Finnish for busy people

Intermediate Finnish Topics – Level A2: A2.1 to A2.2

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 A2 Finnish topics. I’m calling this level intermediate. 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 A2 Summary

A2 can be called the “advanced beginner level” or the “beginner intermediate level”. It’s what comes after level A1 and before level B1.

“Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment). Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters. Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.”Council of Europe

Level Progression within Level A2

There is a progression from A2.1 to A2.2 which follows the following pattern. Both of these levels contain beginner/intermediate Finnish topics.

At level A2.1 (approximately)

  • Your vocabulary is very concrete (eg. food, furniture, clothes, family). Most of what you’re able to express is very closely related to yourself and your immediate surroundings (things you can see and point at).
  • You can’t talk about things on a general level yet, so most of your sentences start with “minä“.
  • You haven’t reached an independent proficiency yet. You often need help from the person you’re talking with, when you can’t think of the word or run out of things to say. Long silences are common.
  • You are able to ask people to repeat things or explain something further, which is frequently necessary for understanding.
  • You should now be able to have a keep a short conversation about simple everyday topics (shopping, food, hobbies, family, daily routines) going. Much of what you say is still more like a list than a conversation, but you can ask some simple things and reply to concrete questions.
  • You can understand short texts (eg. text messages, shopping lists, short ads) which contain concrete vocabulary and things that are related to your everyday life.

At level A2.2 (approximately)

  • Your speech and writing are still very concrete and centered around your own life.
  • You’ve developed a certain routine when dealing with familiar topics. You are able to talk about your everyday life fairly independently (eg. what you do in the morning or what you buy from the store). Recurring everyday one-on-one interactions are doable.
  • You sometimes need the help of the person you’re talking to.
  • You still need help when running into unknown words, but you’re starting to develop certain strategies to deal with those situations. You can, for example, explain some words in a roundabout way and use more general words to patch up the unknown word (eg. using talo when you can’t think of mökki).
  • Your sentences are often short, but you are now capable of stringing sentences together with simple conjunctions.
  • You can pick up on the main idea and some details when listening or reading if the topic contains basic vocabulary and is simplified. You’ve developed a beginning skill of figuring out the meaning of unknown words from the context.
  • You’re to some extent able to express your opinions using simple sentence constructions (eg. tykkään, en pidä, minusta, ajattelen että)
  • Using simple sentences and studied phrases, you’re able to, for example, invite people to parties, make requests and explain problems.
  • You’re also able to use the past tense of simple verbs to explain concrete things related closely to your own life and history.

Content of Coursebooks for Level A2

Coursebooks that contain A2 level topics generally contain the following content. Please note that this is the general tendency. Even more so than A1-level books, there is variation in what’s included between different A2-level books. My intent is just to give you a basic idea of the biggest themes that you will run into in Finnish textbooks once you have a grasp of the very basics.

A2-level Vocabulary

The focus at A2 level shifts away from just knowing plain vocabulary and being able to actually do things with the vocabulary. By this I mean that it’s not enough to know some basic illnesses and body part vocabulary anymore at level A2.2. You should be able to combine this vocabulary to communicate with your doctor and getting your point across.

After some attempts at listing just A2 topics, comparing A1 and A2 side by side seemed like the best way to approach this. It’s impossible to list everything here. People don’t just know things that belong to a specific topic: vocabulary branches out to include the things which are important to you. What’s listed below are common topics of chapters in A2-level textbooks.

A2-level Grammar

Here are the key grammar topics that are generally included in A2-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 A2-level. I’ve tried to specify which parts of these pages are A2-level in the list below.

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

 

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Cassandra

I’ve been really struggling to clean up my A2 knowledge base and be confidently in B1. This list of items, especially clarifying examples of what separates A2 from A1 is helpful. I wouldn’t have thought to make sure I use lisäksi, sekä or eikä because I am so comfortable talking using mutta että koska ehkä jos ja.

For me, it’s hard to find level appropriate exercises and expectations that are challenging but don’t burn me out by trying to overdo it in perfectionism. Especially outside Finland. It’s helpful to have a list of grammar to master and know that being corrected doesn’t mean that I am failing to learn the level appropriate grammar

So, this post is very very helpful.