On May 17th we had our last meeting. We decided to grab a bite in Bar Burrito and just enjoy each other’s company for the last time. The food was actually really good, I do recommend the place. The company was even better. This EOTO -course has been quite a journey and the best thing that came out of that is the friendship. I might not be able to speak fluent German, but at least I’ve learned a lot and now have a good basis on which to build. In my opinion that is good enough and I just need to continue studying.
Thank you Amelie, hope to see you soon somewhere 🙂
We had our 9th meeting on May 2nd. After thinking which topic we hadn’t covered yet we came to the conclusion that we might need to go through some vocabulary regarding sports. The World Cup of ice hockey was just going on, so we decided to watch a game. We watched the match France against Germany. Luckily Germany won in the end.
I have never been into sports and therefore I noticed I might need to improve my vocabulary about sports also in English. However, we managed to cover the basics to be able to talk about the topic. I’m not quite sure if I taught the correct terms in Finnish, as ‘pakki’ is more of a slang word than the correct one ‘puolustaja’. But at least I tried.
On April 30th we had our 8th meeting. We decided to watch a new Finnish movie called ‘Big Game’. It is a movie about the president of United States ending up in Lapland and about a Finnish boy who tries to live up to his father’s expectations. Compared to the other Finnish movies, this is actually a good one. Samuel L. Jackson is the president and some other American actors are also in the movie. Therefore the movie is partly in English and partly in Finnish. In my opinion the movie gives quite a harsh image of the Finnish: ‘You have to be tough in Finland’ says the boy. Oh well, I kind of question that statement.
However, it was a great movie to watch and I would recommend it. Just please make sure to not be mistaken that all the Finns should know how to hunt or that we live in the woods.
We had our seventh meeting on April 23rd in O’Connells. There was a stand-up show called ‘True Finns’ which concentrated basically in making fun of Finnish habits and stereotyphical manners. The elections had just been on the last week so they spoke quite a lot about politics and then later on about Vappu which was just around the corner.
In my opinion this was quite a funny way to learn about Finnish culture and habits. The hosts were good and show was surprisingly funny actually. In the end I was happy that we chose to go there. Comparing then Finnish and German cultures based on stand-up was easier than I expected and it was good to talk about the cultural differences for a change.
The language is a part of the culture and therefore in my opinion it is good to understand and know something about the way of life to be able to have an understanding where the language is coming from. For example, in Finnish there are several words for snow and we can name ‘types of snow’ in more words than in other languages.
We both had quite busy schedules and some upcoming deadlines for other courses, so we decided to meet quickly at TAMK library in the afternoon on April 1st.
As the last time we had concentrated on Finnish, now it was time to concentrate on German. I study tourism and therefore wanted to learn the most important vocabulary and sentences that I might need to use in a hotel reception or in a travel agency or airport information desk when encountering German customers. We made a list of these sentences for me to learn by heart.
For me this was the most important meeting so far. We covered so many different situations I might pump in to in my future career. My goal was to learn the most important expressions for customer service situations and now we had listed them all.
The biggest issue I found problematic was the difference between ‘Finnish politeness’ and German way of being polite. It is said that when Finnish people speak English, they sometimes sound rude as they are not used to using polite words as much as British do for example. I noticed that I have the same problem in German. The difference in formal language between these two languages is quite big. I really need to actually learn how to be polite. However, Amelie made me feel a bit better by saying that usually one can save the situation by smiling and that the customer will usually understand that I’m not native speaker. At least I try to speak their language, if that’s not polite I don’t know what is :D.
Our fifth meeting took place in Café Europa. We had a nice cup of coffee and decided to concentrate on Finnish this time. Amelie had some homework I was able to help her with.
She needed to write a text about her family. She already remembered the words like sister, brother and parents, but then creating the sentences was the tricky part. Finnish grammar is quite hard to learn, and as I experienced also really hard to teach and explain. At least I had hard time trying to explain why it’s sometimes -ssa or -ssä, or why one needs to add some endings to the words. One never thinks about these things when one is so used to just speak and write the way one should. It was really challenging and I felt like I should actually study some grammar myself.
However, even though my skills of teaching were proved to be unimpressive, we were able to get the homework done and hopefully it was good enough for the Finnish teacher as well.
On March 17th we had planned to make a dinner together but the weather was so sunny and unexpectly warm, I suggested that we could take a walk instead. So we did.
We walked for over an hour around the city learning how to give directions in German and in Finnish. I was quite happy to learn that many names of the places are quite similar in German and in English. Also, giving basic directions was fairly easy to learn. We also named some things we saw on the way just to improve vocabulary once again.
In my opinion it is easier to learn when the weather is beautiful. As at least it has an impact on my mood and motivation.
On March 7th we had our third meeting in a really international setting. We had a lovely group of exchange students from many countries around the table and had some pancakes together. I could have a great opportunity to practice my German with them, but for some reason it felt uncomfortable to try. I know I should just try regardless the mistakes I would make. I know… But it is so damn hard to start speaking.
Afterwards we used the resources of the Internet to keep on studying. Amelie showed me a kind of German soap opera / educational series on Youtube, which I could use to improve my vocabulary and also pronounciation. In addition, the show was actually also kind of funny. I tried to find something similar for learning Finnish, but most of the videos I found on Youtube weren’t that helpful. Unless one wants to learn all the swear words…
Therefore, we used other material for Finnish. We translated a story about Finnish people swimming in ‘avanto’ that was found on www.uuno.fi site. This once again teached about the crazy habits of the Finns along with the vocabulary.
A new problem I found out today was that the German language is filled with ’empty words’. They use words like ‘noch’ or ‘denn’ in sentences for no apparent reason and without a real meaning in a certain sentence. I mean, the sentence would mean the same, and just be shorter, without those words, but for some reason they are added in there. That makes no sense to me. But after thinking about it, I think we do have similar words in Finnish also and there are some in English as well.
Our second EOTO-meeting took place in the public library on February 13th. The idea was to find some books, like pictionaries or easy-reads, to have some material for improving the vocabulary. I went through quite a memory lane back to my childhood as we tried to find the right section among the children’s books. Finally, we found some really good ones like 1000 words in Finnish and “Opi saksaa Akun ja Mikin kanssa”. Especially this ‘learn German with Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse’ -book was great as it was useful for both of us.
This time we went trough some vocabulary. We leaned some words used in kitchen, some about street views or city life, also some verbs. The main focus was on pronounciation. The most horrible sentence was found in the Donald Duck book that had so many S -letters I wasn’t able to say it, just horrible! It isn’t possible for a Finnish to get it right.
Amelie found also her new favourite Finnish word: Mahdotonta! It’s actually quite useful as one can respond to almost anything with only that one word ‘impossible’. However, in my opinion she sounded like an old lady when she repeated it over and over again. Her pronounciation is getting better 🙂
I think the books were useful and a good way to have some material to rely on and to use maybe also in future meetings as well.
We are at the end.
For our last meeting we went to Turku. It was a long time I wanted to visit this city and finally I had the opportunity to go there and with a great company. Antoine and me, we went there with two friends of us and, also because of the weather, we spent a really nice day.
We went to Turku by Antoine’s car and we had the idea to put the GPS in French. I had to listen to it in French and tell him the directions in order to verify if I understood well or not.
On our way back we put the GPS in Italian and Antoine followed the directions without any help of me.
After walking a bit through the city center we went to an Italian restaurant. Not because I’m from Italy but, honestly, for me Italian food is the best 🙂
The name of the restaurant was “Trattoria Romana” and it was really nice because they decorated the restaurant as a really Italian one.
Talk about fate… the waitress had Italian origin so she could speak Italian. I asked her to talk to Antoine in Italian because he was learning it and so she did it.
For Antoine was the first time he spoke with someone else (except me) in Italian and I have to admit that he was really good!
The experience of each one teach one was useful and funny! We spent many days together and we enjoyed them! I’m a bit sad because it’s already over but I’m happy that we have the opportunity to had part of this because we knew better each other and we are real friends.
I’m sure I will see him in Milano and Paris! 🙂