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Colloquial Finnish: The Complete Course for Beginners (Colloquial Series) [Paperback]

Daniel Abondolo
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 18 Dec 1997 --  
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Book Description

18 Dec 1997 041511389X 978-0415113892

Colloquial Finnish is easy to use and completely up to date!

Specially written by experienced teachers for self-study or class use, the course offers you a step-by-step approach to written and spoken Finnish. No prior knowledge of the language is required.

What makes Colloquial Finnish your best choice in personal language learning?

  • Interactive – lots of exercises for regular practice
  • Clear – concise grammar notes
  • Practical – useful vocabulary and pronunciation guide
  • Complete - including answer key and reference section

By the end of this rewarding course you will be able to communicate confidently and effectively in Finnish in a broad range of everyday situations.

Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (18 Dec 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 041511389X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415113892
  • Product Dimensions: 2.1 x 13.4 x 21.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,255,057 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Audio Cassette
I think that this course is excellent but really not for the absolute beginner. It teaches from the outset the colloquial spoken version of the language which can be quite different at times from the standard form. Call me old-fashioned but I tend to think that you have to know a language fairly well before you have the confidence to deliberately break the rules. I also think you need to know the language well to pull this off as a foreigner without sounding odd to a native speaker. Using slangy forms when you are struggling with the basics, I think can result in a strange hybrid. Finns often use the standard forms when addressing a foreigner learning the language anyway. Also the dialogues on the tapes, which are of an excellent quality, are authentic but delivered far too quickly to be of any use to a complete beginner. The dialogues themselves often suggest situations that a student studying in Finland or someone working there might use rather than a casual visitor. I also find D. Abondolo's approach to teaching verb types very interesting but extremely confusing. In the long run I find it easier to work from the infinitive than figure out his system. Others may disagree, I suppose it depends what you're used to. Having said all this, I cannot recommend this course too much to anyone who has already got a grounding in the language and who is going to Finland. In fact without it much of the Finnish you'll hear on the street, in TV dramas and even in magazines (especially on the letters page!) will be hard to follow. You may also like to take a look at "Kato Hei" by Maarit Berg and Leena Silfverberg (ISNB 951-792-028-8) Published by Finn Lectura. It's the same idea but is more advanced.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good... but not for beginners 22 Dec 2007
By Daniel
This book has (understandably) recieved a lot of criticism from past reviewers, who bought this book hoping to master the basics from scratch, without requiring any previous language study. Afterall, this is what the book promises. However, the reader is thrown into complex paradigms, confusing tables and in-depth grammar rules from the outset. I myself, a final year language student at university, struggled to fathom out some of these paradigms. And as for no previous language study... a good knowledge of German is needed just to gain full benifit from the pronunciation section!

However, this is not to say that this book does not have it's uses. The grammar explanations (paradigms and diagrams aside) are very useful and concise and have helped me to bridge those gaps in my knowledge. Furthermore, this book does actually teach the colloquial language, so you will understand the language the people actually speak, not just the language the text books use.

All in all, this is a good book... just not for beginners. My advice for anyone interested in buying this book, or indeed in learning Finnish, is to buy Teach Yourself Finnish by Terttu Leney and then move onto this book afterwards. It will improve your Finnish, polish your grammar and teach you less stilted Finnish.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for beginners 18 April 2006
A nicely produced book but most decidedly not for beginners. The grammar moves along at far too rapid a pace for most of us to absorb and the explanations are confusing. For all its notoriety the old Teach Yourself Finnish, if used judiciously, is still useful, and provides the bonus of a continuous narrative. The word lists may initially look formidable, but the book is nicely paced in terms of grammar, allowing one plently of time to learn, for instance, the present tense before introducing the past, unlike Abondolo, who introduces past tense forms early on with, certainly for the novice, confusing morphological explanations.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Just gets two stars 3 July 2011
By Tom L
Format:Audio CD
This is the first time that I've written an Amazon review, and I felt compelled to do so by the disappointment I felt towards this book. Learning a new language can be a daunting task, and this is doubly true when one learns a language as complex and idiosyncratic as Finnish. The truth is, I just couldn't see this book as particularly accessible. Often, grammatical explanations were written in obscure ways and assume that the reader has a good understanding of the rules of Finnish grammar from the outset. Concepts such as "tight-lid suffix" were thrown about without sufficient clarity or explanation, and this has a tendency to alienate the reader. I've been learning Finnish with my girlfriend (she's from Helsinki) and she was also unable to comprehend the explanations that the writer goes into. She has doubts, too, regarding the authenticity of the colloquialism of the language that is used, and on more than one occasion she made corrections to the answers provided in the back of the book. It is not uncommon to find answers to only some of the exercises in the back of the book, and this can also be problematic.

I gave this book two stars because I can work on some of the exercises and then get my girlfriend to check the answers and the language. It is a useful aid, as it gives me some direction in which to work in. That said, I would not recommend this to somebody who will not have someone else there to assist them. That the answers are sometimes missing or false is somewhat dubious, and therefore I can't recommend this to a beginner looking to get a good start in learning Finnish.
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