All posts by Sam Penfold

The Prestigious Rodeo Bar in Tampere (German – Spanish)

For our third meeting, we decided to head to Tampere’s Rodeo Bar (in the Finlayson building). Rodeo Bar has a main attraction: they serve beers for 1 euro between 21.00 and 23.00 on Fridays and Saturdays. Otherwise, the best way I can describe the interior design of Rodeo is a very tacky western saloon mixed with random space themes on LSD.

We used the occasion to practice the matching lingo: nightlife. We began with practising some useful subjects that can be used in a bar or a restaurant, such as ordering a drink and asking for a small or large beverage. We looked at some phrases that are used when introducing oneself (even as far as asking for a number, which of course was a practice for numbers again). After that, we also learned the colours, as we had not spoken about these before and it is a quite basic and useful part of the language.

So, here is a potential dialogue I might have in the future when I visit a Spanish speaking country: Hola, quiero pedir una cerveza grande por favor. Además, ¿podría decirme dónde está el baño? Bajo el signo rojo? ¡Gracias!

It was also the firs time I actually had heard a complete list of the different colours in Spanish, with some words I had never heard before, while some others sounded similar to the counterparts in English or German.

I felt that the learning and teaching experience went very well, even for the circumstances we were in (loud music and drinking, very social). We spent a large amount of time focusing solely on the phrases and used our WhatsApp group to exchange notes we had made during the meeting.

I was able to learn and complete some vocabulary that I had previously used before on visits to Mallorca, where I had ordered drinks and food.

Our group in Rodeo, with about 3 euros worth of beer on the table:

Second German – Spanish meeting at Rauhaniemi

Our second meeting in the German – Spanish group took place on Tuesday evening at the lake, near the Rauhaniemi sauna by the lake.

Part of the group, including me, arrived a bit earlier than we had agreed to meet. We wanted to go to a local supermarket to grab some snacks, but the first one we found was closed (permanently) and the second closest one turned out to be quite far away. This resulted in us being around 30 minutes late. But on the other hand, this allowed me to experience part of Spanish culture: being late (I want to state clearly that I am joking).

Once we arrived with snacks and apologies for the delay, Leslie and José were waiting for us at a bench, enjoying the views and bitterly cold wind. We had a bit of chitchat before getting into the languages.

We focused on learning some useful phrases for everyday life: introducing oneself and speaking about some hobbies etc. We first did the rounds with everyone introducing themselves in their native language, so this was an opportunity to learn. After that (and some discussion), we all tried to do the same again, but now in the language we are learning.

My introduction went as follows: “Hello, my name is Sam Penfold and I am from Switzerland and Australia. I enjoy travelling and music. I am scared of spiders.” Which in German is: “Hallo, mein Name ist Sam Penfold und ich komme aus der Schweiz und Australien. Ich mag Reisen und Musik. Ich fürchte mich vor Spinnen”. My Spanish speaking friends did very well with their German introductions and I was impressed by how quickly they caught on. The most difficult part seemed to be pronouncing “fürchte” – this more often than not ended up becoming “Früchte”, meaning “fruit”. So sentences about fearing turned into “I fruit…”, which was funny.

My Spanish intro goes as follows: Hola, mi nombre es Sam Penfold y vengo de Suiza y Australia. Me gusta viajar y la música. Tengo miedo de las arañas.

I also learned that Spanish and German has a common trait: you can add an ending to a word to indicate that it is small. In German, this is the -chen ending (e.g. Hund – Hündchen), whereas in Spanish it is -ito/ita, so a small spider would be arañita.

All in all, it was a very fun meeting and we had a lot of laughs. It was also really, really cold, which is very unexpected for Finland. We considered continuing our meeting into the night and the bars of Tampere, but since I had a 3 am alarm clock the next morning for a flight, it seemed a better idea to go home and be unable to sleep and stare at the ceiling for hours.

The German-Spanish Backstreet Boys, also known as the Hinterstrassen Chicos.

(Spanish – German) First meeting in Fazer Café

We decided to hold our first meeting in a place where we could also experience some Finnish aspects – Fazer Café. Once we were able to fix the time (scheduling with a larger group can always be tricky), we all met on Monday evening.

We chose to simultaneously teach / learn from both sides, meaning I taught German and learned Spanish, while my Spanish-speaking friends learned German and taugh Spanish. This method seemed to work well as we were always able to touch on the translations of whatever it was that we were talking about in English at that point.

It was the basics that we focused on, learning how to introduce oneself and counting from 1 to 10 (and a bit above). We also looked at the similarities of the languages in terms of grammar and structure. I was able to learn a bit about the differences between the Spanish spoken in Mexico and in Spain due to the mixed group. This was very interesting to hear. All in all, the group worked well.

There was also an attempt to distinguish the difference between soy and estoy, which apparently is one of the most confusing things in the Spanish language. Soy is used for more permanent stuff, like what you are permanently. Estoy is used for conditions, like what you are right now, but could change…I think. I also finally learned how to count above 5 in Spanish without it then transitioning into Italian, which is what my previous number vocabulary was.

I also showed the difference between German and Swiss German (which is what I speak at home in Switzerland). Since it is an unwritten language, it can be complicated to show this (Ich spreche Schweizerdeutsch vs I rede Schwiizerdütsch). There is still quite a big difference in my opinion. I will stick to teaching “normal” German though!

We had a few coffees and tasted some Finnish liquorice chocolates. I kinda liked them, but I can see how they aren’t for everyone. Definitely better than Salmiakki, that’s for sure.