Finnish to A2 in 30 Days

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In February, I participated in the Accelerated Challenge learning Finnish with some polyglot friends of mine. We chose Finnish because it was a language none of us had ever tried, and we also hadn't studied any related language before, it was an even playing field. The idea of the challenge was to spend exactly 45 hours within 30 days on this language, each using whatever methods we thought best, and then to have an exam and see where we stood.

Real-life interfered and we had to lower the goal to 35 hours, but it was still an enlightening experience. For the exam, we managed to enlist Lari Kotilainen, who teaches Finnish at the university level and is a member of the Finnish National Board of Education examining foreigners' Finnish level. (Thank you, Lari!) He gave us a grammar test, a reading comprehension test and a writing test via e-mail and a spoken language test via Skype. His evaluation surprised us: he said that we were about as good as students who had completed a 1-year university course, about level A2 by CEFR standards. Now, this is an inofficial appraisal, not the same as sitting an official A2-level exam, but for 35 hours of study, it's an unheard-of result!

Here's a video I recorded of myself trying out some Finnish, 20.5 study hours into the challenge:

This video can be found on Youtube in my channel.

You can find a detailed breakdown of how much time I spent on which activity or on which day on my 6wc bot page.