2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Essential is the right word!,
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This review is from: Finnish: An Essential Grammar (Routledge Essential Grammars) (Paperback)
This is a wonderful book, and an essential complement to whatever coursebook you may be using as THE reference. It explains the structure of the language in a way that no other book that I have seen ever does. It is technical, though, but do not let that put you off.
Finnish is a fiendishly difficult language for an English speaker to learn, and any book review or discussion of the subject must always bear that in mind - it would be unfair to blame books for the peculiarities of the language. That said, I started to dabble in Finnish in the early 1980s to impress a then (Finn) girlfriend. I failed dismally on all counts, as my start point was the old blue and yellow Teach Yourself book which is terrible, as were most of them at the time (buying a second hand one of these today will be a complete waste of money, I assure you). I later tried again (err, negative girlfriend!) with the 1993 edition of Teach yourself Finnish, which is available in updated form and which I would recommend Teach Yourself Complete Finnish (TY Complete Courses). If you are a linguist who prefers grammatical explanation to the 'repeat seven times and it will stick' approach - in other words, you want to get to grips with the structure of the language, with why something is said in the way it is, and not simply learn phrases - then the TY book does not go far enough and you'll find this Routledge Essential Grammar great to use in parallel with the TY (or other) course. This new (2008) edition also contains many internet addresses for on-line learning and, especially, pronunciation exercises... all this is a vast improvement on what we have had to live with until relatively recently.