Showing posts from 2016

Hyvää joulua!

And so this is Christmas... Yesterday, as we ever have since the School began, we enjoyed our end of term Christmas Party. For Finns this is a double celebration, since this is so close to 6th December, Finnish Independence Day, Itsenäisyyspäivä.
We always hope that we may be blessed with the appearance of Joulupukki - ie. Santa Claus. This year it was a little bit more of a miracle than usual, since no one knew where Joulupukki's costume was, and only a desperate last minute dash to hire one saved the day.

Understandably, many more people come along than for our usual School Days; it's great to catch up with so many old friends. We don't simply guzzle food, there is some entertainment as well. It's varied from year to year; occasionally the adult classes have had a little friendly pressure applied and shown off some of their prowess in Finnish. I remember one year our class learnt the words of Joulumaa by heart (the Katri Helena song). However, some performances from t…

The Finnish School in Liverpool

Close to Manchester, but in a place Mancunians know to be not quite of this planet, is the Finnish School in Liverpool. Our two schools have very different histories but good links, worth being aware of as we approach the end of term and Independence Day 2016.

Liverpool's suomikoulu resides at the Gustav Adolfs Kyrka in the Baltic Triangle, otherwise known as the Scandinavian Seamen's Church, not far from the Albert Dock and Liverpool One. It's an impressive and very distinctive building. If you ever visit, take the opportunity to see the unique worship space at the top. Apart from religious services, these days the building serves various other functions including the interests of the various Scandinavian communities in the Liverpool area, working together as LiNC. See the various flags outside. Co-ordinated Nordic events include film showings and a Christmas bazaar, this coming weekend I think(?).

Finnish School days are alternate Saturdays, with classes from 2 to 4ish,…

Suomen kielen oppitunti

I've promised Mark to write a blog post since, let's see... last March. I'm planning to write about bilingualism but, meanwhile, I'm posting this link which my cousin has just sent me. It's heart-warming to see how many people across the world persist in learning this amazing language.

Warning: contains very strong language.

Stories of Nightwish fans learning Finnish:


Manchester Consular Association 2017 Annual Dinner Dance

From Mr Chris Rostron:
I wish to invite the whole Finnish community to join me, as President of the Manchester Consular Association, to the Annual Dinner Dance on 17th November 2017.
All the local Lord Mayors, Mayors, Lord Lieutenant and fellow consuls will be there and The Finnish Ambassador will be guest of honour. He adds that the cost is likely to be £60, however sponsors such as Finnish businesses would be very welcome, as a way to reduce that figure. Also, the date should be regarded as provisional at the moment, the 24th is a possibility.

Right: Ms Päivi Luostarinen, Finnish Ambassador to the UK.

100 to 100 - and 40!

Nyt - right now - it is 100 days until Finland's Centenary Year kicks off. I've just found that out on the Suomi 100 website, and I recommend that you bookmark it and visit there to keep in touch with what's being planned for the nation's celebrations.

But we in Manchester have even more to celebrate, because next year marks a full forty - 40 - years since our suomikoulu was established in the city, the oldest in the North West and one of the oldest in the UK. One or two of our founders are still here, actively involved in the life of our school.

So we have a lot to think about!
We're definitely going to have a bit of an event later in the year, hopefully staging some special happenings. Here are a couple of them, fun competitions for you to sink your artistic teeth into, which you may already know about if you've visited the school recently, or read about on our Facebook page.

First - how about designing an anniversary celebration mug?! We need your ideas rig…

A Little Bit of Mountainside

In 2017 Finland will celebrate 100 years of independence - itsenäisyys. Finland's Independence Day, Itsenäisyyspäivä, is 6th December. Like other Finnish schools, the Finnish School in Manchester will be joining in, and we have a number of ideas and projects being conjured up. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for more news :)

So, what do you think of this as a birthday present? The picture, right, is grabbed from Google Maps. Doesn't seem like much to get excited about, does it? It shows a small part of the border between Norway and Finland; there is a proposal in Norway to move it a few metres further north and therefore gift Finland a fraction of a square kilometre of barren mountainside. Which is a rather downbeat way of putting it. However, on that border is Finland's highest point, at 1,324m above sea level, and a while ago, an imaginative Norwegian surveyor realised that a minor border adjustment would put the peak of Halditsohkka inside Finland. You can read more he…


Picture dictionaries! Although a dictionary is an essential purchase for a language learner, there's a lot to be said for getting a picture dictionary as well, so here are some thoughts about that, with special regard to what's available in Finnish.

1. Tuhat sanaa suomeksi
(A Thousand Words in Finnish) pub. Kustannusosakeyhtiö Nemo, 2012
This seems to be a licensed version of the well known and very successful Usborne 'thousand words' series, so the words and scenes are generic ie. not specific to Finland. But it's very well done and ranges over most of the themes and categories you could want, even though the artwork is obviously angled more towards younger learners. You can visit the
website and listen to the words spoken by a native speaker.

Picture dictionaries can't list the sheer number of words standard dictionaries of equivalent size can, but they have other virtues, and also they can still feature a vocabulary sufficient …

Helsinki Noir

While that title makes you wonder why we haven't seen as much Finnish-style bloody murder on our television screens as from the rest of the Nordic countries - come on Finland, you can do this in your sleep! - you might like to visit this unusual exhibition at the Amos Anderson Art Museum if you're in Helsinki sometime in 2016.

This is the cover of the little book you're given when you enter the exhibition. From the back cover:
Sumuisen ja kostean marraskuun lopulla löytyy Kaivopuiston rannasta hyisen meren syleilystä nuoren naisen ruumis...In the final days of a damp, misty November, the body of a young woman is found in the icy embrace of the waters off Kaivopuisto Park... The book is slim and anyway divided between Finnish, Swedish and English texts, and is easy enough to follow while you progress at normal speed through the exhibition. It's a decent read, nicely written by Susanna Luojus.

There are a couple of spookily atmospheric 'installations' at the beginn…

Salmiakki jäätelöä

It doesn't take long for a new visitor to Finland to discover salmiakki. That stuff which looks like licorice but with a really strange taste. Watch someone eating a bit for the first time: you may see some dramatic facial expressions, and hear strong vocal reactions such as 'What is that?!?' The fact is, not all Finns like it. Shocking, but true. While some foreigners - prepare to be shocked again - take an immediate liking to it. And even though it's found elsewhere, in places like Sweden, there's no doubt it's very characteristic of Finland. If you somehow wandered into our school and didn't know it was the Finnish School, you'd spot a hefty clue in the fact that a lot of the sweets on sale in our shop are salmiakki in one form or another.

Salmiakki itself is ammonium chloride, which sounds like sodium chloride, and it would, because it is another salt. Hence it's often called salty licorice. I've been caught out by that in the past. Once, I …

There's a Finnish School?!

Moi! No niin...

Here's the Manchester Finnish School's website, newly worked over as a blog, and here's our first post. My name's Mark, I'm English, and I've been coming to the Finnish School for *cough* some years. I figured that while the site needs to provide information on classes and school dates and such, we should really use the blog to celebrate why we're here, to feature all the things, big and small, which we enjoy about Finland. Culture, places, events; after a while there should be the sort of variety of posts here which will tickle your curiosity and maybe spark some interest in this very cool country.

What better way to start than to talk about the Finnish School itself?

My interest began with a Finnish band I got into. I saw them twice in Manchester; they're long since departed. They sang in English, but I encountered the language on a fan forum and was intrigued. When the forum's lady boss explained a bit about it, including such nug…