Elementary Finnish 1

May 2014

Tiina is an amazing professor. Finnish is a hard language, but the small classes mean a lot of close attention to every student. We speak only Finnish from day one, which means pronunciation and fluency advances quite quickly. She also isn't heavy on test grades - as long as you show up to class, make an effort and write the short essays that she assigns, you'll do well in this class. Finnish is a really fun class and the small size of the department means that it's a little community - we all do Finnish stuff outside of class together.

Jul 2006

Aili is very nice and cheerful. The class is very comfortable and relaxed, and because itÂ’s small (we had 6 people first semester and 4 second) Aili will tailor how fast you move and what you cover to fit your needs and interests. You also talk a lot, but thereÂ’s no pressure as in other language classes because you do it so often and the class itself is so low-key. (No silly skits either!) Aili is very good at explaining grammar (theyÂ’re a lot of rules, but theyÂ’re straightforward and are very few exceptions). My one complaint is that because Aili is so relaxed, you really have to work on your own to memorize vocabulary (we never had a single vocab test all year). Overall, a great class and highly recommended!

Dec 2004

First of all, Prof. Flint is just about the nicest, most cheerful people you'll ever encounter at Columbia. Class with her is often such silly fun, you'll be amazed by how much you're actually learning. She's a fabulous teacher who clearly loves what she does, and the class is like a cozy little family by the end of the semester. Speaking of which, this is another great reason to study Finnish: because it's so obscure, the class is always small and everyone there is genuinely interested in learning the language. If you're sick of zombielike freshmen in your full-to-capacity Spanish class, then Finnish might be the place for you. Now, Finnish is supposedly insanely difficult, but seriously, it's not that bad. Grammatically, it's very complex and unlike anything you're likely to be familiar with, but trust me, with Prof. Flint explaining everything, it will all make sense. And anyway, you get the vaguely exotic, or at least very nerdy, cachet of studying an obscure (and, I might add, cool-sounding) language that was one of Tolkien's inspirations for his Elvish languages. Even the simplest phrases are bound to impress your friends far more than some French or Japanese or Latin ever would. This class is doubly fabulous if you are a linguistics nerd like me; the structure of Finnish is totally fascinating AND Prof. Flint will gladly chat with you about linguistics or etymology or grammar anytime.