How long does it take to attain fluency in Finnish?

Learn and discuss the Finnish language with Finn's and foreigners alike

How long do you think it takes to become fluent?

0 - 1 year
1 - 2 years
2 - 5 years
5 - 10 years
10 - 15 years
longer (how long?)
Total votes: 89

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Post by Vera » Fri Apr 23, 2004 4:24 pm

Cuckoo wrote:It's dependent on situation. The big test would be if someone goes for a month or more without speaking English to a Finn, then I guess they're coping in most situations they find themselves in. That's fluent, IMHO.

And I've never met a foreigner who could really do that.
I don't think it's a good test of fluency. My first month without speaking any English to a Finn probably happened 4 or 5 months after I moved to Finland, but that does not mean I was fluent: I was just speaking fairly bad Finnish with a fair lot of effort.

Took me about a year to become fluent enough to participate in conversations with several Finns at a time at a normal conversation speed. Talking with one person at a time was a lot easier, and so was following lectures.

It's not hard to learn Finnish. You just need to find Finnish people who want to talk with you, ask them not to use any English with you, and also ask them to correct your Finnish when you are saying something wrong.



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Post by yaxxi » Thu Sep 16, 2004 10:52 am

I would say about 2 years, if you are interested, able to attend good courses, have enough opportunities to talk and write and so on. After all, it is not so complicated as it looks as soon as you get used to its "strangeness" ;-)
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Post by kalmisto » Mon Sep 20, 2004 6:40 pm


See what Elaine ( an American living in Finland ) says about Finnish ! : ... d_dog.html

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Post by Jake » Fri Sep 24, 2004 6:49 pm

I have just started using "Talk Now learn Finnish"

It's good fun to use and is quite easy. I have only got as far as the first section so far and only know single words.

This isn't much help if i see a good looking Finnish girl walking along the street with her pet, decide to try and chat her up by pointing and saying "koira" i will probably get a slap.

So long and thanks for all the fish.

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Post by bretti_kivi » Fri Sep 24, 2004 10:58 pm

i don't think it will take that long to become fluent once you are forced into using the language, i.e. at work. if this is the case and you have some talent and grammatical knowledge, i think a year is reasonable to have C2 level. this, though, is after being way over tourist level for a while.
my German is C2 after 7 years in country - but it's not much better than it was three years before that: so that was in total 4 years in country before i was really up to speed there.
but: and here's the rub: it's still not "mother tongue", even though i'm happy to negotiate in it. the germans rate someone as being "fliessend" and then "verhandlungssicher" - "fluent" and "negotiation competent", which would imply a significant understanding of the subtleties behind specific word choices. however: my wife is not aware of certain subtle changes of meaning simply because she's not been working with a certain level of people: my colleagues were down to earth and therefore i know more "street german" than she does. quite a lot in fact. but her grammar is perfect and that's where she gains over me.
here it's mildly more complicated, but i'm really beginning to understand after taking the summer uni courses and the present uni course. i'm hoping for a job with mainly finns in the office so i can go back and shock everyone on the summer course next year...:)

i think some other things are important: an understanding of language mechanics, grammar, a good memory and musical talent makes all the difference in the world.

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