Friday, February 15, 2013

How to use the Finnish verbs 'oppia', 'opettaa', 'opiskella' and 'opetella'

I've noticed that these verbs are easy to mix. Here are some simple sentences and the four important forms of each verb.

oppia, opin, opin, oppinut - to learn

  • Opin lukemaan neljävuotiaana. - I learned to read when I was four.
  • Mitä me voimme oppia tästä? - What can we learn from this?
  • Etkö sinä koskaan opi? - Don't you ever learn?

opiskella, opiskelen, opiskelin, opiskellut - to study

  • Kuinka kauan sinä olet opiskellut suomea? - How long have you studied Finnish?
  • Haluaisin opiskella oikeustiedettä. - I'd like to study law.
  • No niin, opiskellaan! - Well then, let's study!

opettaa, opetan, opetin, opettanut - to teach

  • Saanko minä opettaa sinulle jotain? - Can I teach you something?
  • Oletko koskaan opettanut suomalaisia teini-ikäisiä? - Have you ever taught Finnish teenagers?
  • Kuka opetti sinut ajamaan autoa? - Who taught you how to drive a car?

opetella, opettelen, opettelin, opetellut - to learn by doing (perhaps without a teacher), to teach oneself

  • Voisitko opetella syömään suu kiinni? - Could you learn how to eat with you mouth shut?
  • Tänä kesänä opettelen soittamaan kitaraa! - This summer, I will teach myself to play the guitar!

Sometime opetella is also used with languages like in this article. However, I often think that opetella is something that you do, not read. 

About the author of Random Finnish lesson: 

My name is Hanna Männikkölahti. I am a professional Finnish teacher who gives private online lessons and simplifies books into easy Finnish. Please read more in and follow this blog, if you want to be the first one to know when I post something new. 


tigareth said...

A useful and relevant thing to point out here, especially for English speakers, is that 'opiskella' is used to talk about studying or taking a course in a particular discipline, while a different verb is used when talking about studying course material or reviewing/revising for an exam. (I think this would be 'lukea' (to read)?)

A similar mistake is often made by English speakers learning German, where 'studieren' would be the equivalent to 'opiskella' and 'lernen' to study or review for exam.

Hanna said...

Yes, a very good point. Thanks for the addition!

Anonymous said...

Awesome! Mä opettelen suomea, and I was getting confused with the various words for "learning" :).