Tag Archives: Russian

Pyynikin Munkkikahvila ja ostoksia illalla

Last Saturday we were planning to go to Pyyniking observation tower to try donuts cooked according to a secret recipe, but the weather did not look good enough for walking so long and climbing on the top of the tower, so we remembered that we can try the same munkit in the cozy cafe in the city centre. I was the first one so I ordered a donut and coffee and was just waiting for guys.

When Maksim and Ilona came, they made an order as well and we started to talk. Of course, we tried to replace English with Russian or Finnish, but we realized that for the next meetings it’s better to prepare some questions about what we want to study or a small plan of the lesson. But anyway, I’ve learnt how to order coffee and we just enjoyed our meal.

When we were done with coffee, we decided to go to Sokos shopping center to learn more words which we use every day, like soap – saippua, toothbrush – hammasharja, toothpaste – hammastahna, expensive – kallis and so on. In Sokos we found a kirjakauppa where we saw moomin toys and guys told me more about them. After some time I had to leave, but we got some nice ideas for the next meeting! 🙂 Read about it next week 😉 See you!

First Finnish-Russian meeting

It was our second first meeting already, before our official first meeting me, Ilona and Maksim cought up in the university to see each other and discuss what are our expectations of the course, what do we want to learn and where do we want to meet. We decided to meet in the Public House Huurre. It was a bit hard for me to find the place, but with help of Google Maps I managed to meet my new friends.

When we met we ordered food and drinks and had time to know each other better, trying to use Russian and Finnish words. I was surprised with my level of Finnish it was better than I expected it to be!   I’ve learnt how to katso a menu, tilaa hampurilainen and of course say kippis! After that we decided to play a board game Alias. It’s a word explaining game, we modified rules a bit so we could study through playing: we just tried to use only Finnish and Russian for explaining words and I have to admit it was really good practice. Sometimes it was difficult to explain something, but this feeling that we all learning and we have nearly the same level of language we want to know made us more confident in speaking. During this game I learnt quite a few words:

Repairing – remontti – ремонт
Blood – veri – кровь
Self service – itsehuolto – самообслуживание
Bathrobe – kylpytakki – халат
Tiger – tiikeri – тигр
Chair – tuoli – стул

So I can definitely say that it was super productive and I had real fun! I believe that this is the best way to learn language. Se oli ihana guys! See you next week 😉

10th Meeting – Foods and Drinks

I just realised I haven’t introduced myself properly. So hi, my name is Leila and I study hospitality management in TAMK. I like cats and dogs, food and wine. Briefly, that’s me.

So because of my study field we became talking about food because who doesn’t love food better than a restonomi! Now I know some of the basic food words in Russian and to make you (and myself) hungry here are some of them:

Kuvahaun tulos haulle juustoKuvahaun tulos haulle jäätelöKuvahaun tulos haulle suklaa

сыр                                мороженое                         шоколад

Kuvahaun tulos haulle viinirypäleKuvahaun tulos haulle leipäKuvahaun tulos haulle sipuli

виноград                                        хлеб                                            лук


Funny, we also discovered that chicken in Russian is курица which sounds like Finnish word karitsa (baby lamb). And Russian word молоко (milk) is pronounced like Malaco, the Northern candy factory. Of course many of the food words are related to English, such as Банан, лимон and кофе so they are also easy to remember.

And now I’m starting to get hungry….

Ps. Wine is вино, by the way.

8th Meeting – Черный кот

Hello! Getting tired of me yet? 😉

So 8th meeting already… This time we also met at Nadiia’s house. Like I had told her before it’s easy for me to learn a new language by listening music, so she played me this song (got to warn you, it’s quite catching):

It’s about how people think that when you see a black cat crossing the street it brings you bad luck, but in this song only the black is the one who becomes unhappy because of the people. It’s sad to see the cat so sad, I want to go and hug him!! (even if it’s “only a cartoon”). But because of the catchiness of this song, I now remember some Russian words better.

We also watched a clip of this movie буратино. It’s somewhat a Russian version of Pinocchio, or at least it I understood the movie that way. I have to say that, based on this movie, Russians have more expressive voice actors in children films than some of the Finnish ones.

This meeting we had more discussions about Finnish and Russia cultures and their differences than straight lectures about the language but it was nice for a change.


7th Meeting – Russian Kitchen Words

We arranged the meeting in Nadiia’s home this time. It was actually funny because she lived opposite of the house where I used to live when I first moved to Tampere.

Again we decided to just go with the flow and she taught me different kitchen words in Russian. And now I remember: the Finnish word “loska” is quite similar to the Russian word Ложка (spoon)! That’s why it was so funny the time when we talked about the weather. It might mean something in Polish too, as I remembered in that post.

Миска is a deep plate in Russian. Nadiia thought it was funny when I told her that in Finnish it’s a boy’s name.  Actually, come to think about it, it’s easier to learn new words when they are similar to something you already know.

Remember when in the first post I talked about that the Russian language sounds all the same to me? Well, with some words you really have to be careful with the pronounciation. For example стол (table) and стул (chair) have just a tiny difference. Also Russian has like six different s-sounds (in Finnish many call them s-sounds because they are all new letters for us):

c – it’s like a regular s

ш – is sh, like short

щ – shcha, at this point I went like whaaaaaat, but it’s like fresh_cheese, the sound that comes in the middle when you say them quickly (or something like that)

Ц – ts, like in boots 

Ч – ch, like chat

Ж – like pleasure

Okay, except the щ, I start to realize that there are many different ways to pronounce the s-letter in Finnish and English too. But we have to learn how to say it in different words, meanwhile Russians have own letters for each of them, so you know instantly how to pronounce it. It sounds way smarter than the Western way but how come it’s so so hard to learn them…

6th Meeting – Russian literature in Metso

Because this course isn’t just about learning and teaching languages but to also talk about the cultures, we decided to head to the Tampere main library, Metso. I find out that they have a quite large section for foreign literature and it covers so many nationalities, for example French, Portuguese and Polish. Of course we found some Russian literature as well.

I learned Aleksandr Puškin is one of the most famous writers and poets in Russia. Many think that he was the founder of Russian literature. Like Russians’ version of Mikael Agricola. I have never really read Russian literature. I know Tšaikovski and Tolstoi and have seen the American version of Anna Karenina, that’s about it. So it was exciting to know about Puškin. We also looked at the Russian movie section. It was interesting that many of the movie covers looked like old Finnish movies even though some of them were made in the 21st century.

Kuvahaun tulos haulle aleksandr pushkin

Aleksandr Puškin

Kuvahaun tulos haulle mikael agricola

Mikael Agricola

I also told Nadiia about Aleksis Kivi and his famous novel Seitsemän veljestä. Now when I think about it, it’s funny that one of our most famous novels is about seven brothers who don’t know how to read and manage to burn their sauna down (okay, there was more than that, read the book).

Kuvahaun tulos haulle seitsemän veljestä

Altogether, we had a lovely and intelligent day.

5th Meeting – Walking Around the City Centre

Why should you always meet indoors when you can walk around and talk about what you see? That’s what Nadiia and I thought and so our fifth meeting was outside. We met at Keskustori and started walking from there.

What comes first to mind when you try to think of subject to talk about? The weather! At that time there was typical Finnish winter with rain and slush but I also taught some nicer weather words such as aurinkoinen and lämmin (in Finland those are quite rare phenomena, especially in autumn, winter and spring). I learned that “loska” (or some word that is pronounced like it) means something totally different in Polish. Of course when you don’t write these down instantly you forget them… But I assure you it was funny!

We walked past the Tammerkoski and I told Nadiia about students’ Vappu (Labor day) traditions. Then I taught here how to say different directions in Finnish:


(Isn’t this cute, I made it with paint)

After the walk we headed to the Living Room to get some snacks. There I repeated the words I had taught for her and we also talked about Russian language.

All in all, it was a nice day (except the weather).

4th Meeting – Russian Question Words

This meeting we decided to go somewhere else than TAMK where our last meetings had been. So we met at Linna, which is a part of the University of Tampere. It was hard to find a place quiet enough but that still wasn’t in the library area where you actually have to be quiet. After some searching we found a nice sofa downstairs.

Like the last meetings we just went with the flow and Nadiia got to teach me some Russian question words (and some other random words that came to mind). At this point I might add that Russian isn’t Nadiia’s mother tongue but she really speaks and writes it well (perhaps because Russian is very related to Ukranian?). She might say “это просто” but I really think “это сложно”. Fortunately the question words were quite easy and I wasn’t so overwhelmed like the last time. I think it’s partly because before this meeting I was listening some Russian pop music while sitting in the bus and “got into the mood”. Okay, most of the time I had no idea what they were singing about but, hey, didn’t we all listen to English music as kids and tried to sing along without knowing the actual words or their meanings? In the long term it really helps and you start to understand!

After the lecture Nadiia told me what the songs’ names meant in English and, like I thought, most of them was about partying and love like the English ones (some of them were even better). When taking the bus home and listening to the playlist I started to recognize some single words. Yeah, I’m progressing!

2nd Meeting – Rehearsing Russian

Hello for not so long time ago!

One day in February was time for our second meeting. We had planned that in every other time Nadiia would teach me Russian and every other time I would teach her Finnish. We decided to start with Russian.

When Nadiia started to speak Russian for me for the first time, I think my face was something like this:


I hadn’t realized how much of the Russian language had slipped from my mind. Though, as I said before, I can’t make any sense when Russian-speaking people are speaking Russian. I mean I can understand Spanish people and they talk really fast but Russian has so many different pronunciatons and everything just sounds the same.

Finally, when she started writing words on the computer I was like “ooo, now I get it”. Surprisingly I still remembered most of the cyrillic alphabet, so there was at least something positive. We rehearsed the hellos and howareyous (Здравствуйте, как дела?) and the numbers from 1 to 10:

ноль, один, два, три, четыре, пять, шесть, семь, восемь, девять and десять.

Nadiia also taught me some new words, like the colours. For your entertainment (and for my rehearsal), here are some of the basic ones:

голубой красный зеленый желтый черный белый (white) серый оранжевый

Somehow we also started talking about drinks (maybe because Nadiia was drinking tea and I was drinking Pepsi). I don’t really care for hot drinks like coffee or tea so she taught me to say: я предпочитю холодные напитки = I prefer cold drinks.

Then I noted and we started wondering that Finnish language doesn’t have a word like prefer. You have to say it in a longer way, freely translated: “I like better/more”. I as a Finnish native started also thinking that it is odd.

All in all this meeting was a good one. I started getting the touch to Russian language again and we also got to know each other better. Although, afterwards I was really exhausted for all of the new information. I mean, usually I’m really good at learning new languages. For example I learned Swedish and Spanish quite easily but Russian is giving me a bit of a headache even just with the basics. Well, let’s see what this is going to be! 😀

1st meeting – Getting to know each other

I have always been bad at keeping a diary (or a blog) because I’m not used to sit down in the evening and write about my day. So this is going to be a one-day pop-up blog about my twelve meetings during the spring  with Nadiia, an Ukranian girl who taught me Russian and who I taught Finnish. Thankfully we wrote down the topics of our meetings so via them I can recall what we did and what I thought about it.

Nadiia and I met for the first time in January. It was exciting to meet her because before we had just sent each other email and whatsapp-messages. I learned that she was from Ukrania, studying in Poland and had come to TAMK as an exchange student to study tourism. She was visiting Finland for the first time. In this meeting we planned when we would meet and what we would teach each other.

I had taken one course of Russian basics but it had been more than a year ago so a lot of it had gone from  my mind. I basically knew most of the cyrillic alphabet and remembered some words and basic phrases. (Though I got to say that I barely understood anything when Russian people spoke.) We planned that Nadiia would rehearse the basics with me and then she would teach me new words.

Nadiia knew nothing at all about Finnish language so I was going to start from the beginning with hellos etc. However, I thought she had the privilege to be in Finland and hear the natives speak the language every day.

At the end of the meeting we visited the school library together to get some study books for Russian and Finnish. We planned the next meeting and then went on different paths. I thought that this was going to be an interesting spring and I felt motivated and full of energy!