Finnish for busy people

Finnish Language Learning BOOK REVIEW List – Oppikirjat

This article is an extensive Finnish language learning book review list. I’m focusing on Finnish coursebooks and textbooks. You can find out more about reference grammars here.

Thank you, Steve Tucker, for proof-reading this whole article! There certainly were many typos to fix, inconsistencies to set right and section numberings to update. I’m so glad for the support I get from you!

Table of Contents
  1. Information about my approach
    1. These are my opinions
    2. This list includes older books
    3. The difficulty level is based on CEFR
    4. The layout of this page
    5. Finnish in Finnish vs. Finnish in English
    6. Suitable for self-study?
  2. Single Finnish Language Study Books
  3. Finnish Textbook Series
  4. Writing and Reading Comprehension Books
  5. B1 – High School and Beyond Textbooks

1. Information about my approach

1.1. These are my opinions

Please note that my opinions of these books are my own. You might have a completely different feeling about these books. It’s common for students to get really attached to the first book they’ve used, and this can spark some surprisingly strong emotions when someone is less positive about the book in question.

I’m basing my opinions both on my own experiences learning Finnish and on my experiences with them as a teacher.

1.2. This list includes older books

I’m including both books that are out of print and books that are currently for sale. This has been a hard choice to make. My final decision is due to the availability of many of these books in Finnish libraries. A large portion (about 50-60%) of the traffic I get on my website is from within Finland. This means many people will have access to a Finnish library. Of course, I’ve included mention of the availability of each book in these reviews.

For books that are still available for sale, make sure to pay attention to the edition and publishing year of the book! Many of these books have been renewed many times over the years. You benefit most from buying the newest version, if possible! The links I’ve provided always lead you to the newest version.

1.3. The difficulty level is based on CEFR

CEFR, the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, is a tool used to assess language skills. It’s commonly used within Finland. You can find an English description of the levels here. There is also a table for self-assessment for Finnish here. The idea is that you move from A1 (beginner), to A2 (intermediate), to B1 (independent), to C1 (proficient). The C levels are the ones where your Finnish is very near to that of a Finn.

In these reviews, I’m giving you an idea of how difficult a book is using these levels. I’m also mentioning for many books that they contain “typical A1 topics“. There are always examples of such topics within the text describing each book. I will make articles concerning what is generally considered an A1, A2 or B1 level topic soon.

1.4. The layout of this page

It’s been impossible to organize this page so that it’s a) useful, b) easy to understand, c) easy to find the information and d) not too overwhelming. This version you’re currently looking at is the compromise I’ve made to meet those goals. I’m aware it requires a lot of clicking around.

While I would have liked to list the course books, so they’re organized by level, I didn’t end up doing so. The issue is that many of these books are series, which gradually increase in difficulty. Dividing those series up and putting them in different CEFR sections just didn’t seem practical.

1.5. Finnish in Finnish vs. Finnish in English

There are a lot of books on the market which teach Finnish in Finnish. This is likely due to the nature of integration courses for immigrants in Finland, which are almost always taught exclusively in Finnish. This causes extra obstacles for learners who are not in such a course. Studying a whole new language without using another language to explain eg. the grammar can be tricky if you’ve never had to deal with this approach.

This means that some of you might find my opinion on how suitable these books are for self-study incorrect. My approach is this: beginner books that are exclusively in Finnish have generally been described as less suitable for self-study. However, for intermediate and advanced books I haven’t let the language of the book influence the self-study aspect as strongly. My reasoning is that – once you have some basic knowledge – the language barrier should start to matter less and less.

1.6. Suitable for Self-Study?

Self-study works best for diligent, motivated students who (generally) have previous experiences with studying languages. It’s not for everyone! Looking for a course to join or a private teacher might be a better way for some students.

I’m aware that – as a fluent speaker of Finnish – I might not be the best person to assess whether a book is suitable for self-study. I’m assuming there are many beginners looking for a book, who immediately write off any course book that’s written in Finnish only as unsuitable for self-study. I do agree that it is harder to learn Finnish in Finnish on your own, but that doesn’t mean every Finnish-only book is completely unsuitable for beginners.

There are so many online resources these days (dictionaries, Uusi kielemme, other English resources) which can be used in combination with a Finnish-only book. In fact, it’s probably best not to rely on one single book. By combining multiple books, you get more input and potentially more exercises of each topic.

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Finnish Language Study Books

2. Single Finnish Language Study Books

Single Finnish Language Study Books
  1. From Start to Finnish – A Short Course in Finnish (zero to A2)
  2. Kato hei – Puhekielen alkeet (zero to A2.2)
  3. Sun suomi – Finnish for beginners (zero to A2)
  4. Suomi selväksi – Soome keele õpik (zero to A2.2)
  5. Supisuomea (zero to A2.2)
  6. Helppoa suomea (zero to A2.1)
  7. Hoidetaan suomeksi (zero to A2.2)
  8. Teach Yourself Complete Finnish (zero to B1.1)
  9. Colloquial Finnish (zero to A2)
  10. Suomea paremmin (A2.1 to B1.1)
  11. Sainpas sanottua (A2 to B1)
  12. Finnish Tutor – Grammar and Vocabulary Workbook (A2.2 to B2)
  13. Tarinoita Suomesta (B1 to B2)
  14. Learn Finnish without Studying (no specific level)

2.1. From Start to Finnish – A Short Course in Finnish

Name of the book From Start to Finnish – A Short Course in Finnish
Author(s) Leila White
Publisher Finn Lectura
Most recent edition 2017
Type of book beginner self-study book
Aesthetics of the book fairly clear, not too overwhelming
Language(s) used English, Finnish
Level range zero to A2
Advances at a fairly reasonable pace
Types of texts dialogues introducing the chapter’s grammar topic
Topics discussed basic vocabulary (nothing in depth)
Grammar topics typical A1-A2 grammar (see below)
Spoken language one chapter on Helsinki spoken language
Exercise types mainly translation exercises
Solutions to the exercises in the back of the book
Suitable for self-study 5/5
Suitable for study abroad 5/5
Buy the book Finn LecturaAdlibrisSuomalainen kirjakauppa
Additional materials Audio: CD or mp3
Audio streamed version for free! Click “suoratoisto”
Vocabulary list English – Finnish
Additional information: From start to Finnish - A short course in Finnish

From start to Finnish is one of the few books available meant especially for self-study. It’s written in English, which makes it different from most other course books which are completely in Finnish. This book was first released in 1998, but they’re up to the 13th edition now, with the newest version published in 2017.

 

The book does a pretty good job explaining what makes Finnish different. It has short chapters that each cover a small topic, which makes it quite manageable. However, you will definitely need other sources in addition to this book, because what’s included won’t be enough to get a hang of the topics. Each chapter has a couple of short dialogues that simply demonstrate the grammar topic covered in that chapter. As such, you would really benefit from another book with longer, more authentic dialogues or texts.

 

The grammar topics covered are the same ones you will find in other A1-A2 course books. This includes the verbtypes, imperfect and perfect tense, the imperative, the conditional as well as the most common cases (partitive, genetive, location cases). This book does not give you much vocabulary, which is another reason to combine it with a different book if you decide to use it. With the aid of only this book, you will be able to make short sentences, but it doesn’t include any topics in detail as other beginner course books usually do. There are no vocabulary lists included related to eg. body parts, clothing or food vocabulary.

 

You will also need to find a source for exercises about the topics presented. This book mainly contains translation exercises. The solutions are included at the back of the book.

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2.2. Kato hei – Puhekielen alkeet

Name of the book Kato hei – Puhekielen alkeet
Author(s) Maarit Berg, Leena Silfverberg
Publisher Finn Lectura
Most recent edition 2019
Type of book Finnish beginner spoken language course book
Aesthetics of the book clear, not overwhelming
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range zero to A2.2 (start at level A1.3 for self-study)
Advances gradually, but doesn’t include much repetition
Types of texts spoken language dialogues of gradually increasing length
Topics discussed everyday life A1-A2 titbits (see below)
Grammar topics typical A1-A2 topics (see below)
Spoken language the main focus of the book
Exercise types traditional, pretty limited
Solutions to the exercises at the back of the book
Suitable for self-study 3/5
Suitable for study abroad 4/5
Buy the book OtavaAdlibris –  Suomalainen kirjakauppa
Additional materials Audio: CD or mp3 complete
Audio: CD or mp3 for students (limited)
Additional information: Kato hei - Puhekielen alkeet

The book Kato hei focuses on teaching spoken language and has recently been renewed completely. You’re likely to find the older version (with a blue cover rather than a bright yellow one) in Finnish libraries still. The newest version has more – and more natural – conversations and the vocabulary has been updated. The new Kato hei has, for example, examples that talk about smart phones, emails and bad internet connections. In addition, they have also added exercises in the latest version, though there are fairly few of these.

 

Kato hei starts from the very basics and mainly contains written dialogues in spoken language. It’s written completely in Finnish. The book is of course accompanied by recordings of all the dialogues included in it. There are two versions of the recordings. The limited version is cheaper but only contains the dialogues of the book. The full version also includes the book’s listening exercises.

 

Contrary to what you might think, this book is not solely meant to learn spoken language. It gradually introduces you to new grammar topics and phrases just as any other textbook would. Each chapter starts with an overview of a grammar topic. Topics discussed in Kato hei cover levels A1 and A2 (eg. the verbtypes and the past tense, the partitive case, necessity sentences, the passive and the conditional). It includes some more advanced topics as well (eg. plural partitive, plural genetive and plural illative). The grammar is always followed by multiple colloquial dialogues in which these forms are used. The chapters in this book are not organized by vocabulary theme. Rather, each chapter contains mini dialogues that cover different topics. The difficulty level of the dialogues increases as you get further in the book.

 

Each chapter in the newest version of Kato hei also has exercises. These include reading comprehension exercises based on the dialogues, grammar exercises, “translation” exercises from spoken to written, and listening exercises. After that, each chapter comes with a word list of spoken/written new words. Last but not least, each chapter has some spoken language explanations of spoken language phrases, words or forms. The last part of the book comes with a valuable overview of the different aspects of the phonology, morphology, syntax and vocabulary of spoken language.

 

The book claims to be good for both self-study and as a course book. If you’re going to use it for self-study, I would recommend that you first get to at least level A1.3, so you can understand the explanations, since this book is completely in Finnish. Whether you consider this book suitable for self-study depends on whether you feel capable of using a book where only one language is used. The advanced texts at the very end of the book might give you problems even at level A2.

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2.3. Sun suomi – Finnish for beginners

Name of the book Sun suomi – Finnish for beginners
Author(s) Kristiina Kuparinen, Terhi Tapaninen, Karoliina Kuisma
Publisher Finn Lectura
Most recent edition 2020
Type of book Finnish beginner course book
Aesthetics of the book a little bit too busy, nice blue and orange pictures
Language(s) used Finnish and English
Level range zero to A2.2
Advances gradually, every chapter also includes some revision exercises
Types of texts dialogues, monologues as well as more functional (see below)
Topics discussed typical A1-A2 topics (see below)
Grammar topics typical A1-A2 topics (see below)
Spoken language present from the beginning, limited to very common elements
Exercise types many types, traditional and functional
Solutions to the exercises available if you buy the teacher’s guide
Suitable for self-study 4/5
Suitable for study abroad 4/5
Buy the book Finn LecturaAdlibrisBooky
Additional materials – Audio CD included if you buy the book from Adlibris or Booky
Audio available for streaming or as mp3 through Finn Lectura
Teacher’s guide (includes the solutions to the exercises)
Additional information: Sun suomi - Finnish for beginners

This book includes spoken language from the very beginning, but I wouldn’t say it’s a spoken language textbook in the same way as Kato hei. In Sun suomi spoken language is included as a natural element of the Finnish language, alongside written Finnish.

 

Based on the usage of English, you might deduce that it’s a good book for self-study. Some of the exercise types contradict this conclusion: each chapter has at least a couple pair or group assignments. The fact that the solutions to the exercises are available separately in the teacher’s guide also leads to the same conclusion. Nothing stops you from buying the Teacher’s guide though!

 

The grammar in Sun suomi is explained in English. It starts from the very beginning with things such as vowel harmony and the genetive. Included are all the typical A1 and A2 grammar topics, such as the partitive, the verbtypes, the imperative, the location cases, the T-plural and infinitive verb rections.The very back of the book has an overview of the grammar in the book.

 

The vocabulary themes in Sun suomi are also centered around the typical A1-A2 topics such as telling the time, talking about the weather, food, clothes, as well as vocabulary for interactions in a restaurant, hotel, or train station. The book contains sections where it also gives you information about Finnish culture, such as how to behave in a restaurant, how to answer the phone and what types of homes are popular in Finland. Some functional reading texts have also made it into the book: you can find, for example, some ads for hotels, instructions on a coffee machine, notes on a notice board and housing advertisements.

 

The exercises included often require you to deduce some vocabulary or grammar from the reading texts. There are typical fill-in-the-gap exercises for both vocabulary and grammar, but also prompts to write or talk about your own life using the vocabulary provided. Each chapter has some exercises that you’re supposed to do in the classroom setting as well as a couple of listening exercises. If you buy the book from Adlibris or Booky, the CD is included in the price.

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2.4. Suomi selväksi – Soome keele õpik

Name of book Suomi selväksi – Soome keele õpik
Author(s) Margrit Kuusk
Publisher Eesti Keele Sihtasutus
Most recent edition 2013
Type of book Finnish course book in Estonian
Aesthetics of the book clear, inviting, black and white pictures
Language(s) used Estonian and Finnish
Level range zero (if you’re Estonian) to A2.2
Advances quickly
Types of texts dialogues and narratives
Topics discussed typical A1-A2 topics
Grammar topics most Finnish cases and verb forms
Spoken language no
Exercise types fill-in-the-gaps and other traditional types
Solutions to the exercises not available
Suitable for self-study 4/5
Suitable for study abroad 5/5
Buy the book BookyAdlibris
Workbooks Suomi selväksi – Töövihik I osa
Suomi selväksi – Töövihik II osa
Additional information: Suomi selväksi - Soome keele õpik

The book Suomi selväksi is meant for Estonians, which means that the vocabulary gets introduced in a fairly strange order sometimes. This is probably because the assumption is that Estonians will pick up a lot just by knowing the similar words in their language.

 

What makes this book so awesome for every Finnish language learner (not just Estonians) are the clear grammar explanations. The book is filled with simple tables that help you understand the grammar. If you’re just looking for a book to go over some confusing grammar in a clear way, this book is bound to help. A couple of explanations rely on you being able to compare Estonian and Finnish grammar to one another.

 

However, a beginner learner who doesn’t speak Estonian runs the risk of confusing which parts are written in Finnish and which in Estonian. This means the book is definitely not suitable for non-Estonian beginners. This book has surprisingly little Estonian in it, but that doesn’t make the risk of confusing the languages much smaller. I would recommend this book to students at about A2.1 level that want to look over the grammar while simultaneously studying in a Finnish language course or something.

 

The book contains reading texts (dialogues and narratives, some pretty long, but good quality), word lists (translations to Estonian), excellent grammar explanations and overview tables, exercises (solutions not included) and conversation topic suggestions.

 

A lot of grammar is included in this book. It covers most of the Finnish cases (even the instructive and plural genetive, partitive and location cases near the end of the book) and most of the verb forms (present, imperfect, passive, conditional, participles, fourth infinitive, etc.). The vocabulary topics are typical A1-A2 topics, such as telling the time, describing clothes, body parts, hobbies, illnesses and the weather.

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2.5. Supisuomea

Name of the book Supisuomea
Author(s) Leena Silfverberg, Leila White
Publisher Finn Lectura
Most recent edition 2006
Type of book beginner course book
Aesthetics of the book colorful
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range A1-A2.2
Advances evenly, but doesn’t allow for much repetition
Types of texts lots of dialogues of different lengths
Topics discussed typical A1-A2 topics (see below)
Grammar topics typical A1-A2 topics (see below)
Spoken language use of mä, mun, me tultiin starting halfway through the book
Exercise types one or two per chapter, grammar exercises
Solutions to the exercises in the back of the book
Suitable for self-study 2/5
Suitable for study abroad 1/5 (because not sold anymore, but the videos 5/5)
Buy the book no longer getting printed
Additional materials Videos (with explanations)
Plain videos
Additional information: Supisuomea

Forget the book and just watch the videos! Back in 2005 when I started my first Finnish course, the book Supisuomea was all the rage. While it wasn’t appropriate for self-study at all (too chaotic, all in Finnish, not systematic, nearly no exercises), it was (for lack of a better book) used in Finnish courses. The one redeeming feature of the book were the videos accompanying it.

 

The book itself is no longer in print, though you might be able to find it in Finnish libraries. The videos, however, have stood the test of time. They’re still available on yle’s website. While they have their drawbacks (unnatural dialogues, stiff language, bad acting), they’re nice to just watch and pick up some of the grammar with. The videos also include a lot of cultural information about Finland.

 

The grammar in this book is explained in tables, which are pretty hard to grasp just based on the book, but nice in combination with the videos. Grammar topics covered are the typical A1-A2 grammar topics, such as partitive, genetive, location cases, imperative, imperfect, third infinitive, passive, comparative, etc. The topics discussed in the book and video series are all practical things an immigrant might need, with lots of cultural information about Finland included. You learn how to buy food at a market, buy tickets at the train station, what to say at the doctor or pharmacy, how to talk about the weather and much more.

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2.6. Helppoa suomea

Name of the book Helppoa suomea
Author(s) Anni Piikki, Mirja Välkesalmi
Publisher Opetushallitus
Most recent edition 2016
Type of book beginner course book
Aesthetics of the book colorful, spaced out nicely, clear sections
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range zero to A2.1
Advances fairly quickly
Types of texts dialogues, narratives, ads (see below)
Topics discussed typical A1 level topics (see below)
Grammar topics very few included, typical A1 topics (see below)
Spoken language not included
Exercise types classroom conversation prompts
Solutions to the exercises not available
Suitable for self-study 2/5
Suitable for study abroad 5/5
Buy the book OpetushallitusBookySuomalainen kirjakauppa
Additional materials Audio: streamed for free
Additional information: Helppoa suomea

This book seems very suitable for slower paced Finnish courses. For self-study, it might just be a nice book to take with you to a beginner Finnish course and read in when you finish an exercise and have to wait for the group. It’s a very pleasant book to leaf through, with both colorful drawings and pictures, a large font and plenty of empty space.

 

As a plain self-study book, I don’t think it’s as useful due to the lack of exercises. The exercises included are almost always the kind where you need to discuss things with a classmate (eg. asking for the time, giving directions, talking about your favorite foods). There are no example solutions available.

 

The book mainly contains dialogues and short narratives describing everyday situations. In addition, you can find some strongly simplified “real life” texts, such as advertisments, recipes and mesages. Topics covered in the book include greetings, the days of the week, telling the time, basic professions, talking about foods, furniture and visiting the doctor. The main focus is always on using language in order to communicate with others. None of the dialogues have any spoken language in them, but there is a two-page section near the end of the book where spoken language is used in emails.

 

The grammar included in Helppoa suomea are typical A1 level topics such as minulla on -sentences, the verbtypes, the partitive, the location cases, some basic postpositions and täytyy-sentences. These topics are displayed in sections where you mainly just get some examples. The back of the book contains some additional grammar explanations. Grammar is never the main focus of the book, so it’s never explained into great detail. Interesting is how this book for beginners has a small section with a very simplified explanation about the plural partitive.

 

The difficulty level of the reading texts jumps back and forth. This is another reason that I wouldn’t recommend using this book as your main source for self-study. The audio of the book can be streamed for free online.

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2.7. Hoidetaan suomeksi

Name of the book Hoidetaan suomeksi
Author(s) Anu Mustonen, Heidi Sippola, Nuppu Tuononen
Publisher Sanoma Pro
Most recent edition 2014
Type of book beginner textbook with focus on health care
Aesthetics of the book black and white, spacious, pleasant
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range zero to A2.2 (vocabulary B1)
Advances quickly and abruptly, giant leaps
Types of texts dialogues, narratives, informational texts
Topics discussed typical A1-A2 topics (see below) + medical vocabulary
Grammar topics typical A1-A2 topics (see below)
Spoken language simple, small exercises included in most of book
Exercise types vocabulary and grammar exercises, listening exercises
Solutions to the exercises not available
Suitable for self-study 2/5
Suitable for study abroad 4/5
Buy the book Sanoma ProAdlibrisSuomalainen kirjakauppa
Additional materials The book mentions online exercises, but where?
– The book mentions online listening exercises, but where?
Additional information: Hoidetaan suomeksi

If you’re a health professional (nurse, dentist, doctor) and just starting out with learning Finnish, the approach of this book might interest you! Throughout the whole book, every topic discussed is related to health in some way. This might be a nice way to ease into learning Finnish while also learning things related to your profession. The fact that each chapter is related to health care doesn’t mean that this book is completely unsuitable for other learners.

 

The book Hoidetaan suomeksi starts from the very basic of Finnish and goes up to about level A2.2. The content of the book is spaced out nicely and comes with black-and-white pictures and some clear tables. The book is written completely in Finnish. The grammar is explained through examples, lists and tables, which make them easier to understand. You can find typical A1 level grammar topics such as the verbtypes, vowel harmony, the genetive case, the location cases and the imperative. It also includes A2 level topics such as the past tense, the present and past passive and verb rections.

 

Easy vocabulary topics in this book include typical A1 topics such as the numbers, telling the time, clothing items, basic adjectives and body parts. When discussing regular A1 vocabulary topics such as food and hobbies, these words are hooked together with healthy eating and the important of exercise for your health. However, while advancing in this book, the vocabulary very quickly becomes much less useful for non-medical personnel. Many of the later chapters contain vocabulary that a regular learner has little use for, such as the different parts of blood, detailed information about internal organs, how to take care of wounds after a surgery, terminal care and pregnancy. Many of these topics are more around B1 level.

 

As a health care professional, you could potentially learn a lot from this book. However, it’s not the easiest book for self-study. The steep increase in difficulty can make it frustrating. There are other issues as well. For one, the book claims that there are digital exercises available, but these seem to have disappeared. In addition, while there are plenty of exercises in this book, unfortunately their solutions aren’t included. Last but not least, many of the exercises are listening exercises, but I haven’t been able to find any source for the audio.

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2.8. Teach Yourself Complete Finnish

Name of the book Teach Yourself Complete Finnish
Author(s) Terttu Leney
Publisher Teach Yourself
Most recent edition 2017
Type of book beginner to intermediate self-study book
Aesthetics of the book unclear structure, hard to find things
Language(s) used English and Finnish
Level range zero to B1.1
Advances fairly even, builds on earlier knowledge
Types of texts mainly dialogues
Topics discussed Finnish life and culture, covers real communication needs
Grammar topics typical A1-A2 topics
Spoken language lightly touches upon in one chapter, not in the dialogues
Exercise types listening, translation, reaction exercises (see below)
Solutions to the exercises in the back of the book
Suitable for self-study 3/5
Suitable for study abroad 5/5
Buy the book – Akateeminen: Teach yourself: Complete Finnish Beginner to Intermediate Course
– Adlibris: Complete Finnish Beginner to Intermediate Course
– Amazon: Teach Yourself Finnish Complete Course 1st Edition
Additional materials – Comes with a CD – Find it in your library with the book!
Audio available for free on the Teach Yourself website
Additional information: Teach Yourself Complete Finnish

Teach Yourself is an international series that has books for learning more than 50 different languages. Take the name of this book with a grain of salt: it’s by no means a complete Finnish learning book.

 

The first version of the Finnish book was published in 1993. The newest edition was released in 2017. When you start googling this book, you will find several versions with different names. It’s strange how this book is no longer sold on the Teach Yourself website. You can find several versions of this book in different places:

 

The free audio tracks of this book will help you if you’re studying abroad. Listening to them repeatedly and studying them will help you abroad if you’re studying Finnish. However, please realize that these dialogues are fairly stiff and formal. They don’t contain the slightest bit of spoken language, not even near the end of the book. They’re not useless, but if you’re in Finland, you will notice a stark difference between the audio of the book and what people actually say.

 

I find the structure of this book unclear and confusing. Chapters are crammed full of all types of different elements, which aren’t marked very clearly. The content isn’t bad as such, it’s just displayed in a chaotic fashion. Each chapter contains some information about Finnish culture, several dialogues and vocabulary lists for each section and some exercises.

 

Many of the exercises require the use of the audio. This is true for the listening and reading exercises. However, it’s also true for many of the vocabulary exercises. There are fairly many exercises where you’re supposed to say the translation of something said in the audio out loud. Most of the exercises either prompt you to translate a phrase, or they present you with a situation where you have to find an appropriate phrase to use.

 

The book contains useful vocabulary topics. The whole book is centered around conversational Finnish: conversations in the store, at the doctor’s, listening to and talking about the weather forecast, talking at the dinner table, etc. The book also includes many grammar topics, but you will have a hard time finding a specific topic from this book due to its unclear structure. Included are the typical A1-A2 grammar topics.

 

This book is suitable for self-study, as the name Teach Yourself already implies. I don’t think it’s a bad book if you’re studying Finnish abroad. However, do realize that the dialogues don’t necessarily prepare you for “real life Finnish”, that the vocabulary is limited to useful phrases but not incredibly in-depth and that you will need a lot more practice than this book allows for. Then again, I suppose that is true for any book. The solutions to the exercises are available in the back of the book.

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2.9. Colloquial Finnish

Name of the book Colloquial Finnish – The Complete Course for Beginners
Author(s) Daniel Abondolo
Publisher Routledge
Most recent edition 2015
Type of book beginner to intermediate self-study book
Aesthetics of the book black and white, nice highlights and tables, unclear structure
Language(s) used Finnish and English
Level range zero to A2.2 (hard to pinpoint the goal, see below)
Advances extremely irregularly, large gaps, sudden jumps in level
Types of texts dialogues mainly in spoken language
Topics discussed going about your business in the city (some fairly useful dialogues)
Grammar topics topics of many levels (see below)
Spoken language present in the dialogues and explanations
Exercise types writing dialogues, replying to recordings, translating
Solutions to the exercises in the back of the book
Suitable for self-study 1/5
Suitable for study abroad 3/5
Buy the book Paperback: AdlibrisAmazon
– Ebook: AdlibrisKindle
Additional materials –  Audio: available for free online
Additional information: Teach Yourself Complete Finnish

This book includes spoken Finnish from the very beginning, which I think is a great approach. Whenever something new is introduced, the spoken language alternative will also be displayed. This means, for example, that in unit 1 you will learn the spoken language pronouns (eg. mä, sä, se), while in unit 2 you are instantly taught how he menevät will be ne menee in spoken language.

 

It’s unfortunate that the book handles other parts of learning Finnish so poorly. Content is presented in a conversational style, but jumps from topic to topic in a disorganized manner. You will learn a lot of non-essential vocabulary in the very beginning. For example, the first unit includes the words kontrabasisti (double bass player), pyrstö (bird’s tail) and siipi (wing).

 

The grammar is also presented in unusual ways. This is true for the order in which you are taught things. The object (Syön omenan. Syön leipää.) is discussed in unit 3 and the plural partitive and plural location cases in chapter 5. In addition, it’s also noticeable in the grammar terms used: this book contains grammar terms and approaches that are generally not used in other sources available to language learners. For example, consonant gradation is called “consonant compression” in this book, and the explanation contains terms like “full box” and “tight lid”. The book also marks words as having an X-stem or a Q-stem, which is an unusual approach meant to help you deal with how words change when you add an ending to them. All of this means that, while using this book, you will learn a lot of “grammar terms” which are solely used in this one book and won’t be labeled the same way in other sources you’d be likely to use.

 

Colloquial Finnish contains exercises that are mainly meant to practice speaking Finnish – which is fairly difficult with a self-study book such as this. Some of the listening exercises do allow you to reply to a recording, which can help you practice your oral skills. Other exercises included prompt you to write your own dialogues according to the chapter’s text or translate phrases from English.

 

You can get this book as an ebook and as a paperback, but some of the prices listed are incredibly high. I suppose it may not matter, as I really don’t recommend buying this book. You can, however, listen to the audio online for free.

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2.10. Suomea paremmin

Name of the book Suomea paremmin
Author(s) Susanna Hart
Publisher Finn Lectura
Most recent edition 2009
Type of book Finnish intermediate course book
Aesthetics of the book clear structure, not overwhelming
Language(s) used vocabulary translated to English, everything else plain Finnish
Level range A2.1-B1.1
Advances gets more difficult towards the end
Types of texts dialogues, news articles, advertisements, authentic sources
Topics discussed easier A2 and harder B1 topics (see below)
Grammar topics typical A2.1-A2.2 topics (see below)
Spoken language present in almost all the dialogues
Exercise types pretty limited (see below)
Solutions to the exercises at the back of the book
Suitable for self-study 4/5
Suitable for study abroad 1/5 (because no longer in print, otherwise 4/5)
Buy the book no longer getting printed
Additional materials Audio on a CD
Additional information: Suomea paremmin

The book Suomea paremmin is no longer being printed, but you’re likely to find it in your local library if you live in Finland. It’s a black-and-white book with a clear structure to each chapter. Your library probably also has the CD this book is accompanied by.

 

Each chapter contains many dialogues with key vocabulary translated to English. Those are the only parts of this book where English is utilized. The grammar is explained in Finnish only, but is fairly simple to understand. Among the exercise types are questions meant to spark conversations (eg. questions about whether you like traveling). You are encouraged to make your own sentences with the new vocabulary or grammar. There are also simple multiple choice, fill-in-the-gap and sentence construction exercises.

 

The grammar topics covered in this book include typical A2.1-A2.2 topics, such as the conditional, passive, imperative, comparisons, necessity sentences, the object and the third infinitive. There are also a few more difficult topics such as the on tehtävä construction and the comparative forms of adverbs.

 

The vocabulary topics covered in the beginning of this book are pretty typical A2 topics (eg. traveling, health, moving), but it also contains more challenging B1 topics such as work meetings, Finnish history, natural disasters and elections. The chapter about traveling, for example, has dialogues related to reserving a trip at a travel agency, filing a complaint about a problem with a vacation and chatting about a vacation. It also has advertisements to read about several holiday destinations and a more difficult text describing a holiday location. The listening exercises in that chapter are a news report and a radio interview related to holidays.

 

The audio CD of Suomea paremmin contains both the written dialogues of the book and many additional listening exercises for each chapter. Most of the additional listening exercises contains spoken language, and they’re not slowed down like in many other books. These listening exercises are useful if you’re preparing for the YKI-testi. So are the reading exercises: they are taken from newspapers or online sources and not simplified too much. The reading and listening exercises are suitable to get you from level A2.2 to B1.1 and prepare you for the types of texts you will find in the test. Each of the reading texts just comes with a couple of questions to answer and aren’t analyzed beyond that. The book contains the answers to the exercises in the back.

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2.11. Sainpas sanottua

Name of the book Sainpas sanottua – Suomen kielen keskusteluoppikirja
Author(s) Sirpa Häggblom, Hanna Paloneva
Publisher Finn Lectura
Most recent edition 2019
Type of book spoken conversation skill training
Aesthetics of the book colorful, nice pictures, very inviting
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range A2.1-B1.1
Advances fairly uniform, a little bit more difficult near the end
Types of texts none
Topics discussed typical A2.1-A2.2 topics, functional language use (see below)
Grammar topics none
Spoken language different features of spoken language showcased throughout the book
Exercise types interesting, engaging, mostly meant to do with a partner or in a group
Solutions to the exercises in the teacher’s guide available for purchase separately
Suitable for self-study 3/5 (not meant for self-study, but lots of useful content)
Suitable for study abroad 3/5
Buy the book Finn LecturaAdlibrisBooky
Additional materials Teacher’s guide (digital or physical book)
Audio: streamed, mp3 or CD (complete)
Audio: streamed or mp3 for students (limited)
Additional information: Sainpas sanottua

This book is meant as a course book to help strengthen an intermediate student’s conversation skills. It’s hard to practice speaking on your own, so this book is not very suitable for self-study. If you’re looking into buying this book to study by yourself, please note that you will definitely also have to buy the audio, as well as the teacher’s guide.

 

Sainpa sanottua contains many small conversation prompts to discuss with a partner or in a small group. It contains many pronunciation exercises and, in addition, you can practice listening comprehension. You can buy two versions of the audio of the book. The first is a limited, cheaper version for students, which contains only part of the listening exercises (the pronunciation and fast-reply exercises). The other is the complete version with all the listening exercises. Without the audio, this book isn’t super useful.

 

The book contains many useful phrases for intermediate students, which could be beneficial if you’re looking to prepare yourself for YKI-testi. The topics covered in the book include the typical A2-level topics, such as communication in stores, talking about your hobbies, feelings, home and traveling. Even if you’re buying this book for self-study, you can use it to learn vocabulary and phrases which you will benefit from in the national YKI-test.

 

The solutions to the exercises are available in the teacher’s guide that’s available for purchase separate. In addition to the solutions, this teacher’s guide also includes the scripts of the listening exercises and extra exercises. Seeing how the book is meant to strengthen conversation skills, it of course contains a good amount of information about spoken language. Included are for example changes in pronunciation (kaks kahvii), spoken language pronouns and differences in verb conjugation.

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2.12. Finnish Tutor – Grammar and Vocabulary Workbook

Name of the book Finnish Tutor – Grammar and Vocabulary Workbook
Author(s) Riitta-Liisa Valijärvi
Publisher Teach Yourself
Most recent edition 2017
Type of book intermediate to advanced self-study book
Aesthetics of the book nice font, space to write, no pictures
Language(s) used English, Finnish
Level range A2.2-B2
Advances fairly quickly
Types of texts varied types (see below)
Topics discussed vocabulary topic in each chapter, but not in depth
Grammar topics A2-B2 grammar (see below)
Spoken language none
Exercise types few grammar/vocabulary exercises, reading and writing exercises
Solutions to the exercises in the back of the book
Suitable for self-study 4/5
Suitable for study abroad 5/5
Buy the book AmazonAdlibrisBooky
Additional materials none
 
Additional information: Finnish Tutor

Finnish Tutor was produced by the makers of the Teach Yourself series. They don’t sell this book on their website anymore, but you can find it through Amazon and books stores.

 

This book displays clearly what level each chapter or section is meant for (A2, B1 or B2). While the pages are pleasant to look at and contain nice tables and such, the structure of this book is unusual. Every chapter starts with grammar explanations. After explanations of the meaning, usage and formation of the chapter’s grammar topic, there are a couple of small grammar exercises and vocabulary exercises. Next, there’s a reading text and a writing exercise. This is the reverse order of how much Finnish course books work: those usually start with the reading text rather than end with it.

 

A serious attempt has been made to include varied and useful types of reading and writing exercises: emails to friends, advertisements, product reviews, informational texts, job applications, biographies, letters of complaint, reporting about broken appliances, etc.

 

The focus of this book is very much on Finnish grammar. Each chapter does have a vocabulary topic, for which it includes some vocabulary and a reading and writing text. However, some of the reading texts feel like their sole reason for existing is to display the grammar of the chapter. Grammar topics include A2.2-B1.1 level topics such as the third and fourth infinitive, demonstrative and relative pronouns, the translative, plural partitive, plural genetive and plural location cases and comparisons. There is also more advanced grammar included such as all the passive verb forms, the potential, and the modal, referative and temporal constructions.

 

A motivated student could get a lot out of this book, but to really digest the topics of each chapter, you will need additional sources. There is a clear lack of exercises, but you can always use this book in combination with other sources. The fact that it uses English probably attracts many students who are looking for a book to use for self-study. I don’t see why you couldn’t use it as such, as long as you don’t expect it to be the miracle book that teaches you everything. You’ll mostly learn grammar.

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2.13. Tarinoita Suomesta

Name of the book Tarinoita Suomesta
Author(s) Susanna Hart
Publisher Finn Lectura
Most recent edition 2009
Type of book intermediate course book
Aesthetics of the book engaging, some use of color, clear construction
Language(s) used Finnish (but word lists with English translations)
Level range B1-B2
Advances fairly even, not a strong curve
Types of texts news articles and interviews
Topics discussed random reading texts, sometimes sensitive topics
Grammar topics advanced grammar topics (see below)
Spoken language most of the listening assignments include some spoken language
Exercise types pair work, small writing exercises (see below)
Solutions to the exercises in the back of the book
Suitable for self-study 3/5
Suitable for study abroad 1/5 (because it’s not available for purchase anymore)
Buy the book no longer getting printed
Additional materials Teacher’s guide – Still available for sale!
– Comes with a CD – Find it in your library with the book!
Additional information: Tarinoita Suomesta

Unfortunately it seems like Tarinoita Suomesta is no longer in print. As such, you will have to rely on a Finnish library to borrow it, if you live in Finland. For some reason this book never really caught on. The teacher’s guide (with additional functional exercises) is still available as an ebook. I’m not sure whether you, as a Finnish student, benefit from the teacher’s guide as I don’t have access at it.

 

This book contains 9 chapters, which all contain the following content. First, each chapter begins with a reading text, which is based on authentic Finnish content, such as newspaper articles and interviews. The texts are often several pages long. They’re accompanied by a wordlist, which gives the English translation of the important vocabulary in the text. The topics of the reading texts are very diverse and sometimes pretty sensitive. There’s one about the lives of Muslims in Finland, another about LGBT couples and there’s even a reading text that touches upon how a simple summer crush can lead to being raped.

 

Many of the exercises are prompts for conversations with another learner of Finnish, so the classroom aspect is very strong in this book. The book mentions that it works well as an additional source for texts for courses that are more focused on grammar. While the answers to the exercises are included in the back of the book, I don’t find the exercises very interesting. As mentioned above, if you’re looking for more unusual texts to read, this book has interesting ones. Still, I would not recommend this book for self-study. If you live in Finland, however, you could check it out in a library and make up your own mind.

 

Each chapter of Tarinoita Suomesta contains some vocabulary exercises and some small grammar exercises, both of which are generally prompts for conversation with a classmate. Generally there are also a few prompts for writing your own short text related to the chapter. There is also a listening exercise included in each chapter. You get the content of the listening exercise in writing and can listen to it via a CD. Each of these listening comprehension assignments comes with the same types of exercises as the reading texts.

 

The back of the book contains a small overview of key grammar subjects needed in the book. This book includes the following grammar topics: the third infinitive, the object, the plural partitive, the passive, conjunctions and participles. You can read about the conjugation of verbs and the inflection of nouns in the back of the book. Also included are the comparative forms of adjectives and adverbs and a small section on Finnish sentence types.

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2.14. Learn Finnish without Studying

Name of the book Learn Finnish without Studying
Author(s) Sami Nyyssölä
Publisher Pokuto
Most recent edition 2018
Type of book comic book with Finnish language and culture titbits
Aesthetics of the book black and white comics
Language(s) used English and Finnish
Level range not specified, probably useful to some extent to anyone
Advances same type of language in the whole book
Types of texts comic book, cultural info in boxes
Topics discussed Finnish culture and everyday life, typical quirks
Grammar topics small number of grammar explanations and info about compound words
Spoken language mentioned briefly
Exercise types none
Solutions to the exercises none
Suitable for self-study 5/5
Suitable for study abroad 5/5
Buy the book Turun sarjakuvakauppaAdlibrisBooky
Additional materials none
Additional information: Learn Finnish without Studying

Don’t buy this book with the assumption that you will actually learn Finnish! Do buy this book if you want to learn more about how Finns behave and what makes Finnish social norms different from eg. American norms.

This book comes in the form of a comic book. There isn’t a real story going on in it because the idea is just to give you an idea of how Finns use language and what type of language Finnish is. Every page contains 10 or 20 words in Finnish related to the topic of the page. Some of the vocabulary is great for beginners, but some of it is rare and not practical to use as a beginner.

A less catchy but more accurate name for this book would have been “Learn about Finnish and Finns without studying”.

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3. Finnish Textbook Series

Finnish Textbook Series
  1. Ahaa! series
    1. Ahaa! 1 – Suomen kielen oppikirja aikuisille (zero to A1.3)
    2. Ahaa! 2 – Suomen kielen oppikirja aikuisille (A2.1 to A2.2)
  2. Avain suomeen series
    1. Avain suomeen 1 – Arkipäivän suomea aikuisille (zero to A2.1)
    2. Avain suomeen 2 – Arkipäivän suomea aikuisille (A2.1-A2.2)
  3. No niin! series
    1. No niin! 1 – Suomea aikuisille (zero to A2)
    2. No niin! 2 (coming soon)
  4. Oma suomi series
    1. Oma suomi 1 – Suomea aikuisille (zero to A2)
    2. Oma suomi 2 – Suomea aikuisille (B1.1 to B1.2)
  5. Aletaan ja jatketaan! series
    1. Aletaan ja jatketaan! (A1.1 to B1.2)
    2. Harjoitellaan! (A1.1 to B1.2)
  6. Suomen mestari series
    1. Suomen mestari 1 (zero to A1.3)
    2. Suomen mestari 2 (A1.3 to A2.1)
    3. Suomen mestari 3 (A2.2 to B1.1)
    4. Suomen mestari 4 (B1.1 to B2)
  7. Suomi sujuvaksi series
    1. Suomi sujuvaksi 1 (zero to A2.1)
    2. Suomi sujuvaksi 2 (A2.2 to B1.1)
  8. Suomea suomeksi series
    1. Suomea suomeksi 1 (zero to A2.1)
    2. Suomen harjoituksia 1 (zero to A2.1)
    3. Suomea suomeksi 2 (A2.1 to B1.1)
    4. Suomen harjoituksia 2 (A2.1 to B1.1)
  9. Suomen kielen oppikirja series
    1. Suomen kielen alkeisoppikirja (zero to A2)
    2. Harjoituskirja suomen kielen perusopetusta varten (zero to A2)
    3. Suomen kielen jatko-oppikirja (A2 to B1)
    4. Harjoituskirja suomen kielen jatko-opetusta varten (A2 to B1)
  10. Suomen kielen tikapuut series
    1. Suomen kielen tikapuut – Kielioppi- ja harjoituskirja – Alkeistaso 1 (zero to A2.2)
    2. Suomen kielen tikapuut – Kielioppi- ja harjoituskirja – Alkeistaso 2 (A2.2 to B1.1)
    3. Suomen kielen tikapuut – Kielioppi- ja harjoituskirja – Jatkotaso 1 (B1.1 to B1.2)
    4. Suomen kielen tikapuut – Kielioppi- ja harjoituskirja – Jatkotaso 2 (B1 to C1)
  11. Finnish for Foreigners series
    1. Finnish for Foreigners 1 (zero to B1.1)
    2. Finnish for Foreigners 1 Exercises (zero to B1.1)
    3. Finnish for Foreigners 2 (B1.2 to C1)
    4. Finnish for Foreigners 2 Exercises (B1.2 to C1)
  12. Kuulostaa hyvältä series
    1. Kuulostaa hyvältä – Sounds good (zero to B1.1)
    2. Sounds good – Kuulostaa hyvältä (zero to B1.1)
  13. Tilanteesta toiseen series
    1. Tilanteesta toiseen – A Finnish Course (A2.1 to A2.2)
    2. Tilanteesta toiseen – Harjoituksia Exercises (A2.1 to A2.2)
  14. Päivää! series
    1. Päivää! – Suomea aikuisille (A2.1 to A2.2)
    2. Palataan! – Suomea aikuisille (A2.2 to B1.1)
  15. Työelämän suomea series
    1. Työelämän suomea 1 – Suomeksi ammattiin (A2.1 to A2.2)
    2. Työelämän suomea 2 -Suomeksi työhön (A2.2 to B1.2)
  16. Harjoitus tekee mestarin series
    1. Harjoitus tekee mestarin 1 (A2.2 to B1.1)
    2. Harjoitus tekee mestarin 2 (B1.1 to B2)
    3. Harjoitus tekee mestarin 3 (B1.1 to B2)
    4. Harjoitus tekee mestarin 4 ( B1.1 to B2)
  17. Suomen kieli kuntoon series
    1. Suomen kieli kuntoon 1 (A2.2 to B1.2)
    2. Suomen kieli kuntoon 2 (B1.1 to C1.1)
  18. Middle school student book series
    1. Juttuja ja tuttuja – Suomea toisena kielenä seitsemäsluokkalaisille (B1.1 to B2.2)
    2. Juttuja ja tuttuja – Harjoituskirja seitsemäsluokkalaisille (B1.1 to B2.2)
    3. Yhteistä ja omaa – Suomea toisena kielenä kahdeksasluokkalaisille (B1.1 to B1.2)
      Yhteistä ja omaa – Harjoituksia kahdeksasluokkalaisille (?)
    4. Täällä ja toisaalla – Suomea toisena kielenä yhdeksäsluokkalaisille (B1.2 to B2.1)
      Täällä ja toisaalla – Harjoituksia yhdeksäsluokkalaisille (?)

3.1. Ahaa! series

This series is meant to be used as a course book, which is clear from the frequent exercises that are meant to be done in a group setting. Compared to other coursebooks, this one advances more gradually and slowly, making is great for immigrant courses that advance at a slower pace.

3.1.1. Ahaa! 1 – Suomen kielen oppikirja aikuisille

Name of the book Ahaa! 1 – Suomen kielen oppikirja aikuisille
Author(s) Laura Tikkanen, Noora Tähtinen
Publisher Finn Lectura
Most recent edition 2019
Type of book slow-paced beginner course book
Aesthetics of the book colorful, engaging, a little chaotic
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range zero to A1.3
Advances fairly slowly
Types of texts dialogues and narratives
Topics discussed typical topics up to level A1.3 (see below)
Grammar topics typical topics up to level A1.3 (see below)
Spoken language limited to the use of personal pronouns
Exercise types group, discussion, fill-in-the-gaps, true-or-false, etc.
Solutions to the exercises in the back of the book
Suitable for self-study 2/5
Suitable for study abroad 2/5
Buy the book OtavaAdlibrisSuomalainen kirjakauppa
Additional materials Teacher’s guide
Audio: streamed or mp3 complete
Audio: streamed or mp3 for students (limited)
Additional information: Ahaa! 1 - Suomen kielen oppikirja aikuisille

The first part of the Ahaa! series is meant for total beginners. It’s written completely in Finnish, which makes it less suitable for self-study as an absolutely beginner. I wouldn’t recommend this book for self-study for multiple reasons, which I will be listing below.

 

The book follows the lives of three immigrants in Finland. It goes through common topics which a beginner learner of Finnish will need while living in Finland. This means it discusses topics such as asking for the price of things, visiting the doctor, buying bus tickets and asking for directions. As such, the vocabulary topics included are the typical A1.1-A1.3 topics: eg. numbers, foods, body parts, clothes, hobbies, professions and family vocabulary.

 

The included grammar is also focused on the typical topics: the partitive, genetive and location cases, verbtypes, consonant gradation, täytyy-sentences and minulla on-sentences. Compared to other course books currently available for this level range, Ahaa! 1 has a slower pace. It’s more suitable for slower courses.

 

After that, each chapter comes with dozens of exercises, which are often accompanied by small boxes or tables meant to show or explain a small grammar or vocabulary topic. The exercises are diverse, but there is a tendency for them to be best suitable for a classroom environment. There are conversation prompts, games that only work in a classroom setting, as well as functional exercises which require the students to go out into the “real world” (a Finnish environment). There are also fairly many listening exercises included. The answers to the exercises are included in the back of the book.

 

While I don’t think this book is very suitable for self-study, I think it’s an excellent tool for beginning students in slow-paced courses in Finland. Check out this video introducing the book and its contents.

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3.1.2. Ahaa! 2 – Suomen kielen oppikirja aikuisille

Name of book Ahaa! 2 – Suomen kielen oppikirja aikuisille
Author(s) Laura Tikkanen, Noora Tähtinen
Publisher Finn Lectura
Most recent edition 2019
Type of book intermediate course book
Aesthetics of the book colorful, engaging, a little chaotic
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range A2.1-A2.2
Advances claims to advance slowly (see below)
Types of texts dialogues, narratives and comic strips
Topics discussed everyday life in Finland (see below)
Grammar topics typical level A2.1-B1.1 topics (see below)
Spoken language spoken language pronouns + bits about regional dialects
Exercise types group, discussion, reading, writing, etc.
Solutions to the exercises in the back of the book
Suitable for self-study 4/5
Suitable for study abroad 3/5
Buy the book OtavaAdlibris
Buy the audio Audio: streamed or mp3: complete version
Audio: streamed or mp3 for students (limited)
Additional information: Ahaa! 2 - Suomen kielen oppikirja aikuisille

The second part of the Ahaa! series starts from where the first ended. It’s written completely in Finnish, but I think this one is better suited for self-study than the first part. This book is similar in many ways to the first book. Both books mainly follow the fictional lives of three immigrants. They follow these characters through their lives in Finland

 

The reading texts in this book are already a lot more natural than in the first book. In addition to the familiar dialogues and narratives from the first book, each chapter also comes with a one-page section highlighting some of the forms typical for dialects of certain regions. This is a novel approach which you won’t find in many other course books. However, I feel that this book is neglecting general spoken language which is typical for the whole of Finland. The dialogues contain spoken language pronouns (eg. mä, sä) but even extremely common forms such as mulla and mun aren’t used at all.

 

The lives of the characters in this book take them through multiple parts of their fictional new life in Finland. Included for example is their search for a new apartment (topics: rooms of a house, furniture, describing living environments), the process of getting a driver’s license (topics: traffic vocabulary and rules, car parts, expressing where you go), a visit to the pediatrician (topics: reserving an appointment, illnesses, healthy living), the process of applying for and starting a new job (topics: writing a CV and job application, describing your personality, job interview), etc.

 

The grammar included in this books consists of typical A2-level topics such as the imperfect and perfect tense, the conditional and imperative moods, the third and fourth infinitive, postpositions and comparatives. However, starting from chapter 5, there’s a huge jump to the plural partitive. This book also includes the translative and essive cases, the relative joka-pronoun, present and past passive forms. As such, this book contains most of the topics that you will need to get to level B1.1. This is great, but I’m not sure if it fits together very well with the claim to book makes of being suitable for slower learners.

 

All in all, I think this book could work even for self-study abroad. It’s not perfectly fit for this, because in part of the exercises you are instructed to, for example, discuss things in small groups or make presentations together. There is also the issue that there aren’t nearly enough exercises included. However, I think this book could work if you supplement it with other resources.

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3.2. Avain suomeen series

3.2.1. Avain suomeen 1 – Arkipäivän suomea aikuisille

Name of the book Avain suomeen 1 – Arkipäivän suomea aikuisille
Author(s) Ella Saarinen, Mirva Salonen
Publisher Gaudeamus
Most recent edition 2017
Type of book beginner course book
Aesthetics of the book simple, colorful, big font
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range zero to A2.1
Advances pretty slowly, though the length of the texts increases drastically.
Types of texts mainly dialogues, a few narratives
Topics discussed real life situations where an immigrant could use Finnish
Grammar topics very limited, mostly approached through examples
Spoken language present from the start, not overwhelming
Exercise types lots of listening exercises (see below)
Solutions to the exercises in the back of the book
Suitable for self-study 4/5
Suitable for study abroad 4/5
Buy the book GaudeamusAdlibris – Suomalainen kirjakauppa
Additional materials Audio: CD with dialogues and listening exercises
Additional information: Avain suomeen 1 - Arkipäivän suomea aikuisille

The aesthetics of Avain suomeen 1 are nice: the font is nice and big; nothing is crammed together, and one page generally only holds one topic. The book starts from the very beginning and approaches Finnish through phrases and example sentences. Grammar is definitely not in the foreground for this book: it gets touched upon through examples, but isn’t ever really drilled in.

 

The themes in the book are the typical functional topics present in most books designed for learners in Finland. You learn typical phrases for ordering things in the store, visiting the doctor, making appointments, talking about your likes and dislikes, etc.

 

One strong side of this book is its use of spoken language, which is present in the book from the very beginning. The first chapter, for example, contains the numbers, which are displayed in a table so that “yks, kaks, kolme” are in column labeled “puhu” – while “yksi, kaksi, kolme” are in the neighboring column labeled “kirjoita“. Spoken language appears in all dialogues, but depending on the context, people use more or less spoken language.

 

The book claims to be both good for self-study and as a course book. I think this book can work well for self-study abroad because it is simple and clear and doesn’t overload you with grammar. Do realize that everything is in Finnish though. The book mentions that it’s especially useful for groups of immigrants who haven’t had the chance to get an education in their home country.

 

Every chapter comes with exercises, many of which are actually listening exercises. Buying the CD is a good idea if you’ve decided to start using this book. In addition to listening comprehension, there are also many prompts for conversation with another language learner. The book also includes some exercises where you get to practice some simple grammar or vocabulary topic, generally in a context where a beginner might actually use them. For example, there are a couple of “answer to this text message” and “fill this form” type of writing exercises. All in all, there aren’t nearly enough exercises for this book to work as your only source of learning, but it’s a nice start.

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3.2.2 Avain suomeen 2 – Arkipäivän suomea aikuisille

Name of the book Avain suomeen 2 – Arkipäivän suomea aikuisille
Author(s) Ella Saarinen, Mirva Salonen
Publisher Gaudeamus
Most recent edition 2018
Type of book intermediate course book
Aesthetics of the book colorful, not too crowded, easy to follow
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range A2.1-A2.2
Advances moderately slowly, chapters don’t contain many new elements at once
Types of texts mainly dialogues, also more authentic texts such as ads
Topics discussed A2 level situations where an immigrant could use Finnish (see below)
Grammar topics not the main focus, limited, approached through examples in tables
Spoken language great for colloquial Finnish
Exercise types lots of listening exercises (see below)
Solutions to the exercises in the back of the book
Suitable for self-study 2/5
Suitable for study abroad 4/5
Buy the book GaudeamusAdlibris
Buy the audio CD with dialogues and listening exercises
Additional information: Avain suomeen 2 - Arkipäivän suomea aikuisille

This book is the second part of the Avain Suomeen series. Just like part 1, it looks very appealing the way everything is spaced out, with the fairly big font and a limited amount of stuff crammed on each page.

 

Many of the texts in this book are dialogues between friends or in more official situations (eg. at the doctor, at a job interview). They contain fairly natural general spoken language, which is one of the strong points of this book. The topics covered in these dialogues are fairly typical for intermediate course books for immigrants: moving house, planning a vacation, reporting problems, explaining your educational and professional history, etc. This book fits in well with the current tendency in courses for immigrants in Finland: about half of it is in some way related to working life.

 

In addition, students get to experience more formal Finnish as well. The book includes, for example, advertisements, house rules, job ads and newspaper articles. All these texts have been strongly simplified, but they are definitely more challenging than the dialogues.

 

The book itself states that it’s best suited for classroom use rather than on your own. This is especially apparent when you look at the exercise types in the book. There are many assignments where you’re instructed to chat with your neighbor or in small groups. In addition, there is a certain number of prompts to go out into the “the real world” and notice uses of Finnish there.

 

A number of the exercises prompt you to record yourself reading something out loud and, then, compare it to the CD. That’s an excellent idea for self-study! The number of listening exercises included in the book make it almost a necessity to also buy the CD, if you’re planning on using this book.

 

Just like in part 1, grammar is not the main focus at all. There are, however, definitely more tables displaying examples of cases and tenses than in book 1, so grammar is more present here. Grammar topics presented include: necessity sentences, third infinitive, imperfect and perfect tense, the comparative. Another similarity is that, when applicable, part 2 also displays spoken and written forms side by side. For example, when teaching the perfect tense, you get to see side by side that Mä oon syöny is spoken language for Minä olen syönyt, while the plural spoken language form is listed as Me ollaan syöty. This is a massive step that many previous course books have not taken.

 

The topics of many of the exercises in Avain Suomeen 2 mirror the type of assignments you’d get in the YKI-test. This is important because it prepares you for that big step, which many immigrants want to take. This book’s target, however, is A2.2, so not YKI’s B1 yet. Starting with this type of exercises early on is a good idea.

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3.3. No niin! series

The book series No niin! consists of two books, one of which was released in 2019 and the second in the summer of 2020. I haven’t been able to get my hands on a copy of No niin! 2 yet.

3.3.1. No Niin! 1 – Suomea aikuisille

Name of the book No Niin! 1 – Suomea aikuisille
Author(s) Susanne Gerstler, Hanna Aho, Hanna Willberg
Publisher Finn Lectura
Most recent edition 2019
Type of book Finnish beginner course book
Aesthetics of the book colorful, engaging, maybe a little too busy
Language(s) used Finnish only
Starting level zero to A2
Advances fairly slowly
Types of texts mainly dialogues, mainly written Finnish
Topics discussed typical A1-A2 topics (see below)
Grammar topics typical A1-A2 topics (see below)
Spoken language rather limited use in dialogues, superficial
Exercise types many! traditional + functional + musical
Solutions to the exercises not available
Suitable for self-study 3/5
Suitable for study abroad 3/5
Buy the book OtavaAdlibris
Additional materials Audio: CD or mp3 complete
Audio: CD or mp3 for students (limited)
Teacher’s guide (extra materials)
Answers to the exercises
Videos and digital exercises (May 2020)
Additional information: No niin! 1 - Suomea aikuisille

No niin! 1 introduces itself as a functional learning material that aims to encourage learners to use Finnish in everyday situations. The texts in the book follow the story of several families of immigrants and their life in Finland. Each chapter contains multiple texts, which usually are dialogues. The story of the families that play a part in the book advances through these dialogues.

 

No niin! 1 contains the vocabulary topics most course books follow at A1-A2 levels (eg. food, weather, furniture, family, the clock, body parts, hobbies). Every chapter starts with a “picture dictionary”, the words of which are meant to be learned before starting the actual chapter. These words will then help understand the vocabulary used in the chapter. The grammar topics discussed in this book are the typical A1-A2 level topics. This means you can learn, for example, about the verbtypes, basic rections and the genetive, partitive and location cases.

 

Spoken language is taken somewhat into consideration through the inclusion of a character called Kaisa, who appears in every chapter and uses general spoken language (eg. ihmiset menee, tossa kuvassa on, mun mies). The first chapter of this book gives some information about the differences between spoken and written Finnish, but other than that, spoken language is largely limited to some titbits here and there and the presence of the Kaisa character.

 

This book contains “traditional” types of exercises (eg. fill in the blanks, multiple choice, right or wrong, picture and word), which are all very closely tied to the exact vocabulary and grammar in the chapter. It also contains suggestions for more functional activities. These functional exercises are all aimed at students already living in Finland (eg. “take some pictures of signs you’ve seen outside that you don’t understand” or “go to two stores and compare their prices”). Every chapter also contains at least one assignment to act out the dialogue with a partner. One nice thing is that the book contains quite many song suggestions which you can then go listen to on YouTube, for example.

 

The description on the back of the book says it fits all learners of Finnish, but that it is especially suitable for integration training courses. This is especially noticeable in the functional exercises mentioned above. For self-study, I would suggest you first build up a little vocabulary before starting. This book starts from the very basics, and advances fairly slowly, so that makes it suitable for self-study.

 

The book is written completely in Finnish. Whether you consider this book suitable for self-study depends on whether you feel capable of using a book where only one language is used. If you’re considering using this book and all its parts for self-study, you could be looking at a pretty serious investment. In addition to the book, you’d also potentially have to buy the solutions the exercises, the listening exercises and the digital exercises (which contain videos).

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3.3.2. No niin! 2

Coming soon!

Name of the book No Niin! 2 – Suomea aikuisille
Author(s) Susanne Gerstler, Hanna Aho
Publisher Finn Lectura
Most recent edition 2020
Type of book
Aesthetics of the book
Language(s) used
Starting level
Advances
Types of texts
Topics discussed
Grammar topics
Spoken language
Exercise types
Solutions to the exercises
Suitable for self-study
Suitable for study abroad
Buy the book
Additional materials
Additional information: No niin! 2

Coming soon!

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3.4. Oma suomi series

3.4.1 Oma suomi 1 – Suomea aikuisille

Name of the book Oma suomi 1 – Suomea aikuisille
Author(s) Kristiina Kuparinen, Terhi Tapaninen
Publisher Finn Lectura
Most recent edition 2018
Type of book Finnish beginner course book
Aesthetics of the book colorful, interesting, but chaotic
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range from zero to A2
Advances fairly quickly (lots of grammar in each chapter)
Types of texts dialogues, texts
Topics discussed typical A1-A2 topics (see below)
Grammar topics typical A1-A2 topics (see below)
Spoken language limited to spoken language pronouns in dialogues
Exercise types traditional + functional (+ digital ones for a fee)
Solutions to the exercises available for sale in a separate book
Suitable for self-study 3/5
Suitable for study abroad 3/5
Buy the book OtavaBookyPrisma
Additional materials Audio: CD or mp3 complete
Teacher’s guide (extra functional exercises)
Extra digital exercises
Solutions to the exercises inside the book
Additional information: Oma suomi 1 - suomea aikuisille

My first impression when leafing through Oma suomi 1 is that it’s pretty chaotic. It’s very colorful, with all kind of pictures, exercises and reading texts with lots of details. This makes it appealing to leaf through but doesn’t offer a clear structure to base your studies on.

 

Each chapter contains more than one reading text of different types: dialogues, narrations and small texts meant to have an authentic feel. In addition, each chapter introduces multiple new grammar topics, which it explains using visual elements such as pictures, arrows and highlights. It has varied types of exercises and each chapter comes with a wordlist. The book doesn’t contain the solutions to the exercises, but you can buy them separately.

 

The Oma suomi series has been developed mainly to be used in a classroom setting in Finland. The classroom element is clear in some of the exercises, which instruct students to talk in little groups. The topics discussed are very close to the reality an immigrant would be living in: it contains lots of everyday situations where Finnish is necessary. In addition, every chapter contains an “omat sivut” section, where students are urged to research services available near where they live, such as what their local health center’s phone number is or what kind of options are available for hobbies and sports.

 

The vocabulary topics included are all typical for the A1-A2 language level: numbers, telling the time, talking about the weather, vocabulary related to food, furniture, body parts, professions, clothes, etc. Likewise, the grammar covered is typical for the same level range: verbtypes, partitive, genetive, consonant gradation, location cases, the imperfect, etc.

 

The pace of the book is fast: you’re supposed to get to level A2.2 in 230 pages. This is once again more for a classroom setting, where the teacher will provide additional exercises and lessons to support each chapter in the book. The topics presented in Oma suomi 1 go up to what is usually taught up to level A2.2, but you will need to use additional sources if you’re using this book for self-study.

 

For an extra 10 euros, you can get access to digital exercises for each chapter of the book. While I’m not sure if Oma suomi 1 is worth buying for self-study, the digital exercises are fun. Some of them help you study new vocabulary or practice writing, and there are also some extra listening and reading exercises. They don’t form a course on their own, but I think they definitely add something to the experience.

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3.4.2. Oma suomi 2 – Suomea aikuisille

Name of the book Oma suomi 2 – Suomea aikuisille
Author(s) Kristiina Kuparinen, Terhi Tapaninen
Publisher Otava
Most recent edition 2018
Type of book Finnish intermediate course book
Aesthetics of the book colorful, interesting, but chaotic
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range B1.1-B1.2
Advances fairly quickly (lots of grammar in each chapter)
Types of texts dialogues, texts, emails
Topics discussed working life, Finnish history, media, problem situations, etc.
Grammar topics plural cases, tenses and moods, pronouns, comparatives, passives, etc.
Spoken language limited to spoken language pronouns in dialogues
Exercise types traditional + functional
Solutions to the exercises available for sale in a separate book
Suitable for self-study 2/5
Suitable for study abroad 3/5
Buy the book OtavaAdlibris
Additional materials Audio: CD or mp3
Teacher’s guide (extra functional exercises)
Digital solutions to the exercises in the book
Additional information: Oma suomi 2 - suomea aikuisille

Part two of the Oma suomi series is equally colorful and chaotic as part one, with colored pictures, highlighted areas and tables. Just like with part one, I find the lack of structure in the book distracting and confusing.

 

The content of each chapter does remain the same as in part 1: 1) dialogues written with some very light spoken language elements, 2) visual grammar explanations with lots of colors, arrows and highlights, 3) a variety of exercises, part of which are suitable only for students living in Finland, 4) a wordlist for new words.

 

This part of the Oma suomi series is chock-full with grammar topics, which each get one or two pages of exercises. As such, this is not a book to use by itself. You will need to practice each topic rather than just go over the rules and fill in a couple of exercises. Oma suomi 2 takes care to give a short mention of many more advanced grammar topics among the easier ones. This is probably the point where they assume the teacher will provide additional materials, or where the student branches out to other textbooks.

 

The grammar included is aimed towards students aspiring to level B1. For verbs, it includes the perfect and plusquamperfect, the passive and past passive, the third and fourth infinitive and the conditional. For nouns, you can find the plural partitive, genetive, illative and location cases, the translative and essive case and the comparative forms of adjectives and adverbs.

 

Each chapter in Oma suomi 2 includes a dialogue with some light spoken language features. In addition, there are many other types for texts included. Many of these are practical types of texts which give you both cultural information about Finland and show you what real life texts you will run into. You will find the following types of texts in this book: CVs, formal and informal emails, advertisements, consumer feedback, informational texts and news articles.

 

Vocabulary themes in this book are practical and important things for anyone living in Finland: hobbies, traffic, living environment, emergency situations, job applications and health. There are a lot of functional elements. You learn, for example, how to request or propose something, how to express your opinion, how to react to things someone tells you, what types of things to mention in a job interviews and how to complain about a faulty purchase.

 

The exercise types used in this book are very diverse and allow you to practice both grammar and vocabulary. A portion of them are clearly meant for a classroom setting as conversation starters. Every chapter also comes with listening exercises. The answers to the exercises can be purchased separately. Part two doesn’t come with digital exercises like part one did, which is a shame. It would have been nice to see how well they’d have done in order to fill in the huge gaps the fast pace of the book leaves!

 

One interesting thing about this series are the “omat sivut” pages, which often give you prompts and ideas for personal things related to the chapter’s topic you could talk or write about. Very often, these pages include things to be done in a classroom setting. This doesn’t make them useless for self-study. In fact, I think those pages are actually good for self-study because they draw attention to the fact that language is supposed to be a tool to talk about things that are important to you.

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3.5. Aletaan ja jatketaan! series – Not done

This book series has a long history. Originally, it consisted of four books: two textbooks (called Aletaan and Jatketaan) and an exercise book for each of those. The current version combines both textbooks into one (called Aletaan ja jatketaan) and combines both exercise books into one as well (called Harjoitellaan!).

  • New books:
    • Aletaan ja jatketaan! Suomen kielen oppikirja
    • Harjoitellaan! Harjoituksia oppikirjaan Aletaan ja jatketaan
  • Old books:
    • Aletaan! Suomen kielen oppirkirja vasta-alkajille
    • Jatketaan! Suomen kielen oppikirja alkeet osaaville
    • Harjoitellaan! Lisäharjoituksia Aletaan!-oppikirjaan
    • Jatketaan harjoituksia! Lisäharjoituksia Jatketaan!-kirjaan

3.5.1. Aletaan ja jatketaan! – Suomen kielen oppikirja

Name of the book Aletaan ja jatketaan! – Suomen kielen oppikirja
Author(s) Salli-Marja Bessonoff, Eila Hämäläinen
Publisher Helsingin yliopiston laitos
Most recent edition 2011
Type of book Finnish beginner and intermediate textbook
Aesthetics of the book small font, black and white
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range A1.1-B1.2
Advances very quickly and rather superficially
Types of texts dialogues, narratives
Topics discussed no themed vocabulary, main focus on grammar
Grammar topics A1 to B1+ (see below)
Spoken language very rarely gets mentioned
Exercise types available in a separate exercise book
Solutions to the exercises none
Suitable for self-study 1/5
Suitable for study abroad 5/5
Buy the book AdlibrisBookyAkateeminen kirjakauppa
Additional materials Harjoitellaan! exercise book
Additional information: Aletaan ja jatketaan!

Compared to other textbooks on the market, the font of Aletaan and jatketaan is needlessly small. This makes it look less appealing. This book is clearly meant as a course book rather than for self-study, which is especially clear in the beginning of the book. Without a teacher, the first part of this book is very hard to use for self-study.

 

Even if you get up to, for example, level A1.3 or A2.1 before acquiring the book, it will still not be perfect for self-study on its own. The grammar explanations are fairly clear, but every single chapter contains a new grammar topic. This is a deadly speed that doesn’t allow you to process the things which you have learned. The book starts from simple A1 topics such as the days of the week and the genetive case. The end of the book includes B1+ level topics such as participles and complicated substitute constructions such as temporaalirakenne and referatiivirakenne.

 

Fans of the Suomea suomeksi series will find the style of this book very familiar. Both series are focused on grammar and introduce new grammar in every topic. The role of the reading texts in each chapter is mainly to display its grammar in a possible context. The explanations of each grammar topic and special vocabulary titbits are also very similar.

 

The book Aletaan ja jatketaan! doesn’t contain any exercises, but there is a separate exercise book available called Harjoitellaan! I haven’t been able to get my hands on the new version of this book. Be careful if you decide to buy this book. Make sure you get the book named “Harjoitellaan! Harjoituksia oppikirjaan Aletaan ja jatketaan!” rather than the old book. I’ve listed the names of the new and old books above. You can still find the old versions on booky.fi if you wish to buy those!

 

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3.5.2. Harjoitellaan – Harjoituksia oppikirjaan Aletaan ja jatketaan

Coming soon!

Name of the book Harjoitellaan – Harjoituksia oppikirjaan Aletaan ja jatketaan
Author(s) Salli-Marja Bessonoff, Eija Hämäläinen
Publisher Helsingin yliopiston laitos
Most recent edition 2012
Type of book exercise book
Aesthetics of the book
Language(s) used
Starting level
Advances
Types of texts
Topics discussed
Grammar topics
Spoken language
Exercise types
Solutions to the exercises
Suitable for self-study
Suitable for study abroad
Buy the book
Additional materials
Additional information: Harjoitellaan!

Coming soon!

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3.6. Suomen mestari series

Ever since the Suomen mestari series came out, it’s been popular with both students and teachers of integration Finnish courses. The four-part series is written completely in Finnish and moves gradually towards level B2. Throughout the series, you get to follow the everyday lives of the main characters as they talk about their family, free time and work.

3.6.1. Suomen mestari 1

Name of the book Suomen mestari 1 – Suomen kielen oppikirja aikuisille
Author(s) Sonja Gehring, Sanni Heinzmann
Publisher Finn Lectura
Most recent edition 2020
Type of book beginner course book
Aesthetics of the book colorful, pleasant to look at, nice pictures
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range zero-A1.3
Advances slow and very steady, no big jumps
Types of texts narratives/dialogues, some of which in spoken language in the new edition
Topics discussed zero to A1.3 topics (see below)
Grammar topics very basic grammar (see below)
Spoken language present in the new edition (2020)
Exercise types listening and talking exercises, fun and engaging grammar exercises
Solutions to the exercises in the back of the book
Suitable for self-study 4/5
Suitable for study abroad 5/5
Buy the book Finn LecturaSuomalainen kirjakauppa (newest version)
Additional materials Audio: CD, mp3s or streamed listening exercises
Audio’s streamed version of the older version of the book for free
Digital exercises (coming in autumn 2020)
Additional information: Suomen mestari 1 - Suomen kielen oppikirja aikuisille

Suomen mestari 1 takes you from the very basics, such as explaining where you’re from. This first part of the series covers the typical zero to A1.3 topics: weather, months, numbers, family, colors, the clock, furniture, food and professions. It pays special attention to actual language use, such as asking for help, directions or for the price of something, booking a room in a hotel, ordering in a restaurant and communicating in a clothing store. The grammar is also focused on the very basics, such as the verbtypes, consonant gradation, the imperative, the partitive and genetive case and postpositions.

 

Each chapter contains a reading text. After that you get a couple of pages of vocabulary related to the topic, often in the form of colorful pictures. Next, there’s a dialogue that’s also related to the theme. Each chapter contains several pages displaying the new grammar elements the chapter introduces. After that, you get a lot of exercises, such as listening exercises, fill-in-the gap grammar exercises, and conversation prompts to carry out in pairs or small groups.

 

This book is not new on the market, but a new version of it was released in the beginning of 2020. The new version is an improvement on the previous, so if you’re thinking of investing in this book, try to buy the latest version. You can find it by adding the word “uudistettu” to your google searches, or by using the links I provided above.

 

If, however, you already own the old version, I don’t think the difference is so drastic that you should upgrade to the latest edition. The new book has a slightly larger format than the old one, which makes it more pleasant to look at. Many new exercises have been added to each chapter. The narratives present in each chapter of the old book are now dialogues, which are written in standard Finnish. However, the dialogues that were already present in the old version have now been made into spoken language dialogues.

 

The first book of this series advances slowly and steadily. It can work for self-study, if you can handle the fact that it’s written entirely in Finnish. Part of the exercises are also meant to be done with a partner. The book looks really nice and engaging, with the use of colors and pictures. The answers to all the exercises are included in the back of the book. The audio for the older version of this book is available for free, while the new book’s audio unfortunately must be bought.

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3.6.2. Suomen mestari 2

Name of book Suomen mestari 2 – Suomen kielen oppikirja aikuisille
Author(s) Sonja Gehring, Sanni Heinzmann
Publisher Finn Lectura
Most recent edition 2019
Type of book intermediate beginner course book
Aesthetics of the book colorful, pleasant, nice drawings, clear tables and sections
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range A1.3-A2.1
Advances slow and steady, a bit of a jump ahead near the end of the book
Types of texts most texts are part-narrative and part-dialogue
Topics discussed A2.1-A2.2 topics (see below)
Grammar topics A2.1-A2.2 topics (but also the plural cases)
Spoken language no spoken language
Exercise types listening and talking exercises, various types of engaging grammar exercises
Solutions to the exercises in the back of the book
Suitable for self-study 4/5
Suitable for study abroad 5/5
Buy the book OtavaAdlibris
Additional materials Audio: CD, mp3s or streamed listening exercises
Audio’s streamed version for free!
Vocabulary lists (English, Russian, German, French, Serbian)
Answers to the listening exercises
Additional information: Suomen mestari 2 - Suomen kielen oppikirja aikuisille

The first book of this series was updated in early 2020, and it’s likely that Suomen mestari 2 will be too. However, for now, the newest version of Suomen mestari 2 is still from 2019. This book continues where the first one ended and does so in a similarly slow and steady pace, up until it gets to the last two chapters, which are suddenly full of more difficult topics.

 

The grammar in the first part of Suomen mestari 2 is typical for more or less level A2.1-A2.2: the past tense, the perfect tense, rections, the third and fourth infinitive, and the object. In the last two chapters, we take a jump into the plural location cases, plural partitive and plural genetive. This is strange when the third book dives back into the passive and conditional conjugations. It’s likely this was done in order to not make Suomen mestari 2 too verb-oriented, as it already contains very many verb forms.

 

The reading texts get more challenging as you advance through the chapters, but it’s a pretty smooth ride with little to no jumps in the level required to read the texts. Topics covered in the book relate to, for example, hobbies, nature, traveling, health, education and Finnish culture.

 

Just like in the first book, the construction of each chapter in Suomen mestari 2 is very clear and easy to follow. Each chapter starts with a reading text, which is generally a mix of some narrative text and a dialogue related to it. After that, each chapter comes with pictures and word lists with vocabulary related to the topic of the chapter. For example, after a text about a trip to the summer cottage, you get pictures and words related to Finnish nature. After the vocabulary pages, all the new grammar of the chapter is explained. This takes multiple pages because all the grammar is combined in that one section. I think the idea is that you jump back and forth between the grammar pages and the exercise pages as you process the grammar.

 

Then, there are the exercises, which often take more than ten pages per chapter. There are reading comprehension, listening and grammar exercises. In addition to plain grammar exercises, a good attempt has been made to also include exercises that instruct you to form your own sentences. In addition, every chapter has some exercises which are meant for a classroom setting, because you’re instructed to work in pairs. The answers to the exercises are included in the back of the book.

 

As is the case for most books on the market, this book is completely in Finnish and contains exercises that are designed for a classroom setting. However, I think Suomen mestari 2 is pretty nice for self-study. Its slow pace, the way it displays new vocabulary and the abundance of exercises (with solutions!) allow you to benefit from this book in self-study. I think it would be important to also invest in the listening exercises. You can find this book and its listening exercises in every Finnish library, because it’s been very popular.

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3.6.3. Suomen mestari 3

Name of book Suomen mestari 3 – Suomen kielen oppikirja aikuisille
Author(s) Sonja Gehring, Sanni Heinzmann, Sari Päivärinne, Taija Udd
Publisher Finn Lectura
Most recent edition 2019
Type of book intermediate course book
Aesthetics of the book colorful, pleasant, nice drawings, clear tables and sections
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range A2.2-B1.1
Advances a clear increase in difficulty from book 2, but advances fairly evenly
Types of texts dialogues, emails, informative texts, both formal and informal
Topics discussed expressing opinions, comparing cultures, knowledge about Finland
Grammar topics A2.2-B1.1 topics, some less important verb forms (see below)
Spoken language plentiful and versatile spoken language throughout the whole book
Exercise types listening and talking exercises, various types of engaging vocabulary and grammar exercises
Solutions to the exercises in the back of the book
Suitable for self-study 4/5
Suitable for study abroad 5/5
Buy the book OtavaAdlibris
Additional materials Audio: CD, mp3s or streamed listening exercises
Streamed audio for free!
Answers to the listening exercises
Additional information: Suomen mestari 3 - Suomen kielen oppikirja aikuisille

In Suomen mestari 3, there seems to be an abrupt increase in the length (and to some extent also in difficulty) of the reading texts compared to the earlier books. Another big difference between the second book and the third book is the usage of spoken language. In Suomen mestari 3, most of the texts are written in spoken language.

 

Spoken language is used in all the dialogues. Included are many of the elements present in spoken language. This book does not limit itself to just personal pronouns. You get sentences such as “mä en oo vielä vastannu” and “mä tuun meiän yläkerran naapurin kans sisään“. This is important because that’s the way Finnish is actually spoken. Suomen mestari 3 does include written Finnish. It does this in a logical and consistent manner. There’s a clear division between texts that would generally be written in standard Finnish (newspaper articles, official emails, explanations about Finnish history) and texts that generally are written in spoken Finnish (emails to friends, postcards, text messages).

 

Each chapter starts with a reading text or dialogue (or both), followed by several pages of vocabulary lists and grammar explanations. These are followed by a large number of exercises. The exercises allow you to practice both the grammar and the vocabulary of the chapter. There are traditional exercises such as fill-in-the-gaps and rephrasing exercises as well as other types of exercises.

 

Vocabulary topics present in Suomen mestari 3 cover more abstract topics than the previous books. You can find, for example, content related to Finnish culture and art, protection of the environment, Finland’s history, geography and social life. Combined with this are topics that immigrants in Finland might run into, such as writing an email about one’s residence permit to the police. There are also several topics which require the learner to compare the situation in their home country to that in Finland (eg. family and city life). Being able to compare more abstract topics is of great importance if you intend to participate in the YKI-testi. A lot of detail has also been put into expressing your opinion and feelings.

 

The grammar of Suomen mestari 3 contains verb forms that are pretty often glanced over in other course books. The normal A2.1-A2.2 verb topics are covered (eg. the conditional and passive), but they’ve been expanded to contain, for example, the perfect conditional (olisin tehnyt), the passive conditional (tehtäisiin) and the passive plusquamperfect (oli tehty). In addition to verbs, the book also looks at the translative and essive case, inflection of the comparative and superlative, transitivity, feeling verbs and rections. While the verb forms included in this book may go beyond the A2.2-level it says it’s aimed at, each chapter contains valuable phrases and grammar titbits.

 

This book is meant to be a classroom course book, which is apparent in a portion of the exercises. Each chapter comes with classroom discussion prompts to do in pairs. However, I would say that this book is suitable for self-study. It’s amazing that you can listen to the dialogues online for free. In addition, the answers to all the exercises are included in the back of the book.  If you’re using the book on your own, you should jump back and forth within the chapter, in order to combine the grammar explanations with the exercises. This is necessary because all the grammar is collected in one section which is located prior to the section with all the exercises.

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3.6.4. Suomen mestari 4

Name of book Suomen mestari 4 – Suomen kielen oppikirja aikuisille
Author(s) Sonja Gehring, Sanni Heinzmann, Sari Päivärinne, Taija Udd
Publisher Finn Lectura
Most recent edition 2016
Type of book advanced course book
Aesthetics of the book colorful, nice drawings, clear sections, a little repetitive
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range B1.1-B2
Advances logically: first each participle separately, then combined
Types of texts formal informative texts, and informal dialogues
Topics discussed Finnish culture (eg. architecture) and lifestyle (eg. getting older)
Grammar topics B1-B2 topics, eg. participles, lauseenvastikkeet, derivation (see below)
Spoken language plentiful and versatile spoken language in the dialogues
Exercise types listening and talking exercises, phrases and grammar exercises
Solutions to the exercises in the back of the book
Suitable for self-study 4/5
Suitable for study abroad 5/5
Buy the book OtavaAdlibris
Additional materials Audio: CD, mp3s or streamed listening exercises
Streamed audio for free!
Answers to the listening exercises
Additional information: Suomen mestari 4- Suomen kielen oppikirja aikuisille

Because the Suomen mestari series has four books, the writers have kept the participle forms and constructions out of the third book completely. I find this important because students aiming to participate in YKI-testi often attach too much importance to these verb forms. While it’s beneficial to be able to recognize the most common ones, you don’t need to be able to create these forms yourself nor know every little detail about them.

 

I think Suomen mestari 4 is very nice for students who are already level B1 and are working on getting to level B2. If you’re mainly looking for a book to learn and practice participles and lauseenvastikkeet, you will also get a lot out of this book, as each chapter covers a different participle or construction. In addition to these, the book pays special attention to word types and their derivation, rections and transitivity. I personally consider those much more important than the participles. The book starts by teaching you one participle at a time, and then starts combining them when getting to participle constructions and other complex sentence types.

 

Because this book is mainly aimed at students who have already achieved level B1.1, the reading texts are focused on more abstract, informational and general knowledge topics. It contains, for example, texts related to architecture, natural catastrophes, crime and geography. These texts are generally pretty long and fairly dry. Each chapter also includes a dialogue, which is written in near to natural sounding spoken Finnish.

 

Just like the other books in the series, this book has a lot of exercises. I find these much more repetitive in this book than in previous parts, which is largely because some many of them are related to participles. A large portion requires you to rephrase sentences. There are other exercise types as well, such as useful vocabulary exercises and listening comprehension.

 

The last book of the Suomen mestari series feels more rushed than the other parts. This is noticeable by how many new things are introduced in each chapter. The writers have also been unable to continue the system of introducing one vocabulary topic per chapter: the chapters contain a lot of random vocabulary. This book can feel too difficult to students who have just made it to level B1.1.

 

Suomen mestari 4 could be suitable for self-study. You can stream the audio online for free, which is a definite asset, and the solutions to the exercises are included in the back of the book. Some exercise types do not lend themselves to self-study (mainly conversation prompts), but at this level, you should be able to use those exercises in different ways if you have no one to do them with.

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3.7. Suomi sujuvaksi series

I loved this series when I first came to Finland! This series is printed on plain A4-size copy paper, which I think is pleasant. It’s a black-and-white book and suitable for self-study, even if it’s Finnish-only. The Suomi sujuvaksi series is the improved version of Kieli käyttöön, which is also still for sale (and slightly cheaper). Both versions are nice, many of the exercises and vocabulary pictures are the same.

3.7.1. Suomi sujuvaksi 1

Name of the book Suomi sujuvaksi 1
Author(s) Marjukka Kenttälä
Publisher Gaudeamus
Most recent edition 2011
Type of book beginner course book
Aesthetics of the book A4, black-and-white, pleasant drawings, space to write
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range zero to A1.3 (or A2.1)
Advances slow and steady
Types of texts narratives and dialogues
Topics discussed typical A1-A2 topics (see below)
Grammar topics typical A1-A2 topics (see below)
Spoken language overview of features in the back of the book
Exercise types mostly traditional fill-in-the-gaps grammar exercises
Solutions to the exercises available for free online on the Gaudeamus website
Suitable for self-study 5/5
Suitable for study abroad 5/5
Buy the book GaudeamusAdlibrisBooky
Additional materials Solutions to the exercises (free)
Reader: Monikulttuurisen maamme kirja
Audio on a CD
Older version of this book: Kieli käyttöön 1
Additional information: Suomi sujuvaksi 1

I think Suomi sujuvaksi 1 is a pretty nice book when you are learning basic Finnish. It’s written completely in Finnish, which can make it tricky to start with if you know no Finnish at all yet. If you have some very basic Finnish under your belt already, this is a good self-study book. Its A4 format allows for more empty space and therefore space to write in.

 

Each chapter contains at least one reading text (a narrative or a dialogue). The vocabulary of the chapters is often presented in nice black-and-white drawings. The topics are mostly the typical A1 level things, such as food, household appliances, clothing items, places in the city, the weather, illnesses and body parts.

 

Suomi sujuvaksi 1 contains typical level A1 grammar topics, such as vowel harmony, the verbtypes, the partitive and genetive, location cases, necessity sentences and postpositions. Also included are level A2 grammar topics, such as the imperfect, perfect and plusquamperfect, location case rections, the joka-pronoun and different word types (eg. words ending in -ton, -tar or -s). The back of the book has an extra section with grammar explanations. One reason why I do recommend this book for self-study is that the rections and word types are addressed in small chunks throughout the book. This is not an approach unique to this book, but I feel it is done very well here. In addition, the grammar section in the back of the book includes additional information about the rections as well as the inflection or conjugation of the vocabulary.

 

The exercise types Suomi sujuvaksi 1 are very traditional: most of them are fill-in-the-gap grammar exercises. This suited me as a language learner, because that’s how I was used to learning grammar. Many other language learning books have somewhat moved away from this exercise type. The solutions to the exercises are available online in a free PDF!

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3.7.2. Suomi sujuvaksi 2

Name of the book Suomi sujuvaksi 2
Author(s) Marjukka Kenttälä
Publisher Gaudeamus
Most recent edition 2015
Type of book intermediate course book
Aesthetics of the book A4, black-and-white, pleasant drawings, space to write
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range A2.2-B1.1
Advances one topic at a time, but fairly quickly
Types of texts narratives and dialogues
Topics discussed Finnish culture, nature, history, culture etc.
Grammar topics A2-B1 topics (see below)
Spoken language in each chapter’s dialogues, difficulty level increases gradually
Exercise types grammar exercises: fill-in-the-gaps and sentences
Solutions to the exercises available for free online on the Gaudeamus website
Suitable for self-study 5/5
Suitable for study abroad 5/5
Buy the book GaudeamusAdlibrisBooky
Additional materials Solutions to the exercises (free)
Reader: Monikulttuurisen maamme kirja
Older version of this book: Kieli käyttöön 2
Additional information: Suomi sujuvaksi 2

Just like part 1, Suomi sujuvaksi 2 comes in A4 copy paper format, which makes it nice for self-study because you can write in the book. The font is smaller than in the first book. The first book came with an audio CD, but this second book doesn’t.

 

This book includes the following grammar topics: the fourth infinitive, the imperative, all the passive verb forms (eg. present passive, imperfect, conditional), the plural cases (eg. partitive, genetive, illative), the essive and translative, existential sentences, complement sentences, etc.

 

Each chapter contains reading texts, which often give you information about Finland’s geography, history, nature and culture. The book also includes dialogues, some of which are written in standard Finnish, while others are written in Helsinki spoken language. The amount of spoken language features in these dialogues increases gradually.

 

Suomi sujuvaksi 2 contains mainly grammar exercises, which generally require you to fill in the gaps or make sentences with words provided. The answers to the exercises can be found on the Gaudeamus website for free.

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3.8. Suomea suomeksi series

3.8.1. Suomea suomeksi 1

Name of the book Suomea suomeksi 1
Author(s) Olli Nuutinen
Publisher SKS
Most recent edition 2014
Type of book beginner book focused on grammar
Aesthetics of the book clear, not very modern, but nice to look at
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range zero to A2.1
Advances fairly evenly but quickly
Types of texts mainly dialogues, fairly stiff and inauthentic
Topics discussed random vocabulary phrases for everyday use
Grammar topics typical A1-A2 grammar (see below)
Spoken language none
Exercise types grammar exercises, fill-in-the-blanks, rephrase
Solutions to the exercises not included
Suitable for self-study 3/5 (see below, not super easy but doable)
Suitable for study abroad 5/5
Buy the book SKSAdlibris
Vocabulary glossary Vocabulary lists available in some languages
Exercise book Exercise book (which comes with 5 CDs)
Additional information: Suomea suomeksi 1

Suomea suomeksi was one of the first books for learning Finnish to come into existence, back in the 1970s! This classic has of course been updated and renewed multiple times. Many people who have used this book in the early stages of their Finnish studies consider it one of the best.

 

This book introduces new topics one by one, and continuously builds on earlier knowledge. This is in contrast with many modern course books. Often, modern writers find it to be important to make students aware from the beginning that they don’t need to understand every single word in order to listen to or read Finnish. Because Suomea suomeksi continuously builds on previous knowledge, I feel it doesn’t prepare students for the real world, where they won’t be able to understand every single word.

 

This book starts from the very basics and moves quite swiftly. Each chapter covers a new grammar topics, which are presented at the very beginning of each chapter in a colored box. Next, there are several sections of small dialogues. Generally there is a second colored box that lists some observations of other grammar details in these dialogues. Next, you can find some grammar exercises, which require you to conjugate or inflect certain words, for example, or to rephrase things according to that chapter’s grammar topic.

 

The grammar in this book covers typical A1-A2 topics (eg. verbtypes, partitive, imperative, past tense, third and fourth infinitive). Certain topics have been added to part 2 of this series instead (eg. conditional and passive). Because each chapter introduces a brand-new grammar subject, and has it mainly explained in a table on one single page, I think you will definitely need another source to get a more complete idea of the grammar.

 

The vocabulary in this book isn’t themed, nor displayed in handy tables in each chapter. New vocabulary is added in each chapter in the dialogues. There is, or was, a series of vocabulary list books available in 20 different languages. The only ones I’ve found for sale right now are the Japanese and Russian translations. Also available is a book with exercises, which apparently comes with a CD. I’ve reserved this package from a library in a nearby region, so I’ll take a look at that book when it arrives.

 

Whether you consider this book suitable for self-study depends on whether you feel capable of using a book where only one language is used. The grammar isn’t explained in this book with many words, so a reference grammar book such as Leila White’s could help you there. The fact that the solutions to the exercises are not included is a big drawback, although this book is accompanied by an exercise book, which does have the solutions to all the exercises there. Using the two together and adding a third English grammar book could be a working combination. I’m not convinced, however, that it prepares you adequately for “real Finnish”.

3.8.2. Suomen harjoituksia 1

Name of the book Suomen harjoituksia 1
Author(s) Eila Hämäläinen
Publisher SKS
Most recent edition 1993
Type of book exercise book accompanying Suomea suomeksi 2 (see section 3.8.1)
Aesthetics of the book simple, old-fashioned, no colors, tight line spacing
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range A2.1-B1.1
Advances at the same pace as the main book (see section 3.8.1)
Types of texts no texts
Topics discussed no topics
Grammar topics same topics as the main book (see section 3.8.1)
Spoken language none
Exercise types grammar exercises: fill-in-the-gaps, rephrase, follow example
Solutions to the exercises in the back of the book
Suitable for self-study 5/5
Suitable for study abroad 4/5 (as long as it’s still for sale on Amazon)
Buy the book Amazon – no longer for sale in Finland
Additional materials – Main book: Suomea suomeksi 1
– Audio: Suomen harjoituksia 1 (5 CDs)
Additional information: Suomen harjoituksia 1

Suomen harjoituksia 1 is meant to accompany the book Suomea suomeksi 1 (see 3.8.1. above). You can’t buy this book in Finland anymore, but it’s still available on Amazon for now.

 

This book contains additional exercises for each chapter of Olli Nuutinen’s book. The exercises are very traditional fill-in-the-gaps and rephrase grammar exercises. The vocabulary used in these exercises mostly matches up with the course book. So does the grammar, though Hämäläinen has added some additional grammar explanations concerning the participle constructions. The solutions to all the exercises are included in the back of the book. The audio CDs available allow you to drill all the exercises orally. They also include some additional listening exercises.

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3.8.3. Suomea suomeksi 2

Name of the book Suomea suomeksi 2
Author(s) Olli Nuutinen
Publisher SKS
Most recent edition 2008 – Almost of out print
Type of book intermediate/advanced course book
Aesthetics of the book simple, not very modern, but organized clearly
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range A2.1-B1.1
Advances at a fairly reasonable pace
Types of texts various dialogues and narratives, not all great (see below)
Topics discussed no specific themes, contains useful everyday life phrases (see below)
Grammar topics some A2 topics, with main focus on B1 topics (see below)
Spoken language present in the chapters about the passive
Exercise types grammar exercises: fill-in-the-gaps, rephrase, also in separate book
Solutions to the exercises not available
Suitable for self-study 4/5
Suitable for study abroad 1/5 (because it’s so close to being out of print)
Buy the book Tiedekauppa (almost sold out)
Additional materials – Vocabulary lists available in some languages (see below)
– Exercise book (not printed anymore)
Additional information: Suomea suomeksi 2

Compared to the first book of this series, I think Suomea suomeksi 2 is less grammar focused and allows you to expand your vocabulary further. The vocabulary in this book isn’t themed, nor displayed in handy tables in each chapter. There is, or was, a series of vocabulary list books available in 20 different languages. The only ones I’ve found for sale right now are the Danish and Russian.

 

Part two of the Suomea suomeksi continues where part one left off, with A2.1-A2.2 grammar topics such as the passive and the conditional, as well as B1+ topics such as a pretty detailed look at participle constructions and rare cases such as the comitative, abessive and the conjugation of verbs in the potential form. The grammar is explained at the beginning of each chapter, after which are several reading texts which contain examples.

 

Each chapter also has a couple of grammar exercises, which are generally either fill-in-the-gap exercises or the type where you have to rephrase sentences so that they include the new grammar topic. This book doesn’t contain the answers to the exercises. There’s an exercise book meant to accompany it, which contains many more exercises as well as more grammar explanation. However, this book is no longer being printed, so you’ll have to see if you can find it in your local Finnish library. The exercise book is called Suomen harjoituksia 2, is written by Eila Hämäläinen and was originally published by Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura.

 

The texts (narratives and dialogues) become longer the further along in the book you get. The dialogues in this book are at times pretty good, with lots of useful phrases (eg. Voi voi, hyvänen aika, en valitettavasti pääsekään). I also like the abundant use of the suffixes -han/hän and -kaan/kään. However, sometimes the dialogues are full of grammar forms that just aren’t used in spoken language. This makes them sound unnatural. In addition, the dialogues all contain standard Finnish, with the exception of the texts that deal with the passive forms (me-passive).

 

The topics of the reading texts in Suomea suomeksi 2 are often random everyday conversation topics. Included are, for example, conversations in which people are talking about a stain on a shirt, discussing why someone wasn’t invited to a party, talking about siblings, and expressing their opinion about what’s on tv. These are all pretty nice topics, which are approached with clear and common vocabulary. I think by keeping the text fairly simple, the author has attempted to strike a balance with the increasingly difficult grammar forms, which will be easier to understand in a simpler text. The vocabulary is mostly suitable for students of level A2.2, while the grammar is more at B1.1 level.

 

All in all, I’d say Suomea suomeksi 2 is more useful than the first part and also more suitable for self-study. It’s too bad the solutions to the exercises aren’t included in the back of the book. You will be able to find this series in Finnish libraries, but I think it will slowly disappear, now that there are better options around.

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3.8.4. Suomen harjoituksia 2

Name of the book Suomen harjoituksia 2
Author(s) Eila Hämäläinen
Publisher SKS
Most recent edition 2006 – Out of print
Type of book exercise book accompanying Suomea suomeksi 2 by Olli Nuutinen
Aesthetics of the book simple, old-fashioned, no colors, not always enough space to write
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range A2.1-B1.1
Advances at the same pace as the course book Suomea suomeksi 2
Types of texts no texts
Topics discussed no topics
Grammar topics same topics as the course book Suomea suomeksi 2
Spoken language present in some of the exercises about the passive
Exercise types grammar exercises: fill-in-the-gaps, rephrase
Solutions to the exercises in the back of the book
Suitable for self-study 5/5
Suitable for study abroad 1/5 (because it’s not for sale anymore)
Buy the book no longer being printed
Buy the main book Suomea suomeksi 2 by Olli Nuutinen Tiedekauppa
Additional information: Suomen harjoituksia 2

Suomen harjoituksia 2 is meant to accompany the book Suomea suomeksi 2 (see 3.8.3. above). You’ll have to see if your local Finnish library still has this book, because it’s not being printed anymore.

 

This book contains additional exercises for each chapter of Olli Nuutinen’s book. The exercises are very traditional fill-in-the-gaps and rephrase grammar exercises. The vocabulary used in these exercises mostly matches up with the course book. So does the grammar, though Hämäläinen has added some additional grammar explanations concerning the participle constructions. The solutions to all the exercises are included in the back of the book.

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3.9. Suomen kielen oppikirja series

3.9.1. Suomen kielen alkeisoppikirja

Name of the book Suomen kielen alkeisoppikirja
Author(s) Anna-Liisa Lepäsmaa, Leena Silfverberg
Publisher Finn Lectura
Most recent edition 2010
Type of book beginner course book
Aesthetics of the book black and white, small pictures, spaced out nicely, inviting
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range zero to A2
Advances fairly evenly
Types of texts lots of dialogues of different lengths, occasional narrative
Topics discussed (staged) real life situations for immigrants
Grammar topics typical A1-A2 topics (see below)
Spoken language none
Exercise types in a separate book available for purchase
Solutions to the exercises
Suitable for self-study 4/5
Suitable for study abroad 1/5 (because it’s not for sale anymore)
Buy the book no longer getting printed
Additional materials Vocabulary in different languages – Still in print!
Harjoituskirja suomen kielen perusopetusta varten – Still in print!
Additional information: Suomen kielen alkeisoppikirja

This is another oldie: the first version of Suomen kielen alkeisoppikirja was published in 1987! The most recent edition is from 2010 but it is no longer in print. You can definitely still get this book in Finnish libraries. The book comes with a CD, which allows you to listen to the texts and dialogues of the book. Most libraries should also have the CD. Weirdly enough, the additional material with all the translated wordlists is still available for purchase. This book is the first in a two-book series, the second book is called Suomen kielen jatko-oppikirja (see section 3.9.3).

 

Suomen kielen alkeisoppikirja is very focused on grammar, which is usually displayed in clear tables. Each chapter contains one regular reading text as well as multiple short dialogues. These dialogues mimic real life situations in places such as restaurants, the post office and the store. However, while the dialogues and texts are based on real situations an immigrant could find themself in, they often mainly seem to be an opportunity to display the grammar of each chapter. As such, this book does serve a purpose if you’re looking for a grammar book which displays the grammar elements in reading texts.

 

The grammar included in Suomen kielen alkeisoppikirja covers the typical A1-A2 topics, such as the verbtypes and the most common cases and tenses. It showcases different word types (eg. words ending in -uus or -in) throughout the book. Each chapter also includes some trivia related to Finnish grammar or vocabulary, such as the usage of vastaan and vastassa, less common ways to ask what something costs and the difference between a passive sentence and a generic sentence.

 

There aren’t any exercises in this book, but there is an exercise book meant to accompany it. However, the exercise book Harjoituskirja suomen kielen perusopetusta varten is also no longer in print . It’s probably also fairly rare in Finnish libraries. You can read more about this book in section 3.9.2.

3.9.2. Harjoituskirja suomen kielen perusopetusta varten

Name of the book Harjoituskirja suomen kielen perusopetusta varten
Author(s) Leena Silfverberg
Publisher Finn Lectura
Most recent edition 2009
Type of book exercise book for Suomen kielen alkeisoppikirja (see section 3.9.1)
Aesthetics of the book black and white, uniform throughout, repetitive exercise types
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range zero to A2
Advances at the same pace as the textbook (see 3.9.1)
Types of texts no texts
Topics discussed no specific topics
Grammar topics same topics as the textbook (see section 3.9.1)
Spoken language none
Exercise types traditional fill-in-the-gaps and rephrase exercises
Solutions to the exercises not available
Suitable for self-study 3/5
Suitable for study abroad 1/5
Buy the book no longer in print
Additional materials Accompanying book: Suomen kielen alkeis-oppikirja (see section 3.9.1)
Additional information: Harjoituskirja suomen kielen perusopetusta varten

If you’re just looking for simple, repetitive exercises at beginner to intermediate level, this book is pretty good. There are two problems though: it’s no longer in print and the solutions aren’t included.

 

The topics covered in this book’s exercises follow the textbook Suomen kielen alkeisoppikirja to the letter. However, this book can just as well be used on its own. The exercise types in this book are very repetitive: you either put a word between brackets in the correct grammar form, or you form a sentence based on the example provided. If that’s the sort of exercise you’re used to when learning languages, you might really like this book.

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3.9.3. Suomen kielen jatko-oppikirja

Name of the book Suomen kielen jatko-oppikirja
Author(s) Leena Silfverberg
Publisher Finn Lectura
Most recent edition 2010
Type of book intermediate/advanced course book
Aesthetics of the book black and white, small pictures, spaced out nicely, inviting
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range A2-B1
Advances the texts get harder as you advance through the book
Types of texts narratives and dialogues
Topics discussed Finnish literature, random dialogues (see below)
Grammar topics advanced grammar topics (see below)
Spoken language dialects addressed in the last chapter of the book
Exercise types available in a separate book
Solutions to the exercises
Suitable for self-study 4/5
Suitable for study abroad 1/5 (because it’s not for sale anymore)
Buy the book no longer in print
Additional materials Harjoituskirja suomen kielen jatko-opetusta varten – Still in print!
Additional information: Suomen kielen jatko-oppikirja

Suomen kielen jatko-oppikirja is in another of those strange situations where the original book is no longer for sale, but the exercise book is still available for purchase. This book is part two of the series, after Suomen kielen alkeisoppikirja. Both books look very similar, with appealing tables displaying the grammar and small black-and-white drawings.

 

While the first book very strongly focused on dialogues, Suomen kielen jatko-oppikirja has more regular texts. This makes sense when you look at the grammar which is taught in this book. Things such as participles, the potential, the passive conditional, the instructive and the comitative are rare in spoken language. Other grammar topics include comparisons, particles such as kaan and han, the use of kumpikin and molemmat, the third person imperative, verbtype 6 and the inflection of numbers.

 

Many of the reading texts give you the opportunity to learn more about Finnish history and literature. The dialogues in each chapter don’t follow a particular theme; they seem to mainly exist to display the grammar taught in each chapter. The dialogues have been written in standard Finnish. The very last chapter of the book deals with spoken language. It addresses most of the differences in pronunciation between written and spoken Finnish, and includes dialogues written in the dialects of Helsinki, Häme and Karelia.

 

There aren’t any exercises in this book, but Harjoituskirja suomen kielen jatko-opetusta varten (which is the exercise book meant to accompany this book) is still in print!

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3.9.4. Harjoituskirja suomen kielen jatko-opetusta varten

Name of the book Harjoituskirja suomen kielen jatko-opetusta varten
Author(s) Leena Silfverberg
Publisher Finn Lectura
Most recent edition 2017
Type of book intermediate/advanced exercise book
Aesthetics of the book black and white, uniform throughout, not much space for writing
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range A2-B1
Advances the vocabulary gets harder near the end
Types of texts none
Topics discussed none
Grammar topics advanced grammar topics (see below)
Spoken language the last two exercises are related to spoken language
Exercise types fill-in-the-gaps, rephrase
Solutions to the exercises not available
Suitable for self-study 3/5 (because the solutions aren’t included)
Suitable for study abroad 5/5
Buy the book Finn Lectura
Adlibris
Amazon
Additional materials Accompanying book: Suomen kielen jatko-oppikirja
Additional information: Harjoituskirja suomen kielen jatko-opetusta varten

This harjoituskirja accompanies the grammar and reading book called Suomen kielen jatko-oppikirja. As such, the chapters and content of these books match up perfectly. Grammar topics include: participles, the potential, the passive conditional, the instructive and the comitative, particles such as kaan and han, the use of kumpikin and molemmat, the third person imperative, verbtype 6 and the inflection of numbers.

 

This could be nice book for studying advanced grammar through exercises, but unfortunately the solutions to the exercises are not included. It mainly contains the types of exercises that require you to put words between brackets in the right form, or to rephrase sentences in order for them to contain the grammar topic addressed in the chapter.

 

All in all, this series is very much focused on grammar. The vocabulary used in the exercises is not specifically relevant to the vocabulary in the grammar book.

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3.10. Suomen kielen tikapuut series

This series is really nice for self-study, but is unfortunately no longer printed. If you live in Finland, you’re likely to find either the old version (A4 format, green cover) or the more recent edition with a picture of a ladder on the front.

3.10.1. Suomen kielen tikapuut – Kielioppi- ja harjoituskirja – Alkeistaso 1

Name of the book Suomen kielen tikapuut – Kielioppi- ja harjoituskirja – Alkeistaso 1
Author(s) Heikki Kangasniemi
Publisher Tampere university press
Most recent edition 2007
Type of book beginner text and exercise book
Aesthetics of the book black and white, pleasant to browse through, clear structure
Language(s) used English used in vocabulary lists, some English-Finnish translation exercises
Level range zero to A2.2
Advances giant leaps in grammar covered, reading texts advance gradually
Types of texts dialogues between the main characters
Topics discussed random titbits of conversational situations in everyday life
Grammar topics each chapter has new grammar, mostly A1 level grammar, some A2
Spoken language not included
Exercise types grammar exercises, fill-in-the-gap, translation, sentence construction
Solutions to the exercises not included
Suitable for self-study 4/5 (no solutions available though!)
Suitable for study abroad 1/5 (because sold out, if you can find it somewhere 5/5)
Buy the book no longer getting printed
Additional materials none
Additional information: Suomen kielen tikapuut - Alkeistaso 1

The first part of the Suomen kielen tikapuut series starts from the very beginning of Finnish language learning. It should allow you to get to about level A2.1-A2.2.

 

Each chapter contains at least one dialogue to read. The dialogues start out really easy and gradually get harder and longer. They are simple enough to be perfect for self-study. The book follows the lives of several people. First, you follow the characters äiti and Sanna, a 3 year old. As you advance, other characters are added, such as an immigrant called Ben Winter. The new vocabulary of the reading texts is listed in a Finnish-English vocabulary list. The reading texts don’t cover any special A1 level topics; you just get a sneak peek into the everyday life of the main characters.

 

Each chapter in the book starts with a grammar section, where the new topic is explained in simple Finnish. You will need to use additional sources to get a full understanding of the grammar topics. However, the exercises related to each grammar subject in this book are generally so simple that you can manage without those additional sources.

 

You can find typical A1 level grammar topics, such as vowel harmony, the partitive, the genetive, T-plural, location cases, the verbtypes and necessity sentences. It also includes some simple complement exercises, and introduces consonant gradation of both wordtype A and wordtype B at the same time.

 

The types of exercises included are suitable for self-study, but unfortunately the solutions aren’t available anywhere. There are some translation exercises, where you’re given English sentences to translate to Finnish. There are also exercises to make sentences out of separate words. You can also find fill-in-the-gap exercises. All the exercises are grammar focused, allowing you to practice the grammar of the chapter.

 

This book would be very suitable for self-study, were it not for two issues. First, this series is no longer in print. You’ll have to get it from, for example, your local library. If you find the green A4 size covered book there, you’re dealing with the older version. Second, the solutions to the exercises are not available anywhere. These two issues are really a shame.

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3.10.2. Suomen kielen tikapuut – Kielioppi- ja harjoituskirja – Alkeistaso 2

Name of the book Suomen kielen tikapuut – Kielioppi- ja harjoituskirja – Alkeistaso 2
Author(s) Heikki Kangasniemi
Publisher Tampere university press
Most recent edition 2007
Type of book intermediate beginner text and exercise book
Aesthetics of the book black and white, pleasant to browse through, clear structure
Language(s) used English used in vocabulary lists, some English-Finnish translation exercises
Level range A2.2-B1.1
Advances giant leaps in grammar covered, reading texts advance gradually
Types of texts dialogues between the main characters, some narratives
Topics discussed random titbits of conversational situations in everyday life
Grammar topics each chapter has new grammar, mostly A2 level grammar, some B1
Spoken language not included
Exercise types grammar exercises, fill-in-the-gap, translation, sentence construction
Solutions to the exercises not included
Suitable for self-study 4/5 (no solutions available though!)
Suitable for study abroad 1/5 (because sold out, if you can find it somewhere 5/5)
Buy the book no longer getting printed
Additional materials none
Additional information: Suomen kielen tikapuut - Alkeistaso 2

The second part of the Suomen kielen tikapuut series presents its A2-B1 grammar topics in an order that differs from most other textbooks. It includes A2.1-A2.2 level topics such as the conditional, the perfect tense and plusquamperfect tense, the object, the comparative forms, postpositions and prepositions and the joka-pronoun. In addition, you can learn grammar topics that get you up to level B1, such as the plural partitive, plural genetive and plural location cases.

 

Each chapter of Alkeistaso 2 contains at least one dialogue to read, which continues to follow the lives of the characters in the first book. The dialogues are centered around random everyday events and conversation topics. The progression of difficulty in the reading texts is quite gradual, although the grammar topics included in them get more complicated fairly quickly. The new vocabulary of the reading texts is listed in a Finnish-English vocabulary list.

 

Just like the first book, Alkeistaso 2 displays a new grammar topic at the beginning of each chapter, where the new topic is explained in simple Finnish. You will need to use additional sources to get a full understanding of the grammar topics. However, the exercises related to each grammar subject in this book are generally so simple that you can manage without additional sources. There is always an example provided which shows you when your answer will look like.

 

The exercise types in Alkeistaso 2 are the same as in Alkeistaso 1. They are suitable for self-study, but unfortunately the solutions aren’t available anywhere. You get translation exercises, where you’re given English sentences to translate to Finnish. There are also exercises to make sentences out of separate words. You can also find fill-in-the-gap exercises. All the exercises are grammar focused, allowing you to practice the grammar of the chapter.

 

When considering how suitable this book is for self-study, you have the same issue as for the first book. It would be very suitable for self-study, were it not for two issues. First, this series is no longer in print. You’ll have to get it from, for example, your local library. Second, the solutions to the exercises are not available anywhere.

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3.10.3. Suomen kielen tikapuut – Kielioppi- ja harjoituskirja – Jatkotaso 1

Name of the book Suomen kielen tikapuut – Kielioppi- ja harjoituskirja – Jatkotaso 1
Author(s) Heikki Kangasniemi
Publisher Tampere university press
Most recent edition 2007
Type of book beginner advanced text and exercise book
Aesthetics of the book black and white, pleasant to browse through, clear structure
Language(s) used English used in vocabulary lists
Level range B1.1-B1.2
Advances difficulty level of reading texts increases gradually
Types of texts some dialogues, mainly informational texts (see below)
Topics discussed Finnish history and culture, some everyday conversations (see below)
Grammar topics each chapter has new grammar, mostly B1 topics, also B2 (see below)
Spoken language not included
Exercise types grammar exercises, fill-in-the-gap, sentence construction
Solutions to the exercises not included
Suitable for self-study 4/5 (no solutions available though!)
Suitable for study abroad 1/5 (because sold out, if you can find it somewhere 5/5)
Buy the book no longer getting printed
Additional materials none
Additional information: Suomen kielen tikapuut - Jatkotaso 1

Just like the first two books, the third part of the Suomen kielen tikapuut series presents its grammar topics in an order that differs from most other textbooks. For example, the third infinitive and the passive are generally taught earlier on. In this series, they are presented in their entirety: both very common and rare uses of the forms are included in Jatkotaso 1.

 

Grammar topics covered in Jatkotaso 1 include the third infinitive, the essive, the translative, the passive, passive imperfect and passive conditional, inflection of the numbers, the participles and participle constructions. These topics appear in the reading texts, which are quite dense and complicated. You will have your work cut out trying to understand these texts. Topics covered are rarely any typical everyday life situations as was the case in the first two books. Instead, you find informational texts concerning topics like Finnish ice hockey teams, Elias Lönnrot and Kalevala, the history of the Olympic Games, Finnish history and some politics.

 

The exercises in Jatkotaso 1 are grammar focused. The same exercise types repeat in this whole series: fill-in-the-gap exercises and exercises where you have to rephrase sentences in order to have them contain the new grammar. There is always an example provided which shows you when your answer will look like. These exercises are suitable for self-study, but unfortunately the solutions aren’t available anywhere.

 

When considering how suitable Jatkotaso 1 is for self-study, you have the same issue as with the previous books. It could be suitable for self-study but it’s no longer in print and the solutions to the exercises are not available anywhere. In addition, I personally find the reading texts in this part of the series very dry and uninteresting.

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3.10.4. Suomen kielen tikapuut – Kielioppi- ja harjoituskirja – Jatkotaso 2

Name of the book Suomen kielen tikapuut – Kielioppi- ja harjoituskirja – Jatkotaso 2
Author(s) Heikki Kangasniemi
Publisher Tampereen university press
Most recent edition 2007
Type of book advanced text and exercise book
Aesthetics of the book black and white, pleasant to browse through, clear structure
Language(s) used English used in vocabulary lists
Level range B1-C1
Advances fairly even difficulty level in the reading texts
Types of texts dialogues, informational texts, stories (see below)
Topics discussed Finnish history and culture, litarary texts (see below)
Grammar topics each chapter has new grammar, mostly B2 (see below)
Spoken language small overview of features, not present in the dialogues
Exercise types grammar exercises, fill-in-the-gap, sentence construction
Solutions to the exercises not included
Suitable for self-study 4/5 (no solutions available though!)
Suitable for study abroad 1/5 (because sold out, if you can find it somewhere 5/5)
Buy the book no longer getting printed
Additional materials none
Additional information: Suomen kielen tikapuut - Jatkotaso 2

The final book of this series has the same type of content as the previous books. Each chapter introduces a new grammar topic, which is then displayed in a reading text. The exercises are grammar focused and generally either require you to fill in gaps, or rephrase given sentences so they include the grammar element. There is always an example given of what is expected of you.

 

Grammar topics covered in Jatkotaso 2 include rarer Finnish cases (abessive, comitative, instructive), the potential, transitivity and intransitivity, clitics (-kin/-kaan, -pa/pä, -han/hän), temporaalirakenne, all the imperative forms (including the jussive).

 

The reading texts in Jatkotaso 2 seem less dense to me than the ones in Jatkotaso 1. This is mainly the case because this book contains fewer texts about history and more prose, such as a short detective story. Some dialogues between people about random everyday topics are also included.

 

When considering how suitable Jatkotaso 2 is for self-study, you have the same issue as with the previous books. It could be suitable for self-study but it’s no longer in print and the solutions to the exercises are not available anywhere. The grammar covered here is useful if you’re aiming to get to the C-level.

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3.11. Finnish for Foreigners series

This series was first published in 1963. As far as I could find, the contents of the first book haven’t been updated since 1987. It’s not a bad series, but it’s really ancient. The reason for it still being in print is most likely due to its name, which is very likely to be googled by many students abroad to this day.

3.11.1. Finnish for Foreigners 1

Name of the book Finnish for Foreigners 1
Author(s) Maija-Hellikki Aaltio
Publisher Otava (Mps Multimedia Inc. DBA Selectsoft)
Most recent edition 2007 (content last updated in 1987)
Type of book beginner textbook
Aesthetics of the book black and white with some orange elements, pretty old
Language(s) used dialogues in Finnish and English, explanations in English
Level range zero to B1.1
Advances gradually, vocabulary is added in very small increments
Types of texts dialogues between the main characters, both in Finnish and English
Topics discussed practical, conversational everyday life situations, small amount of vocab (see below)
Grammar topics typical A1-A2 grammar topics, some harder topics but kept simple (see below)
Spoken language hardly any spoken language elements present at all
Exercise types available in a separate book (see section 3.11.2)
Solutions to the exercises none
Suitable for self-study 4/5
Suitable for study abroad 5/5
Buy the book AdlibrisAmazon
Additional materials Exercise book: Finnish for Foreigners 1 Exercises (see section 3.11.2)
Audio: no longer available
Additional information: Finnish for Foreigners 1

This is an ancient book, so its approach to learning Finnish is different to more modern books. The way everything is presented reminds me of the Suomea suomeksi series (see section 3.8). This is especially true for the verb choices: the first 50 pages of Finnish for Foreigners 1 book contain a very limited amount of verbs. In the first ten chapters, the main verb used is olla “to be”. Even beyond that, the grammar early on is mainly focused on constructions that contain the verb olla. It’s a sensible way to limit the amount of new content presented, but differs from more current course books, where you learn to use different verbs early on.

 

This book used to be accompanied by some audio cassettes and I’m pretty sure there also used to be CDs with the audio at some point, but I haven’t been able to track those down. The exercise book does come with audio.

 

It surprised me that I actually don’t find the book too bad for self-study on closer inspection. It’s far from perfect, but when you read all the reviews on this page, you’ll come to the conclusion that none of the books currently available are perfect. The biggest plus is of course how widely available it is. The use of English is also helpful for self-study: all the dialogues are presented in both Finnish and English and there are vocabulary lists and grammar explanations in English as well.

 

Finnish for Foreigners 1 contains very limited spoken language elements, so it definitely doesn’t live up to the goal stated in the introduction: “The purpose of Finnish for Foreigners 1 is, above all, to teach the learner spoken Finnish”. This goal, it seems, should be interpreted as an intention to teach the type of Finnish needed in practical everyday situations. The dialogues don’t contain any spoken language pronunciation elements such as mä, mun, mulla or tää, toi, se, or other very common spoken language elements. Everyday language situations included are, for example, buying clothes, giving directions, talking about where you live, about the weather and how to speak on the phone.

 

Grammar topics are introduced gradually and kept fairly limited so as not to overwhelm the learner. The order of the topics differs from what is the norm these days. The book includes typical beginner topics but it also includes topics that would generally not be taught until later. The book has 40 chapters. It contains A1 level topics such as the genetive (chapter 6), the partitive (chapter 14) and location cases (which are each introduced in a separate chapter; in chapters 8, 10, 13, 19, 20). It also contains A2 level topics such as the past tense, the third infinitive, postpositions and the object. More advanced topics such as the plural partitive, the plural genetive, the complement, essive, translative and comparative forms. are also included

 

One of the best aspects of this book is how it introduces grammar topics for both beginners and advanced learners from early on. While some of these topics are fairly difficult, they are kept simple enough to be manageable. Problems will probably only arise when the student using this book decides to try to learn some more about these grammar topics from other sources. That’s when you may become overwhelmed by how advanced these topics are, and which are presented in such a deceivingly simple way in this book. This is definitely not a book designed to be used alongside other books – perhaps with the exception of the Suomea suomeksi series (see section 3.8) which follows the same approach.

 

Big disclaimer: while you can learn beginner Finnish with this book, keep in mind that you will be exposed to stiff dialogues which will make you sound like someone traveling to the current day from the 1960s!

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3.11.2. Finnish for Foreigners 1 Exercises

Name of the book Finnish for Foreigners 1 Exercises
Author(s) Maija-Hellikki Aaltio
Publisher Otava (Mps Multimedia Inc. DBA Selectsoft)
Most recent edition 2009 (content last updated in 1984)
Type of book exercise book accompanying the textbook Finnish for Foreigners 1
Aesthetics of the book black and white, pretty dense, often no space to write
Language(s) used Finnish and English
Level range zero to B1.1
Advances small number of exercises per chapter
Types of texts one extra reading text in each chapter
Topics discussed follows the content of the textbook (see section 3.11.1)
Grammar topics follows the content of the textbook (see section 3.11.1)
Spoken language not included
Exercise types mostly grammar, rephrase, fill-in-the-gaps, reading and listening exercises
Solutions to the exercises available in the back of the book
Suitable for self-study 4/5
Suitable for study abroad 5/5
Buy the book AdlibrisAmazonBooky
Additional materials Main book: Finnish for Foreigners 1 Exercises (see section 3.11.1)
Audio CDs: no longer being sold
Additional information: Finnish for Foreigners 1 Exercises

I’m not a big fan of this book. The exercise types in this book are not super engaging, but they’re important if you decide to start using this book. As mentioned in section 3.11.1, this book introduces – in addition to regular beginner grammar topics – advanced grammar subjects, which it keeps simple by limiting their scope. The exercise book is similarly limited and is thus useful because of that.

 

Most of the exercises relate to grammar. They include, for example, fill-in-the-gap exercises where you’re supposed to inflect or conjugate words into the correct form. There are also many grammar drilling exercises where you’re supposed to rephrase a sentence following the example given. You can also find some pictures in this exercise book which allow you to visualize the things you are practicing a little better. Each chapter also comes with an extra reading text concerning the same topic as the text book’s chapter. These texts come with some simple reading comprehension questions.

 

Finnish for Foreigners 1 Exercises also includes some listening comprehension exercises. The original book came with cassettes, but CD versions have also been available. However, a search online hasn’t revealed any sources that still sell the audio. If you find this book in the library, you might be lucky enough to get a version with the CDs included. The texts of these listening exercises are included in the back of the book with the solutions.

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3.11.3. Finnish for Foreigners 2

Name of the book Finnish for Foreigners 2
Author(s) Maija-Hellikki Aaltio
Publisher Otava (Mps Multimedia Inc. DBA Selectsoft)
Most recent edition 1999 (content last updated in 1987)
Type of book intermediate to advanced textbook
Aesthetics of the book black and white with some orange elements, pretty old
Language(s) used Finnish-English wordlists, explanations in English
Level range B1.2-C1
Advances no clear level progression, advanced topics
Types of texts dialogues, fictional narratives and informational texts
Topics discussed fictional + Finnish history, literature, industry, holidays and cities
Grammar topics advanced B1-C1 grammar topics (see below)
Spoken language not included
Exercise types available in a separate book (see section 3.11.4)
Solutions to the exercises none
Suitable for self-study 4/5
Suitable for study abroad 5/5
Buy the book AdlibrisAmazon
Additional materials Exercise book: Finnish for Foreigners 2 Exercises (see section 3.11.4)
Audio: no longer available
Additional information: Finnish for Foreigners 2

Part two of the Finnish for Foreigners series contains two large chunks of advanced grammar. Firstly, there are chapters on each of the participle constructions, including the että-participle, the -TTAVA necessity structure and the long form of the first infinitive.  Secondly, the book walks you through all the passive verb forms. Included are the present, past, conditional and perfect passive forms. Other advanced grammar topics in this book are, for example, the potential mood, the abessive, the comitative, the instructive and the inflection of comparative forms. Here and there, you can find information about tricky words and their inflection, such as itse, kukaan and mikään, joku and jokin, as well as kumpikin and jompikumpi.

 

The book is very much focused on grammar. Each chapter contains a reading text, but very often they seem to serve no other purpose than to display the grammar topics covered in the chapter. The first part of this book contains mainly dialogues, while the latter half contains fictional narratives as well as informational texts about Finnish culture. The reading texts are no longer fully translated into English as they were in Finnish for Foreigners 1. Each reading text does come with a Finnish-English vocabulary list.

 

This book is old enough to have been originally sold with several cassettes containing the audio of the reading texts. If you’re in Finland, you might be able to find this book in the library with two audio CDs. These CDs don’t seem to be available for sale anymore.

 

If your goal is mainly to just learn as much grammar as possible, this book does an okay job at providing you with relevant content. However, if your intention is to learn to communicate in Finnish, I would not recommend this book. Rather, you should invest in another series to strengthen what you learned in the first part of this series. I would suggest you check out the Suomen mestari series, and perhaps combine it with Suomen kielen tikapuut. You could perhaps return to Finnish for Foreigners 2 after you’ve worked with another book.

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3.11.4. Finnish for Foreigners 2 Exercises

Name of the book Finnish for Foreigners 2 Exercises
Author(s) Maija-Hellikki Aaltio
Publisher Otava (Mps Multimedia Inc. DBA Selectsoft)
Most recent edition 2004 (content last updated in 1987)
Type of book exercise book accompanying the textbook Finnish for Foreigners 2
Aesthetics of the book black and white, pretty dense, often no space to write
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range B1.2-C1
Advances in the same way as the textbook (see section 3.11.3)
Types of texts one extra reading text in each chapter, advanced
Topics discussed follows the contents of the textbook (see section 3.11.3)
Grammar topics follows the contents of the textbook (see section 3.11.3)
Spoken language not included
Exercise types mostly grammar, rephrase, fill-in-the-gaps, reading and listening exercises
Solutions to the exercises available in the back of the book
Suitable for self-study 3/5
Suitable for study abroad 5/5
Buy the book Amazon (no longer for sale in Finnish book stores)
Additional materials Main book: Finnish for Foreigners 2 Exercises (see section 3.11.3)
Audio CDs: no longer being sold
Additional information: Finnish for Foreigners 2 Exercises

Finnish for Foreigners 2 Exercises mainly allows you to practice the grammar present in the main textbook. The exercise types are often very traditional. There are, for example, a large amount of exercises where you’re prompted to rephrase sentences to include a grammar element, following the example provided. You can also find quite a few fill-in-the-gap exercises.

 

The book also contains listening comprehension exercises, which you probably won’t be able to do because getting your hands on the audio could be incredibly challenging. You could perhaps use these as reading comprehension exercises because the full text of the listening exercises is included in the back of the book.

 

Each chapter also contains an additional reading comprehension exercise, which are often quite abstract. What makes them even less appealing is that they’re presented in a very dense manner with nearly no line spacing. Many of these texts are authentic texts which have been simplified slightly. Through these texts, you can learn more about Finland and Finnish culture.

 

I wouldn’t recommend buying this book, just as I wouldn’t recommend the textbook it is meant to accompany, to students who are trying to learn to communicate orally in Finnish. Even if your main goal is just to learn as much grammar as possible, many of the exercises in this book don’t seem to be very engaging or useful.

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3.12. Kuulostaa hyvältä series

3.12.1. Kuulostaa hyvältä – Sounds good

Name of the book Kuulostaa hyvältä – Sounds good
Author(s) Lili Ahonen
Publisher SKS
Most recent edition 2014
Type of book beginner course book
Aesthetics of the book black with blue elements, spaced out nicely, inviting
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range zero to B1.1
Advances makes giant leaps in the grammar topics
Types of texts mainly dialogues, narrative version of dialogues included
Topics discussed real life situations where an immigrant could use Finnish, as well as cultural information about Finland
Grammar topics each chapter has new grammar, but it’s explained in a separate book, the grammar quickly contains advanced topics (see below)
Spoken language one small reading text at the back, nothing in the dialogues
Exercise types pretty good vocabulary and grammar exercises
Solutions to the exercises in the back of the book
Suitable for self-study 3/5 (more suitable if you start with a decent basic knowledge already)
Suitable for study abroad 4/5
Buy the book SKSAmazonSuomalainen kirjakauppa
Additional materials VHS with videos of the texts
YouTube videos
– Accompanying book: Sounds good – Kuulostaa hyvältä (see 3.11.)
Additional information: Kuulostaa hyvältä - Sounds good

This book’s extra content hasn’t aged well. It originally came with a VHS with all the texts of the book acted out. You can find those videos on YouTube, luckily. These videos follow the fictional lives of Jutta and her friends in Helsinki. Unfortunately the dialogues (and the acting) are painfully stiff and unnatural. There is no spoken language at all in these dialogues: they’re just standard, simplified Finnish. The topics of the dialogues are often related to Finnish culture, eg. Jutta goes to a Christmas concert, celebrates name days and visits Suomenlinna.

 

Another very old element is that the prices appear in Finnish marks rather than euros! The book does mention in these situations that Finland started using euros in 2002, but they haven’t changed the currency in the reading texts because the videos still contain the old text.

 

Apart from that, I’ve always really liked Kuulostaa hyvältä. Each chapter comes with many exercises which allow you to practice both the grammar and the vocabulary. For me, the exercise types felt engaging and meaningful. The exercise types include fill-in-the-gaps exercises, creating your own sentences according to the model answer and the inflection of nouns and verbs. The answers to the exercises are included in the back of the book.

 

A nice feature in Kuulostaa hyvältä is that you get two reading texts in every chapter: first the dialogue which matches up with the videos, and then a rephrased versions which tells the same things but in narrative form rather than a dialogue. This allows you to revise the vocabulary in a slightly different form.

 

While the book allows you to practice the grammar topics present in each dialogue, it doesn’t explain these grammar elements at all. The only notable exception is in chapter 4, where the German Jutta explains the rules of the complement to Anssi, a Finn (pretty realistic). This book doesn’t include any grammar explanations; there is a separate book available that includes these explanations. The second book is written in English (see the next book on this page).

 

I think Kuulostaa hyvältä is suitable for self-study if you start using it when you already have a good basic vocabulary and grammar. Starting from zero with this book on your own seems tricky, even if you buy both books. Combining both books could work, as you can read the grammar in English in one book and read the texts and do the exercises in the other. However, I can imagine that the grammar would overwhelm most students, as the book jumps from easy topics to hard topics and back again without much of a system.

 

Grammar topics of around A1 level include, for example, the imperative, postpositions and the location cases. Grammar topics of around A2.1 level include the past tense, conditional and passive. In addition, you can find the participles, sentence constructions such as lukevinaan, the comparison of adverbs and all the plural cases. I feel like the basics don’t get enough attention before moving on to the rarer grammar.

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3.12.2. Sounds good – Kuulostaa hyvältä

Name of the book Sounds good – Kuulostaa hyvältä
Author(s) Lili Ahonen
Publisher SKS
Most recent edition 2014
Type of book additional grammar and vocabulary book
Aesthetics of the book black and blue, spaced out nicely in grammar section, vocabulary section has a smaller font and is harder to follow
Language(s) used English explanations and translations
Level range A1-B1.1
Advances according to the pace of the main book
Types of texts none
Topics discussed explanations in English of the grammar in the main book
Grammar topics many more advanced topics, not for beginners
Spoken language one small section in the last chapter of the book
Exercise types none
Solutions to the exercises none
Suitable for self-study 3/5 (more suitable if you start with a decent basic knowledge already)
Suitable for study abroad 1/5 (I doubt you can find it for sale abroad)
Buy the book Tiedekirja (sold out)Prisma
Additional materials Accompanying book: Kuulostaa hyvältä – Sounds good (see above)
Additional information: Sounds good - Kuulostaa hyvältä

This book (called Sounds good – Kuulostaa hyvältä) is the additional material for the book Kuulostaa hyvältä – Sounds good by the same author. Yes, the names of these books are almost the same! I’m referring to them based on the first part of their name in this section.

 

Kuulostaa hyvältä has been reviewed in the previous section, so you should read that review first. Kuulostaa hyvältä contains the reading texts, exercises and solutions to the exercises. Sounds good contains English grammar explanations for each chapter of Kuulostaa hyvältä. It also contains Finnish-English word lists and the full English translation of the main book’s dialogues.

 

You probably get the most out of this series if you get both books, use them side by side and also watch the videos. The fact that the grammar is explained in English is a plus. However, rather than buying both books, you could use a different source for the grammar. There isn’t anything special about the grammar in Sounds good that justifies buying the book. The Finnish-English word lists and the translated dialogues are also hardly worth the bother of tracking this book down. I’m a little bit put off by the fact that they made it two separate books to begin with. These could easily have been combined into one.

 

I found it’s hard to find a copy of Sounds good. My local library has several copies of Kuulostaa hyvältä, but I had to order Sounds good from a different library. Sounds good also seems to be sold out in many places, though I did find one source that still sells it.

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3.13. Tilanteesta toiseen series

This series consists of a book with reading texts and grammar explanations, and an exercise book.

3.13.1. Tilanteesta toiseen – A Finnish Course

Name of the book Tilanteesta toiseen – A Finnish Course
Author(s) Salli-Marja Bessonoff, Eila Hämäläinen
Publisher Suomen kielen ja kotimaisen kirjallisuuden laitos
Most recent edition 2008
Type of book intermediate course book
Aesthetics of the book analytical, not very well organized, black and white, no pictures
Language(s) used English in vocabulary lists and grammar explanations
Level range A2.1-A2.2
Advances no clear level progression
Types of texts fictional dialogues and narratives
Topics discussed fairly random, nothing in-depth
Grammar topics both in relation to the text and in more detail in the back
Spoken language more spoken language elements are added as the book progresses
Exercise types available in a separate book
Solutions to the exercises none
Suitable for self-study 4/5
Suitable for study abroad 5/5
Buy the book UnigrafiaAdlibrisBooky
Additional materials Exercise book (see below)
Additional information: Tilanteesta toiseen

This book is suitable for self-study because it lists the vocabulary of the reading texts in English and explains the grammar used in English. However, the approach of this book will require you to have a keen interest in Finnish grammar. This book doesn’t specifically mention what level it is for, but I’m estimating that you would need about level A2.1 if you want to use it for self-study. Having some grasp on the Finnish grammar already will make the explanations in this book easier to understand.

 

Each chapter starts with a reading text, which is either a fictional dialogue or a narrative. A Finnish-English vocabulary list is included. There you can find grammar and vocabulary explanations which target the words, phrases and sentences specifically in the text. For each interesting sentence, you can find a short explanation, and if it’s a new topic, you get referred to the back of the book where there is a more thorough explanation of the grammar topic.

 

For example, the text includes the sentence “Mika suoritti puutarhurin tutkinnon” in chapter 7. Immediately after the text, this sentence is explained as: “The word puutarhurin is in the genetive. In the word tutkinnon the ending n is the object marker”. The same approach is taken for the sentence “Jari opiskeli merkonomiksi” in the same chapter. The grammar of this phrase is explained immediately after the reading text as: “The word merkonomiksi has the ending ksi, which expresses change or end result. After having finished his studies to obtain the title of ‘merkonomi‘ Jari has now graduatiod”. The back of the book then has a half-page explanation about the translative ending -ksi in more detail.

 

This is a pretty unique approach, which I think analytic and grammar focused students will love. However, if your focus is more on learning vocabulary and learning to communicate, I think this book probably isn’t the best for that goal.

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3.13.2. Tilanteesta toiseen – Harjoituksia | Exercises

Name of the book Tilanteesta toiseen – Harjoituksia | Exercises
Author(s) Salli-Marja Bessonoff, Eila Hämäläinen
Publisher Suomen kielen ja kotimaisen kirjallisuuden laitos
Most recent edition 2009
Type of book exercise book for the Tilanteesta toiseen textbook
Aesthetics of the book black and white, no pictures, uninteresting
Language(s) used the explanation of each exercise is in both English and Finnish
Level range A2.1-A2.2
Advances follows the contents of the textbook
Types of texts additional texts with reading comprehension questions
Topics discussed none
Grammar topics follows the contents of the textbook
Spoken language small and simple exercises here and there
Exercise types many meant for classroom use, they help you study
Solutions to the exercises none
Suitable for self-study 2/5
Suitable for study abroad 5/5
Buy the book AmazonAdlibrisBooky
Additional materials – Textbook (see previous section)
Additional information: Tilanteesta toiseen - Harjoituksia

The exercise book contains the same topics as the textbook. It seems mostly aimed at beginning Finnish teachers who need ideas to make their lessons more practical and functional. Part of the exercises are meant to be done with a classmate, and many of them are oral exercises. The solutions to the written exercises are included in the back of the book. The textbook had a section in the back with more complete grammar explanations, and the exercise book mirrors this approach with exercises specifically about these grammar explanations in the back of the book.

 

There’s an attempt at instructing the reader on how to grow as a language learner by getting you used to ways to learn vocabulary, to practice grammar and to apply it to different situations. These are all things a Finnish teacher fresh out of university would need some help with figuring out. Maybe you do as well, for self-study, but I can’t assess how easy it is to implement these habits to self-study.

 

I suppose this book could work for self-study, but be aware that quite a lot of the exercises are meant for pairwork or to be corrected by a teacher. The books do complement each other, but you could very well use the textbook without buying this exercise book.

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3.14. Päivää series

3.14.1. Päivää! – Suomea aikuisille

Name of the book Päivää! – Suomea aikuisille
Author(s) Minna Intke Hernández
Publisher Opetushallitus
Most recent edition 2019
Type of book beginner intermediate course book
Aesthetics of the book inviting, spaced out nicely, colorful, childish pictures
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range A2.1-A2.2
Advances evenly, slowly
Types of texts many dialogues, also simplified real-life messages and notes
Topics discussed real life situations where an immigrant could use Finnish, as well as cultural information about Finland
Grammar topics no grammar explanations
Spoken language spoken language audio for the texts in the book available online
Exercise types mainly conversation prompts
Solutions to the exercises available online
Suitable for self-study 2/5
Suitable for study abroad 3/5
Buy the book OpetushallitusBooky
Additional materials Additional materials online
Free audio: streamed (spoken language + written language)
Additional information: Päivää! - Suomea aikuisille

This book is meant for adult students of about level A2.1. Although the pictures in the book are kind of childish, the topics covered are typical for adult immigrants in Finland. For example, you get a peek into the life of a family with small children through messages from their kindergarten teacher. Typical A2 topics covered in this book are things like getting ill and calling the health center, talking about your living arrangements, neighbors, moving, ways to save money and recycling.

 

This book is not meant for self-study. This is clear from the fact that nearly all exercises are meant to be answered together with other students in pairs or small groups. Note that this book doesn’t contain any grammar explanations – its main idea is clearly language as a means of communication.

 

However, I think its contents are interesting enough for self-study if you have the right motivation. If you’re just looking to strengthen your language skills, this book is nice. You should definitely use the online materials to supplement the fairly thin course book. On this page, you can find materials meant for teachers using this book in a course. If you’re using the book for self-study, clicking the chapters listed on the left side and scrolling down will reveal the solutions to the exercises in the book. In addition, on the right side, where it says “äänitteet“, you can listen to the texts in the book. Important to note about the audio is that each chapter is listed twice in the list, both as kirjakielinen “book language” and puhekielinen “spoken language”. This means you can listen to both and try to detect the differences.

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3.14.2. Palataan! – Suomea aikuisille

Name of the book Palataan! – Suomea aikuisille
Author(s) Minna Intke Hernández
Publisher Opetushallitus
Most recent edition 2019
Type of book intermediate course book
Aesthetics of the book inviting, spaced out nicely, colorful, childish pictures
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range A2.2-B1.1
Advances evenly, slowly
Types of texts many dialogues, also simplified news articles and messages
Topics discussed real life situations where an immigrant could use Finnish, as well as cultural information about Finland
Grammar topics A2.1 and A2.2 level grammar (see below)
Spoken language not included
Exercise types mainly conversation prompts, some small grammar exercises
Solutions to the exercises available online
Suitable for self-study 4/5
Suitable for study abroad 2/5
Buy the book OpetushallitusBooky
Additional materials Additional materials online
Free audio: streamed (spoken language + written language)
Additional information: Palataan! - Suomea aikuisille

Just like the first part of this series, Palataan is focused on real, everyday situations an immigrant in Finland could be confronted with. Topics touched upon are, for example, related with getting a phone connection, paying taxes, voting, volunteering and group sports.

 

Each chapter in Palataan! has many listening exercises, some of which have been printed in the book, and others which you can find online. The latter are meant to be listened to without looking at the text first. The exercises in each chapter are conversation prompts, which generally are meant to let you discuss real life issues with another student.

 

The first book of this series didn’t contain any grammar explanations. The second book contains some small grammar explanations as well as some exercises.  These exercises are often the type where, for example, you’re presented with a sentence like Kalastaminen on hauskaa. The assignment is to make that sentence into Minä pidän and Minä harrastan type sentences together with a classmate. There are also a small number of actual fill-in-the-gap exercises for verb forms and cases. None of the grammar is looked at in great detail, but you have the internet full of other resources which you could turn to for that.

 

Palataan includes grammar topics such as the verbtypes, the partitive, genetive and location cases, the third and fourth infinitive, the imperative, passive, past passive and comparatives. As such, it covers the A2.1 grammar topics that the first book would have included as well as typical A2.2 topics.

 

Just like the first book, Palataan has not been designed for self-study. Most of the exercises are communicative, so they require you to have someone to talk to. However, the listening exercises are available for free online and you can find the solutions to most of the exercises in the teacher’s guide. I feel the right student could get a lot out of this book.

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3.15. Työelämän suomea

This series follows the trend of Finnish coursebooks in Finland to be more focused on learning Finnish related to studying a profession, finding a job and working in Finland. As such, this series – while teaching Finnish grammar fairly effectively – contains a lot of work-related topics and vocabulary.

3.15.1. Työelämän suomea 1

Name of the book Työelämän somea 1 – Suomeksi ammattiin
Author(s) Mirka Jussila
Publisher Finn Lectura
Most recent edition 2019
Type of book intermediate course book with main focus on working life
Aesthetics of the book inviting, colorful, divided into sections
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range A2.1-A2.2
Advances evenly, everything is introduced in a reasonable order
Types of texts narratives, short informational texts, dialogues
Topics discussed working life topics as well as everyday life (see below)
Grammar topics typical A2.1-A2.2 grammar topics (see below)
Spoken language included in the (infrequent) dialogues in the book
Exercise types often focused on your own life, mainly meant for classroom setting
Solutions to the exercises not available
Suitable for self-study 3/5
Suitable for study abroad 3/5
Buy the book Finn LecturaAdlibrisBooky
Additional materials Audio: Streamed or online mp3 (complete)
Audio: Streamed or online mp3 (limited)
Teacher’s guide (PDF or book)
Additional information: Työelämän suomea 1

The first book of this series covers the A2.1-A2.2 topics that are generally present in modern course books. There is, for example, a chapter on hobbies and one on finding and moving into a new home. When it comes to grammar, Työelämän suomea 1 also covers what is traditionally included in A2.1 and A2.2 level course books. You can study the imperfect and perfect tense, the conditional, passive, third infinitive, joka-pronoun, object and the plural cases (plural partitive, genetive and location cases). The grammar is explained clearly and presented in nice tables and sections.

 

In addition to regular everyday topics, this book contains lots of sections related to studying and working in Finland. The main characters in the book apply for vocational training, search for an internship at a car repair garage, write CVs and go to a job interview. Each chapter gives you a look at vocabulary related to a specific profession (eg. welder, IT worker, hairdresser, car mechanic), with words which are also useful in everyday life. Due to the focus on working life, you might not find this book very attractive, but it does include a lot of essential everyday vocabulary and phrases as well.

 

Each chapter starts with a reading text, which can be either a dialogue or (more often) a narrative. The dialogues contain important spoken language features. The grammar is explained in sections which stand out from the rest of the chapter. There are plenty of exercises included, which allow you to practice both the grammar and the vocabulary of the chapter. Many of the exercises are specifically related to the reading text.

 

The audio of Työelämän suomea 1 comes in two versions. There’s a limited, cheaper version for students, which contains a recorded version of the reading texts in the book. The complete version for teachers also includes all the listening exercises of the book. There’s also a teacher’s guide available, which contains ideas for group assignments and some easier/harder versions of most listening exercises. I wouldn’t invest in the teacher’s guide for self-study.

 

Työelämän suomea 1 is first and foremost meant as a course book. As such, it doesn’t include the solutions to the exercises. Many of the exercises encourage you to create your own sentences, which should then be corrected by the teacher. There are many exercises that require you to discuss things or practice the grammar with a partner or in small groups. I don’t think this book is especially suitable for self-study.

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3.15.2. Työelämän suomea 2

Name of the book Työelämän suomea 2 – Suomeksi työhön
Author(s) Mirka Jussila
Publisher Finn Lectura
Most recent edition 2019
Type of book intermediate course book with main focus on working life
Aesthetics of the book inviting, colorful, divided into sections
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range A2.2-B1.2
Advances evenly and logically
Types of texts fairly long narratives, dialogues and informational texts
Topics discussed mainly working life topics and functional language use (see below)
Grammar topics grammar as a functional tool, A2.2-B1.2 grammar topics (see below)
Spoken language included in the dialogues as well as in some of the exercises
Exercise types mainly meant for classroom setting, goal is expressing yourself
Solutions to the exercises in the back of the book
Suitable for self-study 3/5
Suitable for study abroad 3/5
Buy the book Finn LecturaAdlibrisBooky
Additional materials Audio: Streamed or online mp3 (complete)
Audio: Streamed or online mp3 (limited)
Teacher’s guide (PDF or book)
Additional information: Työelämän suomea 2

The second book of the Työelämän suomea series is very focused on working life. Each chapter covers part of the journey towards getting a job in Finland. Included are topics such as how to talk about your educational and professional history, how to write a CV and job application letter, how to look for a job, and how to behave in a job interview. It also includes several chapters related to actually being at work in Finland, such as how to get to know your colleagues, how to answer the phone, how to deal with customers and what to do or say in meetings.

 

The grammar in this book is heavily tied to its function in certain situations. This is a very nice approach. For example, the essive and translative are addressed in the context of describing your educational and professional history (eg. Olen työskennellyt myyjänä, Valmistuin insinööriksi vuonna 2008). Likewise, the topics relating to giving instructions, advice or feedback allow you to practice the imperative, conditional and passive conditional (Varaattehan ajan puhelimitse. Tulisitko hetkeksi tänne? Hoidettaisiinko asia saman tien?). The book contains an incredible amount of useful phrases, both for the workplace and for everyday functions of language such as expressing your emotions, asking for clarification, responding to negative feedback, making suggestions, as well as expressing agreement and disagreement.

 

I wouldn’t recommend the second book of this series for self-study either. Just like the first book, Työelämän suomea 2 is first and foremost meant as a course book. Many of the exercises require either assistance from a teacher or communication with other students. The topics also aren’t especially inspiring to study on your own. One positive note for this book is that (unlike part one) the answers to the exercises are included in the back. If you do decide to use this book, I suggest you skip the first chapter. It’s little more than a complicated introduction to the whole book.

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3.16. Harjoitus tekee mestarin

This series of grammar and vocabulary exercises is meant to prepare students for the YKI-test. It is suitable for self-study, even though it’s definitely challenging.

3.16.1. Harjoitus tekee mestarin 1

Name of the book Harjoitus tekee mestarin 1:
Suomen kielen perusharjoituksia maahanmuuttajille
Author(s) Marja-Liisa Saunela
Publisher Art House
Most recent edition 2019
Type of book intermediate grammar exercises
Aesthetics of the book pleasant, space to write answers
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range A2.2-B1.1
Advances explanations not suitable for beginners
Types of texts no texts
Topics discussed no themed vocabulary content
Grammar topics detailed morphology of verbs and nouns
Spoken language not included
Exercise types fill-in-the-gaps exercises
Solutions to the exercises available online
Suitable for self-study 5/5
Suitable for study abroad 5/5
Buy the book Art HouseAdlibrisBooky
Additional materials Solutions to book 1-3
Additional information: Harjoitus tekee mestarin 1

This book is part of the Harjoitus tekee mestarin series, which is meant to prepare students for the YKI-test. The first book concentrates on the conjugation of verbs and the inflection of nouns, mainly through the medium of fill-in-the-gap exercises. Each chapter starts with a couple of tables or lists explaining the grammar topic, and then gives you exercises to practice that topic. If your goal is to practice all tenses (imperfect, plusquamperfect, etc.) and moods (conditional, potential, etc.) as well as inflecting words in the Finnish cases (illative, partitive, translative, etc.), this book is great.

 

In addition, for the right learner, this book can be so much more than just a grammar exercise book. While this book doesn’t contain any vocabulary exercises as such, many of the grammar exercises require you to pick the right word out of a list for each sentence. The vocabulary used in the grammar exercises is perfect for students who wish to get to level B1.1.

 

The solutions to this book’s exercises can be found online, though there doesn’t seem to be a version of this PDF file on Art House’s website itself. I consider this book very good for students that require a revision of key grammar subjects. This book is suitable for self-study.

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3.16.2. Harjoitus tekee mestarin 2

Name of the book Harjoitus tekee mestarin 2:
Suomen kielen keskitason harjoituksia maahanmuuttajille
Author(s) Marja-Liisa Saunela
Publisher Art House
Most recent edition 2016
Type of book grammar exercises
Aesthetics of the book pleasant, space to write answers
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range B1.1-B2
Advances explanations not suitable for beginners
Types of texts no texts
Topics discussed no themed vocabulary content
Grammar topics advanced cases and sentence constructions
Spoken language not included
Exercise types fill-in-the-gaps exercises
Solutions to the exercises available online
Suitable for self-study 4/5
Suitable for study abroad 5/5
Buy the book Art HouseAdlibrisSuomalainen kirjakauppa
Additional materials Solutions to book 1-3
Additional information: Harjoitus tekee mestarin 2

This book is part of the Harjoitus tekee mestarin series, which is meant to prepare students for the YKI-test. While the first book focuses on the conjugation and inflection of words, this second book focuses on constructions: how to form and connect sentences. This book contains a lot of grammar elements that will be found in newspaper articles and such. In fact, the book is very focused on constructions that are typical especially for written Finnish, such as rare cases (abessive, comitative, instructive, etc.) participles, participle constructions (temporaalirakenne, on mentävä, etc.), the relative joka-pronoun and other complex sentence types.

 

This is an exercise book, with almost exclusively fill-in-the-gaps exercises. Each topic is introduced in a very condensed way, after which you can practice it. The aim of this book is not to teach you the topics it allows you to practice. Its premise is that the learner has studied the theory of the exercises elsewhere already. You will need to use additional sources to find your way through the exercises provided. The book itself doesn’t contain the solutions to the exercises, but you can find them online. Even with the solutions provided, you will have to work hard in order to make sense of the sentences used. Studying the advanced vocabulary used in these exercises will also further boost your Finnish level.

 

The introduction mentions that – for keskitaso (B1-level) – it’s enough to be able to passively understand the constructions provided in the book. However, learners that want to participate in the language test for the highest proficiency level would benefit from learning to actively use these constructions in their own texts.

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3.16.3. Harjoitus tekee mestarin 3

Name of the book Harjoitus tekee mestarin 3:
Suomen kielen syventäviä harjoituksia maahanmuuttajille
Author(s) Marja-Liisa Saunela
Publisher Art House
Most recent edition 2018
Type of book vocabulary exercises (some grammar)
Aesthetics of the book pleasant, space to write answers
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range B1.1-B2
Advances rather quickly, requires a good knowledge base
Types of texts no texts
Topics discussed no topics as such, just word types
Grammar topics derivation of nouns and adjectives
Spoken language not included
Exercise types fill-in-the-gaps exercises
Solutions to the exercises available online
Suitable for self-study 4/5
Suitable for study abroad 5/5
Buy the book Art House – AdlibrisSuomalainen kirjakauppa
Additional materials Solutions to book 1-3
Additional information: Harjoitus tekee mestarin 3

This book is part of a series meant to prepare students for the YKI-test. In contrast with books 1 and 2, this book’s main focus is on vocabulary. It focuses on the derivation of words: how to, for example, make verbs into nouns, or nouns into adjectives. It also takes a look at synonyms and antonyms, and how compound words are created in Finnish.

 

This is an exercise book, with almost exclusively fill-in-the-gaps exercises. It gives you the basics of how the words are derived from other words and then lets you explore it through exercises. It’s a good idea to look at the example sentences from a grammar point of view, as they will follow a certain pattern that would be good to learn as well even though this book doesn’t have any grammar explanations.

 

The book itself doesn’t contain the solutions to the exercises, but you can find them online. Even with the solutions provided, you will have to work hard in order to make sense of the sentences used.

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3.16.4. Harjoitus tekee mestarin 4

Name of the book Harjoitus tekee mestarin 4:
Lisäharjoituksia yleiseen kielituntkintoon valmistautumista varten
Author(s) Marja-Liisa Saunela
Publisher Art House
Most recent edition 2018
Type of book reading comprehension, grammar/vocab exercises, writing prompts
Aesthetics of the book no colors, but spaced out nicely, space to write
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range B1.1-B2
Advances there’s no progression of difficulty in this book
Types of texts fictional narratives, news reports, about level B1
Topics discussed texts and exercises are not organized by any topic
Grammar topics location cases, rections, infinitives (no explanations)
Spoken language not included
Exercise types true-or-false, fill-in-the-gaps, open questions
Solutions to the exercises in the back of the book
Suitable for self-study 4/5
Suitable for study abroad 5/5
Buy the book Art HouseAdlibrisBooky
Additional materials none
Additional information: Harjoitus tekee mestarin 4

This book is part of a series meant to prepare students for the YKI-test. The fourth part includes reading exercises as well as exercises meant to develop your vocabulary and ability to form sentences. The solutions to the exercises are included in the back of the book.

 

The first type of exercises included in this book are reading comprehension exercises. These mirror the types that appear in the YKI-test: each text comes with either true-or-false, multiple choice or short answer exercises. There are also some fill-in-the-gaps exercises that require you to rephrase the text in different ways.

 

There are also several types of vocabulary exercises. There are exercises where you have to pick the right synonym, word or form for a given sentence from three options. Sometimes vocabulary and grammar exercises are combined: some exercises require you to inflect nouns or conjugate verbs into the spaces in the sentences. Things you get to practice in these include: rections, conjunctions, infinitives and similar-looking words and synonyms. This book doesn’t contain any explanations for the grammar required to solve the exercises.

 

Finally, there is also a section to help practice writing skills. Unfortunately, it seems many students don’t find open-ended writing assignments like this very useful. I understand that you would like to have someone give you feedback on your writing, but even writing just for the sake of writing can help develop your written skills. That said, the writing assignments listed in this book are very suitable to practice writing for the YKI-test.

 

Be advised that it will take a motivated student to get the most out of these exercises. While it’s great that the answers are included, researching the reason for the correct solution can be tricky. This is especially true for the grammar-related exercises. If you have a Finnish teacher available to guide you to the right grammar topics, you’ll get the most out of these. If not, the contents of this book are still valuable and will help you improve your Finnish even to level B2. Just don’t rush through them!

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3.17. Suomen kieli kuntoon

I’m very sad that the Suomen kieli kuntoon series is no longer getting printed. I hope your local Finnish libraries still have it. It’s a book I would definitely suggest for any student serious about self-study.

3.17.1. Suomen kieli kuntoon 1

Name of the book Suomen kieli kuntoon 1 – S2-harjoituskirja lukioon ja ammatilliseen koulutukseen
Author(s) Ulla Lehtonen, Tarja Ruohonen
Publisher WSOY
Most recent edition 2005
Type of book intermediate grammar and vocabulary exercise book
Aesthetics of the book great if you like fill-in-the-gaps exercises!
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range A2.2-B1.2
Advances from easier to harder grammar topics
Types of texts none
Topics discussed no themed vocabulary
Grammar topics revision of simpler grammar plus advanced grammar (see below)
Spoken language none
Exercise types vocabulary and grammar exercises, generally fill-in-the-gaps
Solutions to the exercises used to be available online (not anymore)
Suitable for self-study 3/5 (if only the solutions were still online!)
Suitable for study abroad 1/5 (because no longer for sale, but if you find it 5/5)
Buy the book no longer in print
Additional materials none
Additional information: Suomen kieli kuntoon 2 - S2-harjoituskirja lukioon ja ammatilliseen koulutukseen

This book isn’t meant as a book to teach you Finnish grammar. The explanations are short: they are clearly meant as a reminder of the grammar before you get to practicing it. This book could work well as an additional resource to practice the grammar of topics you’re learning in a course or from another book.

 

The first book of the Suomen kieli kuntoon series starts with a section on the phonology of Finnish: short and long sounds and how the use of these will create words with different meanings. Then it moves on to the morphology of Finnish: the T-plural, genetive and partitive cases, as well as the verbtypes, the imperfect, perfect and plusquamperfect. There is a section about the different types of pronouns, such as demonstrative and relative pronouns, and about the derivation of words. Last but not least, it contains exercises about the syntax of Finnish sentences: the cases used for the object and the complement and the most common sentence types (eg. necessity sentences, existential sentences, generic sentences and sentences without a subject).

 

Each section in the book comes with a page or two displaying the rules of the topic addressed, after which you can find various exercises to practice those rules. Many of the exercises contain the required words in a list, with spaces in the exercise to fill in. This forces you to also understand the sentence rather than just the grammar. Some exercises are simple fill-in-the-gaps exercises and others require you to write full sentences.

 

The solutions to the exercises in Suomen kieli kuntoon used to be available online. I sent the publisher an email and they seem to be permanently gone. Such a loss.

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3.17.2. Suomen kieli kuntoon 2

Name of the book Suomen kieli kuntoon 2 – S2-harjoituskirja lukioon ja ammatilliseen koulutukseen
Author(s) Ulla Lehtonen, Tarja Ruohonen
Publisher WSOY
Most recent edition 2005
Type of book advanced grammar and vocabulary exercise book
Aesthetics of the book great if you like fill-in-the-gap exercises and tables!
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range B1.1-C1.1
Advances no clear level progression, not meant as a course book
Types of texts none
Topics discussed no themed vocabulary
Grammar topics revision of simpler grammar plus advanced grammar (see below)
Spoken language a small amount of spoken language vocabulary exercises
Exercise types vocabulary and grammar exercises, generally fill-in-the-gaps
Solutions to the exercises used to be available online (not anymore)
Suitable for self-study 3/5 (if only the solutions were still online!)
Suitable for study abroad 1/5 (because no longer for sale, but if you find it 5/5)
Buy the book no longer in print
Additional materials none
Additional information: Suomen kieli kuntoon 2 - S2-harjoituskirja lukioon ja ammatilliseen koulutukseen

I’m very sad that the Suomen kieli kuntoon series is no longer getting printed. I hope your local Finnish libraries still have it. This book is the second part of the series, which I consider much more useful than the first.

 

This wonderful book allows advanced learners of Finnish to challenge themselves to learn more phrases, sayings and sentence constructions. Suomen kieli kuntoon 2 covers some vocabulary topics that I’ve also covered on Uusi kielemme, such as missä phrases (eg. piilossa, näkyvissä, tukossa) and millä phrases (eg. levällään, ammollaan, sukkasillaan).

 

In addition, Suomi kieli kuntoon 2 gives you the chance to practice conjugation (conditional, imperative, potential), inflection (all the cases, including the instructive and abessive), particles (eg. clitics, postpositions and conjunctions) and advanced grammar topics such as the participle constructions. The neat thing about this book is that each exercise has a double function: whilst most of the book is organized by grammar topic, it contains vocabulary even a B2-level student could learn from.

 

Each new section starts with a page or two displaying the rules of the topic addressed, after which you can find various exercises to practice those rules. Many of the exercises contain the words required in a list, with spaces in the exercise to fill in. This forces you to also understand the sentence rather than just the grammar. Some exercises are simple fill-in-the-gaps exercises and others require you to write full sentences.

 

The solutions to the exercises in Suomen kieli kuntoon used to be available online. I sent the publisher an email and they seem to be permanently gone. Such a loss.

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3.18. Middle school student book series

This book series is no longer for sale, but used to be quite extensive. You can probably still find it in most Finnish libraries. The series was originally designed for middle school classes consisting of multicultural students whose native language wasn’t Finnish. The series has three levels and was meant to prepare these students for Finnish high school:

  • Juttuja ja tuttuja is meant for seventh graders (13 year olds)
  • Yhteistä ja omaa is meant for eighth graders (14 year olds)
  • Täällä ja toisaalla is meant for ninth graders (15 year olds)

Each book of this series used to consist of one book with texts and another one with exercises. I have only been able to get hold of the exercise book for juttuja ja tuttuja, so I can’t say anything about the exercise books for the other two. In addition, there is a complementary publication to juttuja ja tuttuja, written in simplified Finnish (see section 4.2)

3.18.1. Juttuja ja tuttuja – Suomea toisena kielenä seitsemäsluokkalaisille

Name of the book Juttuja ja tuttuja – Suomea toisena kielenä seitsemäsluokkalaisille
Author(s) Paula Konsti, Helena Korpela, Anne Luusalo
Publisher Opetushallitus
Most recent edition 2003
Type of book course book for approx. 13-year-old middle school students
Aesthetics of the book inviting, black and white drawings, fairly big font
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range B1.1-B2.2
Advances fairly steady difficulty level progression
Types of texts narratives, emails and journal entries
Topics discussed random vocabulary, sometimes related to a theme
Grammar topics none explained
Spoken language present in diary entries and emails
Exercise types conversation prompts and writing assignments
Solutions to the exercises not available
Suitable for self-study 4/5
Suitable for study abroad 2/5 (might be sold out soon)
Buy the book Adlibris
Additional materials Exercise book: Juttuja ja tuttuja – Harjoituskirja (see next section)
Additional information: Juttuja ja tuttuja - Suomea toisena kielenä seitsemäsluokkalaisille

It’s likely that this book will no longer be for sale anywhere, as it’s no longer available on the publisher’s website. You can still find it in Adlibris!

 

The Juttuja ja tuttuja books follow the lives of a multicultural class of seventh graders (13-year olds). The idea is that all of them recently moved to Finland. They’ve been given a show and tell assignment and each chapter presents the story related to the object they brought. The book contains both information about Finnish culture and the culture of the students (eg. of Somalia and Vietnam). Because the book is mainly meant for 13-year olds, the objects are mainly related to their hobbies and personal lives.

 

Each chapter contains a narrative, which is accompanied by a vocabulary list and reading comprehension questions. There are also related conversation prompts and assignments to research a topic and write a paper or presentation about it.

 

Spoken language is included in diary entries and emails. The main character of each chapter writes either a journal entry or an email in which spoken language is used. In addition to mä, mun and mulla, you also get other spoken language differences, such as phonological and syntactical differences.

 

This book is not necessarily meant for self-study, because many of the exercises are conversation prompts. However, it also includes many writing assignments, which could work for self-study. It’s important to realize that you don’t always need someone to correct your writings. Just the act of writing and trying to find the right words is already good practice. A motivated student could get a lot out of this book.

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3.18.2. Juttuja ja tuttuja – Harjoituskirja seitsemäsluokkalaisille

Name of the book Juttuja ja tuttuja – Harjoituskirja seitsemäsluokkalaisille
Author(s) Paula Konsti, Helena Korpela, Anne Luusalo, Riitta Ufacik
Publisher Opetushallitus
Most recent edition 2012
Type of book grammar and exercise book for middle school courses
Aesthetics of the book chapter division is a little unclear, nice drawings, lots of boxes and tables
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range B1.1-B2.2
Advances no clear level progression, covers most of the Finnish key grammar
Types of texts none
Topics discussed no themed vocabulary
Grammar topics grammar (main focus on the Finnish case system, see below)
Spoken language not included
Exercise types prompts to recognize, inflect and write example sentences of grammar
Solutions to the exercises not available
Suitable for self-study 2/5
Suitable for study abroad 1/5 (sold out)
Buy the book no longer in printed
Additional materials – Course book: Juttuja ja tuttuja – Suomea toisena kielenä seitsemäsluokkalaisille (see previous section)
Additional information: Juttuja ja tuttuja - Harjoituskirja seitsemäsluokkalaisille

This grammar and exercise book is very loosely related to the course book (see above) in the sense that it contains the same pictures and is appropriate for about the same level. Other than that, they have very little in common. Don’t expect these two books to match!

 

The exercise book shows more clearly than the course book that it is meant especially as a second language course book. It’s meant to teach the same things that would be included in a parallel Finnish for native speakers class. The book assumes that the 13-year-old using it has a decent grasp of the language already.

 

The harjoituskirja doesn’t shy away from grammar terms that would be taught in the native class. It goes both over the different word types (eg. what numerals, pronouns and adverbs are and how to use them) and morphology (eg. the different tenses as well as the inessive, abessive and other cases). Attention is also paid to the usage of punctuation and capital letters.

 

Every grammar topic gets presented in a concise table, which might not immediately be helpful if you’re using this book for self-study. There are additional tables displaying the grammar in the back of the book. The grammar is mainly focused on the cases (eg. genetive, inessive, instructive). It gives a fairly limited overview of all tenses. You can also learn a little about numerals, pronouns and postpositions.

Every topic contains a few exercises where you’re instructed to find examples of the topic in sentences that have been provided. Then, there are a couple of exercises where you use this topic for single words, after which you get other exercises where you’re supposed to make full sentences. The vocabulary of the sentences in the exercises is about level A2.2-B1.1.

 

You obviously don’t have to be 13 to use this book because grammar isn’t different at age 13 than at 48. However, I wouldn’t recommend this book for self-study. It’s no longer available for sale and it’s not that easy to find in libraries. The grammar isn’t explained in much detail and the exercises are pretty simple and limited. In addition, the answers to the exercises aren’t included in the back of the book.

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3.18.3. Yhteistä ja omaa

Name of the book Yhteistä ja omaa – Suomea toisena kielenä kahdeksasluokkalaisille
Author(s) Paula Konsti, Helena Korpela, Anne Luusalo, Riitta Ufacik
Publisher Opetushallitus
Most recent edition 2005
Type of book reader for middle school youths (14 year olds)
Aesthetics of the book large font, nice drawings, lots of empty space
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range B1.1-B1.2
Advances stays at about the same level
Types of texts narratives, emails, dialogues, informational texts
Topics discussed middle school topics
Grammar topics none
Spoken language used in the journal entries and emails of each chapter
Exercise types writing and conversation prompts
Solutions to the exercises no
Suitable for self-study 4/5
Suitable for study abroad 1/5 (because it’s not available for purchase anymore)
Buy the book no longer in print
Additional materials An exercise book has been available to accompany this book, but I haven’t been able to find it anywhere.
Additional information: Yhteistä ja omaa

Yhteistä ja omaa is the second part of a series of books for middle school students. The first part, called Juttuja ja tuttuja, is aimed at youths in seventh grade (about 13 years old). Yhteistä ja omaa is meant for eighth graders, and the third part of the series (Täällä  ja toisaalla) is meant for ninth graders (15 year olds).

 

Yhteistä ja omaa is a very pleasant book to leaf through because the font has been kept pretty large and there are plenty of drawings on the pages.

 

The reading texts in the book follow the lives of a multicultural grade 8 class. It contains texts about how they deal with the world, find out what they like and what they are passionate about. Spoken language is included in diary entries and emails. The main character of each chapter writes either a journal entry or an email in which spoken language is used. In addition to mä, mun and mulla, you also get other spoken language differences, such as phonological and syntactical differences.

 

Yhteistä ja omaa used to have an exercise book accompanying it, but I’ve been unable to lay my hands on it. Much like this whole series, you could possibly find it in your local library.

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3.18.4 Täällä ja toisaalla

Name of the book Täällä ja toisaalla – Suomea toisena kielenä yhdeksäsluokkalaisille
Author(s) Paula Konsti, Helena Korpela, Anne Luusalo, Riitta Ufacik
Publisher Opetushallitus
Most recent edition 2010
Type of book reader for people preparing for high school
Aesthetics of the book large font, looks nice, colorful drawings
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range B1.2-B2.1
Advances stays at about the same level
Types of texts narratives, emails, dialogues, informational texts
Topics discussed high school subjects and text types (see below)
Grammar topics none
Spoken language present in at least one text in each chapter
Exercise types writing and conversation prompts
Solutions to the exercises no
Suitable for self-study 4/5
Suitable for study abroad 1/5 (because it’s not available for purchase anymore)
Buy the book no longer in print
Additional materials An exercise book has been available to accompany this book, but I haven’t been able to find it anywhere.
Additional information: Täällä ja toisaalla - Suomea toisena kielenä yhdeksäsluokkalaisille

Täällä ja toisaalla is a reading comprehension book which follows the lives of a group of multicultural youths, ninth graders (so, students who will soon be off to Finnish high school, about 15 years of age). It’s a very pleasant book to leaf through because the font has been kept pretty large and there are plenty of colorful drawings on the pages.

 

The texts in this book are at about level B1.2 and include many subjects important to studies after middle school. For example, you have several chapters about Finnish literature (Aleksis Kivi, Elias Lönnrot, Minna Canth), history and society. In addition, it also includes topics such as how to write term papers, job applications and summaries. Last but not least, this book also covers spoken dialects in the form of diary entries: the characters in this book write in spoken language in their diaries.

 

Each chapter in Täällä ja toisaalla comes with vocabulary lists of the most important vocabulary used in the texts (generally pretty abstract terms). The book also includes some conversation and writing assignment prompts after each text. It doesn’t contain any exercises, and there are rarely any listening comprehension questions either. The level of the reading texts stays at about the same B1.2 level.

 

There used to be an exercise book accompanying this reader, but it’s not available for sale anymore. My local library doesn’t have it either, so I can’t tell you whether it’s worth hunting down.

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4. Writing and Reading Comprehension Books

These are the books included in this article.

Writing and Reading Comprehension Books
  1. Juttuja ja tuttuja – Selkokielinen lukukirja (A1.3 to A2.2)
  2. Samalla kartalla 1 (A2.2 to B1.1)
  3. Samalla kartalla 2 (B1.1 to B2)
  4. Samalla kartalla 3 (A2.2 to B2)
  5. Elämänmenoa (A2.1 to B2)
  6. Suomen kielen tekstinymmärtämisharjoituksia (A2.2 to B1.1)
  7. Lue ja opi suomeksi 1 (B1.1)
  8. Lue ja opi suomeksi 2 (B1.2 to B2)
  9. Monikulttuurisen maamme kirja (B1.2 to C1)
  10. Kynä käteen! (A2.1 to B1.1)
  11. Kielitaitoa kirjoittamalla (B1.2 to C1)

4.1. Juttuja ja tuttuja – Selkokielinen lukukirja

Name of book Juttuja ja tuttuja – Selkokielinen lukukirja
Author(s) Paula Konsti, Helena Korpela, Anne Luusalo
Publisher Opetushallitus
Most recent edition 2008
Type of book easy reader for seventh graders
Aesthetics of the book inviting, colorful drawings, large font
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range A1.3-A2.2
Advances fairly slowly
Types of texts narratives, emails, journal entries, all mainly in the minä-form
Topics discussed the life and hobbies of teenagers
Grammar topics none
Spoken language included in the emails and journal entries
Exercise types simple reading comprehension questions
Solutions to the exercises not available
Suitable for self-study 5/5
Suitable for study abroad 1/5 (because it’s no longer being printed)
Buy the book no longer in print
Additional materials – Juttuja ja tuttuja textbook
– Juttuja ja tuttuja exercise book
Additional information: Juttuja ja tuttuja - Selkokielinen lukukirja

If you want an easy book to read, this reader with simplified language (selkokieli) is pretty nice for beginners. It starts around level A1.3 and goes up to a solid level A2.2. It’s a very inviting book to look at, with a lot of drawn pictures and a large font.

 

The reading texts in the book follow the lives of a multicultural grade 7 class. There are texts about their friendship, free time, hobbies and school. Each student of the multicultural class brings something to school that’s important to them and presents it to the class. You can learn some titbits about Finnish culture, but there is a lot of information about other cultures as well (eg. Somalia, Vietnam).

 

Spoken language is included in diary entries and emails. The main character of each chapter writes either a journal entry or an email in which spoken language is used. In addition to mä, mun and mulla, you also get other spoken language differences, such as phonological and syntactical differences.

 

This book is no longer being printed, but perhaps your local Finnish library has it. It’s likely to be on the selkokieli shelf rather than with Finnish learning textbooks.

 

There are two other books with almost the same name (Juttuja ja tuttuja), one of which is a textbook and the other an exercise book. The level of these other two books doesn’t match up with the reader, so don’t invest in all three with the expectation that they complement each other! They do contain the same topics in each chapter, but the level difference is stark.

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4.2. Samalla kartalla 1

Name of book Samalla kartalla 1 – Perustason tekstiharjoituksia maahanmuuttajille
Author(s) Marja-Liisa Saunela
Publisher Art House
Most recent edition 2019
Type of book meant to strengthen reading comprehension
Aesthetics of the book pleasing, black and white pictures, spaced out nicely
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range A2.2-B1.1
Advances fairly evenly, from concrete to more abstract reading exercises
Types of texts dialogues, narratives and opinion pieces
Topics discussed every day and work life related texts
Grammar topics not explained
Spoken language none
Exercise types multiple choice, true-or-false, open questions
Solutions to the exercises in the back of the book
Suitable for self-study 5/5
Suitable for study abroad 5/5
Buy the book Art HouseAdlibris – Booky
Additional materials The book Samalla kartalla 3 contains grammar and vocabulary exercises that fit nicely together with this book.
Additional information: Samalla kartalla 1 - Perustason tekstiharjoituksia maahanmuuttajille

There are three books in the Samalla kartalla series. Part 1 contains reading texts meant to help leaners get from level A2.2 up to B1.1. The texts in the beginning of the book are more suitable for A2.2, while further along in the book the difficulty of the grammar and vocabulary increase. The topics get more abstract as you go along. In addition, every chapter contains some harder and some easier texts, while still fitting the gradual increase.

 

Samalla kartalla 1 is divided into seven main chapters, all of which contain multiple articles related to a theme. The texts are related to everyday life topics such as family, traveling, consumption, hobbies, working life and Finnish culture. Having several articles around one theme is especially nice because it gives you the opportunity to see vocabulary and grammar related to the same topic used in different ways. Each chapter advances from easier texts to harder ones. The text types in this book include narrative texts, opinion pieces and dialogues.

 

The reading texts in Samalla kartalla 1 are accompanied by reading comprehension exercises, which can be open-ended questions, true-or-false or multiple choice. Also included are prompts to get you thinking about your own experiences or opinions, which you can use to, for example, write your own texts on the topic. The answers to the exercises are included in the back of the book.

 

In the table of contents, each chapter also comes with a mention of which grammar topics will be especially present in it. However, the actual chapters don’t explain those grammar topics nor highlight them in any way. Topics mentioned are, for example, the imperfect tense in chapter 1, the superlative of adjectives in chapter 3 and the essive and translative cases in chapter 6.

 

In the back of the book, you can also find a small number of sentence construction and vocabulary exercises. These exercises are at about the level B1.1, so they’re most suitable for when you’ve worked your way through the whole book. If you also buy Samalla kartalla 3, you can practice additional vocabulary and grammar related to the topics in book 1 and 2.

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4.3. Samalla kartalla 2

Name of book Samalla kartalla 2 – Keskitason tekstiharjoituksia maahanmuuttajille
Author(s) Marja-Liisa Saunela
Publisher Art House
Most recent edition 2017
Type of book meant to strengthen reading comprehension
Aesthetics of the book pleasing, black and white pictures, spaced out nicely
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range B1.1-B2
Advances no instantly obvious increase in difficulty throughout
Types of texts dialogues, narratives and opinion pieces
Topics discussed more abstract texts (see below)
Grammar topics none
Spoken language none
Exercise types multiple choice, true-or-false, open questions
Solutions to the exercises in the back of the book
Suitable for self-study 5/5
Suitable for study abroad 5/5
Buy the book Art HouseAdlibrisSuomalainen kirjakauppa
Additional materials The book Samalla kartalla 3 contains grammar and vocabulary exercises that fit nicely together with this book.
Additional information: Samalla kartalla 2 - Keskitason tekstiharjoituksia maahanmuuttajille

This book is the follow-up to Samalla kartalla 1 and follows exactly the same pattern. Each chapter is centered around a certain theme, with multiple reading texts related to it. The texts in Samalla kartalla 2 are more abstract than in part 1. Included are things like issues in social life, the influence of media on our lives, ways to be active in Finnish society, and how to influence climate change.

 

Each text comes with some reading comprehension questions (multiple choice, true-or-false, open questions). Most chapters contain at least one exercise which allows you to practice the vocabulary of the texts. Each chapter also includes at least one question list, which could be used as a prompt for writing your own texts. The answers to the exercises are included in the back of the book.

 

Also in the back of the book you can find a small number of sentence construction, derivation and rection exercises. These exercises are at about the level B2, so they’re most suitable for when you’ve worked your way through the whole book. If you also buy Samalla kartalla 3, you can practice additional vocabulary and grammar related to the topics of book 1 and 2.

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4.4. Samalla kartalla 3

Name of book Samalla kartalla 3 – Perus- ja keskitason rakenne- ja sanastoharjoituksia maahanmuuttajille
Author(s) Marja-Liisa Saunela
Publisher Art House
Most recent edition 2015
Type of book vocabulary and grammar exercises
Aesthetics of the book black and white, spaced out pleasantly
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range A2.2-B2 (for self-study it would be good to start at B1.1)
Advances no instantly obvious increase in difficulty throughout
Types of texts no texts
Topics discussed vocabulary related to everyday life (see below)
Grammar topics conjugation, inflection, rections, constructions
Spoken language none
Exercise types multiple choice, inflection, fill-in-the-gaps
Solutions to the exercises in the back of the book
Suitable for self-study 5/5
Suitable for study abroad 5/5
Buy the book Art House – AdlibrisAmazon
Additional materials none
Additional information: Samalla kartalla 3 - Perus- ja keskitason rakenne- ja sanastoharjoituksia maahanmuuttajille

This book differs drastically from Samalla kartalla 1 and 2! It does not contain more advanced reading comprehension exercises. Instead, it’s meant be used in combination with (or after) the previous books in order to improve your vocabulary and grammar skills.

 

All the topics from book 1 and 2 have their own chapter in Samalla kartalla 3, where you can practice related vocabulary. These exercises allow you to learn synonyms for basic words you already know (eg. kodikas and viihtyisä), as well as broadening your vocabulary with related words (eg. parveke, terassi, kuisti) and providing you with close-meaning words and verbs. The familiar topics from books 1 and 2 include: family, traveling, health, Finnish society, nature and media. There are a lot of fill-in-the-gap and multiple-choice exercises, as well as “connect the synonyms/antonyms” etc.

 

The vocabulary goes hand in hand with the grammar in this book. While studying new words, you are also tasked with putting these words in the correct sentence and in the right form. You get to practice all kinds of grammar: the imperfect, passive, third infinitive, plural partitive, etc. The answers to the exercises are included in the back of the book.

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4.5. Elämänmenoa – Lukemista aikuisille maahanmuuttajille

Name of book Elämänmenoa – Lukemista aikuisille maahanmuuttajille
Author(s) Marja-Liisa Saunela
Publisher Art House
Most recent edition 2017
Type of book meant to strengthen reading comprehension
Aesthetics of the book black and white, spaced out pleasantly
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range A2.1-B2
Advances large difference in difficulty between first and last text
Types of texts narratives, letters, dialogues
Topics discussed random situations to broaden your vocabulary
Grammar topics appear in the texts but aren’t explained
Spoken language nearly none (only me-passive)
Exercise types multiple choice, true-or-false, open questions
Solutions to the exercises in the back of the book
Suitable for self-study 5/5
Suitable for study abroad 5/5
Buy the book Art HouseAdlibrisSuomalainen kirjakauppa
Additional materials none
Additional information: Elämänmenoa - Lukemista aikuisille maahanmuuttajille

Saunela is the creator of both the Samalla kartalla -series and of Elämänmenoa. Visually, Elämänmenoa looks very much like the other series: simple, spaced out pleasantly, with greyscale pictures. While these series have many things in common, I think Samalla kartalla is probably more useful. I’m mostly basing this on how fast these books advance in difficulty level.

 

Samalla kartalla 1 moves ahead gradually (A2.2 to B1.1) and can be read from start to finish. Likewise, Samalla kartalla 2 moves along gradually (B1 to B2) and can also be read in order. In contrast, Elämänmenoa claims to be good for learners starting from A2.1, all the way up to B2. This means that there is a vast difference between the level of the first texts of the book and the last (34th) reading text. As such, I don’t think this is a linear book that you can just read from start to end, unless you start using it when you’re already at level B1.

 

After each text, you get a wordlist, which has separate lists for important adjectives, for nouns and for verbs (nice division!). There is also always a reading comprehension exercise, which is either a true-or-false, a multiple choice or an open question exercise.

 

This book has a specific grammar topic associated with each chapter. For example, chapter 5 contains sentences without a subject, chapter 11 deals with verbs like maistua and kuulostaa, and chapter 16 includes the present passive. These topics are not actually explained in the book, nor do they stand out very much in the reading texts. However, at the very back of the book, you can find a single page with an overview of the grammar topic of each chapter. That section also has one or two simple exercises for the vocabulary of that specific chapter. The solutions to the exercises are included.

 

The topics in this book are pretty random. Some describe the lives of people, while others are narratives of a specific situation. There’s a text about “finding yourself” and another that deals with the princesses of famous fairy tales, and more. There is no reason why you couldn’t use this book for self-study.

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4.6. Suomen kielen tekstinymmärtämisharjoituksia

Name of book Suomen kielen tekstinymmärtämisharjoituksia
Author(s) Heikki Kangasniemi
Publisher Tammi
Most recent edition 2006
Type of book meant to strengthen reading comprehension
Aesthetics of the book calm, black-and-white, just texts
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range A2.2-B1.1
Advances texts on two levels: A2.2 + B1.1
Types of texts narratives, informational non-fiction
Topics discussed Finnish history, culture, art, literature
Grammar topics no grammar explanations
Spoken language none
Exercise types multiple choice, true-or-false, short answer
Solutions to the exercises in the back of the book
Suitable for self-study 5/5
Suitable for study abroad 1/5 (because you can’t purchase it anymore)
Buy the book no longer in print
Additional materials none
Additional information: Suomen kielen tekstinymmärtämisharjoituksia

This book contains reading comprehension exercises, as you can already deduce from its name. It consists of 20 reading texts, of which the first ten are at about level A2.2 and the latter half around level B1.1. The sentence types and constructions used in the last 10 texts are clearly much harder.

 

The texts in this book are accompanied by several exercise types: multiple choice, true-or-false and short answer questions. These are the types of assignments commonly associated with the YKI-test. As such, I think this book could be used to practice reading comprehension with the YKI-test in mind, although the book itself doesn’t claim to prepare you for this.

 

This book would definitely work for self-study and study abroad. The only problem is that I couldn’t find a source where you can currently buy it. You can find it in most Finnish libraries.

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4.7. Lue ja opi suomeksi 1

Name of the book Lue ja opi suomeksi – Asiatekstejä ja tehtäviä edistyneelle suomenoppijalle
Author(s) Sari Järvinen, Heli Lumme
Publisher Tietosanoma
Most recent edition 2007
Type of book reading comprehension, vocabulary and grammar exercises
Aesthetics of the book inviting book, no color, 1-2-page texts, tables and word lists
Language(s) used Finnish only
Starting level B1.1
Advances fairly even throughout the book
Types of texts shortened and simplified authentic texts
Topics discussed related to high school subjects (see below)
Grammar topics conjugation, declension, derivation and rections
Spoken language none
Exercise types vocabulary and grammar exercises
Solutions to the exercises not available
Suitable for self-study 3/5
Suitable for study abroad 1/5 (because it’s not available for sale anymore)
Buy the book no longer in print
Additional materials none
Additional information: Lue ja opi suomeksi 1 - Asiatekstejä ja tehtäviä edistyneelle suomenoppijalle

The Lue ja opi suomeksi series consists of two books. Neither one is being published anymore, but you can find part 1 in most Finnish libraries. The book consists of 21 texts, which are accompanied by different types of related exercises. Unfortunately the solutions to the exercises are not included in this book, so that makes it less suitable for self-study. The texts are simplified versions of authentic texts, generally shortened to fit on one or two pages. Their topics are fairly typical for high school subjects, with content related to eg. history, social studies and biology.

 

Lue ja opi suomeksi 1 contains reading comprehension questions, vocabulary exercises and grammar exercises. For the grammar exercises, it’s interesting how – instead of explaining the grammar – you are presented with examples and tables, which allow you to draw your own conclusions about the grammar. The back of the book includes a condensed explanation of the key grammar elements required for the book.

 

The exercises in Lue ja opi suomeksi 1 allow you to practice the conjugation and inflection of new words. In addition, rections, and the derivation of words (eg. adjectives derived from nouns) get special attention in this book.

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4.8. Lue ja opi suomeksi 2

Name of the book Lue ja opi suomeksi 2 – Asiatekstejä ja tehtäviä edistyneelle suomenoppijalle
Author(s) Sari Järvinen, Heli Lumme
Publisher Tietosanoma
Most recent edition 2013
Type of book reading comprehension, vocabulary and grammar exercises
Aesthetics of the book inviting book, no color, 1-2-page texts, tables and word lists
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range B1.2-B2
Advances fairly even throughout the book
Types of texts shortened and simplified authentic texts
Topics discussed related to high school subjects (see below)
Grammar topics conjugation, declension, derivation and rections
Spoken language none
Exercise types tables, fill-in-the-gaps, open questions, rephrasing
Solutions to the exercises not available
Suitable for self-study 3/5
Suitable for study abroad 1/5 (because it’s not available for purchase anymore)
Buy the book no longer in print
Additional materials none
Additional information: Lue ja opi suomeksi 2

This book is the second part of the Lue ja opi suomeksi series. Subjects included in this book are related to Finnish history, culture, nature and technology. These texts have often been shortened and simplified, but less so than in Lue ja opi suomeksi 1. Some of the texts have been taken from newspapers, while others have been written especially for this book.

 

Grammar topics included are, for example, the plural cases, passive verb forms, derivation of nouns and adjectives, as well as a large selection of exercises related to participles. There’s a section at the back of the book where the grammar is explained.

 

The exercises in the book are reading comprehension questions, as well as exercises which let you explore the vocabulary used in the text. This vocabulary is often also at the core of the grammar exercises included. Just as in part one, Lue ja opi suomeksi 2 contains many tables which allow you to conjugate new verbs and inflect new nouns. Other exercise types include fill-in-the-gaps exercises, rephrasing exercises and writing/conversation prompts. The solutions to the exercises are not included, which strongly affects its suitability for self-study.

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4.9. Monikulttuurisen maamme kirja

Name of the book Monikulttuurisen maamme kirja
– Suomen kielen ja kulttuurin lukukirja
Author(s) Marjukka Kenttälä, Lasse Koskela, Saija Pyhäniemi, Tuomas Seppä, et al.
Publisher Gaudeamus
Most recent edition 2013
Type of book reading texts with wordlists
Aesthetics of the book small font, too much content on one page, wordlists overwhelming
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range B1.2-C1
Advances same level throughout the book
Types of texts authentic texts related to Finnish culture and society
Topics discussed Finnish literature, history and culture
Grammar topics none
Spoken language none
Exercise types none
Solutions to the exercises none
Suitable for self-study 4/5
Suitable for study abroad 5/5
Buy the book GaudeamusAmazonBooky
Additional materials none
Additional information: Monikulttuurisen maamme kirja

It’s hard to say whether this book is suitable for self-study because it’s not really a study book as such. It’s just a collection of texts gathered together to give advanced learners of Finnish a chance to learn more about Finnish culture and especially Finnish literature. The book doesn’t contain any listening comprehension exercises: it’s just reading texts and word lists explaining some of the vocabulary in them.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about Finnish literature, this book contains information about many important books and poems as well as their creators. Generally, each literary work presented is first approached through a text explaining the circumstances under which it was created and the effect it had on Finnish culture, after which you can read part of the novel or poem. You can read, for example, of the circumstances and ideas behind Aleksis Kivi’s Seitsemän veljestä novel and, then, read an excerpt from the book.

 

If you’re passionate about Finnish culture or have a strong interest in Finnish literature, you are likely to appreciate this book. Do note that it’s not the most pleasant book visually: the font is small and the wordlists are crammed together.

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4.10. Kynä käteen! – Kirjoitusharjoituksia suomenoppijoille

Name of the book Kynä käteen! – Kirjoitusharjoituksia suomenoppijoille
Author(s) Pirjo Rantonen
Publisher Finn Lectura
Most recent edition 2015
Type of book meant to strengthen writing skills
Aesthetics of the book inviting, organized, some color
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range A2.1-B1.1 (recommendation: start at A2.2 for self-study)
Advances fairly evenly, from concrete to more abstract writing exercises
Types of texts meant as examples for the writing assignments
Topics discussed everyday and work life related writing
Grammar topics very limited, small mentions here and there
Spoken language none
Exercise types writing assignments, and exercises meant to support you in those
Solutions to the exercises in the back of the book
Suitable for self-study 4/5
Suitable for study abroad 5/5
Buy the book Finn LecturaAdlibris – Suomalainen kirjakauppa
Additional materials none
Additional information: Kynä käteen! - Kirjoitusharjoituksia suomenoppijoille

The book Kynä käteen! is filled with writing exercises. It has three main chapters: everyday writing exercises, followed by working life writing assignments, and lastly, opinion pieces. This is a sensible division as it covers the main types of texts an immigrant in Finland will have to write. The topics included are also very common in YKI-testi, if you’re thinking of participating in this national language proficiency test.

 

Kynä käteen! claims to be excellent for self-study and I agree that it is pretty good for it. This book does more than just list the topics for a writing exercise. It includes grammar explanations suitable for each topic. There are also many brainstorming exercises included where you can gather your thoughts about the topic before writing.

 

The book regularly also gives you an example of what the text type in question would look like. For example, some of the opinion pieces provide you with another person’s opinion piece first. This helps you understand what type of written response is expected of you. As such, you also get plenty of practice for reading comprehension as well.

 

Kynä käteen looks inviting, is organized clearly and has the answers to all the exercises at the back. For the writing exercises, it gives you an example for the type of text you could have written. I consider this a good inclusion for a book with writing exercises. Of course your own text will look different, and the book can’t point out any mistakes you make in your own text, but analyzing the supplied example solution can help you.

 

Because the book is written completely in Finnish, I would suggest you start using it when you get to level A2.2 (rather than the recommended starting level of A2.1), so you won’t waste too much time trying to understand the book rather than doing the writing assignments.

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4.11. Kielitaitoa kirjoittamalla

Name of the book Kielitaitoa kirjoittamalla – Kirjoitusharjoituksia suomea toisena ja vieraana kielenä opiskeleville
Author(s) Salli-Marja Bessonoff, Eila Hämäläinen
Publisher Helsingin yliopiston suomen kielen laitos
Most recent edition 2002
Type of book meant to strengthen writing skills to university level
Aesthetics of the book diverse types of assignments, looks nice
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range B1.2-C1
Advances from easier aspects of writing to harder ones
Types of texts adjusted authentic texts as examples and basis for your own texts
Topics discussed no specific theme, abstract topics
Grammar topics advanced morphology (see below)
Spoken language none
Exercise types writing assignments, and exercises meant to support you in those
Solutions to the exercises in the back of the book
Suitable for self-study 4/5
Suitable for study abroad 1/5 (because it’s not available for purchase anymore)
Buy the book no longer getting printed
Additional materials none
Additional information: Kitelitaitoa kirjoittamalla

The book claims its goal is to help students to obtain writing skills that allow them to write the types of texts that will be required at university level when writing essay-type texts for exams and writing a thesis. It mentions that it’s good both for a classroom setting and for self-study.

 

I would say Kielitaitoa kirjoittamalla can be good for motivated students who are aiming to study in a Finnish university in Finnish. The problem of books containing writing exercises is of course that there is typically no one to correct your texts. A diligent student will realize that even writing text that won’t be corrected allows you to improve your Finnish language writing skills.

 

The book is divided into 5 big chunks, each of which practice a different aspect of writing. First, you learn how to write different types of sentences (eg. necessity sentences and existential sentences). Second, the focus is on how to make these sentences into a coherent text. Third, you get to practice writing summaries of research and news articles. Next, you are guided to search for information from the internet and write texts based on that. And last but not least, there is a section for just writing your own style of text.

 

Kielitaitoa kirjoittamalla does have some simple exercises where you, for example, make sentences out of words or are instructed to express given sentences in a different way. However, most of the book’s exercises are based on text excerpts. For these, you are often required to analyze the text from a certain perspective, as well as write a summary of the text or your own version of it. The reading exercises are authentic texts that have been adjusted for the purpose of the book.

 

You get to practice some of the harder Finnish grammar topics throughout the book. These are not the main focus of the book, as it’s more focused on syntax (making sentences and texts) than on morphology (conjugating and inflecting words). Still, many of the exercises contain prompts to analyze and produce more complex morphological elements. This includes things like the complement, the passive, transitive and intransitive verbs, participles and the different infinitives.

 

The back of Kielitaitoa kirjoittamalla contains the answers to the exercises included. For the shorter writing exercises, it even gives you an example version of what your text could have looked like. This makes it also suitable for self-study.

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5. B1 – Finnish High School and Beyond Textbooks

These books are specifically meant for more academic purposes. For example, they are meant for Finnish high school classes or for vocational training.

This means they have a different focus: either high school subjects (eg. chemistry, history) and assignments types (eg. writing book reviews, essays and summaries), or language specifically for a certain field of occupation (eg. healthcare or the food industry).

These are the books included in this article.

High School and Beyond Textbooks
  1. Suomea luvassa (B1)
  2. Kipinä 1-2 (B1 to B2)
  3. Kipinä 3-4 (B1 to B2)
  4. Selkeästi Suomessa (A2.2 to B1.2)
  5. Kokataan suomeksi (A2 to B1)
  6. Ruokaa suomeksi (A2 to B2)
  7. Ihan lähellä (B1 to C1)
  8. Sairaan hyvää suomea (B1.2 to C2)

5.1. Suomea luvassa

Name of the book Suomea luvassa
Author(s) Annukka Bösinger, Hanna Honkanen ja Pauliina Raittila
Publisher Opetushallitus
Most recent edition 2016
Type of book course book meant to prepare for Finnish high school
Aesthetics of the book colorful, clear, nice format
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range B1
Advances same level throughout the book
Types of texts simplified authentic texts related to high school subjects
Topics discussed high school subjects and study techniques
Grammar topics not specifically addressed
Spoken language none
Exercise types very few suitable to self-study, many groupworks
Solutions to the exercises in the back of the book
Suitable for self-study 2/5
Suitable for study abroad 5/5
Buy the book OpetushallitusSuomalainen kirjakauppa
Additional materials Listening exercises on Soundcloud
Additional information: Suomea luvassa

Suomea luvassa is meant to prepare second language students to study at high school level in Finnish. It focuses on typical vocabulary, school subjects and types of assignments that will be used in high school. The book’s goal is to introduce students to ways to study effectively and independently, as well as to introduce them to the types of subjects their later studies will include.

 

The book is clearly meant to be used as a course book because many of the exercises are prompts for groupwork or conversation prompts to discuss in class with a teacher. The solutions to the (rare) non-groupwork exercises are listed in the back of the book.

 

Suomea luvassa contains reading texts related to different high school subjects such as history, chemistry and literature. Many of the texts are simplified versions of authentic Finnish sources.

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5.2. Kipinä 1-2 – Suomea lukioon

Name of the book Kipinä 1-2 – Suomea lukioon
Author(s) Niina Eloranta, Heidi Lehtosaari
Publisher Finn Lectura
Most recent edition 2019
Type of book S2 high school course book
Aesthetics of the book colorful, engaging, organized
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range B1-B2
Advances quickly, grammar meant as an overview
Types of texts authentic articles, interviews and literature
Topics discussed communication, culture and identity
Grammar topics conjugation, plural cases, sentence constructions
Spoken language one chapter of 15 pages, high school level
Exercise types group work, some fill-in-the-gaps exercises
Solutions to the exercises available for sale in a separate book
Suitable for self-study 3/5
Suitable for study abroad 4/5
Buy the book OtavaAdlibrisBooky
Additional materials Answers to the exercises
Additional information: Kipinä 1-2 - Suomea lukioon

The Kipinä series consists of three books and sets the goal at level B2. The main use for this series is as a course book for Finnish as a Second Language (S2) in Finnish high schools. Since it’s mainly meant to be used in a classroom setting, many of the exercises are group assignments. There are also many suggestions for writing texts in Finnish. In addition to those, there are fill-in-the-gaps exercises related mainly to grammar topics. This book doesn’t contain solutions for the exercises, but they can be purchased separately.

 

The texts in each chapter are high school level texts. This means the vocabulary is quite abstract. The book does cover many grammar topics, which it presents in clear table format. The grammar is presented more as a reminder overview than as new topics to study. It can be quite overwhelming if you haven’t already got acquainted with them in advance.

 

The grammar covered includes things like the passive and active forms of all the tenses and moods. In addition, it goes over the plural case system and the rules for the most common Finnish sentence types. There’s a 15-page section which focuses on spoken language.

 

I like this series. While the Kipinä series is meant as a course book, I think the right learner can get a lot out of it if they take a systematic approach. Like most advanced course books, you might face the temptation of just skipping over the reading texts. This would be a mistake, because if you just browse through the book you won’t get much out of it.

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5.3. Kipinä 3-4 – Suomea lukioon

Name of the book Kipinä 3-4 – Suomea lukioon
Author(s) Niina Eloranta, Heidi Lehtosaari
Publisher Finn Lectura
Most recent edition 2019
Type of book S2 high school course book
Aesthetics of the book colorful, engaging, organized
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range B1-B2
Advances explanations not suitable for beginners
Types of texts authentic articles, interviews and literature
Topics discussed the influence of language on people
Grammar topics advanced cases, verb forms and constructions
Spoken language not included
Exercise types group work, some fill-in-the-gaps exercises
Solutions to the exercises available for sale in a separate book
Suitable for self-study 3/5
Suitable for study abroad 4/5
Buy the book OtavaAdlibrisSuomalainen kirjakauppa
Additional materials Answers to the exercises
Kipinä 3-4 - Suomea lukioon

This is the second book of the Kipinä series, which aims to help achieve level B2. The main use for this series is as a course book for Finnish as a Second Language (S2) in Finnish high schools. Since it’s mainly meant to be used in a classroom setting, many of the exercises are group assignments. The texts in each chapter are high school level texts. This means the vocabulary is quite abstract, and it covers topics such as poetry and the power of advertisements.

 

The series goes over many grammar topics, which it presents in clear table format. Kipinä 2 contains information about more abstract rections and applies those to the rarer Finnish cases, such as a translative, instructive and comitative. It also dives deep into harder forms such as the inflection of comparative forms, participles and infinitives, and the harder types of pronouns, particles and conjunctions. The book doesn’t contain solutions for the written exercises but there is a separate book for sale with the solutions. You will definitely have to use additional sources to understand the grammar topics if you weren’t familiar with them already.

 

I like this series. The right learner can get a lot out of it if they take a systematic approach. Like most advanced course books, there is the temptation of just skipping over the reading texts and such. If you just browse through the book you won’t get all that much out of it.

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5.4. Selkeästi Suomessa

Name of the book Selkeästi Suomessa – Selkokielinen Suomen yhteiskuntaopin S2-oppikirja
Author(s) Merja Björklind, Tarja Lågas, Mikko Metsäranta, Heidi Sippose
Publisher Finn Lectura
Most recent edition 2019
Type of book S2 social studies book
Aesthetics of the book organized, colorful
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range A2.2-B1.2
Advances same level throughout the book
Types of texts informative texts
Topics discussed social studies topics such as welfare, consumerism, politics
Grammar topics not included
Spoken language not included
Exercise types traditional, communicative, listening (see below)
Solutions to the exercises available if you also buy the teacher’s guide
Suitable for self-study 3/5
Suitable for study abroad 5/5
Buy the book Finn LecturaAdlibrisSuomalainen kirjakauppa
Additional materials – Audio: streamed, mp3s or CD
Teacher’s guide
Selkeästi Suomessa

This book contains information about Finnish society. It’s a pretty theoretical book full of abstract topics such as democracy, minority groups in Finland and the social security system. It’s a good idea to check the table of contents of the book.

 

This book contains a lot of abstract and complicated vocabulary. The sentence constructions have been simplified somewhat but, for self-study, you will need to be at least level A2.2 or B1.1. Each chapter starts with a reading text, and generally contains many different types of reading comprehension exercises.

 

There are many exercise types, some of which are easier than others. You can find the typical multiple-choice and true-or-false assignments. Occasionally, there’s a writing assignment included and there are conversation prompts included as well. Last but not least, the book has a number of listening exercises. You can buy the audio separately streamed, as mp3s or as physical CDs. The answers to the exercises are not included in this book, but there is a separate teacher’s guide available with the solutions, as well as extra exercises and the texts of the listening exercises.

 

This is probably not a very attractive book for self-study. I suppose if you’re really into politics and other social studies topics, you might find some interesting information in this book. However, it’s clear that this book is meant to be used with a teacher and supplemented by other, less theoretical, content. It’s unfortunate that the solutions to the exercises are only available separately.

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5.5. Kokataan suomeksi!

Name of the book Kokataan suomeksi! – Suomen kielen oppikirja ravintola-alan opiskelijoille
Author(s) Julia Kemppinen
Publisher Finn Lectura
Most recent edition 2019
Type of book food industry professional training course book
Aesthetics of the book very inviting, colorful, lots of pictures, clear structure
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range A2-B1
Advances fairly even progression from simple to harder concepts
Types of texts mostly informational texts, some dialogues
Topics discussed food, methods, hygiene, dietary and nutrition info, customer service
Grammar topics functional grammar related to cooking (A2-B1) (see below)
Spoken language rarely present at all
Exercise types varied vocabulary, grammar and own research exercises (see below)
Solutions to the exercises available in the teacher’s guide
Suitable for self-study 4/5
Suitable for study abroad 5/5
Buy the book Finn LecturaAdlibris
Additional materials Audio: Streamed or online mp3 (complete)
– Audio: Streamed or online mp3 (limited)
Teacher’s guide
Additional information: Kokataan suomeksi!

Kokataan suomeksi contains a lot of vocabulary and grammar that is essential for the restaurant environment, including both topics related directly to cooking (methods, ingredients, hygiene, diets) and topics related to customer service. The book is aimed mainly at immigrants who are currently studying to work in a restaurant as a cook. A lot of its content is also very suitable for anyone who wants to learn to talk about cooking in Finnish. The book looks really nice, with lots of pictures and colors.

 

The vocabulary in the beginning of the book contains the very basics (eg. names of vegetables and kitchen appliances), which it displays in a picture dictionary. However, the actual text included in these chapters starts from about level A2 and works its way up to approximately B1.2.

 

The exercise types in Kokataan suomeksi are diverse. There are plenty of vocabulary exercises, among which you will find crossword puzzles, fill-in-the-gap exercises and small conversation prompts. There are many assignments to look up information and make your own conclusions. Every chapter comes with a couple of group or pair exercises to talk about or research something together.

 

The book also contains some grammar exercises. The grammar topics covered in this book fit neatly with the contents of the book. Vocabulary about ingredients is combined with the partitive case, kitchen appliances and tools are combined with the millä-form, cooking methods fit nicely together with the imperative, etc. In addition to these, the book also covers the plural partitive, the present passive, the object and the TU-participle. I really like that the tables displaying grammar rules focus on showing verbs or nouns related to cooking in these grammar forms.

 

Spoken language is overlooked most of the time, but present in some of the dialogues.

 

This book could work very well for self-study if you’re passionate about cooking or planning to work in Finland in the food industry. Unfortunately, to get the most out of this book with self-study, you will also have to invest in the Teacher’s guide, because it contains the answers to the exercises. The audio of the book is available in two versions, but I can’t say anything about these.

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5.6. Ruokaa suomeksi

Name of the book Ruokaa suomeksi
Author(s) Inkeri Jääskeläinen, Pekka Välilä
Publisher Intonare
Most recent edition 2016
Type of book food and catering related textbook
Aesthetics of the book black and white, interesting exercise types, not too crowded
Language(s) used Finnish only
Level range A2-B2
Advances no level progression
Types of texts informational texts related to foods and food culture
Topics discussed types of food, cooking methods and tools, history of Finnish food, etc.
Grammar topics simple and more advanced (see below)
Spoken language none
Exercise types vocabulary practiced together with conjugation, inflection and derivation
Solutions to the exercises no
Suitable for self-study 3/5 (definitely doable, but no solutions provided)
Suitable for study abroad 5/5
Buy the book AdlibrisBooky
Additional materials none
Additional information: Ruokaa suomeksi

This black-and-white book contains informational texts relating to food and nutrition. By working your way through this book, you can get a decent grasp on Finnish food culture, different ingredients and ways of preparing food. You will also improve your grasp of Finnish grammar, especially on the derivation and inflection of words.

 

The book systematically focuses on one topic in each chapter: it has a separate section full of information and vocabulary related to different types of spices for example. The texts are fairly long informative texts and are suitable for level A2.2 to B2. After each reading text, there are exercises where the vocabulary of the text can be practiced.

 

I’m definitely a fan of this book. I love how the vocabulary of each text is combined with grammar topics. While the grammar isn’t explained in the book, the exercises allow you to deduct yourself what the patterns and rules are. It’s really too bad that the solutions to the exercises aren’t included in the book. However, I believe this book can be useful for self-study even without the solutions, especially if you’re a more advanced student.

 

The grammar topics included won’t have any big surprises for advanced learners using the book. However, approaching them in relation to the preparation of food can be fun. Topics included are, for example, the T-plural and imperative mood (Pese porkkanat; Viipaloi kurkut), the partitive case (Tarvitaan maustamatonta tuorejuusto), the passive and millä-form (Pursottimella pursotetaan, raastimella raastetaan), the on mentävä construction (on soseutettava, on jauhotettava), the fourth infinitive (pariloiminen, höystäminen) and the translative (muuttuu sakeammaksi).

 

The derivation exercises will be useful no matter what your current level is because they allow you to have a better look at how words are formed. There is a large number of this type of exercise, spread throughout the whole book. You get to practice making verbs into nouns and the other way around (eg. kuutio and kuutioida, kirkas and kirkastaa, raaste and raastaa). Compound words also get special attention (eg. pikariisi, riisipuuro, puuroriisi, täysjyväriisi, risottoriisi).

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5.7. Ihan lähellä

Name of the book Ihan lähellä – Työelämän suomea lähihoitajille
Author(s) Maria Kela, Eveliina Korpela, Ninni Lankinen
Publisher Edita
Most recent edition 2014
Type of book practical nurse professional training course book
Aesthetics of the book pleasant at first sight, small font, no space to write
Language(s) used mainly Finnish, wordlists English translations
Level range B1-C1
Advances no clear level progression
Types of texts narratives, dialogues and professional written Finnish
Topics discussed typical situations practical nurses encounter
Grammar topics sprinkled throughout the book, not the main focus
Spoken language all through the book
Exercise types conversation prompts, functional language use
Solutions to the exercises not available
Suitable for self-study 2/5
Suitable for study abroad 2/5
Buy the book EditaAdlibrisEllibs (ebook)
Additional materials none
Additional information: Ihan lähellä

Ihan lähellä and Sairaan hyvää suomea (see below) are both course books meant for the training of health professionals who don’t speak Finnish as their native language. Ihan lähellä is meant as a course book for people who want to work as a practical nurse in Finland.

 

While this book looks pleasant at first glance, the font is pretty small and there is no space for you to write. The answers to the exercises are not available. Even with a good dictionary, I can imagine that a motivated level B2 student could still get frustrated when using this book for self-study. This is a challenging book which is more suitable as a course book than for self-study.

 

The book does a pretty good job at including as much spoken language into the chapters as possible, while not forgetting written Finnish either. A good practical nurse must be comfortable with spoken language but also be able to write reports and such. The topics included in this book are important for any practical nurse working in Finland. It contains, for example, vocabulary, phrases and grammar required to work in a kindergarten with children and to talk with the parents of these children. The reading texts are a lot like stories in the sense that they first sketch out the situation and then have a dialogue included.

 

The book pays attention to the many functions of language, such as how to request, order, remind, persuade and ask things. While this book does contain grammar, those sections are limited, and generally related to certain phrases needed in a practical nurse’s work.

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5.8. Sairaan hyvää suomea

Name of the book Sairaan hyvää suomea – Terveysalan suomea maahanmuuttajille
Author(s) Maria Kela, Eveliina Korpela, Ninni Lankinen
Publisher Edita
Most recent edition 2011
Type of book health professional training course book
Aesthetics of the book overwhelming, small font, not much space to write
Language(s) used mainly Finnish, wordlists English translations
Level range B1.2-C2
Advances no clear level progression
Types of texts spoken language dialogues and professional written Finnish
Topics discussed different situations of interaction with patients
Grammar topics sprinkled throughout the book, not the main focus
Spoken language throughout the whole book
Exercise types conversation prompts, functional language use
Solutions to the exercises not available
Suitable for self-study 2/5
Suitable for study abroad 3/5
Buy the book EditaEllibs (ebook)Adlibris
Additional materials none
Additional information: Sairaan hyvää suomea

Sairaan hyvää suomea and Ihan lähellä are both course books meant for the training of health professionals who don’t speak Finnish as their native language. Sairaan hyvää suomea is meant for nurses and different types of doctors who want to work in Finland.

 

Each chapter in this book starts with a dialogue, which has a Finnish-English vocabulary list next to it. The reading texts in this book are written in spoken Finnish. Compared to the book Ihan lähellä, the types of dialogues in this book are harder to make sense of because you don’t get the visual clues at all, which makes phrases like “tämä tässä” (this here) difficult to understand in just the dialogue (they appear to be pointing at something, but what?). In Ihan lähellä this problem was avoided by describing the situation as a narrative connected to the dialogue.

 

Each chapter deals with a different type of illness or problem. It presents the topic in a dialogue between the nurse/doctor and the patient. The dialogue is then analyzed through questions, in order to determine the different ways in which language is used to reach a certain goal. It’s very functional (eg. how do you ask for additional details, how do you double check you understood correctly). Grammar titbits have been included throughout the chapters but are never the main focus and aren’t explained in great detail.

 

The book does have exercises to some extent, but the majority of them are the type that would be good to discuss with a teacher or with classmates. The solutions to these often aren’t so simple that they could be listed in the back of the book. It’s also first and foremost meant as a course book.

 

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by this book. The font is small and there a lot of boxes of different sizes, tables and wordlists. Each chapter has many little sections in which it displays, for example, important phrases, small grammar titbits, cultural background information. This is definitely not an easy book for self-study. If you are a health professional and are motivated, I think you could make it work, but it won’t be easy. The book doesn’t mention what level it is specifically written for, but if you’re using it for self-study, I suspect you will need at least level B1.2, if not higher.

 

That’s all for this Finnish language learning book review list right now! I will be adding new books as they are published or come to my knowledge!

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Cassandra

Very helpful thank you.

Marcin

The streamed version of audio for Suomen mestari 1 is for the old version, not for the new one? Is the audio for the new one also somewhere available for free?

Inge (admin)

Aha! Good remark! The new version is here: https://digi.finnlectura.fi/products/835 but it’s not for free unfortunately. How sneaky of them, hmph.

Marcin

Yes, I’ve just bought the book and noticed that the audio doesn’t really match it. There are significant differences. So if I use the link above, I will need to pay to be able to stream the audio online for 7 or 12 months, depending on which option I will choose (of course, it costs more for 12 months than for 7)? On the other hand, if I follow this link: https://digi.finnlectura.fi/products/205, I need to pay much more, but I can download the mp3 and save it? Is it how it works?

Inge (admin)

Correct! The latter is a one-time charge to download them. Don’t you live in Finland though? You could start by borrowing the CD (the Tampere library even has the new version already) to start with.

Last edited 19 days ago by Inge (admin)
Marcin

Yes, I live in Finland now. I think I’ve found it in the library in Tampere. I need to think about it. By the way, it seems that the link I posted previously was for the old version, for the new one it is: https://digi.finnlectura.fi/products/834.

Inge (admin)

I don’t think piki allows you to share links of search results, but as long as the version you borrow has the cover in this picture, you know you have the right one: https://finnlectura.fi/oppimateriaalit/suomen-mestari-1-aanite

Jenn

Moi. Do you know if the “Solutions to Exercises” for No Niin 1 includes English translation for the Sanasto? And meanings for the puhekieli in the book? Kiitos

Inge (admin)

I don’t know, but I doubt it. Finn Lectura’s website says the solutions file contains the solutions to the exercises and the texts of the listening exercises. Generally they list everything that’s included, so my guess is that there are no English translations or additional explanations about spoken Finnish.