There are 4 books in this series. They are Alkeistaso 1, Alkeistaso 2, Jaksotaso 1 and Jaksotaso 2. These books can be very useful but they are very “straight to the point”. For example, the verb-types are all explained in a page and a bit, giving just one example of each type (not to mention the fact that Kangasniemi has classified verb-types 4,5 and 6 all as the same type). But the main reason that this series isn’t further up the list is because there are no pictures and no audio CD. Pictures and sounds make learning easier, that’s a simple fact.
If you’re in a hurry to learn Finnish and you have time to study for at least a couple of hours every day and you consider yourself to be a very intelligent person, I’d definitely recommend these books. If you’d like to take your time and not confuse yourself, leave these well alone.
My verdict: 6/10 (unless you’re really good with languages, in which case 8/10)
The are 2 books in this series. I found them very useful later on in my studies once I’d learnt quite a lot of Finnish already. The second one is probably the best book for learning to use all of the participles and plural forms. There are many useful and fun pieces of text, as well as pictures and diagrams that really help to explain the more difficult aspects of Finnish grammar. If you’re studying from one of the other books on this list, I recommend that you buy these books also, or at least the second one because it includes some important stuff that’s not in some other books.
My verdict: 7/10
You’ve probably all heard of the Hyvin Menee 2 book series. I like it. It has a good structure. It’s separated into chapters, each containing new elements of Finnish grammar and useful pieces of texts that put these elements into use. The reason it didn’t make my number 1 or 2 spots, is because in my opinion, it’s not as well organised as the top 2 books on this list. It’s contents are just not quite as nice to look at, and that can make all the difference. Also, look at the price! It will cost you over 200 € to study from these books with audio, and that’s just ridiculous.
A real plus for this series though, is that you can buy a vocabulary book for it with all of the books vocabulary translated into English or Russian. This would make the first couple of months of studying much easier.
My verdict: 8/10
There are currently 3 books in this series and a 4th on it’s way next year. The debate of which is better Suomen mestari or Hyvin menee, is one that is widely discussed on the forums. For me, it’s no contest. Suomen mestari is in many ways, the perfect Finnish textbook. Everything is explained so precisely, using examples and diagrams. It’s colourful, well structured and, well, just fun to learn from overall. Also, there will soon be a fourth, so perhaps we can expect the series to include pretty much everything that we need.
The only down side is the price. 1 book plus a cd is 122,80 €, so that’s 491,20 € for the lot… whaaat!?!
This makes me glad that I studied Finnish on a course and got the first 2 books for free.
My verdict: 9/10
The point of this article was to help you to find the right book for teaching yourself Finnish at home. Well here it is! Ignore the rest of this list. This is the one. It’s cheap, it’s simple, the CD comes free with the book. It has all of the grammar found in the Hyvin menee series in one book plus more. It contains lauseenvastikkeet, partisiipit, infinitiivit basically everything from the very basics to the seriously advanced. Texts, pictures, diagrams, vocabulary, grammar, exercises. There is so much in this one book. It’s simply the best Finnish textbook out there, and look at the price!
My verdict: 10/10