Time is going by, summer is nearly over. That means life is coming back to the cities and language classes are ahead.
Right, I'm doing again an evening class for Swedish and I'm considering even one for Finnish at the end of the year. And Spanish? Well, I went a few times to the language cafe and spoke Spanish (and sometimes even Swedish!). I guess I really should do some grammar tasks in Spanish, but except for this speaking practise every now and then the language is somehow on hold.
Maybe there's too much other stuff right now, but you know, it has never been my primary language....
Anyway, for Swedish I tried speaking as well and that's also quite nice, though my level is pretty low. The close relation to German helps a lot. But because I don't do enough on my own I'll continue with a course covering the last chapters of Rivstart A1+A2 in september. I know it's slow, but as you see, without classes I obviously don't progress at all and courses are so cheap here. This one will be only 32 € for 39h. Classes in Germany outside the university (where they were for free) cost about 3-4 times as much. Next year I should continue with B1-level classes, something I'm for some reason a bit excited about.
I organised myself a bit of Swedish audio/movies and hopefully will use it at some point. Living in Finland makes Swedish media much more accessible.
So I wrote I'm considering taking a Finnish class as well. Maybe that sounds weird, but acutally I'd really like to take a suitable group class to practice writing, have some grammar correction, plus vocabulary training in a certain way. There may be something available but the possibilities are limited and I don't know whether the courses would be really the way I want them to be.
I think I once or twice complained about it already, but it's incredibly difficult to find teaching for Finnish beyond B1. But in academics B1 is not sufficient for work (though it seems job applications are covered often already in A2 classes - imho way too early for academic professions / specialists). Even my current level, which should be around B2, is not completely sufficient for work (it's ok for a job interview). I mean, I can do pretty much everything somehow, but I'm now also confronted with the limitations of my current level, not only in work life:
- I do lack vocabulary in a way that I could express things in a more creative and maybe even humorous way on purpose.
- I cannot write reports at work. I can write *something*, and understand nearly everything there. But writing reports? No. Luckily I barely have to.
- In more complicated projects I cannot even really answer emails. (but that is also because the projects are indeed a bit more complicated and I couldn't answer those mails in any other language either.)
- I cannot go to meetings with external people alone, because I couldn't express ideas well enough, nor can I be sure that I understand everything. But that's again not only a language-related problem, but also due to the lack of experience.
- I don't understand everything in spoken language. I recently looked up a lot of unofficial/slangi names for different suburbs in and around Helsinki. There are such nice ones such as Hertsikka/Hertsu for Herttoniemi or Tiksi for Tikkurila. Outside of this region the only relevant so far was Manse for Tampere (because it's like the Manchester of Finland). People really use those names, so I need to understand them. However, the names are by far not the only issue here.
And yes, these things bother me. Some more than others.
I assume that the second point would already become better when improving the first one. Others will certainly improve with more work experience. But I don't really expect everything just to happen by itself.
I know there are online writing classes, but I'd really like having them in real life and profit from the choice of words by other people. Reading how other people would tackle the same topic in a different way. Knowing that other people will actually read what I write and it's not just "for the sake of writing practice". But on the other hand such writing classes for foreigners seem to focus on non-fictional texts only, and I feel that this is not enough for me (no word plays, humour etc.). (Btw. I have friends who offered me correcting texts, too. I would not really need a class for corrections only. but as you can read here, I obviously haven't used this opportunity yet.)
I'm not even sure whether I should maybe try some "creative writing" course who write in their native language... But I don't feel like it would be the right thing, since I might not be at that level yet (?). I really don't know how such classes actually work. And I don't plan writing anything longer... There might be also some toastmasters clubs, but I wouldn't do that in my native language either. Should I try role playing? (Something I never tried, since it seems to be a very time consuming hobby.) More board/card games in Finnish, that focus on the player's verbal skills? Any suitable only forum? Any other (weird) ideas?
Have you tried yourself any of these things in a foreign language (apart from English)?
So that's the rant for today.
For a more positive feel at the end of this post, now a picture I've taken a few weeks ago from this beautiful national park, I've mentioned already last year. This year I warned my visitor in advance and we could actually go swimming there (it was ~30°C outside. The water was not very deep, but there were three layers with different water temperatures, which felt pretty interesting).