Tuesday, March 01, 2011

A "New" Language Problem

When I first started doing this part-time job, many people who came wondered about how well my Finnish could be, so they would speak to me slowly and clearly and they would even use body language as well. However, now that I've been there for at least half a year and most of them now assume that I can understand many things (though they don't know how much I know), they have started talking to me about different topics in a faster speed if the store's not too busy. That in itself is actually nice - having conversations with people in Finnish is nice.

The problem is that sometimes I only understand the gist of what they're saying without understanding EVERY SINGLE WORD, so I'd attempt to mimic their body language and facial features as best as I can, as fast as I can in response to what they're telling me.

Other times I have no problem understanding every word or almost every word, but there are times when I wonder if what I'm guessing is right or not 'coz Finnish words have many different meanings so it depends on the context and 'coz I still don't know all the meanings of the words, there may be some misunderstanding.

Anyhow, the thing is that many times when I only understand the gist, I don't have time to ask the person if what I think he/she means is right or not 'coz usually there are other people whom I need to serve next or I need to do something else quickly. All in all fortunately there has
NOT been any BIG problem when it comes to this new problem. It's just something that I've just realized recently and I just want to write this in this blog. I guess I just need to keep on building my vocabulary then. :-D

P.S. Found a birthday gift for MIL which I gave to her already today (unfortunately the size was a little too small but she can exchange the size tomorrow - YAY!!!!) and I've ordered one for R2 (their birthdays are only 3 days apart). Tasks done!!! Went to visit MIL today and she said that it seems that her back is getting better, though she's not sure how OK it is 'coz she's been taking painkillers he he...I sure HOPE it's getting better even though it may take some time to heal. :-D


  1. I don't know much Dutch language either, still learning every days :D Sometimes, I learn new words from Jason hi hi hi hi....

  2. Very interesting…I have a similar issue in that I am at times around deaf people, I do know a fair amount of sign language but my vocabulary is not nearly sufficient for the conversations I seem to get into. So I am not sure if they just think I am a bit slow thinking or my sign language is not where they think it should be.

  3. @Jul: Yeah, Jason will teach you many new words. :-D

    @LS: It's frustrating when you know a good deal already, but still sometimes you have to guess around without having a chance to ask what they actually mean. Anyhow, I suppose many people (on the other side of the spectrum) would understand our situation anyway - at least I hope so ha ha...

  4. Hey Amel,

    That is what happens whenever we are dealing with a new language: just keep on interacting with people and you will jump over that hurdle as well, you'll see :D.

    Big hug and cheers

  5. Hi Amel…

    You know it may just be me but…your blog shivers. The tab is going crazy and the page is reluctant to scroll…is it just me? Or is it really just that cold in Finland?

  6. YAY for finding the gift for MIL, and ordering one for R2!! RAsanya udah tenang deh yach kalo udah ada kadonya..hehehe

    Btw, I saw some of your comments and stuff on facebook, in FINNISH! I am like so totally impressed!! hehe..Cia yo, Mel!

  7. how hard is it to ask the person to clarify or explain just a little bit more something that you are not sure about?
    just wondering.......

  8. ChicagoWing: It's not about that it's hard to ask. I'm sure they'll be glad to answer. The thing is sometimes I don't have time to ask 'coz there are other people waiting to be served PLUS sometimes I didn't catch the word or words I wanted to ask (I only got the gist of the topic) so it would be hard to ask them to repeat - unless I didn't catch anything much in the first place, then I'd definitely ask, "Pardon me?"