Tag Archives: Imperfekti

Past, Present, Future_Part 2 (Lesson #7)

As mentioned in the previous blog post, the Part 2 will be focused on present, this week. This week we have holidays. But from my perspective it was the busiest week this autumn. My Demola project took me about 20 hours, at home we got a visitor from Dubai and had to dedicate some of my free time to being a tourist guide, and I am also participating in a Mentoring program, organized by Unipoli Tampere, which again took some time. It is also worth mentioning that this time of the year is the season when flu is thriving. Yuliya unfortunately became the victim, which is the reason why we only had 1 lesson this week. Because of the autumn break, the most obvious choice for a meeting place was TAMK. Usually we have some troubles finding the empty classroom, but on Monday the building felt like a ghost town; the only thing disturbing the eerie silence was an occasionally blinking fluorescent light.

On the Russian learning side I have used the prepared template with pictures to express:

a)      Where did I work before (Spain, Switzerland, Slovenia, Finland) and what did I do
b)      What am I doing now; it included repeating the numbers
c)       When and where I was born
d)      Greeetings, daily situations regarding interactions: Hi, How are you?, Goodbye

I still had so much energy left, so I have asked Yuliya to engage in a conversation with me. This was an excellent opportunity to repeat what I know and also to learn a word or ten more, because only the speaking situations really prepare you for all kinds of situations that might occurr.

On the Finnish teaching side we had only one item on the agenda. On lesson 6 I gave Yuliya a huge amount of homework. I have written 27 statements in Past Simple Tense. Her task was to change all statements to negative form. Additionally I gave her a paragraph about my daily activities. She had to convert it to Past Tense.

She came very prepared and wanted to read her homework, but I completely crashed her plan. Let me show you how.

The statement was: Her task was to convert it to negative form
Luin tämän kirjan. En lukenut tätä kirjaa.

I have given her a task to convert the past affirmative sentence to present form, make a negative present form, and only then read the homework part.

It was didactically a very good task, because usually the students learn how to make a past form by adding a letter “i” somewhere in the verb. But nobody usually teaches how to convert the past to present form. It proved to be quite a challenge. But this was one of the last grammatical exercises in this course.

This is also an introduction to the last part of this series of three blogs. The last part will deal with the future. I will try to express my wishes what I want to learn from Yuliya, and Yuliya can do the same from her perspective. The blog post will also help us planning the lessons.

Sincerely yours (С уважением),
Sebastjan (Себастьян)

Past, Present, Future_Part 1 (Lesson #6)

I have decided to write a short series of blogs, a trilogy. Part 1 will deal with what we did last week, Part 2 will be about this week’s material I taught and learned, and Part 3 will be more about my wishes what I want to learn from Yuliya, and my ideas what I could teach her. I plan to add the real outcome of the lesson in a comment to the Part 3 blog post.

Last week Yuliya came super prepared with four papers. To be honest it sounded slightly discouraging. Plus we were both under pressure with some school assignments, so none of us were able to fully focus on the task. But we promised to ourselves to keep two lessons per week and in order not to break the promise we met for the sixth time. The second important thing worth mentioning was the place where we met. It was Demola premises.

We are both active in our respective projects, both assuming project manager roles. Yuliya is active in a project that will bring more customers to Koskikeskus, while I am involved with OP-Pohjola Insurance company designing new level of customer experience.

On the Russian learning side I have expressed a wish to cover only half of the material Yuliya has prepared. We have quickly repeated the numbers I have learned during the previous lesson. The new topics were greetings at different times of the day:


Good morning! Доброе утро!
Good afternoon! Добрый день!
Good evening! Добрый вечер!
Good night! Доброй ночи!


We have also discussed greetings in daily situations and closed the lesson with a simple dialogue. On the vocabulary side we discussed members of the family.

On the Finnish teaching side we have repeated the Past Simple Tense (Imperfekti) and added the negative Imperfekti. Compared to 13 rules occupying 2 looong pages the rules for negative imperfekti fit on 1 page. And the rules are much simpler, because the negative form is derived from infinite form of the verb and one only needs to focus on two things – singular and plural. Simple tense in true sense of the word.

I am also including more and more speaking exercises. Yuliya needs to get rid of fear of speaking. And believe me; she is getting good at it. We will still practice a few more lessons in controlled environment, but soon I will have to release her to nature, where she will shine and express full level of confidence that she usually radiates when presenting study-related assignments.

Sincerely yours (С уважением),

Sebastjan (Себастьян)

Learning languages is like cooking (Lesson #5)

The series of books … for beginners or … for dummies was a big success. Albert Einstein once said: ”If you can’t explain it in simple words, you don’t understand it well enough!” The same is valid for Yuliya’s approach. As a native speaker and obviously a language expert, she is able to explain the topics in a very simple way.

Let’s imagine language learning as a cooking experiment. You need the stove, pots, and ingredients. I think the stove is the most important one. I would say it’s the motivation to learn the language. Pots are necessary parts – in the EOTO terms they would be the students. And the ingredients are the languages taught/learned. Feel free to shuffle the elements around.

On the learning side I have read an article – yes, I can read Russian! Pronunciation is slowly getting better and better. The main point of article was to recognize numbers in a written form. I managed it pretty well.

Next part of the lesson was learning how to express time. Apparently there are two ways of doing it: the literary way and the dummies way. Of course I opted for the latter one. This also suits my goal – I want to be able to communicate in Russian and not compete with Tolstoy and Dostoevsky in becoming an accomplished novelist.

On the Finnish teaching side the topic was not that perfect – it was the actually Imperfect, or in English terms the past simple tense. But nothing is simple when it comes to Finnish grammar. I have presented the 13 – THIRTEEN! – not so simple rules. In essence they are pretty straight forward, but 13 is a bit too much isn’t it? It actually slightly discouraged Yuliya, but just for a short while.

I still think that the best way of learning any language is by speaking it. And when it sounds OK, you know you are on the right way. And when it sounds weird, you can figure out you made some mistake. And more you practice it, the more profficient you will become.

Today Yuliya needs to practice a bit and on Wednesday we will discuss the negative form of past simple tense.

And I’m so sorry. I again forgot to take a picture from the lesson.

Sincerely yours (С уважением),

Sebastjan (Себастьян)


# 5. IMPERFEKTI – Past Tense or My Imperfection?!

Dear guys! How’s it going?! It’s going well for me! Finnish-Russian cooperation is the best when it’s driven by personal goals instead of credits, grades etc. 

Today me and Sebastjan had a very short and very informative lecture. At the beginning we discussed Finnish Past Tense. Yeah, my skills are not perfect because during 2 years of different Finnish course I’ve never been given information about to express my action in past. The idea of adding “i” before personal ending was slightly wrong. Each type of the verbs has its own modifications at first and only after that you can undoubtedly add personal stem. And here I am again – 13 types of verbs and 2 A4 pages to learn by heart. We practices the rule by writing and speaking which made me a little bit puzzled. There’s no way I can easily use the rule unless I learn it by rote.

What I like about our lectures is that Sebastjan always refers to the topic we’ve already discussed. This constant revision and repetition helps me to keep in mind what I learnt, what I should improve and how different rules are connected. Eventually everything connects. 


The second part of the lecture was dedicated to time. How to say time in Russian language is one of the easiest and hardest topics. We picked the first version – for dummies. Sebastjan does not aim to dig into grammatical rules but he’s willing to build simple conversations. That’s why I gave him a common rule which will be understandable for both native speakers and learners. We also did a task where Sebastjan played with a text searching for written with words numbers.  He did excellent, no mistakes at all. To conclude, currently my student is able to read, write, understand simple sentences, introduce himself, count and tell the time. I’m proud of him! During such a short period of time, he made a considerable progress! Sometimes it feels like he stops the march of time, and we both deepen into unreal world of languages.


Dear guys, or those who intensively learn Finnish. It’s such a good feeling when you read an article or listen to the radio having a rough idea of what is written or spoken. Recently I re-watched a Finnish movie called “Elokuu” (August). It’s a love story, it’s a simple language, it’s a beautifully filmed plot. Here is the link to the trailer. Take a loot if you have time!


 Elokuu – worth watching

Yuliya. Cheers!