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.
In our third meeting, we took a deeper dive into conversational German/Chinese. The content of our last two meetings was more about getting to know the culture. Now, I got to know the Chinese way of speaking by first learning the proper pronunciation of certain letters (phonetic symbols instead of Chinese characters). Afterwards, they taught me common phrases like “hello” or “how are you?”. I thought it was particularly interesting that you can also say “have you eaten?” for “how are you” in China and that the shape of Chinese characters originates from drawing the actual thing it means. The character for “fire” was in former times a drawing of an actual flame and over time it has changed a little to the Chinese characters we know today – you can even see in how far the characters have changed and you can depict a flame in today’s character as well (火). Afterwards, they taught me about Chinese beauty standards that basically consists of clear skin, big eyes, being thin and an innocent smile. Then, I taught them about German common phrases and especially the difficulty about the pronunciation of the different ch -, sch- or st- sounds. One tip I included was that in Germany we pronounce each letter unlike in e.g. English. I also included a short smalltalk section in which my two group members could introduce themselves. Referring to the “German” beauty standards, I think there is no actual German beauty standard. Instead, I taught them about the “Western” beauty standards (being tall, muscular, having a tan …) and the most common plastic surgeries in Germany. Since we realized that both languages rely heavily on pronunciation, we decided that we will send each other memos about the pronunciation of the words we learned today to enhance our learning outcomes.
I am looking forward to our next meeting.
The idea to educate each other about festivals and traditions came from the fact that the Chinese New Year’s Festival and the German Karneval had just passed. Therefore, we created small presentations about both national and religious festivals we grew up with in our home country. My Chinese group members taught me about of course the Chinese New Year’s festival, the dragon boat festival, the Chinese traditional version of Valentine’s day and the mid-autumn/moon festival and each one’s story. We could even find some similarities between the “western” New Year’s eve and the Chinese New Year’s festival. There, both use fireworks and colorful objects to scare away monsters, ghosts, etc. I also feel like I’ve been a little better regarding the pronunciation of the festivals’ names. In exchange, I taught my Chinese group members about the German Oktoberfest, Karneval, the way we celebrate christmas and the “Tag der deutschen Einheit” (Day of German Unity) to ensure a good and interesting mix of religious festivals and festivals you mostly engage in for the sake of celebrating itself. We unexpectatly found out that people in China / Germany celebrate the 1 May as the labor day as well. We three of us thought that it would be a national holiday rather than something that other nations celebrate too. While teaching the names of cities where particular festivals are celebrated (München or Köln) I taught them the pronunciation of the letters ä, ö, ü and ß. I think we achieved the overall goal of teaching each other the culture rather than the plane language itself. However, for the next time we decided to teach each other common phrases like “hello, how are you?”, “thank you” or “Can you help me?” to actually get to know the language a little better. Moreover, we decided to talk about different beauty standards in Germany and China since one of my Chinese group members thought that western beauty standards that are portrayed on e.g. Instagram differ heavily from the ones she is exposed to in China. I am really looking forward to our next meeting about common phrases and beauty standards.
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!
In our first proper teaching/learning session me and my two Chinese group members taught each other about german/chinese food, traditional dishes and table manners. They started by showing me how to cook “Luoshifen”- a traditional chinese dish consisting of rice noodles and bamboo. It was especially interesting to see that these noodles need to be cooked twice and that all further ingredients come perfectly portioned in small bags. Something really unusual for the German kitchen as I experienced it. They continued to teach me about traditional Chinese dishes and their proper Chinese pronunciation. Therefore, they taught me 4 different kinds of phonetic symbols ( /, \, -, v) that help pronuncing certain words (but it was still very difficult). The dishes included e.g. Kung Pao Chicken, Zhajianmian or”Hot Pot” which is close to the in Germany well known “Raclette”. Afterwards, they taught me Chinese table manners. I knew that especially older people have a high status in China and certain strict rules need to be followed to be respectful. However, I did not know how strict they are and that they even manifest themselves in the positioning at the table, the order in which someone raises a toast or the placement of one’s glass at the other person’s glass when bumping them together. Also, apparently, one is not allowed to point at others with chopsticks or to put them into a bowl of rice.
Then, I taught them about the German food culture, especailly about the huge variety of breads, sausages and beers. Moreover, I thought it was interesting to teach them about the fish dishes that are very popular in the north of Germany because I think that not that many people know about that. In the course of teaching them the “food culture” I taught them the pronunciation of certain dishes like Brezel, Brot or Brötchen. I used “Brötchen” to explain the concept of a “Diminutiv” (a smaller/ cuter version of something) and the sounds of ä, ö and ü. Finally, I taught them how to make “Frikadellen” via live-cooking on zoom.
Overall, our first meeting was very nice and informative. Moreover, we managed to teach each other everything we planned to teach. Only the pronunciation of Chinese words by me could’ve been better, but I guess it will come with time.
14th of November 2020 / 4th Meeting
This time we met at Cafe Katto which is a nice little top floor cafe located in the Finlayson area. We chatted about school and life in general and then started our language studies. First, we read through the previous word exercises and started to study some basic verb conjugations. I explained the importance of pronouncing the double vowels and consonants in Finnish as if that gets missed, many words might change their meaning. I showed some examples of it (kissa: a cat, kisa: a race/competition, etc.). We also told each other some more rare but quite possible terrible mistakes you can make with both languages if you are not careful. xD Some more useful everyday sentences were also taught again.
The cafe had an outside rooftop terrace where we went to watch the city before it got completely dark. It was a nice view of the city and fortunately, the weather was not that cold yet. There was some curious group of people walking around the edges of the rooftop. It turns out that if you wanted to, you could book a trip to walk around the top of the whole building wearing safety ropes. This time we were satisfied just by taking some photos of the view at the terrace. ;D
In the end, Chris showed me some popular German music and I made him listen to some Finnish music too. We wondered if there were some good TV-series which could be helpful in learning the languages and decided to search for those options for the next meeting. I had never been to that cafe before so it was a nice new experience, and I will surely revisit the place some time again. 😀
View of the city from Cafe Katto rooftop terrace.
4th of November 2020 / 3rd Meeting
For this meeting, we decided to go to Vapriikki Museum. Vapriikki is a museum center that hosts many exhibitions each year with varied themes, including history, technology, and natural sciences.
We spent most of the time there in the Finnish Museum of Games which showcases the Finnish gaming culture and tells the story of how digital gaming in Finland started and developed over the years. You can also play their games from different time periods and we tried out some childhood classics. We knew most of the popular ones but there were also quite many old games which were new to me. There were some unknown and unique Finnish games for Chris as well. In addition to digital games, the museum had an arcade where you can try coin-operated games starting from the 1970s. I think we went through all of them but my own favorite was the old Nopeustesti (The Speed Test) in the corner of one collider. 😀 The museum shows some history of Finnish board games too. That was interesting to see as the boards usually represented outdated maps and old frontiers of European countries.
We also checked the Rupriikki Media Museum’s new exhibition. It showed historical communication technologies that were used at Tampere city in the past. It really highlighted the advancement and significance of information networks in today’s world. We also visited the Mineral Museum and had coffee at the Museum’s Cafe in the end. The time went fast and it was an interesting cultural and historical experience for both of us.
This morning Sofia and me had a video call in Microsoft Teams. Our plan was to play a game where one of us draws and the other one guesses in Finnish/German what it is. Of course we had some technical problems and I was not able to share my screen, but we just improvised a bit.
We focused on sports and nature, cause we didn’t talk about it before, but also drew some other things. One of the words I learned today was for example “rullaluistella”, which means rollerskating. It was really fun to learn new words while playing a game! It was actually pretty hard to draw on the computer, which is why we had quite funny outcomes, for example Sofia’s sammakko (frog) :D, unfortenately we don’t have a picture of it.
After the other person guessed the word we also wrote it down, so it’s easier to remember it later!
Last Thursday Sofia invited me to her place, we had planned to cook or bake some Finnish food, but I didn’t know what exactly we would make. When I arrived she had already prepared dough for Korvapuustis!
When we started to form the Korvapuustis we figured out that it’s actually not that easy. First, we had to get a bit creative, because Sofia doesn’t have a rolling pin, so we rolled the dough out with bottles, you can see it in the picture! Then we put a bit too little cinnamon, which affected the taste a bit, but it was not so bad, they still tasted really good! 😀
For both of us it was the first time making them and I think I can say that we succeeded!
The smell of cinnamon and cardamom inspired us to talk about different Christmas traditions and Christmas food. We already planned to go to the Christmas market in Tampere, hopefully it doesn’t get canceled because of corona!
We also went through baking/kitchen vocabulary again, like oven – uni – der Ofen and sugar – sokeri – der Zucker.
Luckily we made so many Korvapuustis that I was able to take some (well, quite many actually) home, but now I already ate all of them… 🙁
24th October 2020 / 2nd meeting
This time I met Chris at his apartment, and we did a little walk by the lake Näsijärvi and went for a snack at Pella’s cafe. During the meeting, we were able to get through quite many words and sentences in German and Finnish. We were not only talking a lot but also used a Word document where we wrote the numbers, the weekdays, some colors, and useful sentences. We read them through and discussed the pronunciation of the letters.
For me, the pronunciation part is tricky as the German language has some sounds that do not exist in Finnish (like the German ’r’) or in any other language I’ve studied before. It was a little mind-blowing to find out there are at least three different ways to pronounce the letter ‘s’ in the German language. There seem to be quite many changes in the pronunciation of the letters with different words, so I’m curious to understand more about that in the future. I’m glad that some words seem to resemble English (for example the days of the week) because that helps me to remember them.
Chris did an excellent job pronouncing those Finnish words we went through. Luckily it is often said that Finnish is not the hardest language to read or write, as every written letter is always pronounced with the same sound and each sound is written with the same letter. Despite that, long vowels and double consonants can make it a bit difficult as mistaking them can easily turn into misunderstandings, but I will dive more into that next time.😉
On top of the language studies, we talked about some history and traditional events from both of the countries. We also discussed more of our studies, work experiences, and interests in the Interactive Media study field. Later that evening we went to hang out with some of his friends, and all I can say is that it was a really fun and eventful day! I look forward to the next meeting and to learn more! 😀