Tag Archives: Grammar

French – German: A colourful mixture of phrases

After nearly two weeks we had our third meeting today. We were talking about going to a restaurants and also how to order there and saying what you like or dislike. Once again, we have become aware of some things that we have never noticed in everyday use of the German language, but which are very difficult to explain to a non-native speaker. I don’t know if German is really that much harder to learn than French in terms of grammar or if we just notice it more here. I have the feeling that we do a little bit easier with the French pronunciation at every meeting. However, it is always very difficult for us Germans to understand why something is pronounced the way it is, because there are some peculiarities when a letter is omitted or pronounced. With some words, e.g. poivre (=pepper), you pronounce the r, but not the e – that feels to me like I’m about to have a knot in my tongue. Also, we realized today that we’ve never talked about common phrases of politeness, like Please, Thank you, Congratulations, etc., so we made this up.
Until our next meeting, everyone is looking for a recipe about a typical dish from their home country, which we then want to translate at our next meeting and cook “together” the week after – I am already very excited about what delicious stuff we will make.

French – German: the importance of food

One thing that people from Germany and France (and probably a lot of other countries as well) can agree on is the importance of good food! I personally love to try traditional dishes whenever I am travelling. Therefore, we decided to go over some basic sentences you need when you go to a restaurant.

For me as a vegetarian, this is always a topic since most of the traditional meals in Germany and France include some non-vegetarian ingredients. Therefore, we also talked about what we like and dislike about food. I hope I can remember at least these words, so I can avoid the food I do not want to eat.

After talking about some phrases, we realized that we never actually talked about being polite in French or German. So, we continued with phrases like S’il te plait/ s’il vous plait and Je vous en prie/ de rien.

Once again, I realized how difficult German grammar can be. I have never thought about it this actively.

We concluded by briefly talking about our cooking plans for a future session. We decided to pick out multiple recipes for each other so that Lisa and I can decide what we would like to try as well as Leonie.

French – German: describing your living situation

Today was our second lesson and we decided to focus on some phrases to describe our living situation. So we looked at phrases to describe our apartment layout, how many and which rooms we have and on what floor the apartment is located.

I was still struggling with the pronunciation of some French words, but I felt a bit more confident than last time. Sometimes it was a bit difficult to get the pronunciation just right because of the zoom audio. Especially in short words, it would sometimes cut off parts of the word.

This time German had a big surprise for me. Building the plural form of German nouns is surprisingly hard to explain. This is something I never thought about because it comes naturally as a native speaker. We searched online to find some grammar rules on this topic, but they were quite complex as well. Even with these rules, there are quite a few exceptions. We looked at the words for “kitchen” (Küche) and living room (Wohnzimmer). If you build the plural form of “Küche” you just add an “n” (eine Küche, zwei Küchen) while the noun “Wohnzimmer” does not change when you build the plural form (ein Wohnzimmer, zwei Wohnzimmer). While the German plural forms were quite complicated, the French ones were straight forward. To build the plural of a noun you simply add an “s”.

It was a lot of fun teaching some German today and I feel that I can learn something from it as well. I am eager to see what other surprises German has for me as a native speaker.

French – German: Declination Jungle OR Where and how do I live?

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.

Third meeting, third member!

Our Vietnamese-Italian third meeting was held on Saturday 03.10 with a surprising new member!

Duy Ha joined our group and now we are working as a trio. The dynamic will be the following: I will continue teaching Danh italian and I will also teach Duy Italian, the two of them will teach me Vietnamese together. It’s an unexpected and fun change of plan but we will follow with the same languages!

At the start of the meeting we introduced ourselves to our new member and we got to know each other a bit better. Duy is also in Vietnam so we will continue our learning and teaching process through Zoom.

Danh explained me how to form the past tense for verbs and how to form the plural of different words. This grammar part was very easy to understand because I only have to add a certain grammatical particle in front of the verb/word to make a change to a past tense or to a plural form. For this part it was quite easy for Danh and Duy to explain me how it works because it was quite an easy concept.
Duy also introduced me to Vietnamese culture by talking about different holidays in the country, with the both of Danh and Duy talking about these different holidays I got a really clear idea of what kind of events are worth celebrating in Vietnam. It was really interesting and fun to hear all of these events, but the most impressive fact is that they celebrate 2 Women’s days a year, the International Women’s day and the Vietnamese Women’s day. Any woman in Vietnam during these 2 days will be congratulated and offered flowers/small presents (depending on the type of relationship) to celebrate the day.

For the italian teaching, I introduced them to the verb tenses in Italian and we went through the ones that they will specifically use in an A1-A2 level of fluency. This part was very challenging because in the italian language there are many verb tenses, in contrary to English language the grammar is quite complicated, especially for someone who is not familiar with Romance languages. I think I got through to Danh on these concepts by minimising the verb tenses that he needs to learn, we will concentrate on the most used ones in an everyday use of the language.
My ability of teaching is improving but I can notice that the hardest parts to teach and make the other person understand are grammar and the complex rules of how to form sentences in the language.

Duy and I will have a “private” meeting during this week to catch him up on the things I have taught Danh already in the first 2 meetings so that he will then be able to follow the lessons I give Danh fully.

It’s exciting to see how different people learn a new language!

EST-GER// Library meet-up

This time we decided to do a proper study at the library. We both took our computers with and opened a couple of triggers that seemed interesting to us. My language partner chose a trigger about work life. So we talked about what are the most common jobs in both of our countries and in what fields do our families work in. My language partner also learnt to pronounce certain words that would be handy in working in Estonia. We also talked about words that are similar in Estonian and German. For example “car” in Estonian is “auto”, as is in German.

I, however, opened a trigger about literature. I did my best to talk in German about my favourite childhood book. I stumbled upon some words, however I learnt a new word and how to say it in the past tense (entscheiden – to decide). I was also reminded again of some grammar rules I had forgotten. I hope to improve even more in my German next time.

My Final Course Meeting FIN-GER

In my last official meeting to finish the course we talked a bit about everything. Everyone is different and faced different difficulties over the time. I can motivate myself quite well to go into verb conjugation and learning phrases and vocabulary. But I do need some help with the local cases, when it comes to the “open places” not everything is as clear as I would want it to be. The consonant graduation is also something I still struggle with every now and then (especially when you combine my two “problem fields” of the Finnish language 😉) For example: NK – NG; sänky – sängyt – sängyssä BUT sänkyyn. [Liisa nukkuu sängyssä. / Minä menen sänkyyn.]

And this is when I’m happy to have (at least) two lovely Finns by my side who can help me with figuring out why things are like this. In this case there wasn’t really an explanation why the consonant graduation doesn’t apply, so I take it as given. It’s just like Helsingissä and Helsinkiin. Someone decided that it’s like this. I just need to remember and learn it this way. 😀

Review:

My Finnish has improved considerably since the start of the EOTO course (or coming to Finland in general) – as I would have hoped. While I still feel that I am obviously still floundering in the basics, I do now have a reasonable grasp of the grammar and my vocabulary has grown and grown. I can now construct very basic sentences. While the grammar is often not quite right, the message in the sentence can usually be understood. Moreover, I have memorised a few little phrases (which makes it sound like I know a lot more than I do!) and I really should build on those and increase them. As my vocabulary has grown, I’ve become more familiar with the grammar. I am finding that reading Finnish is getting easier: I am able to pull more and more out of passages of text. I also got a Finnish book from the TAMKO Office which functions as motivation that someday (maybe in a year) I will be able to read it and understand the general message of it. Besides learning the language, I also learned more and more about Finns and their culture. I realized that when I got more familiar with the language. I think you can’t get into the Finnish culture if you don’t have a reasonable idea about how the Finnish language works. I enjoyed this journey a lot and when I return home at the end of December, I will surely continue my Finnish studies! 😊

Consonant gradation for verbs

Today’s (8th October 2018) meeting was all about grammar.

Unfortunately, everyone had quite a busy schedule, so we decided to meet between our lectures at TAMK.

We focused mainly on the conjugation of verbs and therefore on the consonant gradation of Finnish verbs. When conjugating verbs, you also need to think of consonant gradation. Each verb type has its own rules. Of course, we also covered some German verbs which we found useful to know. It was interesting to see that the entire group seem to have at least a little fun while doing grammar (it’s obviously necessary to know some basic grammar, but it can also be enjoyable) – especially if you found some rules and repetition in different words/verbs.

I already know quite a lot verbs, especially the basics:  kirjoittaa, nukua, lukea, puhua, tehdä, käyttää, myydä, ostaa, oddotta, olla, opiskella, syödä, juosta, juoda, mennä, tulla, istua, asua, kysyä, katsoa, sanoa

Writing them down here makes me extra aware of how many verbs I already know by heart! That’s amazing! The easiest way for me to learn them is to remember to which verb-type they belong.

For example, the most common is Type 1, which ends with a vocal + ä/a (asua, istua, sanoa, kysyä …) this type is probably the easiest to conjugate since you only cut of the ä/a and add the ending of the person

asua → asu

asun / asut / hän asuu / me asumme / te asutte / he asuvat

It’s easy like that! I wish everything of the Finnish grammar would stick in my head like that, but it’s still a long way to go. Anyway, even baby-steps will get me to a good level of Finnish in the future! 🙂

5th Meeting: Prepositions and Donald Duck

2.11.2017

On the fifth meeting we decided to actually do some grammar work in German. We used http://mein-deutschbuch.de/  to do some exercises with prepositions. I found this really difficult because they were fill-in exercises. I couldn’t really understand at points what the sentences where meant to be. At points even Daniel was having troubles to understand what was the meaning of the sentences.  After i stopped thinking too much it was easier to go with my instinct and get more things right.

To make the meeting also about Finnish language for Daniel we did some translations. After I had given my answer to a sentence Daniel would either say it’s right or correct me. Then it would be his turn to translate the said sentence to Finnish and I would help him with the grammar and spelling.

I think this was a nice way to combine the actual learning of both languages. And it was very suitable for shorter meeting. Daniel had also brought some Donald Duck pocket books in German for me to read and keep me in touch with German language on my free time. We ended the meeting with going through some of the character names in German, Finnish and English.

 

2nd meeting: Talking about iskola in menza

For our second meeting we met in the canteen of the school to compare educational systems  both in Finland and Hungary.

GRAMMAR

We started our meeting by teaching each other school related words – among others – such as:

koulu/school/iskola

and

ruokala/canteen/menza

However, I guess we all were rather ready to agree that both Finnish and Hungarian are such languages that are quite difficult to people, who don’t speak them as their native language. From this realization we kind of found a topic to our next meeting as we would teach each others our alphabets.

EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM

After learning words related to school we started to explain each other, how the educational system works in our countries. I personally found this rather interesting. Even if systems both in Finland and Hungary are rather similar from kindergarten to university, there are also some differences. The most surprising facts were:

In Hungary high school can last even 5 years whereas in Finland only 3.

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When taking the final exam of high school, you have a written exam. This is the same in both countries. However, in Hungary you have to take also an oral exam. For this you will be given a list of some 20 questions to which you have to memorize the answers as one of them will be asked from you.

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In Finnish educational system you have to take an entrance examination of a specific subject you wish to study to get in to a university of university of applied sciences. However, in Hungary, you don’t have to take an entrance examination, but you apply directly with the average of the final exam of high school or technical school.

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In Hungary there are rather small universities that concentrate only to few subjects whereas in Finland we have universities such as TAMK, in which you are able to study multiple subjects. So, in a Hungarian university there may be 3 000 students while, for instance, in TAMK there are some 9 500.