Tag Archives: past tense

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)

Time to speak! (Lesson #4)

We are both becoming busier and busier with school assignments piling up, but we still try to meet twice per week. We have postponed a lesson or two, so the last day – if we wanted to have a free weekend – was Friday afternoon. This is dedication in the true sense of the word. The rest of the city is swimming in alcohol, but we found a different kind of joy, bathing in languages.

In the first three lessons we both put emphasis on grammar, but we were becoming more and more eager to speak. Grammar is boring. Speaking is fun!

I still have some issues with proper pronunciation. We are repeating the accented and non-accented syllables on every lesson. This time I have learned numbers, and practiced pronunciation – again. After I have learned them, I immediately wrote a quick test and passed it without a single error. You see, even after two weeks my motivation is still high and getting only higher.

The second part of the lesson was writing. Yuliya was dictating me the text and I wrote it. This was a nice practice of two things: practicing alphabet and distinguishing between soft and hard letters.

For the homework I need to practice numbers and try to learn the text I wrote. It shouldn’t be too hard as it was about me: age, nationality, studying, wife, friendship, and last but not least, my lovely teacher Юлия.

We have started the Finnish part of the lesson with the text Yuliya has written during the previous lesson based on the sound clip. She had to recognize possessive suffixes and underline them. Perfect! We have also discussed how to create a noun from the verb – adding the ending –minen to the verb.


Infinitive 3rd person plural IV-infinitive
Ilmoittaa Ilmoitta-vat Ilmoitta-minen

The last part of the lesson was about speaking. We have practiced usage of the Partitive. It became obvious really fast that we need to learn plural forms, of both Nominative and Partitive as well as Past tense – at least Imperfect. This is the plan for the coming week.

I also have the same problem as one of the other groups. It’s already the fourth lesson behind us and I still didn’t take any picture on the lesson. I might as well take my first selfie next time.

When we left the C-building we saw a sign on the Y-kampus window. Yuliya was wondering what “ilmoit.” means on the sign for Innoevent. She has quickly deducted it means register or ilmoittaminen. Lesson learned!

Sincerely yours (С уважением),
Sebastjan (Себастьян)