Friday, January 04, 2008

Language and Its Intricacies

My spring course is starting again mid January until April, then we'll have summer break and we'll start again in autumn. I must say I'm VERY excited since I'll be meeting my friends again, especially my Brit friend MC. She's such a jolly, friendly person and she always lights up the class he he he he...

Other than that, of course I can't wait to learn more Finnishhhhhhhhh and practise it!!! A few weeks ago I was in my in-laws and I was trying to read some comic strips in the local newspaper. That day I was able to read one comic strip without the help of dictionary and I could understand the whole thing. I was SO HAPPY that I even told Arttu about it he he he he he he...This is how I felt like:

I still remember the first few months I was here. I was making VERY slow progress in learning Finnish and I couldn't understand a thing people were saying to me. I always tried to read the newspaper or magazines in my in-laws, but I couldn't understand anything, except perhaps just a few simple words. Nowadays I can understand more words since I know more about the changes of the word forms. Even then I know I still have a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONNGGGG way to go, but I'm going to CELEBRATE each new step towards understanding the language better he he he he...

One tough thing about learning a new language is this: the limited vocabulary. So, even though I can probably ask many questions (after looking up certain words that I probably don't know in the dictionary), I may not be able to understand the answers, especially if the answers are long and they use words that I don't know yet. I often experience this when I ask something to my mother-in-law and she gives me an elaborate answer. Then I'll just give her a blank look and she'll understand that I don't get it HI HI HI HI HI...and we'll both have to wait for Arttu to translate it for me ha ha ha...

Another funny incident that often happens when you learn a new language is this: you hear some words or phrases that sound FAMILIAR, yet you can't seem to remember what they mean!!! You search high and low, even in the nooks and crannies of your brain, but the meanings aren't embedded in any part of your brain yet.

This kind of experience always makes me feel like biting my finger and think REAL hard and say, "I KNOW those words, but what do they mean?" But of course it's futile since in real life...conversation goes fast...and the moment you're stuck on the words that you don't understand, you miss out on the rest he he he he he...Such is life when you don't know the native language he he he he he...

Anyway, here is a list of the exact same words in Indonesian and Finnish:

1. Tuli ---- Finnish: fire, Indonesian: deaf
2. Sama --- It has the same meaning both in Indonesian or Finnish: the same
3. Satu --- Finnish: fairy tale, Indonesian: one
4. Kita --- Finnish: mouth (of a cave), Indonesian: us
5. Lupa --- Finnish: permission, Indonesian: forget
6. Paha --- Finnish: bad, Indonesian: thigh

It's always interesting to see how different the meanings of exact same words in another language, don't you think so? The first time I learnt about "paha" (bad in Finnish), my brain always conjures up the image of a "thigh" HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA...


  1. It was also very hard for me to learn dutch.. As another peoples said to me, that you learn language faster by practice. So you must speak finnish as much as possible. You're smart, i'm sure that you can. have a nice day.... ^_*

  2. Well done in your Finnish, Amel. I bet in a few more months you'll be able to be in advanced level. :)

    You're right about the same words, but different meaning he sometimes how a name in your country becomes an 'animal' in other country ha ha ha...

  3. Waaaa interesting! I always love to learn languages... thanks to Menara Babel that we have so many different languages now..LOL... if it was not because of it, you even don't need to learn english and finnish.. everybody speaks in Bahasa.. LOL...

  4. in Dutch, you will find a lot more same words with Bahasa Indonesia :)

  5. That must be really hard when the two words are the same but have different meanings in two languages. I guess you have to have your brain separated into the Indonesian part and the Finnish part....and the English part. Do any words in either language sound the same as English words?

  6. Hi!! I am learning Maltese now and despite having lived already for 2 years here I can't speak it properly. I somehow understand many things though :) and there are many words that are very similar to Spanish.

    Good luck with your Finish lessons! It is always nice to see the classmates again :) One of the reasons why I wanted to learn Maltese was to meet new people. Unfortunately there are not too many courses available and I am having private lessons but my teacher is cool :)

    Enjoy your weekend!

  7. Jeanne: It's always hard to learn a new language. THANKS for the advice and the compliment. :-))))

    Choc Mint Girl: It's just really encouraging to know that I've made progress he he he he he...

    Yeah, speaking of name becomes an animal, in Finnish there's this word "susi" that means a wolf...whereas in Indonesian, Susi is a girl's name he he he he...

    Trinity: HA HA HA HA HA...Yes, thanks to Menara Babel he he he he...

    Nyumix: Yeah, 'coz lots of Indonesian words derive from Dutch. ;-D

    Kathy: Hmmm...I've never really thought of it that way, but when I'm learning Finnish or when I have Finnish classes, I try to think in Finnish. I mean when I hear words, I associate it with Finnish, not with other languages he he he...

    There are some words that are similar to English in both Finnish and Indonesian, especially loan words. :-)))

    La delirante: Well, GOOD LUCK to you, too, in learning Maltese! I guess after living in a place that long, you'll pick up the language even though it's not perfect he he he...

    THANKS for your well-wishes!!! ;-D I know what you mean about not too many courses available. Here there hadn't been any courses for years, except just a few months ago it started, so I'm VERY happy he he he he...

  8. Hi Amel,
    Interesting post. About 10 years ago, we had a Finnish Foreign Exchange Student live with us for about 6 weeks. She was wonderful. We still have very fond memories of her. BTW this is up on SlogBite now. Once I launch, I am hoping that you will post this category and then tag other sites (preferably other Expatriates) to join in. Don't forget to tell Jiliana to participate also.