Our Finnish child knows the letters by name. Also, when hearing the sounds the letter makes, they almost always can name the letter associated to the sound. They has not figured out how syllables work, yet. They shows a great interest in letters and writing, occasionally naming letters one-by-one in a children's book we are reading, for example, and often writing the names of familiar people both with pen and electronic devices.

For context, at syllable level, every letter is always pronounced in exactly the same way regardless of the other letters in the syllable. (There are few exceptions at word level, and maybe some at syllable level that I have missed, but they are certainly rare.)

Typical Finnish syllables: ka, si, noo, äi, etc.

What would be a good way of helping the child to figure out how to pronounce a syllable? What about teaching them to recognize a syllable that has been pronounced?

  • Ekapeli tries to teach her syllables, but it is not working yet.
  • I think that starting with two-letter syllables such as te, ri, etc. is the way to go, since that is the typical form of syllables in Finnish. But maybe I am wrong with this.

1 Answer 1


One of the most effective techniques developed in teaching syllables to Russian children is Zaitsev's tables. The same approach was successfully used in Ukrainian and Kazakh languages. I assume it can be adapted to Finnish.

Nikolay Zaitsev spent his life teaching Russian to foreign students. His approach was to print a large poster containing all possible combinations of 2-letter syllables possible in Russian language. All syllables that begin with the same consonant are ordered in a column. Columns for different consonants are ordered in a row. For practical reasons instead of a single row of 20 consonants, it's printed as 2 row with 10 consonants each.

A "lesson" for a 3-4 year old child is 5-10 minutes long. A child is asked to read syllables either vertically (all combinations for the same consonants), or horizontally (all syllables ending with the same vowel. A teacher/parent is typically picking syllables asking a child to read them. The lesson can be repeated daily.

Here is an example of how Zaitsev's table for Russian language looks like: Zaitsev's table for Russian language

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