All posts by Satu Aholin

The Last Time

The last time we met with Bryan was again in café Kahvilla. Which I still recommend to everyone. Great food and even greater guests. And drinks.

This last time we talked what we have learned and I had prepared this very fancy hand-written test to Bryan with questions concerning Finnish foods, words and ice-hockey. He even remembered Tappara when asked teams from Tampere. Well done!

vikakerta

 

Before going to my exchange (where I already am) I took this language test for Erasmus and I chose Dutch as I think my English will not get any better while here. And I didn’t do half bad:

dutch

To be honest, Dutch vocabulary is quite easy to guess if you have basics in German but not to pronounce. But it helped a lot to take this course before going for my exchange. I recommend to others to do that too if they don’t speak the needed language already.

De helaasheid der dingen

On the second to last time we watched a film with Bryan. It’s called “De helaasheid der dingen” which translates “The Mistortunates”. IMDb synopsis of the film: “13-year-old Gunther Strobbe grows up surrounded by alcohol, trash and his completely useless father and uncles. Slowly but surely, he’s being prepared for the same hapless life. Can he defy his destiny?” The film won the prize of the best film of the festival both at Film Festival Oostende (near Bruges in Belgium) and also at Istanbul International Film Festival.

In the end I liked the film more than I would’ve thought in the beginning. It is one of those survival films that we have in Finland too. Those kind of depressing film where everyone drinks a lot of alcholol, do idiotic things because they’re wasted and have a lot of meaningless sex that someone who is not supposed to see it sees it and thus the camera captures the ickiness of the whole thing too. Yeah, I don’t like that kind of films but with De helaasheid der dingen, there just was something underneath it, that it actually turned out to bee quite good. And what was the best part was that I was able to recognise the words and even understood some sentences even though they spoke with very thick dialects.

Kahvilla

Our eight meeting happened in the place called Kahvilla in Tampere, Tammela. Kahvilla is actually a word play as it means “to have coffee in some place”. Finnish use that in sentences like: “Käydäänkö kahvilla jossakin?” meaning “Do you want to go for a coffee somewhere?” But in this case it’s obviously proper noun and written in capital, Kahvilla, so it’s the name of the place.  And one of my favourites,  I have to add. I love its cosy atmosphere and great sample of products, food and beverages. They try to stick to organic products as well as the most of the products are vegan or at least vegetarian.

kahvilla2

 

That time our subject was different dialects of flemish. Bryan had made very fancy hand-written sheets where we were able to read how different words are in different parts of Belgium.

kahvilla3

kahvilla

With the dialects it is easy to see how both, French and German, have their effects on Dutch language. It depends a lot on that where you’re born how you talk. We also talked about Finnish dialects and again about the fact that no one in Finland actually talks the written language and that makes it even harder to learn the language of ours.

Ice Hockey in May the 1st

The last time before this I suggested to Bryan that he should definitely watch ice hockey while World Championships are going on as Finland is known its enthusiastics towards ice hockey. And as I happened to work in a bar they show it from a big screen, we went there. It also happened to be May Day aka Vappu in Finnish and there were a lot of people recovering from last night’s partying. More about Vappu: Walpurgis Night in Finland.

Ice hockey. Finnish national sport. On May 1st the tournament started against USA who beat us 5 to 1. Nothing more to say about that.  During the game we talked about Finnish traditions and ice hockey in general.

More Dutch Grammar

I’m very badly late with my posts but as there is no time limit, guess I’m still gonna write these and maybe they will be helpful for someone else in the future… Who knows? 🙂

The sixth time we met with Bryan was sometime in the end side of April. And to me that was probably the most helpful lessons when it comes to grammar of Dutch language. We went through verbs and how to make them and then I needed to fill some simple phrases where I used verbs in different tenses. Dutch verbs are categorised in four categories:

  • Sterke werkwoorden (= strong verbs)
  • Zwakke werkwoorden (=weak verbs)
  • Gemengde werkwoorden (= mixed verbs)
  • Onregelmatige werkwoorden (= irregular)

They actually remind me a lot like German language and thus it was somewhat easy to understand how to make them but of course there a lot of differences. While we studied verbs we obviously needed go through them in different tenses but also how they conjugate with personal pronouns: (this table I totally stole from Bryan)

Present simple Past simple Present perfect future
Tegenwoordige tijd Verleden tijd Voltooid tegenwoordig tijd Toekomende tijd
Spelen (=to play) spelen spelen spelen
Ik speel Ik speelde Ik heb gespeeld Ik zal spelen
Jij speelt Jij speelde Jij hebt gespeeld Jij zal spelen
Hij, zij speelt Hij speelde Hij heeft gespeeld Hij zal spelen
Wij, we spelen Wij speelden Wij hebben gespeeld We zullen spelen
Jullie spelen Jullie speelden Jullie hebben gespeeld Jullie zullen spelen
Zij, ze spelen Zij speelden Zij hebben gespeeld Ze zullen spelen

It was good for me to go through all personal pronouns again, it feels like I did learn some Dutch during the spring, thanks to Bryan.

Karelian Pies

I invited Bryan and his girlfriend who were visiting in Tampere to my home to cook one traditional Finnish food; Karelian Pies (in Finnish Karjalan piirakka) with eggbutter. I’m actually from South Karelia that these days belongs mostly to Russia (after WW II); information on Karelia in Wikipedia. Well, anyway, I made this tiny booklet of Finnish foods to Bryan and gave him a recipe for Karelian pies and he started to work. Very professionally, I must say.

It takes about 1,5 hours to prepare pies or probably less if you are a professional. I’ve made them now three times during my adulthood but I’m already getting better and faster.

Bryan and his girlfriend had just visited Tallinn, the beautiful capital of Estonia, and brought some cheap spirits from there and they were kind enough to bring some with them. So, obviously, we had some Finnish Minttu-viina with pies (not really obvious, we, here in Finland like to keep our alcohol separated from food :D).

Bryan buttering the pies.
Bryan buttering the pies.
Dinner time!
Dinner time!

More Dutch basics!

eoto1

Fourth meeting took again place at Y-campus. Bryan thought me more basic Dutch like numbers, colours, some verbs and personal pronouns. He had again made nice learning sheets for me. 🙂

We also talked about Belgian towns and cities, which ones I should visit when going to Amsterdam for exchange and of course travelling while in there. Seems like everything is right next to each other. So I will deffo visit those recommended places. I also told Bryan that I’m a big fan of films and rock music too, so he gave me few names to listen to as well as some films that he thought are good to watch.

eoto2

I’ve had a go with the recommended music and I quite like this band called Gorki. I don’t really understand anything yet, obviously but at least my ears get used to Dutch language. 🙂

And here’s also nice video from them with subtitles:

Spoken Finnish

The third meeting with Bryan was in TAMK Y-campus. And this time it was my turn to teach some Finnish to Bryan. He is taking Finnish lessons in TAMK like many other exchange students are doing, so we needed to think what to cover during our lessons. And the first thing that came to mind was that Finnish spoken language is very different from written language that is taught in official classes.

We went through some basics like

Minä olen = mä oon (I am)

Sinä olet = sä oot (You are)

Hän on = se on (He/She is where actually most Finns use word “it” instead of formal “hän”)

And so on…

We also had some vocabulary considering Tampere like

Manse = nickname for Tampere that is a short version of Manchester as Tampere is viewed or at least was viewed the city of working class like Manchester in England

Hakamettä = Hakametsä, the name of icehall in Tampere

And then I told him something about two ice hockey teams in Tampere. It is very very important sport here. And btw, today will start the finals of Finnish national hockey league and Tappara from Tampere will be playing! So find yourself a nice pub to watch a game and cheer for Tappara!

Learning Dutch from Belgian guy

hollandflagIt’s been a while since we had our first meeting with Anna and Bryan. Anna is a fellow Finn and Bryan is an exchange master’s student from Belgium who was willing to teach us Dutch language. Not an easy one. belgiumflag

We met back in February or already in Jan, I’m not sure, but anyway we set up some goals (1st meeting) and interest and made some kind of a timetable at and obviously decided to meet for the first lecture. That session was held on 16th of February what was our 2nd meeting.

It was first Bryan’s turn to make some sense to Dutch language for me and Aeoto1nna. He had made these really cool sheets for teaching. We learned Dutch alphabets, how to greet people and of course, pronounciation which is not very easy for a Finn. At least to remember. And to me those hard consonants are quite hard to utter. But it definitely felt like I learned a lot even in that short period of time. In the end of the lesson Bryan told us some facts about Belgium:

eoto2

* Belgium was founded in 1830
* There are three official languages: Dutch, German and French
* They’re known for chocolate, beer, waffles and French fries (And I’ve tasted all of them when visiting Brussels and they’re the best!)
* A few years ago Belgium had no government for 541 days!
* They have 2 kings and 2 queens

 

My friend and me having a waffle in Brussels back in the days. I recommend!

brussels

 

 

Unti next time!