Oy! I am still studying Finnish. On many (not all) nights, I listen to Selkouutiset on my computer My vocabulary changes with world events. After one week I might be familiar with all the words dealing with flooding in Pakistan. (tulva/flood)+(apu/aid)=tulva-apua. Another week, I am heavily into EU economic discussions. I am following the rise in membership of the True Finns party and the fall of Finnish interest rates. I am woefully ignorant of the grammar, but the good, slow-talking folks at YLE.fi try to use all forms of a word.
Some nights I skip Selkouutiset and jump into Finnish with my daughter. We either watch one of our Muumilaakso dvds or do a YouTube search for Pokemon dubbed in Finnish. Nothing makes my daughter happier than Finnish Pokemon.
As my vocabulary grows, my respect for anyone who can actually speak Finnish increases. Take, for example, my new linguist hero Medo!
Who on earth is Medo, you may ask. I don't blame you. I had no idea who he was until my husband came home at lunch to watch Medo's last game for his Helsinki team. There was even a Medo-cam following Medo's every move on the field.
Medo is a foreign-born Finnish citizen and a Finnish footballer. This means he is eligible to play for Finland and that he has passed a Finnish language test. Somehow, it seems easier to play international football than to pass a Finnish language exam.
Medo is the affectionate fan nickname for Mohamed Kamara. Born in Sierra Leone, Medo came to Finland to play for Sierra Leone in the U-17 FIFA world championships in 2003. You have only to look at Sierra Leone on a map to know there are hurdles to overcome in life harder than learning Finnish.
Long years of civil war in the west African nation left Medo an orphan. When his U-17 team, the Sierra Stars, arrived in Finland from their war torn country, they were probably overwhelmed by the contrasts. From chaos and violence to the orderly life that Finns enjoy.
I would like to learn more about how Medo and his teammates escaped after the tournament. Finland has very strict asylum laws and they were young teens fleeing their handlers for an uncertain future.
Medo has just signed a 3 year contract with FK Partizan, a Serbian team. I wonder if he will add Serbian to his language repertoire. And, just yesterday, Finland lost to Moldova, 2-0. Medo wasn't on the team, but if Finland doesn't make it into the European Championships we might have to hunt for news of the Serbian league in order to follow his career.