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The Northland's language gem

It's not that easy to learn another language when you are well past your schooling.

For five years, I've watched my husband, Rod Walli, learn Finnish, his parents' first language. Motivated by the desire to speak with non-English-speaking cousins of his generation in Finland, he plunged into every route he could find.

Down the road from us, at our Villa Vista-Cardinal Court for elders, he convened a Finnish language table, learning from those who had spoken it as children at home. More recently, he's been watching films in Finnish with no English subtitles. Later this month, he'll be spending...