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
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 (e.g. 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 (e.g. 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 (e.g. 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 (e.g. 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 (e.g. 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.
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 get 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.
- Feelings and emotions:
- Living arrangements:
- Expressions of time:
- City life:
- Everyday life:
- Your personal history:
- A2.1: no grasp on the past tense yet, so just in some phrases (e.g. “minä olin”)
- A2.2: ability to explain your past life using the imperfect tense
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.
- Inflection of more wordtypes:
- The past tense
- Ability to express what happened in the past (A2.2)
- You will still often forget to use the imperfect when you produce sentences (A2.1)
- The perfect tense
- Basic understanding of the difference between the imperfect and the perfect (A2.2)
- The conditional
- Ability to express polite requests (A2.1)
- Ability to talk about hypothetical situations (A2.2)
- Ability to assess which situations require the conditional (A2.2)
- The passive
- Passive in proposals and suggestions (A2.1)
- Passive in spoken language (A2.1)
- Passive in actual passive sentences (A2.2)
- The partitive case
- The genitive case
- The object
- The partitive object in sentences about food (A2.1)
- The total object in routine sentence (e.g. Avaan oven) (A2.1)
- Understanding of total object vs. partitive object (A2.2)
- A1: mutta, koska, tai, kun and ja
- A2: more: sekä, lisäksi, eikä, vaikka, siksi, siis, jos, kuitenkin, ennen kuin, kunnes, vaan
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.