All posts by Emma Prusti

Tenth meeting: well wishes and language thoughts

The last meeting we had I helped Inna with her homework with an article about wells. She had some problems with understanding it and I promised to help her with it. We talked about what she understood about the article and some of the most difficult words. We went through the article chapter by chapter and discussed each chapter was about. We also talked about some of the words that were used in a different meaning they usually are in Finnish.

I feel like this course has given me so much more than just basic understanding in Russian as a language and about its culture. I have started to think about Finnish and how we speak it as a native language, as well as the grammar and the word meanings. I also think I have started to think about languages in general, as a way to communicate in different ways. They are meant to be like that, ways for us to communicatebut I have started to think them as something else also. I’m not the best person with grammar or spelling, and I’ll probably never be but there is so much more to languages and that is what makes them so interesting.

Ninth meeting: The funny cabbage

As a continuation of the theme from the last Russian lesson on which Inna taught me different verbs used in kitchen, this time we studied relevant ingredients in Russian cuisine. She also taught me some dishes that are the most common in Russian cuisine. We had an interesting discussion about the differences between the Finnish and the Russian cuisines, and about the food culture in both of our countries in general. Both of us being chefs it was really interesting and helped me to understand more about the Russian culture and eating habits.

 

We also talked and laughed about how both Finnish and Russian use different vegetable in spoken language to imply different things. Like in Russia cabbage means also cash but in Finnish we might use the Finnish word for cabbage to talk about someone’s head.

Eight meeting: the masters (or at least speakers) of Finnish

We continued with the Finnish grammar rules from the Suomen Mestarit 3. This time we mostly focused on the passive form and how it is used. We also went through the tenses and positive and negative forms when used in passive. Transitive and intransitive verbs were first pretty difficult to understand even for me but after some googling I managed to understand the concept and could explain it to Inna, maybe. 😀 Also we went through the imperative in singular and plural forms.

 

After starting this course and starting to teach Inna some Finnish I have been thinking about how we speak Finnish and how the grammar actually works. It has been interesting to think about my own native language from this angle. I think I’m in pretty different a situation than one normally would be in Each one teach one course because Inna has studied Finnish for years and she already speaks really good Finnish. I have done my best to teach her something new and I would like to think I have managed at it.

Seventh meeting: the weekdays don’t seem to end

This time we met at the school library to study some more Russian. After the last lesson Inna asked me what I’d like to learn next, and considering that I study Hospitality Management in TAMK I naturally wanted to learn kitchen and cooking vocabulary. We studied verbs on the last Russian lesson and Inna wanted to show me how to conjugate verbs so she took example verbs like to cook and to mix and showed me how to conjugate them. After that she made me do it. In Russian verbs conjugate by person but I think it is so much easier than the way they conjugate in Finnish.

We also studied the names of the weekdays because we realized we haven’t gone through them yet. We noticed they don’t have similar endings there usually are in languages. Both me and Inna study many different languages but neither one of us could come up with another language with similar situation. The only one was Finnish with every other day having –tai ending except keskiviikko (Wednesday).

Sixth meeting: the difficulty of speaking

 

On our sixth lesson we worked on Inna’s Finnish speech about working in the lab. She got it as her homework for her Finnish language for foreigners course. This time we talked more in English than we usually do because the text where she translated it from was in English and there were some words too difficult to go through in Finnish.

During our lessons, especially our Finnish lessons, we try to speak as much Finnish as possible. I have noticed from my own experience that just talking in the language you try to learn and listening to a native speaker talk is really helpful for the learning process. Every now and then we use English if there are some new words to Inna and usually when we go through grammar.

When Inna is teaches me Russian we usually speak a mixture of Finnish and English and I try to repeat the Russian words after Inna. I really should try to speak more Russian because I won’t learn it if I don’t speak it!

Fifth meeting: color and verbs to your life!

The fifth time we met we decided to sit outside in a park and study colors and verbs in Russian. In my opinion colors are always useful, and pretty easy a thing to learn in new languages. They are all around us and as a chef I have learned how important colors are because when we eat we don’t want to eat brown mash but food with bright and natural colors. Colors are also important in our day-to-day life. Of different parts of speech, I think verbs are the most important ones because we are always doing something or someone else is. I don’t know about Russian language but in Finnish a sentence always requires a verb to be correct.

In the end we talked about what colors we saw around us and what different people are doing. It was really good a way to start remembering those words I had just learned!

Fourth meeting: The oh so difficult grammar!

This time we studied Finnish. We borrowed the Suomen mestari 3 –book from the library and studied the past tense and the positive and negative forms of conditional. It was surprisingly difficult and easy at the same time. As a native speaker I could understand all the grammar easily but teaching something when you only know how it works, but not why it works that way, is difficult. I tried my best to come up with as many examples as possible and to help Inna understanding the usage of each word.

Learning languages can be difficult and feel impossible at times but I find it even more difficult to teach, especially grammar. When one is teaching grammar rules like we did with Inna during this lesson, I mostly felt stupid even though I know it’s not supposed to be easy for me both as I have no training for teaching and I, as a native speaker, have studied these things very differently.

Third meeting: numbers, genders and greeting people

At our third meeting we sat down with our notebooks and went through numbers from 11 to thousands, different level of politeness when greeting people, the genitive case, and phrases for introducing myself in Russian.

In Russian each noun is assigned to a gender. I haven’t studied a  language with genders but I had heard about them so I had an idea how they work. It still felt pretty difficult considering it affects so much in the whole sentence.

These kind of differences in language are one of the reasons why I like so much learning different languages, they seem so difficult and maybe even impossible at first but when you understand them and can use them it feels really uplifting and motivating.

Second meeting: sometimes it’s difficult to understand your own native language

The second time we met was at the school cafeteria for our first Finnish lesson. Inna wanted to write an answer to an advertisement and I promised to help her with it. We first talked about the content of the advertisement and what she wanted to answer, and then went to the library to find a computer since we thought it would be easier to edit the text that way. We could search for the right words from the internet and she could just copy and paste the text to the answer box.

Teaching your native language is really difficult when the learner already knows the basics and starts to ask the ‘why’s and ‘how’s. It really feels really stupid to say I don’t know when it is something I have done for over twenty years fluently. I know it’s not something one think as a native speaker but I couldn’t help but apologize time after time when Inna asked why for example kissa becomes kissan but tyttö doesn’t become tyttön but tytön.

Luckily she understood my bad answers and she managed to write the answer with my help and her problem was solved.

First meeting: learning language from children’s books

At our first meeting with Inna we met at the school’s diner area and she taught me the most basic things in Russian. I have studied Russian very little before starting the Each one teach one -course but I forgot everything I managed to teach myself so it was better to start from the beginning.

 

First she wrote the Cyrillic alphabet, letter by letter on paper and told me how to pronounce them. It was really difficult and we laughed a lot.

 

After that she taught me numbers from one to ten in Russian and some Russian words to go with them. She also told me how the words in Russian are conjugated when used with different numbers. Inna also gave me a Russian children’s book so I could revise them on my own.

 

We only went through the alphabets and numbers but it felt pretty much so we decided it was enough for the day.

 

It was really nice to actually learn some Russian and I can’t wait for the next lesson!

At our first meeting with Inna we met at the school’s diner area and she taught me the most basic things in Russian. I have studied Russian very little before starting the Each one teach one -course but I forgot everything I managed to teach myself so it was better to start from the beginning.

 

First she wrote the Cyrillic alphabet, letter by letter on paper and told me how to pronounce them. It was really difficult and we laughed a lot.

 

After that she taught me numbers from one to ten in Russian and some Russian words to go with them. She also told me how the words in Russian are conjugated when used with different numbers. Inna also gave me a Russian children’s book so I could revise them on my own.

 

We only went through the alphabets and numbers but it felt pretty much so we decided it was enough for the day.

 

It was really nice to actually learn some Russian and I can’t wait for the next lesson!