Tag Archives: Learning Finnish

Celebrations in other countries – Juhlia muualla maailmassa

Dumitru Coretchi, exchange student in International Business, Benjamin MacNab, degree student in Environmental Engineering, Petra Kármán, exchange student in Social Services, Lackson Kashobwe, degree student in Environmental Engineering, Daniel Bodenmiller, degree student in Environmental Engineering

Red and white twines in a bow.

Moldovalaisen Martisor-kevätjuhlan koriste

Mărțișor on vanha romanialainen juhla kevään alussa, sitä vietetään ensimmäisenä päivänä maaliskuuta. Tämä juhla symboloi talven loppua ja uuden ajan alkua. Tänä paivänä ihmiset antavat toinen toisilleen koristeen, jossa on kaksi pientä köyttä: yksi on valkoinen ja toinen on punainen. Yhdessä ne ovat Mărțișor – kevään talismaani. Mărtisor symboloi luonnon voimaa ja heräämistä, ja se annetaan läheisille ihmisille, esimerkiksi  vanhemmille, lapsille ja läheisille ystäville. Mărțișor-koristetta pidetään rinnassa lähellä sydäntä koko maaliskuu, minkä jälkeen se laitetaan puuhun, palautetaan se luonnolle.

Australian kansallispäivää juhlitaan 26. tammikuuta siksi, että ensimmäinen siirtolaislaivasto saapui Australiaan vuonna 1788.   Se on hyvin iso juhla. Minun suosikkiradioasemalla soitetaan top 100 -laulua viime vuodelta. Yleensä sitä musiikkia kuunnellaan ystävän kanssa ja juodaan paljon olutta. Kansallispäivä on yleensä kuuma, koska se on kesällä. Usein myös silloin grillataan ulkona. Se on kiva päivä.

Red-white-green decoration for Hungarian independence celebration

Unkarilaiset pitävät tällaista kokardia vallankumouspäivänä

Viidestoista maaliskuuta on vallankumouspäivä Unkarissa. Sitä juhlitaan, koska vuosina 1848–1849  syntyi moderni, parlamentaarinen Unkari. Vallankumouspäivänä pidetään lomaa: se on koko kansan lomapäivä. Silloin ei olla työssä ja käytetään kokardia, jossa on Unkarin värit punainen, vihreä ja valkoinen. Kaikissa kaupungeissa vietetään muistojuhlaa.

Sambian itsenäisyyspäivä on 24. lokakuuta. Se on mukava ja ihana päivä, koska silloin soitetaan musiikkia, näytellään, tanssitaan, syödään ja juodaan. Silloin muistetaan sitä, kun vapauduttiin brittiläisten vallasta.

Etelä-Saksassa juhlitaan Oktoberfestiä. Juhlille pukeudutaan perinteisiin baijerilaisiin vaatteisiin, esimerkiksi nahkahousuihin. Siellä juodaan litroittain olutta. Oluen kanssa syödään makkaraa ja hapankaalia. Jos juodaan       liikaa olutta, valitettavasti helposti oksennetaan ja myös pissataan  väärään paikkaan. Semmoinen juhla.

Your sweet challenge: Finnish language

by Josef Pacal, degree student in Media

A girl standing in front of a round table and a boy sitting at the table - looking each others

Petra and Sören having roles in a small drama “Ravintolassa – In a restaurant”

Learning something new is always beautiful, especially if it’s a new language. The ability to lose something one takes for granted and still being able to communicate is amazing. It’s great that you’ve come to learning Finnish as your next language. It is wonderful, very strange and strangely poetic. Next few months will keep teasing you with challenges specific to this language and it is totally up to you on how to approach them.

Finland has one great feature — everybody speaks English. This releases a great deal of pressure from you, and you can tackle the course without stressing about your survival. Nonetheless it may tempt you not to care about it, which would be pity.

I would like to share some notes and tips on how to approach this course and how to overcome the distractions it may pose.

Don’t expect to write poetry in a year (or actually, do so)

Firstly you may find the course almost frustratingly demanding, you won’t understand a thing, you will be getting lost, you will regret ever thinking about coming here. One lesson a week is not much and it will show on your progress. Some of you may be more talented, but in my case it was sometimes resembling banging my head on the floor till my ears were falling off. However, something kept me going, and in further time of the course my understanding became stronger.

I would encourage you to ponder the more poetic parts of the language. For example the fact that people can make words up and others will most likely get them. Or the fact that you will learn to recognize much smaller nuances in sounds that what you might be used to. And yes a small change in spelling, makes a huge difference in the meaning.

Don’t question how it works

Well do, but don’t get too hung at trying to apply logic of English or your language onto Finnish. My suggestion would be to think more intuitively and playfully when trying the language out. It is one large mind boggling tongue-twister, and turning your brain off might help you forget what you take for granted. Be a child here.

Don’t worry about being wrong

You will make mistakes, don’t make a big deal of them. One friend once told me, that it doesn’t matter whether I use all the genitive, partitive, whatever endings, or not; whether I use the correct wrong order or not; he will understand anyway. One really interesting feature of Finnish as inflectional language is that it glues meanings to words, rather than word order. And so both ‘oletko naimisissa’ and ‘naimisissa oletko’ convey the same meaning, despite their grammatical correctness. In English ‘are you married’ is clearly different from ‘married you are’.

Don’t be shy to talk

Please do talk to people, a lot. This will help you carve the fresh brain matter into

a perfect and more importantly correct form. It is incredibly important to talk aloud to practice the right pronounciation. Up till now I still can’t always hit the proper pronunciation of vowels ‘y’,‘ä’, and ‘ö’.

Don’t be afraid to be creative

And lastly, Finnish is fun, and in this course you will have the freedom to enjoy the language. Don’t be afraid to try new funny word constructs, because you will foster your understanding for the inner structure of Finnish, and who knows, you will likely make up some words that actually exists – like musiikki for example. Yeah, it means music.

I wish you the best luck exploring the wonders of Finnish culture and language and hope you will have as much fun as we had. And one last tip, form an uncool language club to meet and rehearse midway towards your next lesson. It will make your sail much calmer.


With my favourite hobby more Finnish, too

by Anzhelika Manasheva, degree student in Environmental Engineering

Volleyb2.edVolleyball might not be the most popular sport in Finland, but it certainly has its own, quite important role in the city of Tampere.

I have been playing volleyball for the most part of my life that is why I was utterly worried if I would be able to find a decent team here, in Tampere, when I moved here. I started searching in the Internet all the possible volleyball clubs or associations, and to my greatest surprise I found plenty! Although it was already quite late in the autumn that I contacted them, because most of the teams were formed at the end of the summer, yet, I was still invited to a few trial practices to see what I could do and if I could fit in. Luckily, after the very first training the head coach of Kale team was truly pleased to accept as a new member of their team.

Unfortunately, I still had to face some unpleasant inconveniences. Later, it turned out that my Russian volleyball license were invalid in Finland what forced me to buy a new one, which, sadly, cost me a pretty penny. The price of the licenses in Finland depends on what division you are playing in. On the whole there are 4 divisions, from strongest (1) to more immature (4). I was playing in the second division. Nevertheless, I never happened to regret buying the new license. First of all, I did not have to think about further expenditures anymore. The price of license covers four days a week practices, uniform, transportation, coaching and equipment. And I was extremely astonished to discover how easily available it all was as soon as I became a member. And gym membership as well!

The indoor volleyball season lasted from the beginning of autumn till March. Unfortunately, we did not win any special awards, but we still did very well! 😉

Volleyb1.edI also would love to tell you about beach volley, which is very well developed in the region of Tampere.

Having moved here I did not expect to discover that out of only two closed beach volley halls that exist in Finland one of the would be in Tampere. Honestly speaking, it is 45-minutes’ drive from Tampere, though, but the guys organized it so well that every time somebody would always give us a ride. Obviously, there are much more beach volley clubs, but I joint BVT club, what stands for Beach Volley Tampere. The membership price was surprisingly low, but it allowed me to use all the equipment during the summertime, and they gave me 2 T-shirts with the club name on them. Thus, we practiced every week on Wednesdays for two hours, but now when the beach volley season came, we play every day on Pyynikki beach. The people there are very friendly and talkative, even to me considering that I almost don’t speak their language.

What is more, beach volley tournaments take place every week, Thursday and Saturday, and of course everyone is welcome to come and cheer the players up or even join!

Volleyb3.edOn the whole, volleyball is indeed quite important in Tampere. Tampere happens to host such significant championships as World League, European Championship, and Beach Volley Europe Championship. In 2009 beach volley tournament was organized right on the central squire of the city. And I do really hope that one day I will witness another championship on the central squire of Tampere, or who knows, maybe I will participate.

Summer School Nostalgia

by Maksim Mandelshtam, degree student in Environmental Engineering

A couple of students sitting on a lawn, chatting and having beer.

Having a great time together!

The first vaikutus (impression) , nevertheless it’s proved to be true or not, is usually kept in mind for a long time. This applies to people, places, works of art and so on. It also works with cities. My first impressions of Tampereen kaupunki (city) were formed during my first month of stay, which happened to be August, when I was studying Finnish language and culture in Unipoli Summer school.

I have to say with appreciation that this summer school helped to understand better the city, its unique culture and atmosphere. We had great trips around the city on the first week and lectures on Finnish culture and history on the 2 others, along with intensive courses of suomen kieli (Finnish language).

A smiling girl and boy, In the background mustamakkara kiosk.

Eating mustamakkara. The literal translation of this delicate is “black sausage”, trust me!

Lots of events were held during August, when we were studying, raging from Tampere Theatre Festival and various music festivaali (Guess what it means!). I visited some of them with my classmates, which were mainly coming from outside Eurooppa (Now you can understand how to make words sound Finnish!).

The whole year has passed  by since I studied in Summer School, a lot of things have changed, many of my ex-classmates have left Tampere and a lot of new friends I have met here. But I still remember these three weeks in August, when Tampere first demonstrated some of its beauties to me and my classmates from all around the world.


Teemme couscous-päivällistä / Making Couscous Dinner

by Joanne NH Wong, degree student in Media

The first chapter in Finnish, the second the same in English etc.

Tänään olemme päättäneet tehdä couscous-päivällistä. Minä ja minun poikaystävä Slava kävimme kaupassa ostamassa ruoka-aineita. Me seurasimme reseptiä, joka löytyy pirkka.fi:sta: Teriyaki-kasviscouscous. Me ostimme punaisen ja keltaisen paprikan, kesäkurpitsan, kidneypapuja, vähän valkosipulia ja sipulia, ananaspaloja, 1 pakkauksen couscousta, tuoretta basilikaa ja teriyakikastiketta.

Today, we have decided to make couscous for dinner. Me and my boyfriend, Slava, went to supermarket to get ingredients. We followed the recipe from pirkka.fi, kasviscouscous with teriyaki sauce, and we bought red and yellow paprikas, zucchini, kidney beans, little bit of garlics and onions, pineapple cubes, 1 pack of couscous, fresh basil, and teriyaki sauce

Package of couscous

Olen aika innoissani, koska en ole koskaan tehnyt couscousta ennen. Otan couscousin ostoskassista ja luen paketin ohjeet. Tämä on silloin, kun minun suomen kielen koulutus alkaa. Itse asiassa aina kun menen ruokaostoksille, opin uusia suomalaisia ​​sanoja kaupassa. Ohje on helppo: ensiksi keitä 2 dl* vettä, 0,5 rkl** öljyä ja 0,5 tl*** suolaa kattilassa. Ota kattila pois levyltä, kun vesi kiehuu. Sekoita ja lisää 2 dl couscousta joukkoon. Anna turvota kannen alla noin 5 minuttia. Voila! Couscous on valmis!

I am quite excited, because I have never make couscous before. I took out couscous from shopping bag and read the instructions on the packet. This is when my Finnish language training starts. In fact, every time I go grocery shopping, I learn new Finnish words in the shop. The instruction is easy: first, boil 2dl of water with 0.5 tbsp oil and 0.5 tsp salt in a pot. Take it off from stove when it’s boiled. Add 2dl of couscous into the boiled water. Leave it covered for 5 minutes. Voila! Couscous is ready!

Instructions how to cook couscous

Ohjeet suomeksi ja ruotsiksi

Sitten Slava on leikannut kaikki ainekset reseptin mukaisesti nyt. Me lämmitämme pannulla oliiviöljyä, kuullotamme sipulia ja valkosipulia muutaman minuutin, sitten laitamme paprikaa ja kesäkurpitsaa. Lisäämme ananaspalat ja kidneypavut, molemmat valutetut ja huuhdellut.

And my boyfriend has done chopping all the ingredients as instructed in the recipe now. We heat up a pan with olive oil inside, sauté onion and garlic for a few minutes, then put in paprika and zucchini. Add pineapple cube and kidney beans, both drained and rinsed.

Sammuta liesi. Teriyakikastike kaadetaan nyt vihanneksille ja  sekoitetaan hyvin. Seuraavaksi joukkoon lisätään  keitetty couscous, sekoittamalla kaikki ainekset hyvin yhteen. Lopuksi ripottelemme silputtua basilikaa ruokaan.

Turn of the stove. Teriyaki sauce is now poured into the vegetable and mix well. Followed by the cooked couscous, stirring and mixing all ingredients well together. In the end, sprinkle chopped basil leaves onto the dish.

A colourful portion of couscous with black olives, sweet pepper and basili


20 minuutissa nautimme päivällisestä jo ruokapöydässä!

WIthin 20 minutes time, we are enjoying our dinner already on the dining table!

*dl = desilitra

**rkl = ruokalusikka

*** tl = teelusikka



Finnish language is not difficult, it’s different – Suomen kieli ei ole vaikea, se on erilainen

by Maksym Sytnyk, degree student in Environmental Engineering

Easy Finnish expressions with pictures on the blackboard

You can learn the language only when you have a clear goal for what you are learning it for; otherwise, it’s just “Puhun vähän suomea” throughout all 4 years of the studies. Be sure, visiting basic classes is not the way to become a master.

Self-controlled learning at home combined with studying at extra schools and live-conversations with everyone of any age and status is the way to become fluent in Finnish. “You can’t learn to cycle a bike by reading the instructions”. There is also a second way: enroll officially to some course of your interest that is conducted in Finnish; take in seriously and aim to get grade “5”.

There are examples of people, who were able to master the language in 1 – 2 years. Their driving forces were a desire to have a professional job in Finland during the summers and after graduation; ability to do own business; doing non-English Master’s programs in the field of interest; passion towards the country, Finnish friends and desire to stay here.

There are hard moments during the realization of the goal – feeling that it won’t work out. It is natural; just continue working. You’ll reach new higher level after overcoming that point.

For your learning process:

1. You can officially study professional and language courses at TUT and UTA.

2. Finnish language schools are organized in Tampere (also online):


3. Learning is fascinating with real books, journals, and comics. There are many at TAMK’s library and at local Second hand stores’.

4. Be sure, Finnish is essential to get a summer work.

5. Don’t limit your learning methods: search for fun and interesting ways of realizing your big goal, and one day you’ll say “Puhun suomea sujuvasti”.

My journey of learning Finnish

by Lishan Wu, degree student in Environmental Engineering

two media students training verbs with cards

Yulia and Caro are training verbs

Although Finns speaks fluent English, I determined to study Finnish to integrate myself into Finnish society better.

It was not easy for a foreigner to get the ideas of Finnish language at the beginning, because Finnish is a member of the Finnic group of the Uralic family of languages, which is not the same with English. I still remember that I spent hours and hours learning the pronunciation of A Ä O Ö and R and understanding the personal endings of the personal pronouns.

Now when I look back, I realize what learner need to do is to open the mouth and don’t be shy! Communication in Finnish is of great importance in learning Finnish, because Finnish is a phonetic language that each written letter represents its one sound.

It is advised to review the previous knowledge before stepping forward. For example, review the partitive before learning genititive can help understand their differences and after comparison, it is not so easy to mix up with them.

Leila White’s From start to Finnish and Sonja Gehring and Sanni Heinzmann’s Suomen mestari are the recommended Finnish textbooks. From start to Finnish has English explanation, which is easier for beginner to understand. On the other hand, Suomen mestari has abundant pictures that it interests readers.

Now I have been studying Finnish for two years and I know I will study more in the future. It is not the easy language to learn, but I would say it is interesting and challenging.

Puhukaamme suomea ja nauttikaamme siitä!