All posts by Ville Pelkonen

¿Cómo voy allí? – Directions in Spanish

The second lesson we held was again in Helsinki on the 8th of October at Café Kaarna in the Forum shopping centre. It had a very relaxed atmosphere with living room-like furniture. The weather was not so good so we just stayed indoors and in one place.

This time we discussed how to find ones way around in Spanish and travel phrases and vocabulary in general. Not exactly a timely topic for me as there are no trips planned to a Spanish speaking country but a common topic to expand ones conversational foundations in any language.

Some example phrases learned:
Perdón, ¿sabes dónde está…?                             Excuse me, do you know where is…?
¿Cómo voy al aeropuerto?                                     How do I get to the airport?
Tienes que ir en taxi/metro.                                  You have to take a taxi/metro.
A esta dirección por favor.                                      To this address please.
Teneís que ir todo recto y luego derecha.        You have to go straight forward and then right.

Barca                                                        Boat/ferry

Barco                                                        Ship/Liner

El crucero                                                Cruiser

El avion                                                     Airplane

La calle                                                     street

El centro                                                   City center

dónde                                                        where

adónde                                                     to where

la parada de autobus/taxi              bus/taxistop

izquierda                                                  left


We sat at the café for couple of hours with my girlfriend quizzing me with the vocabulary and asking some practical example phrases like ¿Como vas a Tampere? – How do you go to tampere? to which I answered Por la mañana en tren – Tomorrow morning by train. In general I’ve been trying to practise my conversational Spanish by speaking phrases in half spanish half english since I realised in how many situations I could say something in Spanish but didn’t know the rest of the sentence. With this technique I found it easier to accustom my spoken Spanish early on because otherwise I would probably just end up putting it off until later forever.

¡Hasta luego!

¿Hablas Español? – First EOTO Lesson

Hello! My name’s Ville Pelkonen and I’m a first-year Finnish student in the English programme Media and Arts. On this course I’m learning Spanish with my girlfriend Fatima who is not a student, but is from Mexico so I got permission to do the course with her by learning Spanish language and a bit of Mexican culture. I’ve been learning Spanish with her for 3 months now so I noticed the EOTO course would be a nice way to boost my learning, document the progress and of course to earn a few credits for it 😉 This former experience will also mean that I won’t start learning or posting from the rock bottom of the language. I’m learning from a textbook called Ventana 1 so the learning material and themes will follow that a lot but blending it with broader questions and interesting activities. We usually meet every weekend in Helsinki so the blog posts will mostly be located there instead of Tampere.

Eira beach rocks
Monument for victims of the sea at Eira park

Some good and useful examples were:

el restaurante restaurant
el primer plato starter plate
el segundo (plato) main course
el postre desert
tener alergia (a) to have an allergy (to something)
el men del día menu of the day
para beber? what would you like to drink?
aqua o vino? water or wine?
la cuenta check

It included some foods like which weren’t translated in the book so Fatima had to explain what they were.

tarta de quest cheesecake
sopa de pesco fish soup
fruta del tiempo fruits of the season

After some vocabulary memory game at the beach we moved to a nearby café where I took té verde (green tea) and Fatima café con leche (coffee with milk). We put the book aside and continued talking about other similar words and phrases and with me writing them down. I also asked questions like the differences between ordering in a fancy restaurant compared to a more relaxed café like we were sitting in.

Some examples:

el/la mesero, -a waiter/waitress (café)
el/la camarero, -a waiter/waitress (restaurant)
qué qui sieras? what would you like? (in casual restaurants)
qué de seas what would you like? (mostly in cafés)
qué os pongo? what would you like? (formal, in fancy restaurants)
area de fumar smoking side
la mesa table
la mesa para dos table for two

I also learned when ordering you would simply state that you want (quiero) something (for example a beer=una cerveza) and ending with please (por favor). Quiero una cerveza por favor=I would like a beer please. Or you could just leave the “want” out and state what you want and please: Una cerveza por favor (One beer please), Ensalada mixta por favor (Salad mix please) etc. Nevertheless Fatima emphasised that one must never EVER leave out por favor because it is viewed very arrogant and almost equivalent to an insult. I understood it to be much more important in Mexico to say please and thank you (gracias) than it is in English or Finnish.

The café terrace

We returned home after the sun went down and we’ll continue next weekend when we see again. Meanwhile I’ll revise the words I learned and finish the current chapter in the book so we can progress. We have planned to make tacos together for a learning session sometime so I intend to write more about food vocabulary then 🙂

P.S. Sorry for not having photos of us. Next time!