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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gradual yet thorough approach for Finnish learners/revisers
The author's enthusiasm for Finnish comes through in this book, which deals not only with Finnish language but customs and culture too. The grammar of the language is set out in a gradual way and the chapters build well on each other. The subjects covered are useful for travellers and people intending a longer stay in Finland, and the book as a whole provides a...
Published on 20 April 1999

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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tough going, too little grammar at start
Finnish is a very different language for us indo-european speakers. It requires a different approach. Unfortunately, it seems to me that Teach Yourself Finnish is written around the standard "Teach Yourself" language style; this does not work for Finnish, and is probably the fault of the publisher rather than the author. You need in-depth grammar before you can make...
Published on 6 Jun 2005


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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gradual yet thorough approach for Finnish learners/revisers, 20 April 1999
By A Customer
The author's enthusiasm for Finnish comes through in this book, which deals not only with Finnish language but customs and culture too. The grammar of the language is set out in a gradual way and the chapters build well on each other. The subjects covered are useful for travellers and people intending a longer stay in Finland, and the book as a whole provides a constructive, contemporary guide to the Finnish language. It is in an approachable format and includes plenty of examples of 'real' Finnish in use, rather than just passages constructed to reflect grammatical points.
I have found it quite a fun book to use with a deceptively large amount of detail - somehow you absorb a lot of information without really realising it!
It is truly a book you can use to teach yourself, as it does not try to do too much too soon, yet packs in plenty of linguistic information at a rate that can be taken on board by an individual student.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Challenging but well written, 27 Mar 2008
By 
Bernard M. Abel "bearliners" (Langley, Berks, Angleterre) - See all my reviews
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Well, I ve heard so many scary things about the difficulty of Finnish, I already knew that its vocabulary is a world on its own, BUT, I was not ready for what I faced using this book, along with the Colloquial Finnish.

Now, let me put things straight here
Forget the idea that Finnish is difficult to learn and even harder to master.. Okay,. the only thing that will trigger a challenge here is the vocabulary as there s seldom links with any other indo european languages. (think about this.. university becomes yliopisto, hello becomes terve and darling is now kulta...)
Finnish grammar is very logic. people talks about the declensions, and its 16 cases ending .. sure.. but once you know them. finito ! done . as the ending as like propositions, and are used on every single nouns and adjectives . Nothing at all compared to Latin and its 5 declensions, or german with its weak and strong adjectives nightmares or the depressive declensions maze of icelandic...

verbes.. only ONE irregular verb...( for you who do speak french.. this will be a laugh), conjugations is extremely regular. and finnish syntax is at its simplest..

No, finnish is not hard.. it is simply different, totally different. By all mean,. don t let these scary long words with unpronouncables letters scare you . The finns are a very friencly bunch of people anyway and i can assure you (after my own experience) that if you do make a small effort to learn their lingo,, you ll be treated and welcomed like a king

This book is easy to go through, the grammar works perfectly fine, and yes, you ll enjoy the experience.. remember .. take your time.. and if you do make any mistakes ? so what ????.. finns won t care less, as they will be way too impress by your try of speaking their language...

give yourserf some time to learn Finnish . it s worth it and it is simply .. a scary language you will love
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good beginners guide for the traveler or the new student., 26 Dec 1998
By A Customer
Terttu Leney's "Finnish: a complete course for beginners" is a good resource for the beginning student or for the traveler who is planning a trip to Finland and wants to know a little bit about the Finnish language and Finnish customs before they get there.
Finnish is a difficult language with complicated grammar and special rules of syntax. At times the reader might get a little confused by Leney's presentation of some of these rules. But a patient and persistent reader can either muddle through the grammar or pass it by and instead focus upon learning Finnish expressions.
The book's strength is its organization into logical sections (greetings, travel, phone conversations, eating out, the weather etc.) Both a traveler or a student can use the dialogues and vocabulary to gain insight into everyday phrases and events. Likewise the book is packed full of information about Finnish customs and culture. These explanations are integrated into dialogues and vocabularies suited to both student and traveler.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in learning the Finnish language in its practical day to day form, or to the sophisticated traveler who likes to learn about the country and its culture and customs before their trip.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tough going, too little grammar at start, 6 Jun 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Finnish (TYCC) (Paperback)
Finnish is a very different language for us indo-european speakers. It requires a different approach. Unfortunately, it seems to me that Teach Yourself Finnish is written around the standard "Teach Yourself" language style; this does not work for Finnish, and is probably the fault of the publisher rather than the author. You need in-depth grammar before you can make significant headway and meaningfully learn vocabulary.
Instead of introducing appropriate grammar early on, Teach Yourself Finnish contains in its vocabulary lists many whole phrases - which I am never likely to remember; it gives me the feeling of wasting my time learning them (in the same way that you don't learn a language by reading a phrase book).
I have struggled with this book for nearly a year (I have the CD too), dropping into it when I feel another spurt of motivation. I just started chapter 4.
Compared to other Teach Yourself books which I've read (e.g. the excellent and inspiring Teach Yourself Norwegian, and Teach Yourself Living Welsh - regrettably now out of print), this has been a failure for me.
I am a fairly experienced language learner, and I want to learn Finnish properly, not just to get a taste of it. I am not afraid of grammar; indeed I find it fascinating. So maybe I have different requirements to others.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great book with useful background information, 15 Nov 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Finnish (TYL) (Paperback)
This is one the most enjoyable Teach Yourself language books. The dialogues are interesting and offer a pretty wide range of relevant and invaluable vocabulary. It is very well written and accessible. The background information is also really helpful for any first time visitor to Finland. However, due to the nature of the Teach Yourself series (i.e. a lot of ground covered quickly) there is not much chance to go too much into grammar and to practise. I'd advise going through it once fairly quickly and then start again doing it more slowly and carefully. If you're a serious learner go for something along the lines of M.H. Aaltio's Finnish for Foreigners Book One to get the basics of structure then do Teach Yourself to get the vocabulary you'll actually use in Finland. I would perhaps criticise what I would see as the over-use of vocabulary not included in the vocabulary lists. Firstly, I'm not a fan of gist comprehension and secondly Finnish-English dictionaries are hellishly expensive in the UK. I would like ALL of the dialogues to have been included on the tapes and I wish the company that the publishers employed to do the tapes would use someone who speaks the language as the introducer (all dialogues are of course spoken by native speakers) and cut out the over elaborate and slightly irritating scene setting i.e. you won't be asked to say "thank you" in an exercise but you'll first be told where you are, what you've bought, why you've bought it, what the weather's like, what the children are wearing etc. and then asked to say "thank you". I exaggerate of course but you know what I mean.Nevertheless, I do recommend this book. It is well worth the effort and will prepare you well for a trip to Finland.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction to Finnish for beginners, 14 Aug 2004
By A Customer
Simply put an excellent intorduction to the Finnish language. It is simple, informative and fun. You make quick progress with what is a difficult language. It also helps you understanding the Finns and their culture, which helped me with the language. My wife is Finnish and she thought the book was a super starter to the language too.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Teach yourself finnish, 14 Jan 2014
This review is from: Teach Yourself Finnish (Paperback)
Clear concise and well laid out with exercises to try out. A good beginners guide. Easy to follow would recommend as a good book to start with.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what I was looking for!, 29 Nov 2013
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I would recommed this product to everybody who want to learn Finnish. The book was in great conditions and it's exactly what I was looking for. Complete of grammar and explanations.
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4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable, 9 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Teach Yourself Finnish (Paperback)
Terttu presents a very complex language in a lively everyday relevant manner. Other reviews think the pace
is too rapid for a complete beginner, but it is impossible to communicate at the most basic level in this language without
getting into the very unfamiliar grammatical complexites Finnish presents.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Impossible, 13 Mar 2010
By 
Finnish is a hard language, and I was expecting this. It had unfortunately slipped my mind, however, how AWFUL the 'Teach Yourself' range of books are. For anyone who seriously wants to learn the language, I would recommend going for anything else! Having read both Teach Yourself Greek and Teach Yourself Spanish, I can definitely say it is not through any fault of Terttu Leney, rather the format of teaching that these guides implement.

I went for the Teach Yourself guide because sadly it was the only Finnish language course (with the exception of Berlitz phrase books) I could find. I find the Teach Yourself range of courses could lead to a student losing any motivation for learning a language, purely because it is presented and taught in such an incomprehensible and almost aimless way. There is so much superfluous information, which adds to confusion. The verbs are, similarly, presented in no definite area of the book, they are sprinkled here and there.

It seems, from the layout of the book, to be directed predominantly at travellers who may need to learn particular phrases and vocabulary for scenarios that are typically encountered from day to day (chapters are arranged in sections including food, travel etc). While this may be seen as a good thing to some people, I don't think it builds any sort of confidence in the student. What the language student needs is the tools to build sentences with: their own knowledge of basic verbs and grammar.

It's unfortunate that the Michel Thomas range of courses do not include Finnish yet, as they really do the trick. I feel it's imperative to learn a few verbs first (one at a time, to make it digestible) and build from there, enabling the student to confidently construct simple (eventually more advanced) sentences. This is the exact method Michel Thomas uses, to great effect.

I don't mean to be so negative, if this book has helped anyone then that's a good thing. But as I've said, there are easier ways to teach a langage, and sadly it seems that the hardest formats are the ones that are encountered most often. Sadder still, I'm now going to have to go back to my local Waterstone's for a refund. And I hate returning things to shops.
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Teach Yourself Finnish
Teach Yourself Finnish by Terttu Leney (Paperback - 29 Oct 2004)
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