Monthly Archives: May 2017

Throwback to series S1E04 !

Moro !

For this 4th session we decided to focus on some useful verb, it’s also one of the most difficult lesson to teach for me, cause there is a lot of rules and groups and other things that doesn’t make any sens in french but we have to use 😀

We went to Europa coffee for this lesson to be the most confortable possible.

Capture d’écran 2017-05-31 à 17.45.39 Capture d’écran 2017-05-31 à 17.45.30

At the end of the session we tried to use these verbs to make sentences and talk a little in each other language to get used to the prononciation.

throwback series S1E03 !

Hello, moi, Bonjour !

For this 3rd session, Ulla and myself went to the Y-kampus as it was easier for us to meet each other after school.

In this session we focused on the Basic vocabulary :

  • Pronouns

Me = je (french) =  minä (finnish)
you = tu (french) = sinä (finnish)
it/he/she = Il/elle (french) hän = (finnish)
we = on/nous (french) = me  (finnish)
you = vous (french) = te (finnish)
they = Ils (french) = he (finnish)

  • Colors

white = blanc  = valkoinen
red = rouge = punainen
blue = bleu = sininen
yellow = jaune = keltainen
green = vert = vihreä
grey = gris=  harmaa
black = noir = musta
pink = rose = vaaleanpunainen, pinkki
purple = violet = violetti

  • Body part

head part

head = tête = pää
Face = visage = kasvot
nose = nez = nenä
mouth = bouche = suu
ear = oreille = korva
cheeks = joue = poski or posket
hair = cheveux = hiukset
eye = singular : oeil, plural : yeux = silmä or silmät
eye-brow= sourcil = kulmakarva
eyelash = cil(s) = ripsi ripset


hand = main = käsi
finger = doigt = sormi
wrest =poignet = ranne
arm = bras = käsivarsi
elbow= coude = kyynärpää
shoulder =épaule = olkapää
neck = cou = kaula (back of the neck = niska)
breast = poitrine = rinta
belly = ventre = maha
ass = fesse = perse
leg = jambe = jalka
tight = hanche = reisi
knees = genoux = polvet
foot = pied = jalka
ankle = cheville = nilkka
back = dos = selkä

5th Meeting – Walking Around the City Centre

Why should you always meet indoors when you can walk around and talk about what you see? That’s what Nadiia and I thought and so our fifth meeting was outside. We met at Keskustori and started walking from there.

What comes first to mind when you try to think of subject to talk about? The weather! At that time there was typical Finnish winter with rain and slush but I also taught some nicer weather words such as aurinkoinen and lämmin (in Finland those are quite rare phenomena, especially in autumn, winter and spring). I learned that “loska” (or some word that is pronounced like it) means something totally different in Polish. Of course when you don’t write these down instantly you forget them… But I assure you it was funny!

We walked past the Tammerkoski and I told Nadiia about students’ Vappu (Labor day) traditions. Then I taught here how to say different directions in Finnish:


(Isn’t this cute, I made it with paint)

After the walk we headed to the Living Room to get some snacks. There I repeated the words I had taught for her and we also talked about Russian language.

All in all, it was a nice day (except the weather).

4th Meeting – Russian Question Words

This meeting we decided to go somewhere else than TAMK where our last meetings had been. So we met at Linna, which is a part of the University of Tampere. It was hard to find a place quiet enough but that still wasn’t in the library area where you actually have to be quiet. After some searching we found a nice sofa downstairs.

Like the last meetings we just went with the flow and Nadiia got to teach me some Russian question words (and some other random words that came to mind). At this point I might add that Russian isn’t Nadiia’s mother tongue but she really speaks and writes it well (perhaps because Russian is very related to Ukranian?). She might say “это просто” but I really think “это сложно”. Fortunately the question words were quite easy and I wasn’t so overwhelmed like the last time. I think it’s partly because before this meeting I was listening some Russian pop music while sitting in the bus and “got into the mood”. Okay, most of the time I had no idea what they were singing about but, hey, didn’t we all listen to English music as kids and tried to sing along without knowing the actual words or their meanings? In the long term it really helps and you start to understand!

After the lecture Nadiia told me what the songs’ names meant in English and, like I thought, most of them was about partying and love like the English ones (some of them were even better). When taking the bus home and listening to the playlist I started to recognize some single words. Yeah, I’m progressing!

Vegan food

Johanna had invited me to have a meal at her place, so she could show me some good Finnish style vegan food. I was intrerested because I am a carnivorists and I had tried some bad vegan food. She would like to change my oppions of the vegan food.

I had meal with Johanna and her husband. We had some nice talks during the meal. Johanna had cooked many different types of the vegan food. There were some patatoes with liitle taste which was my favorate vegan type. There were also some vegan food which looks like meat pie, but it made of soybean. The drinks were also soy milk. This milk tasted good, and maybe it could be metter if it was more sweet.

We had a nice meal together, and I also asked her husband how does it feel when you have a vegan wife. He said mainly difficult on finding the food and restaurant:)

3rd Meeting – Teaching Finnish

Hello again!

We were going to donate some blood with my friends but discovered at the Red Cross Blood Donation Service that on Wednesdays it closes at 16:00 already. Well, at least we tried, just have to try again with some better luck next time. But this is why it took me this long to write this post.

So, back to business, on our third meeting with Nadiia I was supposed to teach her some Finnish. Before the meeting I looked through the Finnish study books and frankly I was kind of terrified. It is easy to speak Finnish and to know the grammar because it’s my mother tongue but try to teach it to someone who doesn’t know anything about it.  There are some rools, yes, but I also discovered that there are soooo many exceptions. Like conjugating basic substantives: koira-koirat, kissa-kissat, sana-sanat ← this is very simple, isn’t it? Well, try these: kukka-kukat, äiti-äidit, lehti-lehdet, kahvinkeitin-kahvinkeittimet. And then try to explain what words conjugate in what way. I mean, as a native speaker you just know (okay, we did learn some of it at elementary school, but still).

Well, it turned out that Nadiia was also taking a Finnish basics class in the university so we skipped the hellos and those things that she had already learned there. We looked through one of the Finnish study books and I said that she could tell me if there is something particular she wanted to learn from there. That’s when we came up with the months and weekdays. Thank god they are so simple, I mean if you want to say on what day you are doing something, just add -na in the end of the word:

Maanantaina, tiistaina, keskiviikkona

Also the months are very easy. If you want to tell which month you were born, just add -ssa:

Tammikuussa, helmikuussa, maaliskuussa

Finnish weekdays doesn’t really mean anything (at least in the common language) like in some languages. But some of the months have different meanings. The word “kuu” itself means “moon” and for example (freely translated) helmikuu (February) is “pearl moon”, heinäkuu (July) is “hay moon”, kesäkuu (June) is “summer moon” and joulukuu (December) is “christmas moon”. Kind of funny when you think it that way.

That’s all folks for this time!

FIN-JAP Meeting V: Finnish History Hour

As the Spring season intensified, the girls and I found it increasingly difficult to find time for meetings, but nonetheless we met up at Hannele’s place for a quick Finnish history & culture discussion. Being millenials, this of course meant staring at YouTube videos from a small screen.

We started out from the basics, all the way from the origins of the Uralic peoples. I explained how Finnish is from an entirely different language family than most of the languages in the entire Western world and that we have very little to do with Scandinavians other than the fact that we’ve lived by them for some time now (and naturally, have thus taken in a lot of cultural influences). I also went through some material about other Uralic languages still spoken today and even showed this Y-DNA haplogroup migration map to explain how a Uralic-speaking group of people eventually got here. So, in other words, I did my best to bore the girls to death with my insights into different groups of Uralic people and their shared history.

Then, of course, Hannele and I told Aoi about all the usual Finland history stuff (most of which, we noticed, even we had forgotten; YouTube was helpful with all the pre-1900s stuff). This video luckily did most of the job for us. After that, we went one layer deeper and talked about how Tampere originally started to flourish as an industrial town where factories brought in lots of workers from all around. We were in Tampella, after all, a part of the city named after a combination of the city name and the Finnish word for flax (Tampere + pellava = Tampella).

It was a rather chaotic, unplanned setting where we just went from YouTube video to another, desperate in trying to keep some sort of structure in our ramblings. But that’s what made it fun and interesting! Fun and interesting enough to justify doing this another time with Japanese history and culture, which we did! More about that on the next post.

FIN-JAP Meeting IV: The Games Museum

As some of you may know, Vapriikki (the museum center of Tampere) is free between 3 and 6 pm on Fridays. Hannele, Aoi and I took advantage of this fine benefit and went there for a quick tour of the new games museum. Video games seemed like a cool Finnish-Japanese theme, as both countries are known to be good at making at least some sorts of electronic games.

Picture very much unrelated
Picture very much unrelated

The space we spent the most time in was the small arcade room with all the cool cabinets like Outrun, Puzzle Bobble and Defender. I was impressed by Hannele’s pinball skills. Aoi told me that in Japan, arcades are still common in shopping malls and such, whereas in Finland they are nearly extinct. I told her that there is one really good arcade in Helsinki, and that that arcade focuses mainly on Japanese arcade machines. (I highly recommend Sugoi for anyone actually reading this.)

Pew pew
Pew pew

Some other cool things at the museum were these living room exhibits where they had constructed a room for each decade of electronic gaming in Finland and a huge wall of dfferent gaming consoles from these eras (most of them Japanese). What was surprising to me was that Aoi had never seen the Western model of the NES (or Famicom as it is known in Japan). This didn’t stop her from having a pretty good handle of the controller when playing Super Mario Bros in the 90s living room, though.

[Finnish/French] – Clothes

This time we wanted to change our habits and meet in a different place. We went to H&M to learn the names of clothing in Finnish and French.
For the exercice to be easier we had written the vocabulary and colors on a paper.


I had learned the colors at school therefore I remembered some words however she learned me how to use the plural. If the word ended with a voyel in singular, in plural we have to add a “-t”. For instance -ä becomes -ät and -i/-it. Another example singular/plural :  -nen/-set .

Even if Nina knows some French, she didn’t know lots of word, only the basics one like “chaussettes” (socks) or “pantalon” (trousers)

After learning all the words we created a small translation test to see if you have understood.

It was an instructive meeting because now I am more confortable during shopping.

2nd Meeting – Rehearsing Russian

Hello for not so long time ago!

One day in February was time for our second meeting. We had planned that in every other time Nadiia would teach me Russian and every other time I would teach her Finnish. We decided to start with Russian.

When Nadiia started to speak Russian for me for the first time, I think my face was something like this:


I hadn’t realized how much of the Russian language had slipped from my mind. Though, as I said before, I can’t make any sense when Russian-speaking people are speaking Russian. I mean I can understand Spanish people and they talk really fast but Russian has so many different pronunciatons and everything just sounds the same.

Finally, when she started writing words on the computer I was like “ooo, now I get it”. Surprisingly I still remembered most of the cyrillic alphabet, so there was at least something positive. We rehearsed the hellos and howareyous (Здравствуйте, как дела?) and the numbers from 1 to 10:

ноль, один, два, три, четыре, пять, шесть, семь, восемь, девять and десять.

Nadiia also taught me some new words, like the colours. For your entertainment (and for my rehearsal), here are some of the basic ones:

голубой красный зеленый желтый черный белый (white) серый оранжевый

Somehow we also started talking about drinks (maybe because Nadiia was drinking tea and I was drinking Pepsi). I don’t really care for hot drinks like coffee or tea so she taught me to say: я предпочитю холодные напитки = I prefer cold drinks.

Then I noted and we started wondering that Finnish language doesn’t have a word like prefer. You have to say it in a longer way, freely translated: “I like better/more”. I as a Finnish native started also thinking that it is odd.

All in all this meeting was a good one. I started getting the touch to Russian language again and we also got to know each other better. Although, afterwards I was really exhausted for all of the new information. I mean, usually I’m really good at learning new languages. For example I learned Swedish and Spanish quite easily but Russian is giving me a bit of a headache even just with the basics. Well, let’s see what this is going to be! 😀