How can I help with the Finnish content?

Hi people, earlier this year I was helping my girlfriend learn Finnish with LingQ. I noticed that many of the word hints were wrong. Google Translate doesn’t translate Finnish to English very well, I guess. I was thinking what would be the best way to improve the hints? Or how can I help with other material? I’ve thought about creating my own texts and audio, that I could publish here, at some point.

I know Finnish is only a beta-language here, but I’m happy to help my girlfriend and others who are learning my mother tongue that I love :). I’m a native speaker of Finnish, but I’m not a professional Finnish teacher or translator or anything like that, but I would say that I know Finnish and English relatively well, so I think I could help in many things.


I wish you were Greek. :wink:

In my opinion, the best way to help out would be to find (or create) good Finnish content. Fixing hints would be a waste of your time. Particularly useful for language learners, I find, are natural dialogs between native speakers. You could record a discussion about a given topic with a friend, transcribe it, and upload it here. Otherwise, personal “diary” entries are very useful as well. I can provide you with examples here if you’d like, but most languages have a few already.

I’ll probably never get around to learning Finnish, but thanks for your efforts!

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I almost think it’s impossible to get a natural dialog between native Finnish speakers using kirjakieli, i.e. ‘book Finnish’. Book Finnish is what they teach to people learning Finnish. It is a sort of a standard language created by some intellectuals a few hundred years ago to be used in writing. Finnish dialects can vary a bit (not much, but somewhat), so they made a standard language used for written communication. The thing is, no one actually speaks it; they speak dialects. When I read conversations in Book Finnish, they sound very unnatural. And that is because no one speaks and never has naturally spoken Book Finnish. Essays, newspapers etc. are written in Book Finnish, but conversations are always in dialects. TV shows, movies and songs are also in dialects, because you just can’t produce them in a version of the language that has no emotion.

But Book Finnish is what is taught to people learning Finnish, so what can you do?

Maybe it’s possible to first get a natural dialog and then follow up with an ‘as accurate as possible’ Book Finnish translation (or maybe just english translation).

I wouldn’t know since I don’t speak Finnish but I’m just spreading my thoughts ^^

Aren’t hints only provided by users anyway? If I misunderstand a word and add a bad translation, my impression is that other users will see this as well. This is why I always check with wiktionary anyway, which I recommend to anyone who is serious about developing a good understanding of the language. I don’t know how much Finnish vocabulary there is on wiktionary, but I haven’t yet had much problems finding Serbian vocabulary there.

I’d add content. It’s easier and doubtlessly much more effective. It’s up to each user to check the hints before relying on them anyway.

Yes recording normal conversatons is a good idea. I have to think about who would be crazy enough to have these kind of conversations with me. Having a fixed topic would help to get the conversation going. I could prepare some points that I might talk about. I have thought about recording these kind of conversations but I have doubted if I have enough thoughts to talk for many minutes about something (although I enjoy talking about various topics in my day-to-day life).

I have though about making some kind of diary or thoughts about my every day life. Perhaps some comments on recent events and news etc.

And I guess it is not necessary to upload every conversation to lingq… if the conversation turns out to be a flop. :slight_smile:

I think correcting the hints and creating content are not mutually exclusive. I guess correcting hints is something (usually) easy that you can do even if you are a bit tired, and in short bursts, but creating content may need some more time, and less hurry. I’m not saying that it is impossible to create content even if you are tired.

One great thing about lingq is that you can create lingqs of whole phrases and sentences. And those magical conversational connectors. I think I could help with that.

Also I could add the basic dictionary form of the words. Often they look quite different. For example,
to run = juosta
runs = juoksee
may run = juossee (quite rare)
evening, night = ilta
in the evening = illalla

And for those that are interested, below I will write some thoughts about the difference of spoken Finnish and standard Finnish:

I would probably use (Helsinki) spoken Finnish in recorded conversation.

But it is good to remember that there is no such thing as pure spoken Finnish dialect anymore.

It is true that spoken Finnish is quite different from standard Finnish, but it is also true that spoken Finnish affects the evolution of standard Finnish. Even in casual conversation, and in Finnish rap etc, people use elements of written language, that their non-rapper farmer grand-grand-grand-parents would never use.

“Some intellectuals a few hundred years ago” have indeed affected the formation of standard Finnish. But other things have had strong influence as well. I think some of them would’ve been offended by calling them mere intellectuals.

Christianity has obviously had a big influence on Finnish. Folk songs and poems had some influence, as did books tranlated into Finnish.

Although Finnish does not belong to the Indo-European language it has lots of influence from these languages, foreign words and calques. Especially from Swedish.

Finland has a large minority of Swedish speakers (in my family also), most of whom speak also Finnish these days. And actually the percentage of Swedish speakers was larger in the past (and would have been much larger if Russia had not occupied Finland from 1809-1917). Many bilinguals brought Swedish elements into Finnish.

Some monolingual Swedish speakers became so enthusiastic about Finnish that they switched their language, and stopped speaking Swedish. And put their children into Finnish schools. I guess some of them thought this would help in the formation of a distinct nation.

I think it is not very unusual that the spoken language differs from the standard language. For example, you see this a lot in written English and in written Japanese. Written English tends to have lots of words that come from Latin and French, the spoken language has more Germanic words. While written Japanese has lots of Chinese words and kanji that people don’t use in natural conversations.

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Great news! I would love to see “normal” conversations! 10-20 min, like the LingQ-conversations. It could be about language learning or really about anything. I think your girlfriend will learn really fast, if you could help her with new lessons. I’ve learned alot finnish with the help of Lingq and yle puhe. But that “normal” conversations, with scripts, would really be the “Missing link”. Good news!!

Here is a great podcast in Finnish. Mixcloud Only thing is that there is no transcript.

I sent a message to the host a minute ago, to ask if she would allow me to write the transcripts, and to ask if I could publish for example one here. The rest you can upload by yourself obviously. I don’t know if she would allow put all of the transcripts here.


I did this with some German podcasts too. I had to ask a lot of podcasters to find some who gave me permission. What you could offer them is that they can use the transcript as well and add it to their websites. This way Google and other search engines will find their websites better, because without a transcript Google cannot find the page by keywords.

Hyvä juttu! Great!

Damn I thought I was the only one! I always check with Collins dictionary because at least I know for sure that I will be on the right lines in terms of understanding the word or phrase. I agree this is crucial if you’re serious about developing a good understanding of the language!!

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Hi Max,

Thanks so much for the offer to improve Finnish on LingQ!

If you’re willing, I could make you a hint creator and flagger. It would involve me sending you the sign in details for a special Finnish account in which you would add correct hints and flag incorrect ones. Let me know what you think!


I see you have a good word count in Russian. Perhaps you’ve come across Evgueny’s diary/journal-like course? “День за днем”. Maybe that could give you some ideas on how to come up with topics for content. Login - LingQ

I dabbled briefly in Finnish here. It has always interested me somehow. Maybe from watching “Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning” in Finnish with English subtitles some years ago. Or maybe because it’s a non-Indo-European language with a mysterious boreal past, promising strange and intriguing grammar and constructions amid a sea of IE languages. Recently, too, I saw the Russian movie “Особенности национальной охоты” with a Finn as one of the main characters, playing foil to the eccentric Russians.

Ultimately, though, I decided that for now I don’t want to distract myself from my effort to bring my Russian to the next level – so that I can watch such movies and understand them the first time w/o the help of Lingq, e.g. In the mean time, it would be great if you could help Finnish move beyond beta status. I might return to it “someday”. Best of luck!

I just remembered–there is this great podcast about Finnish culture and Finland in general by Roman Schatz. He is a native German speaker but his Finnish is indistinguishable from a native.

I think you can just import the podcast without asking since it’s from the government’s public broadcasting organization Yle? Maybe?

I think Roman Schatzin maamme-kirja would be great for learners since it is about Finnish culture. The podcast has episodes about such diverse subjects as modern Finnish paganism, the fear of Russia, Alko, the Fenno-Ugric languages, Finnish philosophy, Kalevala, mandatory Swedish, Finns aboard, Finnish SS-troops in WWII, Saunas, Finnish humor etc. He discusses these things with guests that have expertise in the subjects.

I haven’t been very helpful here sorry, but I wrote a text about my exchange year in New Zealand. I just have to record an audio for it and then I can publish it here.
I’m thinking about translating Steve’s book into Finnish, maybe with the help of someone who has more formal experience about the English and Finnish languages. I’m just a poor IT student // nobody loves me. I think I will translate the whole thing for fun anyway (ok not only for fun, I can see some real benefits too). Someone can check it afterwards. :sunglasses:
Currently one of my Japanese learning activities is reading Steve’s book in Japanese. I have been studying this language for 3,5 years every day. I wish I had the same consistency with other languages too, but I have to be grateful for this fun little green man speaking Japanese inside my head.