Thursday. 30.11.2023

Puhu minulle suomea - Talk to me in Finnish

Jenni Turunen 7

The title of this text comes from a campaign that started about ten years ago. Originally its aim was to motivate international students to speak Finnish in their everyday life. They made purple pins with the text 'Puhu minulle suomea' and wore them everywhere, expecting people to speak Finnish instead of English to them.

Ten years have passed but I think that the campaign is more relevant today than ever. If we want immigrants to speak Finnish, we should let them speak it, even encourage them to do so. But how do you get a chance to practice spoken language?

Learning a language can be divided into four skills: reading, writing, listening and speaking. If you follow an online course, developing productive skills (writing and speaking) requires your own activity. In fact, neither a face-to-face course can give you enough practice in those capabilities. That’s why you have to find ways to be active. Here is my advice how to do it.

If you live in Finland, you have many opportunities. As Finland is the promised land of libraries, you can find many activities there. I warmly recommend that you go to your nearest library and ask if they have a language café.

A language café is a relaxed and easy going place to learn spoken Finnish. They are organised normally once a week and there are immigrants and native Finns talking about current affairs. You don’t have to be fluent and you can be as active as you like.

The campaign Puhu minulle suomea reminded us that the Finnish language spoken by immigrants is rich and that Finnish can be spoken in a variety of ways

Another option is the Let’s read together organisation and their language clubs. Like the libraries’ language cafés, the clubs are free of charge and you can join whenever you want. You can even take your children with you. You will find more information HERE

For those of you who don’t live in Finland and don’t have Finnish friends near, I recommend internet resources. In social media, especially in Facebook, you can find many groups that are meant for learning and practising Finnish. Maybe you will find a new friend there.

Another possibility are the online language learning communities where you can find a (native or non-native) partner to practice with. Here are some examples of such communities: (they offer both professional lessons as well as free language exchange) and

The campaign Puhu minulle suomea had another aim as well. It was to remind us that the Finnish language spoken by immigrants is rich and that Finnish can be spoken in a variety of ways. This message is very important to all of us. Be active and proud of your Finnish skills, whatever your level is!

Next week we will continue our basic course with some grammar. In the upcoming lessons you will learn about plural forms, verb conjugation and some Finnish cases. Happy studying!

Jenni Turunen

Puhu minulle suomea - Talk to me in Finnish