Monthly Archives: November 2020

Finnish – Vietnamese, part II: Surface scratching

We met the second time on Teams on Monday November 2nd. I found that the best way to communicate and work online is to use the phone to stream the video and use the computer to do everything else. We had some time to dive into Vietnamese greetings. I was somewhat shocked about the fact that I have to know who I’m talking to, because you don’t always see or hear them. In Finnish there’s no those kinds of situations. Finnish is not dependent on age or gender but in Vietnamese it is obviously very essential.

I have my notes on paper and they are usually elsewhere. It takes time to go and find them. Then we have all kinds of stuff going on on the screen and it takes time to make the view work for us. Then we see that time is up and “bye!”. 😀 These one hour sessions are really short and I have to rush to the next place every time. My reports are late. They are ragged. I don’t remember much. I’m bad with computer and writing stuff 😀 bye!

Polski – Niemiecki | sixth lesson

For our sixth meeting, we took a walk to the Pynikki observation tower, where we ate doughnuts – “paszek” and drank “herbata” (tea). As you might have noticed, we mainly talked about coffeehouse vocabularies. The weather was perfect, so we could even enjoy our food outside, while trying to pronounce our vocabularies. Surprisingly, compared to most of the other words, coffeehouse vocabularies aren’t that hard to pronounce for me, as coffee is “kawa”, and tea, as I already mentioned “herbata”. However, as the pronunciation is still a huge difficulty in general, we decided to go through the alphabet and practice some reading at one of our next meetings.

After covering some of the coffeehouse vocabulary, we also talked about some basic emotions. So, no we are able to say when we are “głodny” (hungry) and want to go to a café, or if we are “szczesliw” – happy. Here again, the pronunciation has really hit the mark again and our plan to concentrate fully on the pronounciation for one of our next lessons was confirmed :D. The spelling is then again a different topic.

Besides the well-known difficulties, from my point of view, Fryderyk and I really progress well in our language learning process and both of us are getting better in teaching as well.

Finnish – French fifth meeting

11 November 2020

This time Néd and I decided to meet in Pella’s Café in the very centre of Tampere. I hadn’t been there before but now that I have I must say it’s a great place for this kind of meetings. It was quite spacious and that’s always a plus, but the thing I liked the most was that it was so quiet! Especially when studying you just really got to appreciate the absence of annoying background music and noise.

This meeting was quite relaxed in comparison to the other ones, but perhaps that’s just what we needed. As I’m sure everyone who’s spent a winter in Finland knows, we Finns tend to take it slow and not go out so much as in the summer. The weather’s getting colder and every day there’s less sunlight. The lack of snow is not helping with the darkness either, and to be honest it can get quite depressing. I personally think November is one of the toughest months here in the north, so what could be a better plan than to sit down to chat with a friend with a hot drink on the side?

We talked a bit about our hometowns and what we’ve done in the past in general. It’s interesting how different paths we’ve walked before ending up studying in the same class. And when talking about our studies the topic of online classes is quite inevitable: apart from changing the approach to studying itself it also puts us in a peculiar situation regarding communication and getting to know our classmates. And of course it truly feels like an otherworldly dream to think about travelling during these times, but Néd showed me pictures of his hometown Rouen and I really hope I’ll get to visit it someday! It seemed to have such impressive pieces of architecture and it’s not that far away from Paris, so it could be cool to visit both on the same trip. It might be a while until I can make that trip happen though.. But I trust the day will come!

I gave Néd the test I had made for him about the ten most useful Finnish verbs we discussed a few lessons ago, and in our next meeting I’ll get to do a similar test in French. The next meeting will be a bit more special since we’ll have it in the kitchen! We’ll meet up at my place and cook something French as well as something Finnish. I guess I need to carefully decide on a Finnish dish, since I don’t exactly have a gastronomic advantage here, haha! I’m sure we’ll come up with something delicious in the end though, so I’m really looking forward to it. 😀

Finnish – French fourth meeting

4 November 2020

For our fourth meeting we decided to meet at Save File. It’s a bar that calls itself a “livingroom for the gamers”, and that actually describes the place quite well. It’s cozy and has many different nooks and corners where you can play on different consoles. (Though I must say it’s also very easy to get lost there since it feels like a maze, at least if your sense of direction is as bad as mine.) We chose a booth with a PS4 and played a bit of Mortal Kombat XL as well as Cuphead, a co-op game inspired by 1930s cartoons that Néd introduced me to.

We had chosen the place to go with our theme for the meeting: this time we went through vocabulary that has to do with the media field. Since that’s what we’re currently studying, it led us to talk about work-related words as well. For me one of the trickiest parts of learning French are the masculine and feminine words, since there’s no set “rule” on how to tell which words are which. You just have to learn them by heart! Since I’ve had the same problem with Spanish I know it’s not impossible, but you really have to use the language quite a lot to attune the ear to it. I think I’ll try to start watching and listening to more stuff in French to help speed up the process.

We also encountered quite a few loan words while making the list of work-related words. For example deadline seems to be quite an international word, and I also realised in Finnish we have many pet names for different things that come from English words (eg. läppäri = laptop and dedis = deadline). I’m also sure almost everyone knows the word rendez-vous (appointment) that’s originally French, though we might be more used to hearing it with the English pronunciation.

I feel like Néd is really getting the gist of Finnish since he’s asking exactly the right kind of questions, for example when we’re looking at longer words he straight away asks of which words they consist (damn you,  compound words, you even make us Finns dizzy sometimes). He’s also picking up new words at an impressive pace, during every meeting he surprises me with something new to say in Finnish! I’ll really need to get to work not to fall behind with my French! 🌟

German-Russian | 6th Meeting

Meeting on November 4th, 2020, 1.5 hours

Today we spent more time learning each others’ languages again.

I started with teaching Daria the pronouns now – and their cases of course. Like almost everything else in German, it is not only “my” and “mine” but as before it gets distinguished by singular and plural forms as well as the four cases. Now multiply that with “his”, “her”, “its”, “our”, “your” and “their” and you got plenty of new vocabulary 😄

After that we discussed question words and – you can guess what – their cases either. But in the end, Daria impressively was able to form simple questions in German and to understand these.

Like in the meetings before I felt a little behind because of my Russian skills but hey, this time I also learned the different pronouns. At first, I have been struggling with understanding that the pronouns change depending on the following noun’s gender but at least there were nice exceptions. Take “hers” for example: It is just “ee” for every case. I think I might be able to remember that 😅

Other than that, I finally learned the months and seasons (a thing that has been planned since meeting two or something like that, but over all the other stuff we always forgot about it :D). We also talked about how to tell someone your age, again because in the first place I only learned how to say my own age. There actually is a quite comprehensible system for that. The verb at the end of the sentence depends on the last digit of the number: 1 – год; 2, 3, 4 – года; 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 0 – лет.

Enough material to memorize for today, already looking forward to next time 😁


Continuously after Vietnamese class, Jetro and I met again in the following day on Saturday for one-hour Finnish class and of course it again happened online. Our topic in the day was about the weather. I recommended this topic because I have learnt that topic from my language school, but I seemed to forget everything when I have had no many chances to practise about it.

Jetro started to ask me: ¨Millainen sää on tänään?¨ Oh gosh, I recognised that I forgot how to answer that simply question. How big is the gap in Finnish knowledge that I have. However, under the support of Jetro, I could hardly answer it, but honestly my answer did not satisfy myself much. We started to discuss about: ¨Miten voi kun on pimeä?¨ and Jetro helped me understand some answer for that questions. I think that both of us found hard to Finnish so far. To Jetro, it was hard to teach Finnish with the tool of English and for me Finnish is always tricky as always. I got to know some phrases that were not taught in my school and challenged my brain to understand their logic.

Then, we started to change to talk about the Tampere music chamber unintentionally. I told Jetro about that event and he was interested in it. He in the other hand taught me some other phrases around that event.

I think our classes happened a bit slowly, however we really enjoyed it. I think after this class, I will continue learning from Jetro and we may be good friends after.


Coming back to meet each other from the very busy schedule after 2 weeks, Jetro and I tried to arrange to meet 1 hour on last Friday for Vietnamese class. I recommended to teach Jetro about the sound marks in Vietnamese which make the intonation and meaning of one word different from others. I told him that it is very hard to recognize 2 words which are different by its own sound marks, seem to have the same pronunciation. For example, ‘bồ’ which means ‘lover’ and ‘bố’ which means father. This kind of trick makes a lot of foreigners who learn Vietnamese feel so hard to pronounce rightly and distinguish them from the others. However, Jetro seemed to do it quite smoothly and I was surprised for his adaptation to the sound of new language.

Then we came up to practise reading the poem. I had the little struggling issue to find the right poem for him to read, but yes, it again impressed me that Jetro could read every words, even though in the beginning he was little hesitated to start. I think that was because somehow Vietnamese and Finnish has quite similar way of pronunciation.

Our meeting happened smoothly, even though it was quite in short time because Jetro had another schedule. I think after this basic knowledge of Vietnamese, we will start to jump up to the more interesting things like vocabularies for special food, traffic, places…

Finnish – French | 5th meeting

5th Meeting Report – 11th November 2020

We met with Mona in Pella’s Café, in the center of Tampere.

As decided earlier, she came up with a test focusing on the verbs she gave me a few sessions ago, and their variations. I just took it a few days later, and scored 10/16 (if we forgive a few “a” instead of “ä”…). My mistakes were mostly about forgetting double letters (hän ottaa), or not distinguishing the present from the past tense. I’m quite happy about my progress with Finnish conjugation, but I still need to make it better!
Her test is coming next about the 10 French verbs I gave her some weeks ago.

For this meeting, we mostly talked about our previous experiences, and what led us to study at TAMK. From different institutional degrees to working in foreign countries, it was very interesting to share both sides of our life adventures, as a French and a Finn, ending up in the same class. We also shared about the whole online-teaching situation in these challenging times, and how it impacts social interactions with our other classmates.
We ended up talking about Christmas, and I learned more about the way Finns celebrate it, which has many similarities with the French one. Except that we eat snails.

Overall, this meeting was more chill than the others, and that wasn’t a bad thing. It was really nice to get to know more about Mona’s exciting anecdotes in Finland AND Spain, and be reminded of the luck we have to be able to share such moments in these daring times.

Next time, we’ll meet at Mona’s place to cook some French-Finnish food, and cover some gastronomy related vocabulary!


Finally, Jetro and I could arrange to meet online again for our Finnish class. I know remote meeting is kind of hard to communicate well or express what we mean when teaching languages. However, because I was little scared to meet in the corona virus season, I have preferred to join in our meeting online only. Thanks to Jetro that he can understand and sympathise for this reason. Hopefully at soonest we can arrange some day to meet out there.

In this 3rd meeting, we let the conversation go freely. The topics were about friends and hobby. Jetro taught me about ‘tuttu ihminen’ and how the phrase really means in the specific concepts of daily life. For example, he explains ‘tuttu ihminen’ is used when we meet someone at random on the road and cannot remember his or her name and actually we feel acquainted to the person, but maybe we have never met them before.

Also, it was my surprise to discover about Jetro’s hobby and talent in music. We also started to have short talks about that while he helped me fix the basic mistakes.

The course finished quickly in less than 1 hour, but thanks to Jetro that it worked, and I could learn something new from Finnish language. I also felt relaxed learning Finnish with him.


Our second meeting continued to be interesting as the first experience. Due to the busy schedule, we could not arrange time to teach and learn both languages in the same day, therefore it was a good idea to separate timing as: 1 hour per day for each language. In the 2nd meeting of Vietnamese class, I started to teach Jetro with Vietnamese Alphabet, vowel, consonants and dipthongs. Everything seemed to go smoothly, since I found that the ability of Jetro to learn and pronounce Vietnamese. Of course, there was many difficulties for him, but he did it amazingly nearly as natural as I could expect it. Maybe it is because he is basically talented in music that benefits him to get acquainted faster to the sounds.

Then we kept learning about: how to say Hello in Vietnamese. In Vietnamese, it is not same as some other languages that we do not only call anyone ‘You’ in a conversation. We have different tittles according to the ages of the people we talk. After learning, I think Jetro could understand it, however maybe it is still hard for him to remember. It was also kind of hard for me to find the way to teach him, but finally we could do it quite well and we for sure need to practise more every time by Teams call or whatsAap message.