with each other through the use of the discussion pages and help each other to improve the translations and the analysis. If the students collectively cannot resolve the issue, the discussion may move to the equivalent page on the Finnish pages where questions can be asked in Finnish about the material. Finnish pages will be verified by Finnish speakers who hopefully can answer the questions raised. Readers of this book are therefore encouraged to log in and add pages they have read to their watchlists.
As readers get to understand how the language works, there will not always be the need to provide low level analysis of higher graded texts. Only the more complex elements will be analysed.
Important message to readers and developers of this book
Register and Sign in regularly
- This book is constantly being developed. New material will be added all the time.
- Please create a log-in ID and remember your ID and password. You can set your language preferences here.
- When you have read a page, made a translation, or raised a question on a discussion page, put the page onto your watchlist. You can only do this when you are logged in. When you log in next time, you can quickly see what changes have been made to the articles on your watch list.
Help develop the book
- If you can improve on a page, please make the edit. It is very easy to edit pages.
- If you have a query, raise it on the discussion page to discuss it with other students.
- If you have some text you have analysed yourself, please publish it here and share your learning with others.
- Please take care not to infringe other people's copyrights! Do not, for instance, publish exercises here from text books because that will certainly infringe copyright. Some original articles published here did originally carry copyright, but specific permission has been obtained in each case to publish them here.
Companion Reference Finnish Language for Foreigners
This book ties in with a reference book Finnish Language for Foreigners which is being developed alongside. The reference book introduces the grammar and other features of Finnish, such as consonant gradation, pronunciation, and the main differences in the spoken and written language.
We also encourage the developers of this book to develop and use the Finnish section of Wiktionary as a useful on-line tool.
List of pages in development
You can learn a lot by just reading. Here's why.