All posts by Christine Schmerber

(Not so) first meeting

Henry and I met at Ycampus today from 12.30 to 14.30 to finally work on our language skills. We are in the same degree and same workgroup, so we know each other pretty well by now. The first period has been a bit busy with tons of group projects so we both decided to start in the second period.

I started with teaching French to Henry, we went through his French course material to see if there is something he wants to review or not and tested his French to see what he remembers from the lessons. He did pretty well. Our main focus today was pronunciation, I let Henry read out loud texts and I would help and explain when he pronounced something wrong. The nasal tones are especially hard for non-native speakers. After that, we went through a few verbs and I gave Henry a book called le Becherelle, ( aka the French bible as I call it) it’s a book for conjugation and grammar, so he can use it for his course.  But we will talk about verbs more in-depth next session.  We also did some small talk in French, how to introduce yourself and looked at some fruits and vegetables. We revised numbers from 1 to 20 and then I taught him the numbers up to 1000. It’s not that easy to count in French! 99, for example, is when you translate it literally, four-twenty- nineteen. It doesn’t make any sense! But now he can say his phone number in French. That’s what i call a great success! I really enjoyed teaching Henry, he is a good student 😀 I think we are pretty in line with his learning outcomes.

After that, we looked at the first chapter of Suomen Mestari, one of the most popular Finnish textbooks. I have done the first few chapters half a year ago, so I wanted to review it with Henry and talk about my Finnish pronunciation, especially the Finnish “r”. Henry said I shouldn’t focus too much on it, so I will try to listen to his advice. We practised some pronunciation and then we went on reading the first few texts of the chapter. I was surprised by how much vocabulary I remembered, but there were some words I couldn’t remember, Henry helped me with the translation. We revised the days of the week and also numbers after 10, fortunately for me it is easier to count in Finnish as in French!

We talked about small talk and discussed the way Finns greet each other and say goodbye. Because I noticed that there are so many different ways of saying hello: moi, morro, morjes, moikka, hei, terve and saying goodbye: moi moi, hei hei, heippa, moikka, or just moi or hei. But there is still a slight difference to it. Henry agreed but also said I shouldn’t focus too much on it. In Finland you can say whatever you want basically, he said. That sounds so Finnish.

Overall, I was surprised by myself that I haven’t forgotten everything, but I still need to face one of my biggest “fears”: talking Finnish. I need to take more courage in speaking but I think I will be ready next time to actually have a conversation in Finnish with Henry. Next time we will look at the second chapter, on my way of becoming a Finnish champion 😀