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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good starting book for Finnish learners
In my experience, I found this book to be an excellent starting point for the starting Finnish learner. Most things are explained simply and is very easy to follow. The book in my opinion did fall short on exceptions to irregular words, thus after completing the book reasonably thoroughly I would have placed myself at an intermediate level with main strengths in reading...
Published on August 17, 2012 by Ashley

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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good to take your first steps with, but supplement it immediately with other textbooks
Before moving to Finland for graduate school, I purchased this textbook by Terttu Leney in its earlier incarnation as TEACH YOURSELF FINNISH (the title has changed, but the content remains almost entirely the same). Leney's is the most widely available Finnish textbook in the English-speaking world, and it did equip me with enough basic Finnish to comfortably settle into...
Published on October 11, 2011 by Christopher Culver


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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good to take your first steps with, but supplement it immediately with other textbooks, October 11, 2011
By 
Christopher Culver (Cluj-Napoca, Romania or Helsinki, Finland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Complete Finnish with Two Audio CDs: A Teach Yourself Guide (Teach Yourself Language) (Paperback)
Before moving to Finland for graduate school, I purchased this textbook by Terttu Leney in its earlier incarnation as TEACH YOURSELF FINNISH (the title has changed, but the content remains almost entirely the same). Leney's is the most widely available Finnish textbook in the English-speaking world, and it did equip me with enough basic Finnish to comfortably settle into life in Finland. However, the book is not perfect, and in spite of its strengths it pales in many respects to other, more obscure textbooks.

Leney's book generally follows the contemporary Teach Yourself format: dialogues are followed by vocabulary (first phrase-for-phrase glosses, then individual new words), then come exercises, and finally at the end of each lesson is a dialogue spoken more quickly in more authentic language that the student is challenged to at least get the gist of. Each lesson is dedicated to a specific subject, such as shopping, going to the doctor, or (towards the end) talking about history and politics. There are Finnish-English and English-Finnish vocabularies and, something which all other TY volumes should emulate, some advice on where to go next (books, websites, radio, etc.).

While things like asking directions is a typical topic in beginner's textbook, I rather disagree with Leney's giving it so much attention. The lost tourist asking directions in limited Finnish is likely just going to be answered in English, Finnish people being so at ease with talking to foreigns in it. Rather, the challenge for people new to Finland is feeling at ease with a group of native speakers, such as classmates or coworkers, and so starting off with asking directions isn't so efficient, nor is the early emphasis on talking to bank tellers.

The CDs are absolutely essential. With a sound system so different from English, Finnish is not a language that can be learnt well just off the page. Even if you have a couple of Finnish friends, chances are they couldn't enunciate like the folks on the CDs. Teach Yourself CDs vary widely in quality, but these are very good, with a large cast of voice actors so you just used to different voices, and a good mix of clear and "street" enunciation.

What's wrong with Leney's course? Well, as a one-volume course its exercises are woefully insufficient. Agglutinating languages need much more drill than, say, Spanish or Italian, but the exercises here are few and train the student more to utter stock phrases than to internalize the huge amount of endings that conversational Finnish requires. It would have been better if Teach Yourself had commissioned a course from Leney in two volumes, a beginner's and an intermediate, which would have provided space for much more drill. Teach Yourself has done this for some languages, but regrettably not "smaller" ones.

If you want to learn Finnish, by all means acquire TEACH YOURSELF FINNISH. However, at the same time you need to get a few other books. In my Finnish for foreigners courses at University of Helsinki, the assigned textbooks were Leena Silfverberg's SUOMEN KIELEN ALKEISOPPIKIRJA and SUOMEN KIELEN JATKO-OPPIKIRJA (both published by Finn Lectura). While it might be a bit of work ordering those, and much in them is designed for classroom use, they abound in just the type of rigorous exercises that Leney's course lacks. Leela White's From Start to Finnish (Finn Lectura, 2003) is also a useful textbook, and is available though this very site.

This is not a bad course. However, like breakfast cereal that advertisements claim to be part of a balanced breakfast showing it in photos alongside bread and fruit, Terttu Leney's TEACH YOURSELF FINNISH is but one element towards proficiency in Finnish.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good starting book for Finnish learners, August 17, 2012
This review is from: Complete Finnish with Two Audio CDs: A Teach Yourself Guide (Teach Yourself Language) (Paperback)
In my experience, I found this book to be an excellent starting point for the starting Finnish learner. Most things are explained simply and is very easy to follow. The book in my opinion did fall short on exceptions to irregular words, thus after completing the book reasonably thoroughly I would have placed myself at an intermediate level with main strengths in reading and writing.

The CDs I would think are essential because it wasn't until I was actually in Finland that I realised how I was very wrongly pronouncing words. This will also help with listening to Finns as well. Leney also introduces the colloquial style of Finnish but it is almost too brief.

Finnish definitely requires a lot of hard work but I honestly believe this book offers you the best possible start to learning the language. So my recommendation is BUY THIS BOOK IF YOU'RE JUST STARTING OUT. I really do love this book.

I have 2 other book series "Kuulostaa Hyvältä" (A book full of exercises and limited descriptions) and "Colloquial Finnish" (Far too brief and technical for a beginner).
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent tool, August 7, 2014
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This review is from: Complete Finnish with Two Audio CDs: A Teach Yourself Guide (Teach Yourself Language) (Paperback)
I haven't gotten far, yet, but I think the lessons and the audio CDs are solid. They aren't speaking too slowly, but I can clearly hear the words. More grammar would be great, but I'm not far, as I said. I am supplementing with Anki flash cards that I make and a Finnish grammar book. The audio files are exceptionally helpful for creating digital flashcards. I did realize that I don't have a CD player other than my computer, though! It would be great to have MP3s or streaming available.

My only difficulties are with the layout of the book. I think this is an editing problem. Dialogue and vocabulary are easy to find, but things aren't well spaced, exercises are difficult to skip to, and it's hard to discern side-notes from grammar from pronunciation practice.
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2.0 out of 5 stars some stuff is great when its explained but sometimes there is no explanation ..., January 12, 2015
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This review is from: Complete Finnish with Two Audio CDs: A Teach Yourself Guide (Teach Yourself Language) (Paperback)
lacks explanation in a few areas largely enough to affect your attitude toward the book, some stuff is great when its explained but sometimes there is no explanation which is very frustrating. I have set this book down and most likely will not pick it back up because it is so frustrating and lacking in information. wish I could find a use for it as it is still in perfect condition yet not very good to rely on learning Finnish from. maybe the author is Finnish so the things I see as needing an explanation aren't confusing to some
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4.0 out of 5 stars dit is 'n lekker leer stel, December 15, 2014
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This review is from: Complete Finnish with Two Audio CDs: A Teach Yourself Guide (Teach Yourself Language) (Paperback)
This seems to be a great learning tool. I'm not entirely sure how successful I'll be but that is not fault of the set. The book is nice and explains everything very well and the CDs are a great companion to the book.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good job explaining complex grammar, September 8, 2013
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This review is from: Complete Finnish with Two Audio CDs: A Teach Yourself Guide (Teach Yourself Language) (Paperback)
This book does a very good job of explaining the very complex grammar of the Finnish language to the complete beginner with getting too technical. The vocabulary words are introduced are practical and useful and the two audio CDs are clear, although they do reflect Finnish speech at a normal rate, which might be difficult if you are new to the language. The only critical things I have to say is that the verb conjugations should have been introduced a little earlier. Overall, this book is definitely a good place for the beginner to start. I would supplement it with Beginner's Finnish by Agi Risko and Finnish: An Essential Grammar.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Finnish language for keen beginners, February 28, 2013
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This review is from: Complete Finnish with Two Audio CDs: A Teach Yourself Guide (Teach Yourself Language) (Paperback)
Teaching yourself a language is difficult. Teaching yourself Finnish is more than difficult and only those with determination and a complete lack of sanity should proceed. But if you must teach yourself Finnish then Complete Finnish by Terttu Leney is one of the best. In fact it is a classic. The two CD's are good and are essential if you are to embark on this quest. Complete Finnish provides a deeper insight into the Finnish language than most of the teach yourself manuals. The awful truth is that when you do go to Finland you will find that anyone under 60 speaks perfect English and when you try a few hard won sentences they won't understand a word you say. But I will not surrender and I will master this language. Eventually.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Woohoo!, September 7, 2013
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This review is from: Complete Finnish with Two Audio CDs: A Teach Yourself Guide (Teach Yourself Language) (Paperback)
This has been very helpful, yet Finnish is a hard language to learn especially through self teaching. Shipped fast and was in great condition!
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Complete Finnish with Two Audio CDs: A Teach Yourself Guide (Teach Yourself Language)
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