Thursday 21st of November
Today we had our final meeting where we talked more about differences and similarities in Dutch, Scottish and Finnish culture. Hollie showed some videos from walking trails that you can do in Scotland, those looked really cool and adventurous. Matti told us about his exciting travel adventures, it was really exciting to hear about his story where he just went to the airport and got on the first available flight.
We also worked on our triggers today, it was very hard to pronounce sentences in Finnish and I hope it wasn’t too cringy for Matti and other people that might have overheard our conversation. Actually I learned quite a lot from those triggers, sometimes I used a different version of the word, and then Matti told me which conjunction I should use. I especially liked the ‘where do you come from’ trigger, it was fun to learn some words that have something to do with Dutch culture like juusto (cheese), myllyt (mills) and tulppaanit (tulips). And I also enjoyed seeing Hollies presentation about Scotland.
EOTO has been a very nice experience! I did not only have some really fun meetings with Matti and Hollie, I learned quite much about Scottish and Finnish culture and even learned some Finnish too. We will probably meet again before we leave again and I will bring some Dutch snacks for them to try.
After 3 very fun meetings where we did all kinds of fun activities, we thought it would be nice to meet up at the university today to work on the language. We used the trigger PowerPoints to get us started. We started off with some basic phrases like ‘Hello, how are you?’ (Moi, Mitä kuuluu?) and ‘What is your name?’ (Mikä sinun nimi on?) We introduced ourselves in Finnish and asked questions about age, studies and where we live. Matti taught me how you could leave ‘sinä’ out of the sentence ‘Mitä (sinä) opiskelet’ (what do you study), when you are in a conversation with somebody. Sinä, which means you, isn’t really necessary to use here because you are already talking to somebody. But when you are for example introducing yourself before you are giving a presentation, you should use it.
We then continued with some more ‘advanced’ stuff ( this isn’t really advanced but for me it is, Finnish is quite hard ). We talked about numbers and played some games. One of them was a memory game where we cut out some papers with numbers and Finnish words for those numbers on them. We then connected the right word with the right number. What I noticed is that those numbers are long and pretty hard to remember, for example, 8 is kahdeksan. They are nothing like the numbers I know in other languages. But when you want to say 20, 30, or 40, it’s easy to remember to just add ‘kymmentä’, so 80 would become ‘kahdeksankymmentä’.
We also talked about different languages and accents, because Matti noticed that Hollie didn’t really have a strong Scottish accent. That’s because she is using her ‘phone voice’ here (I thought that was very well described) and she is also talking slower than when she would talk with people from home. We then discussed the Finno-Ugric languages, this is a grouping of languages in the Uralic language family. The three most spoken Uralic languages are Hungarian, Estonian and Finnish. It was a very useful meeting where I’ve learned a lot about the language.
Thursday November 7 – Hike in Hervanta
Today we met in Hervanta to walk all the way around Suolijärvi. Even though it was pretty cold today, we had a really nice walk around the frozen lake. We talked about the Finnish wildlife, about the birds (lintu) that were in the forest, but also about bears (karhu). Hollie recognized this word from the beer cans, with the bear on it. It makes so much more sense now. Some other words that I’ve learned during the walk is puu (tree) and sieni (mushroom). Matti also talked about the thin layer of frosting that makes the trees grey (harmaa), there is a word for this thin layer: kuura. I think it’s funny that the Finnish have special words for these kind of things, just like ruska. When I was putting the words into my notes, I asked Matti if I spelled them correctly, and sometimes he said that there should be another a or u. I started noticing that the language has a lot of double vowels. Also I’ve learned that some combination of vowels sound different that you would expect: for example, uu (from puu) sounds like oo.
During our walk we talked about serving the national army, something that young men are obligated to do in Finland. Matti told us this really exciting story where he got dropped of somewhere in the dark and he had to find his way back to base camp. It was really interesting to hear his thoughts on this and get to know more about his experiences, since we don’t have compulsory military service in The Netherlands. We started our walk at 4 pm so it was getting dark pretty fast, which made it harder to see where we were going, I almost slipped a couple of times. But I made it out alive with no broken bones so I’m really glad.
Wednesday 2nd of October – Second meeting – Chilling and playing games at Kumma
On this rainy afternoon we decided to go to Kumma, a very nice bar in the city center where you can also play all kinds of board games. On our first meeting we talked about playing ‘Alias’, and it was there so we could play it. It’s basically a game where you have to describe words to each other, without saying the word that is on the card. The player who has to guess the words has to get as many correct answers as possible in 30 seconds. Hollie and I used the google translate app on our phones to translate the Finish words on the cards and then we tried to describe them. So we learned some really interesting new words, like ‘luuranko’ (skeleton) ‘morsian’ (bride), joki (river), musta (black), vastaus (answer). At the previous meeting I experienced that it’s hard to recognize words in Finnish because they are so unique. The only word that I recognized on the card without using the translation app was lentoasema (airport). Talking about words, Matti told us about a really long Finish word: lento-kone-suihku-turbiini-moottori-apu-mekaanikko-ali-upseeri-oppilas, which means something like plane gas turbine motor junior mechanic non-commissioned officer in training. I don’t think there is any other language I know that has words this long. I learned that Finnish is a language where you can easily make compound words by putting smaller words together until they stick to each other, forming one larger word.
Thursday 19th of September – First meeting – City tour and visiting Kauppahalli
After school we met at Koskipuisto. And there we have our first Finnish word: puisto (park). We started off with a city walk and because Matti has been living here for 8 years, he knows a lot about the city and its history. He told about the old factory buildings, for example the Tampella building where they used to make heavy industry machines like locomotives. When we were walking we could already see some leaves that were turning yellow and red, and in Finnish there is a word for this: Ruska.
After this we went to the Kauppahalli (market hall). We strolled through the market and looked at the products in the stalls. We saw stalls that had liha (meat) and kala (fish) and we had a look at all the fresh fruits and vegetables. They sold some small Finnish omenat (apples), Matti told us that a lot of people have their own fruit tree in their garden, but because there’s so much fruit coming from these trees, people sometimes put a bucket of apples at their house so people can take some if they want.
Matti was talking to the woman behind the counter from the fruit and vegetable stand and when we we’re leaving she said ‘kiitti!’. Apparently this means ‘thanks’, a little bit more casual than ‘kiitos’. Matti then also taught us the translation for ‘you’re welcome’ which is ‘ole hyvä’. These were some basic words that I wanted to learn, so It’s nice that I can start using these. I also found out that pronunciation is often not very hard because it’s pronounced exactly as it’s written. But remembering all these new words will be challenging. Finnish is very different from Dutch and there are very few similarities. Other languages from this area like Swedish and Norwegian are often easier to understand because it has some similarities. However, Finnish is apparently a very logical language but I think I first have to learn more about it to see the logic in it.
We bought some pastries at one of the many bakeries and sat down. We talked about some differences that Hollie and I experienced while staying in Finland. For example, how popular the summer cottages are in Finland and that almost every family one owns. How convenient the drying racks above the sink are, and about the overalls that the students wear. Apparently when two people are in a relationship, they both cut of one of the legs of the overall and then sew it to the overall from the other person.
We then continued our walk through the city but unfortunately it started raining. But it was nice exploring the city today and learn some new Finnish words.