We had our first meeting through Teams. We started with some basic greetings, numbers, weekdays and explain Daria and Simon how different the Finnish language structure is, just so they get some sort of an idea about it. I had some papers I got from my former client who used to teach Finnish to immigrants, so we used those to assist us through the meeting.
Felt like the beginning was really hard for me and Elina, since Finnish language is not the most easiest language to learn, nor to teach! But I think we did okay, since Daria and Simon seemed to understand our explanations. We agreed that next time is Daria´s time to teach us some Russian. I think it will be very interesting.
Today we had our first meeting, where Elina and Heini taught some basics of Finnish to Simon and me. We started our meeting with a little chat about what we already know about Finland, the Finnish language, and culture. Heini and Elina told us how different the Finnish language structure can be from English, and then we started learning some basic greetings, such as “Hello” and “How’s it going?”. We also practiced some pronunciation and agreed that some of the letters sound similar in German (Simon’s mother tongue). I had been learning some German myself too, years ago, so I could pronounce the words with those letters as well. Then Elina and Heini also taught us some numbers, basic vocabulary about animals, and also days of the week and seasons.
We practiced our pronunciation a lot today, so I found this lesson very interesting. The Finnish language is something completely new to me, so I am happy about starting to learn it from native speakers. However, I must say, it was quite difficult for me to memorize some words and phrases in Finnish, so I am planning to practice more.
We agreed on taking turns in teaching, so next week it will be my turn to teach some Russian, and then the week afterwards Simon will teach us some German. We believe that this will be very interesting this way and we can get to know something new every lesson!
It was time to start so all four of us gathered to Teams for a meeting. I admit it was very hard to begin as the teacher because Finnish is such a complex language with all it’s inflected word forms. Like, if we teach the word maanantai (Monday), how can we explain simply enough why it is maanantaina (on Monday) or maanantaisin (on Mondays) at the next moment. Or why the verb olla (to be) has so many different forms. Oh boy do we have a big job on our hands.
So, we decided to start with how the language works. We taught that the Finnish words play with the ending of the words, not with prepositions or such. Which is also why the language is so difficult to learn – and to teach as we found out.
In this session we went through the numbers, time (hour, day, week, month etc) and some very basic sentences but we focused more on the words. We taught how we form numbers (yksiTOISTA, kaksiTOISTA and kolmeKYMMENTÄ, neljäKYMMENTÄ, kaksiKYMMENTÄyksi, kaksiKYMMENTÄkaksi). We had some talk about the pronounciation as the non-Finnish speakers would have naturally pronounced some of the words very different (like our y isn’t pronounced as i). We also taught some examples on how Finnish has sometimes very describing words, like joulukuu being ”Christmas month” and kesäkuu being ”summer month”. I’m sure we will have more examples later.
Some things we went through:
Minä olen…/Minun nimeni on…
I am…/My name is…
How to tell the time:
Kello on puoli seitsemän
Literal translation: The clock is half to seven (instead of half past six)
Sekunti = second
Minuutti = minute
Tunti = hour
Päivä = day
Viikko = week
Kuukausi (kuu = moon, kausi = period) = month
Vuosi = year
Teaching was super fun but it would have been easier if we structured the lesson in advance which we didn’t do. Heini had some nice basic Finnish instructional pages she shared with the group, which helped a lot, but we need to plan the hour better next time.