Why Does Everyone Want to Learn Finnish?
Note: This post is not meant to be offensive to anyone.
So I've seen that loads and loads of people here want to learn Finnish. And I've just been curious to know as to why so many people want to learn Finnish. It's not a widely-spoken language and it is very hard to learn. I'm just curious: Are most people learning it due to an appreciation of Finnish culture, a challenge? etc.
I want to learn all Nordic languages. Since I speak Swedish and understand Norwegian and Danish, I have a very good start to make my dream come true. I like Finland as a country. I also have Finnish friends. Finnish is a national minority language in my country. Finnish music is awesome too.
Well, a variety of reasons of course.
Finnish is spoken in Finland. Finland is one of the 'Nordic countries' and those countries are generally known to be great places to live. (high quality of life, beautiful nature, rich history etc.) Also, unlike the other Nordic countries they adopted the Euro. Want to move to Finland? Learn Finnish, get a headstart.
Finnish metal. Seriously, Finnish metal. It's amazing. So much metal music. Finland is pretty much 'the metal country'. Seriously, Finland has the most metal bands per capita. So knowing Finnish is critical to knowing what those bands are singing about.
J.R.R. Tolkien had a very, very high opinion about Finnish (Quote about his discovery of a Finnish grammar book: "entering a complete wine-cellar filled with bottles of an amazing wine of a kind and flavour never tasted before") As Tolkien is pretty much the father of Fantasy, he has quite some influence. Also, one of his Elvish languages has 'Finnish traits'. Fans of his works may be attracted to Finnish for this reason.
Finnish just sounds so very interesting! It is the only one of the 'Nordic languages' that is not North Germanic which makes it a bit of an oddity in that 'region', and that is what makes it so very interesting.
Demanding Finnish can also be seen as a form of criticism on Duolingo's "popular demand = new language in the incubator" policy. (is that the right word?) Despite that Project Finnish has been one of the most upvoted posts of all time (before it got massively downvoted a few days ago) Finnish has still not entered the incubator. (I believe there's an entire team lined up on Facebook already with a 'tree plan' and all. People have been demanding it for so long.)
It is a fundamental physical law† that the universe will cease to be if Duolingo doesn't introduce a Finnish course soon. The people worrying about Nibiru and and the Babylonian Brotherhood have entirely the wrong priorities. Without a Finnish course all existence and essence are doomed and we shall all vanish into an indescribable chasm of nothingness.
† I use the word 'law' here in the non-literal-or-at-all-defined sense, and its fundamental physicality is well-known and widely-accepted alternative fact.
Note: This post is meant to be offensive to anyone.
And it jolly well serves anyone right. I have it on good authority that anyone's mother was a hamster and his father smelt of elderberries. However, it is, as you rightly note in your title, everyone, not anyone, who wants to learn Finnish, so you appear to be disclaiming the wrong person.
I watch Finnish movies and love the sound of the language, I also like Finnish because it's very phonetic and easy to "hear" (for me anyway) I would also love to learn Northern Sami one day because I watch Ođđasat (the Sami news broadcast) and just think it's a beautiful sounding language.
I have to admit, I stole the idea from the German is Easy blog....
" oh wait, we have a call, hold on… this is “German is Easy”, you’re on the air.
“Hi my name is Jenny Chopper, great to be on the show…”
Hi Jenny, great to talk to you, what can I do for you…
“So… I am a mother and I made my kid want to learn a language.”
That’s great. All kids should must want to learn a language…
“Yeah… so… I was thinking German because it sounds like Elves singing…”
“Well… the thing is that my son is apparently allergic to ver … we just had to move away Vermont, because his face would be red all the time, you know. Now that you said, that ver is so common in German I was wondering if it is advisable for him to learn German and also I was wondering what you think of soy-ver? Is that any good?”
But it applies to Finnish more :)
I hear them at the Royal Opera House from time to time. And they always sound German to me, and not Finnish in the least. I'd advise people to stay away from such singing elves, however; they are invariably ultimately responsible for plunging all the worlds into a fiery doom. Take especial care of any items made of magic gold you might have in your possession, as these are particularly problematic.
I'm pretty sure my shopping list is in Finnish and not in German... (Well, most days it is. It depends on one's mood.)
Elves (well, most of them -- there are different kinds) aren't really into magic gold, although they do like other magic objects. Has anyone read Wil Huygen's book on gnomes? Although I guess those are technically Dutch gnomes...
Duolingo boards are full of users who wish they could learn all languages there are. They are looking for new challenges. Finnish is definitely one, something difficult, something "not everyone" speaks, something hardly connected to other languages... And at the same time it's still European and thus more likely to be used once in a while. Also, other than Welsh or Gaelic, it still has "practical use", it's the main language of the country, spoken by everyone, often still needed to communicate at all (I've been in several situations where they didn't speak any English). Also, compared to e.g. Hungary, Finland is probably better known through the media, be it via music bands or because of Finland having strong stereotypes (for comparison: I wouldn't know a single thing to say about Hungarians although it's only an hour of driving away and I've been there a few times).
Maybe they want a challenge because of difficulty?
The language sounds beautiful, and Finnish culture is fascinating. Plus I'm an agglutinative and Turkic language lover, so I enjoy Finnish even more for those reasons (yes I know Finnish is not Turkic, I used it since Turkic agglutination is logical, just like Finnish agglutination.) Also I hope one day I can move to Finland.
This seems to be two questions in one:
1) Why do the people who want Finnish for English speakers in Duolingo want to learn Finnish?
2) Why does Finnish for English speakers get talked about on the Duolingo forums loads and loads more than Amharic for English speakers, Icelandic for English speakers, Latin for English speakers, Tagalog for English speakers, etc.?
Things like "I love the culture" and "the language sounds so pretty" can answer 1). :)
Those don't also answer 2) because those don't say anything about why the people who love Finnish culture and think Finnish sounds so pretty talk about the course they want so much more than the people who love Icelandic culture and think Icelandic sounds so pretty talk about the course they want.
It depends how you're counting. I'm pretty sure I've seen more new request threads for Icelandic and many more for Latin than for Finnish. I also think I've seen more for Croatian and Serbian.
Finnish has pride of place in the unique society of the Duolingo discussion boards for its own reasons: including its being the/a native language of some longtime, highly regarded forum participants and a major target language of interest to others. It's omission is also just an obvious and somewhat glaring gap in the otherwise nearly comprehensive coverage of major Western European languages offered.
...At some point a while back, Duolingo staff had apparently replied to a direct question that they hadn't seen enough demand for it yet. Since then, there's been a lot of demand...
The demand was always there, but it was a bit more subdued, unassuming, and, you know, Finnish before that comment about the lack of demand... ;-)
Because it is a beautiful language and through Duolingo many of us have made Finnish friends and would love to be able to communicate with them in their own language instead of them having to always use English or another mutually comprehensible language.
Obviously, I can't speak for everyone requesting Finnish, as there are probably as many reasons as requests but I know many people, myself included to whom my reasons apply.
I know several people who would like to learn better Finnish either to integrate better into Finnish society or just for fun. There not being a Finnish course on Duolingo doesn't stop them from learning, but having one would help a lot. Finnish is not a language you can generally just pick up from enough exposure to it (unless you already know a Finnic language) -- the learning curve starts out pretty steep.
I was more-or-less introduced to it through a webcomic (Stand Still Stay Silent, and well worth a look!) and just. fell in love. It sounds beautiful, and I'm intrigued by the fact that it's not based on a familiar language tree and would love the challenge. Plus, I just love languages. /shrug