Today we had our second (virtual) meeting. After our first meeting I felt like it’s already a bit easier to pronounce some of the French words, also I was a little proud of myself because I could still remember some of the numbers we have learnt last week.
We were talking about living circumstances: Where and how do we live? When learning and teaching this topic we also came up with some grammatical stuff and recogonized even one more time, that the German language is really hard to learn and also to teach, as we were also quite confused sometimes and did not know directly how to explain the complex grammar rules, like declination. I really have huge respect for all people who voluntarily learn German and enjoy it. But Léonie did very well and showed one more time, that she already has a very good base of German knowledge. The time of our meeting went by way too fast again today, but we had a lot of fun and were able to learn some new words and expressions.
As there is the holiday week in the first week of March we agreed on also having a short break and continue in two weeks. Then we will talk about food and typical German or French dishes, which we then want to cook/bake in our 4th meeting. This will be a lot of fun and I am already looking forward to this.
We already met las week to get known to each other a little bit and to roughly discuss how we want to organize our meetings. After that everybody could write their preliminary plans and we agreed for our first meeting for today. As Léonie could unfortunately not come to Tampere, due to the new restrictions, we met via Zoom.
We taught and learnt the first basics, so how to introduce yourself and the numbers until 100. It’s very interesting and funny, that when you count, you must also be good at math: 80 is quatre vingt, which means 4 x 20 or 90 is quatre vingt dix, which means 4 x 20 + 10. That’s really weird for me. Nevertheless, we could also find out something about German numbers, which I was not recognizing until today. If you are counting in German, you always read it the other way around, so you mention first the second number and then the first one, for example 99 is neunundneunzig – in English it would be “nine-and-ninety”.
Even, if I learnt French more than 10 years ago, it was not easy for me to find the right pronunciation. So we had quite a lot of fun when we were trying to spell it in the right way. Only spelling my name was quite easy, becaus it’s not very differnt to the German pronunciation of the alphabet.
Léonie has already quite a good German understanding, that’s we were speaking more about French language today. We will practice what we learnt today until our next meeting on Wednesday next week. After learning the basics, we are planning to learn and teach more about the world we are living in. So, stay tuned for updates on our journey to become pros in speaking French and German!
21 November 2020
Our 6th meeting was a bit more special than the ones we’d had until now, as it was all about immersing ourselves in the culinary culture of our respective countries! Of course it also meant a bit of planning had to be made beforehand to come up with dishes to cook. In the end we decided to have cheese fondue with vegetables as our main dish and mokkaruutu as dessert! We were also joined by our friend Nina and by my Spanish boyfriend Iñigo. Since that’s already three nationalities at the table, Iñigo made an entrée dish of gazpacho (a Spanish cold tomato soup) for the occasion, and ta-dah, we had an international full-course meal!
I’m not a very good cook myself and that might be the reason I don’t especially like cooking in general, but everything’s more fun with friends and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed our foodie evening! First we went shopping for the ingredients all together. Curiously enough, the fondue cheese we found in Citymarket was from a French brand Néd was already familiar with. After gathering all the ingredients we got back to our place and got down to business with the cooking!
Amidst all the fun we had we also learnt a bit of food-related vocabulary and had some minor setbacks (like our blender breaking and having to go to the neighbour to borrow her mixer), but in the end we were able to sit down to enjoy the delicious outcome together and have a cozy chat. Néd told us how in France they would have fondue after going skiing, one day it’d be amazing to try that since I imagine it would taste even better after doing some winter sports! There was a bit of fondue left since we made a lot, so Iñigo and me were lucky to have it as a snack the next day. Of course to make things even we also packed some take-away mokkaruutu for Néd and Nina to enjoy at home! This was my first ever fondue and I seriously think it couldn’t have been better: nothing beats the combination of good food and good company. 😊
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. 😀
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! 🌟
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!
3rd Meeting Report – 28th October 2020
This day, Mona and I met at the Brewery Restaurant PLEVNA, a fine place that I was curious about for a long time!
Our course began with little surprises from both of us: Mona prepared a list of “Survival Finnish”, with many different expressions such as “Varo!” (Watch out) or even “Missä vessa on?” (Where is the toilet? This one is really important.)
On my side, I brought a little French dictionary, given to Mona by a friend of ours. I also recently discovered a series of funny short videos about French culture in English called “What the fuck France”, from which we watched the episode about French language. It was the occasion for Mona to discover about “verlan”, a stupid French habit consisting of saying words backward to sound “cool”. It sucks, and I could definitely tell by Mona’s confusion that foreigners think so too!
We went on with the topic we agreed on for the day’s lesson: Time.
Mona taught me how to structure a simple sentence, to state the current time, including how to specify “quarters” and “halves” of hours. It was surprising to learn that Finnish mention the hour coming up, when they state “half before 3” for example, as it’s the other way in French.
“Kello on puoli seitseman.” – at the time I’m writing this blogpost.
We also went over the different times of the day in both languages and talked a lot about what differences there are depending on the culture. Like, until what time can we say “Good day” and how to differentiate the same hour depending on if it’s the day or night.
The end of the session was a bit lighter, as we talked about some music video we were both expecting, and that ended our session for the day.
Seeya next Wednesday! 😀
2nd Meeting Report – 25th October 2020
We met with Mona on the 25th of October, in Tallipiha, an old Stable Yard counting many little shops and a café. We visited the place, pet some sheep, appreciated the handmade crafted items in the shops, before sitting around a cup of coffee in the coffee shop.
Beforehand, we agreed to come with a list of 10 most common verbs, and their variations in 3 different tenses/forms. I made a PDF listing verbs conjugated in Present, Future & Simple Past, although Mona mentioned that she used to learn the Composed Past tense. It made sense to me, as it’s also the past tense we use the most in spoken French. I decided to correct the PDF and send her a new version. On her side, Mona wrote down 10 verbs in Present, Past and Negative forms, as I quote her: “Finnish has no future.” *gulp*
We spent some time on understanding the different verb forms, then agreed to have a little “test” in 2 weeks, to motivate us to learn them!
Afterward, we decided to go over basic stuff, such as weekdays and numbers. Mona already knew many of our French weekdays, and I knew my share of Finnish numbers. We ended up giving each other tips on the pronunciation and grammar of those.
Again, these 2 hours flew by and I learned so much from Mona. On to the next meeting! 😊
For our first meeting Néd and I met up for coffee in Espresso House in Ratina. Since we’re in the same class we already knew each other, so this was a great chance to get to know each other better and take a good look at our current language level as well as plan the future meetings. I studied French in upper secondary school and Néd’s studying Finnish at TAMK right now, so both of us have something to back up our language exchange studies.
We discussed the cultural differences between Finland and France and other countries we’ve been to. I’ve spent the last 2,5 years living and working in Spain before moving back to Finland to study, and it was interesting to compare the Spanish customs to the French ones as well. I learned that in France it’s common to only give one kiss to greet, though apparently in Paris they usually give two kisses. In Spain it’s most common to greet with two kisses and that’s what I’m used to, in France that would make me more of a Parisienne then I guess!
We also talked quite a lot about the importance of learning a language and the things that contribute to that. We agreed that one of the best ways is to live in a country where the language’s spoken or at least know a native speaker that you can practice with. This of course means that language exchanges like the one we’re doing right now are a marvellous way to learn.
We also went through some interesting differences between our languages, like the pronouns, different types of verbs and prepositions. In the next meeting we plan to look into the most common verbs and how to conjugate them. I’m really looking forward to it!
1st Meeting Report – 13th October 2020
For our first meeting with Mona, we decided to have a drink in the Espresso House, in Ratina, a refined place with a nice & chill vibe. We already knew each other, as we are in the same class, but we decided to spend this first EOTO session getting to know each other more, and plan our future lessons together.
We mainly talked about each other’s experience in a foreign country, as Mona has travelled in Spain in the last few years, and myself in Japan and Finland. We talked about how learning a language can become a vital necessity, especially when locals don’t speak English much, like she experienced it in Spain for example. I considered myself lucky, as we both agreed on the fact that Finland is an English-friendly country, and even mentioned that one of the reason for that might be the lack of Finnish-voice dub in media, while it’s overwhelmingly present in France.
As I recently started to study Finnish in TAMK, Mona went over the basics I learned lately (pronunciation, introducing oneself, numbers etc.), to know better on which topics focus in the next sessions. I also tried to gauge her French level, and I must say she already has a great base to work on, as she already studied the language in the past!
Time flew by, it was a really smooth first meeting!
We’ll focus next time on most used verbs and their most common forms 🙂