Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Practicing listening with your Finnish friends

Are you still in the situation where your friends switch to English when you're around? Change that now!  I'm using friend in my examples, but it could also be your colleague, spouse, mother-in-law or even a child, if you happen to have bilingual children.

  • Ask your friend to talk about something simple in Finnish so that you can just relax and focus on listening. You don't have to ask anything, and she won't ask anything either. You can decide a time beforehand so that you'll both know when it's over and you can do something else. If you want, write down what you hear. You can also record your friend if it's ok for her. 

  • Ask your friend which Finnish podcast, radio programme, tv show or artist she likes. Listen to it together and ask her to talk about it. 


  • Ask your friend to read her own book aloud for you. You might not understand much, but you'll understand something, and your friend is happy because she gets to read her book. She might also be interested in talking about the topic with you in Finnish.

  • If you notice that your friend switches to English, just say something like this: Ei tarvitse vaihtaa kieltä mun takia. Puhu vaan suomea. Mä kysyn, jos en ymmärrä jotain. That means No need to change the language because of me. Go ahead and speak Finnish. I'll ask if I don't understand something.


You can also practice listening while waiting for a bus. :)

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