Christine Daigle, Professor of Philosophy at Brock University, had an opinion piece recently published in the Helsinki Times about her efforts to learn the Finnish language while on sabbatical in Finland.
“I am in Finland for the year working as a researcher at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies at the University of Helsinki. Last summer, back home in Canada, I downloaded an app so I could learn some basic Finnish phrases. It must have been a strange sight for my neighbors to see me gardening with my headphones on while pronouncing Finnish words and phrases out loud—especially since the language sounds so foreign.
Finnish is renowned for its difficulty and many folks would not even try to learn unless they were moving here permanently (which I wish I could do—Rakastan Helsinkiä!). I was dutifully learning a bit more every day until I arrived here in mid-August. This was when I found out that Finns may be reserved and shy but they are also way too nice! I am taking a Finnish course for beginners but people will switch to English at the first sign of puzzlement on my part. Even when I indicate that I am trying to learn the language by listening and speaking to others. The Finns either want to save me the effort or embarrassment, or want to save themselves from having to suffer through my extremely poor attempts at speaking.”
Continue reading the full article here.