Saturday, January 12, 2019

Laulu tulipunaisesta kukasta - Johannes Linnankoski

Image result for laulu tulipunaisesta kukasta artemira
Artemira publising, Easy Finnish Reading
selkokirja translation; Anna Mertanen
Finnish Classic. Yli taso. Questions and exercises.

STORY: Originally written in 1905, this book tells the tale of young Olavi. Instead of settling down and staying in his home village, he has the urge to wander restlessly from town to town. He seeks out jobs such as lumberjack, where he risks his life performing dangerous tasks. His restlessness also applies to his relationships, where he falls in love with a young girl from each town and proceeds to leave her as he wanders to the next town on his journey. 

This is considered a Finnish classic, and it reads like one. It is historical, and is filled with old folklore, beliefs and customs and dense in vocabulary.

LANGUAGE: This book is 88 pages (plus extra pages afterwards) and contains short chapters, ranging in length from 1-6 pages. On each page are selected words in italics, and at the bottom of each page are definitions of those words, with the definition also in Finish. The book is split into three sections and there are discussion questions at the end of each section. At the back of the book are exercises related to vocabulary and grammar. The answers to the questions and exercises can be found easily on the publishers website at www.artemira.eu. 

This book is rated by the publisher as C, Vaativa, around 1800 words. As a selkokirja, this is on the longer side, making it ideal for a C level reader and for a B2.2 seeking to make the transition to C level. The grammar exercises in the back are around B1-B2 level, however the vocabulary may be a bit higher level. A C level reader will learn new words easily by reading the definitions at the bottom of each page, but a B1-B2 level reader may still struggle with some vocabulary in the definitions and need to look some words up in a translated dictionary.

My recommendation is B2.2 / C.

CHARACTERS: As our protagonist, we follow the story from Olavi's perspective as he wanders from town to town, meeting young girl after young girl. Instead of real names, each girl is given the name of a flower, reflecting her personality and role in Olavi's life. 

Photos of the flowers that the young girls are named after can be found on the answer key on the publisher's website. 

WHY YOU SHOULD READ THIS BOOK: This is a great way to delve into the world of Finnish classic literature. While it has a slow start, the pacing of the rest of the book is quite fast, and can be read in a reasonably short time. The extra features of vocabulary definitions, discussion questions and exercises make this appealing to the selkokirja reader, who will benefit from reading this style of "Easy Finnish Reading" book. The original book has also been made into movies (1938/1971). Highly recommend. 5/5

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