Thursday, September 20, 2007

Basic Finnish Course

It seems that on my course days I'll be lagging behind in posting or visiting my blog friends, especially when I have to clean up our place and cook on one of those days he he he...Now let me tell you about the course.

First of all, the teacher has actually never been teaching Finnish for foreigners before, but she's been pretty attentive to each of our abilities. She's a teacher and her husband is the headmaster of one of the two schools we have here. She has been teaching English, Swedish, and German and she knows some Russian, too. Geez!!! I was stunned he he he he...

Here are the students at the course:

1. Marischka (I'm not sure how it's spelled), an Estonian woman. She's VERY advanced compared to the rest of us. She doesn't speak much English, though. I think she's gonna be a bit bored a lot for some time he he he...

2. My only friend here in Sodankylä, Michelle. She was from Bournemouth, England and she moved to Finland 3,5 years ago. I can understand when she speaks Finnish 'coz she speaks slowly and she uses mostly the words I've memorized.

3. Her husband Mark. His Finnish is better than mine, but worse than Michelle. His problem is in understanding when other people speak Finnish.

4. Her eldest son Liam. He's already studying at school, but I think his Finnish needs to be improved. Just like me, he's shy and he doesn't like making mistakes, so both of us know lots of words already (esp. him) but we don't often practise talking. His younger brother is an outgoing type, so his Finnish is far better than his. I think Liam's Finnish might be as good as the Estonian lady's.

5. Sally, Michelle's friend. She's a teacher at one of the schools here (she's also British, came from Warwickshire?). She's pregnant and she's due in December. Btw, our course ends in the beginning of December. She's been living here for about 3 years, as well. I think her Finnish is slightly better than Michelle's.

6. Dascha (I don't know if that's the correct spelling), a Russian girl who's also pregnant. She's due in November. She's also been living here for about 3 years, as well. Her Finnish may be slightly better than mine, but it seemed she was having a hard time expressing herself, too.

Yesterday the teacher made us describe ourselves using some adjectives. Based on that, I can see already that I'm the worst compared to them. I'm SO SO SO SO SO glad that the course starts only after I've been here for 6 months, 'coz then at least I get a chance to memorize lots of words already, even though my Finnish is still pretty basic. I don't want to hold the class back, so I think I'm the one who needs to pick up my pace and study A LOT. The others could already express themselves more than me, especially the Estonian lady. I couldn't understand HALF of what she was saying, especially if she talked too fast he he he he...

Funny thing was that when I said, "Olen kotiäiti" (meaning I am a housewife), the teacher then asked me if I had kids already. I said no. She said that in Finnish, kotiäiti usually means a wife who's got kids already, so probably I should've said "kotirouva". Interesting!!!! In English, as far as I know, a housewife doesn't need to have kids, right? If you want to state that you have kids already and you're not working outside the house, then you'll title yourself stay-at-home Mom (SAHM). Isn't that true? Now tell me if I'm wrong, but that's what I have in mind when I hear the word "housewife" in English.

Hmmm...wait a minute!!! Koti means home, whereas äiti means mother. Probably that's why kotiäiti generally means a mother who doesn't work outside the house!!! Yes!!!

Anyway, kotiäiti is pronounced this way:

During the first lesson, Michelle asked what the Finnish word for "a statue" was. The teacher said, "Patsas" ----> pronounced /p۸ts۸s/. Then the Estonian lady started to laugh and explained it to the teacher. Turned out that in Estonian language, the word "patsas" means "poop". Oh dear!!!!! Languages can be SO funny he he he he he...

Some of you have asked me to teach you some Finnish phrases. Maybe I should start by introducing these basic sentences:

1. Nimeni on ..... (My name is ....) -----> pronounced /nimeni on/

2. Anteeksi. (Excuse me) -----> pronounced /

3. En puhu suomea. (I don't speak Finnish) -----> pronounced /en puhu suome

*** So if you come to Finland and somebody tries to talk to you in Finnish, you can say to that person, "Anteeksi, en puhu suomea."

*** Pronunciation of Finnish alphabet is more similar to Indonesian than English. It's rather hard for me to explain how to sounds are like, but if you're interested in listening to a recorded basic pronunciation guide, visit this site: Tavataan Taas.

4. Some swear words or curses HI HI HI HI HI...You'll definitely hear some of these over here, especially the first one!

a. Perkele!
/perkele/ = The Devil!
b. Pahus!
/p۸hus/ = Damn it!
c. Paskiainen!
/p۸ski۸inen/ = Bastard or Asshole.

5. Kiitos
/ki:tos/ = thank you.
Kiitos paljon
/ki:tos p۸lyon/ = thank you very much.

6. Mitä kuuluu? /mit
æ ku:lu:/ = How are you?

7. The answer to the above question is: Kiitos, hyvää /ki:tos huv
æ:/ = Fine, thank you.

*** (Actually there's a specific way to pronounced "y" in Finnish. Again it's tough for me to explain it but in my book it goes like this:

y is pronounced as in French bureau, but more open.

8. Oh, almost forgot...over here when we meet one another, we say: "Hei" /hei/ or "Terve" /terve/ or "Moi" /moi/. When we are parting, we can say "Hei hei" or "Heippa" /heipp
æ/ (when there're double consonants, you have to say them a bit longer as well).

OK, I guess that's all for now. Earlier I called my Mom and it was GREAT talking to her again. My brother's wedding preparation seems to be going fine. My Dad's also gained more weight and getting healthier. The first few times I called (I can only afford to call them once a month), Mom cried at the end of each phone call, but nowadays I can hear her smile and that makes me SO relieved and happy. ;-D

Today's a sunny day so I may go out to take a walk and take some pics he he he he he...YIIIIIIIIHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAA!!!! ;-D Have a GREAT day, everybody!!!

P.S. An anonymous person just gave me a link in the comment section of one of my earlier posts concerning POLTTIAINEN. Turned out that in English it's called a midge. Here's the link: midge. THANKS A LOT, anonymous!!!!! ;-D


  1. Very interesting. Sounds like your class is fun. You are right in that in English housewives don't have to have kids, just husbands ;-)

  2. Fish: Yeah, and my friend Michelle's a bubbly outgoing fun woman, so the class's more fun because of her, too. I can't imagine how the class'd be like if all the students are shy and quiet like me LOL LOL LOL!!!!

  3. That was very interesting and informative. I agree that the word housewife in English doesn't matter whether there are kids or not. I look forward to seeing some more pictures of Finland.

  4. Kathy: Glad you enjoyed reading it. I'll post some more Finnish pics later on. ;-D

  5. Oh forgot to say to both of you...THANKS for affirming my belief about the word "housewife" he he he he...

  6. Wah, many pregnant women! Thanks for the Finnish lessons.

    Your mum's probably so happy and relieved to see that you're happy there and having a good time.

  7. Blur Ting: Yeah, many pregnant women indeed! ;-D Yeah, you're right! My Mom's very glad to see me happy and well he he he...