Learning Finnish

Posted by ahlake on September 12, 2007 | Subscribe
in Things Finnish

I moved from California to Finland in January 2006 in order to make a certain Pirjo my bride. I was 64 years old. The idea of learning a new language at that age is daunting. I found that I could learn just as easily as I could when I was young. I just couldn’t remember what I’d learned!

Philosophically,

one could ask, “Have you learned what you don’t retain?” I don’t want to get into that discussion because many young people learn things in college that they intend to retain only until the final examination for the course. Retaining knowledge is less important today because it becomes obsolete so quickly. Language is not one of those things.

Before I came to Finland, I was told that most people speak some English. This is true if you need to ask a very basic question. I’ve found, however, that most people can’t carry on a discussion with any depth to it. This is not a criticism. As long as a person can function in a language he knows, why should he learn another? It is up to me, an immigrant, to learn Finnish. I’ve had difficulties with the methods that have been used in adult education, so I want to offer another method.

Here is a proposal for teaching Finnish (and other languages) that makes use of my professional background. If the idea inspires you to want to produce Finnish lessons based on it, I’d like to learn about it and have a part in the development because I want to contribute to Finnish society and I need to learn Finnish.

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