Finnish for busy people

Beginner Finnish Topics – Level A1: A1.1 to A1.3

This article is part of a series where I use the general tendencies in Finnish learning textbooks and coursebooks to identify what subjects belong to which level. This page deals with beginner Finnish topics. You can find information about level A1 on this page. Hopefully it gives you some insight as to where to start when you’re just starting out with learning the Finnish language.

I will soon be releasing another article dealing with the way language is assessed and divided in levels within Europe using the CEFR system.

Level A1 Summary

A1 is the lowest level of language proficiency, beginner level. When starting your studies from zero, you go from A1.1 to A1.2 to A1.3. Here’s the general description of A1-level:

“Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type. Can introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has. Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.”Council of Europe

Level Progression within Level A1

There is a progression from A1.1 to A1.3 which follows the following pattern. All three of these levels contain beginner Finnish topics.

At level A1.1 (approximately)

  • You also know some simple words such as poika, tyttö, Suomi, pöytä, kissa and kirja.
  • You are able to say and understand very simple phrases, such as hei, kiitos, anteeksi, mitä kuuluu, minä olen englantilainen and minä rakastan sinua.
  • You’ve learned, for example, the days of the week and the numbers.
  • You can’t have a conversation yet, but you can answer questions such as Mikä sinun nimi on?

At level A1.2 (approximately)

  • You can ask and answer basic personal questions in something which resembles a conversation. For example:
    – Hei! Kuka sinä olet?
    – Moi! Minä olen Anna. Kuka sinä olet?
    – Minä olen Peter. Mitä kieltä sinä puhut?
    – Minä puhun englantia ja vähän suomea. Entä sinä?
    – Minä puhun ranskaa. Missä sinä asut?
    – Minä asun Helsingissä.
  • You can have very basic interactions in the store. You can, for example, ask where certain products are, and ask for the price of things. You can understand prices if they’re spoken very slowly and clearly.
  • You can say what you’re doing using very simple verbs (e.g. Minä istun, sinä seisot, me katsomme televisiota, hän syö ruokaa) and can make questions with these verbs (e.g. Istutko sinä? Missä sinä olet?). You can combine these verbs with, for example, telling the time.
  • You’re unable to say more than a couple of sentences without needed help.

At level A1.3 (approximately)

  • Your language will still be more focused on listing items rather than having real conversations (e.g. Minulla on olohuone, makuuhuone, keittiö ja kylpyhuone. Minulla on kaksi siskoa ja veli. Minulla on isä ja äiti. Minä syön leipää, juustoa, voita ja kurkkua.).
  • You can have simple conversations related to very basic everyday things, such as family, food, the weather or daily routines. You will constantly need prompting and a lot of help from the other person to keep the conversation going.
  • You can conduct some business in Finnish, such as ordering something in a store, reserving an appointment or explaining your basic symptoms to a doctor.
  • You can express where you are, where you come from and where you are going. You can combine this with everyday verbs to express your daily routines.

Content of Coursebooks for Level A1

Coursebooks that start from zero generally contain the following beginner Finnish topics and content. Please note that this is the general tendency and that different books take slightly different approaches. My intent is just to give you a basic idea of the biggest themes that you will run into in beginning Finnish textbooks.

A1-level Vocabulary

This is the key vocabulary that’s generally included in A1-level coursebooks. I’m adding links to said topics on my website, but do realize that, often, my website is more detailed than what you need at A1-level.

A1-level Grammar

Here are the key grammar topics that are generally included in A1-level coursebooks. I’m adding links to said topics on my website, but do realize that, often, my website is much more detailed than what you need at A1-level. I’ve tried to specify which parts of these pages are A1-level in the list below.

Combining A1-level vocabulary and grammar

Grammar and vocabulary do very little if you can’t combine them. The following links lead you to lesson plans that show you how you can combine the grammar and vocabulary of the topics above to study topics properly.

That’s all for A1-level beginner Finnish topics. If you have questions, do leave a comment below. As I release articles about levels A2 and B1, I will be adding links in this article.

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Farnaz Abroon

I have recently found your website and I should say this is the best site that I have ever seen about Finnish language. In fact, I have been exactly looking for a web site which could give a good summary about Finnish language and you did it with the highest possible quality. I am so grateful for your efforts and putting this website out.

Last edited 11 months ago by Farnaz Abroon
Aneesh kumar

Hi, how much is passing score for A1 level, thank you

Inge (admin)

That really depends on your school and teacher, there’s no national test for A1.