FSI Conversational Finnish Course

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What is the Conversational Finnish course?

The FSI Conversational Finnish course was first published in 1987, making it a relatively recent addition to the Foreign Service Institute’s collection of language teaching materials. It is designed to teach basic communication skills, giving students a level in spoken Finnish that will allow them to function in a range of social and professional situations in the country.

It consists of 14 units in which new language is first presented and then practised using word lists, dialogs and drills. These 14 units are also accompanied by exercises in a student workbook for further practice, consolidating what has already been learned.

You will also find audio recordings for each unit of the main course and the student workbook, allowing you to work on improving both your listening skills and pronunciation in Finnish.

One particularly useful feature of this course is that it separates standard Finnish and colloquial Finnish, teaching both and allowing you to learn the correct language for informal as well as formal situations.

How was the Conversational Finnish course originally used?

FSI Conversational Finnish was originally designed for US diplomatic staff preparing for postings in Finland and represents the first six months of an intensive program that would have left students with a relatively high level of proficiency in the language.

Their time would have been divided between classroom time and personal study time, and they would have been encouraged to use Finnish as much as possible during their course. With such perfect study conditions, students were expected to make rapid progress in the language.

How can you use the Conversational Finnish course?

Although this course was intended to be used with a teacher, it was also designed to be useful for students studying alone. This means that even if you can’t recreate the perfect study environment enjoyed by US diplomats, you can still expect to make good progress in Finnish by studying this course.

All you need to do is work through the main lessons and the student workbook largely as you find them, adapting them to your personal needs and learning style as you see fit.

You can use the wordlists, dialogs and drills to learn new structures and vocabulary, to practice and drill what you learn and to work on improving your listening, repeating as often as required to master the language.

With this course, you need to study the first four units in sequence, but after that, you can study the rest of the course in any order you like, dipping in and choosing the units you feel are most useful or relevant to you.

Taking it further

Even though this is a well-written and comprehensive free conversational Finnish course, you still won’t be able to master the language without practicing it in real situations.

For this reason, as soon as possible, I urge you to take your new Finnish skills out into the real world and put them to use. Look for native Finnish speakers to practice with and do your best to make speaking Finnish a part of your daily life. Then, when you do this, you will soon find you are making rapid progress in this challenging but intriguing language.


Student Text

Introduction Tape        
Unit 01 Tape 1 Tape 2 Unit 08 Tape 1 Tape 2
Unit 02 Tape 1 Tape 2 Unit 09 Tape 1 Tape 2
Unit 03 Tape 1 Tape 2 Unit 10 Tape 1 Tape 2
Unit 04 Tape 1 Tape 2 Unit 11 Tape 1 Tape 2
Unit 05 Tape 1 Tape 2 Unit 12 Tape 1 Tape 2
Unit 06 Tape 1 Tape 2 Unit 13 Tape 1 Tape 2
Unit 07 Tape 1 Tape 2 Unit 14 Tape 1 Tape 2


Student Workbook

Pronunciation Tape 1 Tape 2 Tape 3 Tape 4    
Unit 01 Tape       Unit 08 Tape
Unit 02 Tape 1 Tape 2     Unit 09 Tape
Unit 03 Tape       Unit 10 Tape
Unit 04 Tape       Unit 11 Tape
Unit 05 Tape       Unit 12 Tape
Unit 06 Tape       Unit 13 Tape
Unit 07 Tape       Unit 14 Tape