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tiia's log (Finnish, Spanish, Swedish)

Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 11:16 am
by tiia
Welcome to my log!

Update: I have moved to Finland in 2018! This means also I use Finnish at work now and in lots of other contexts.

Also the list of probably interesting posts below has been updated to help you finding some specific information, if you don't want to search the whole log.

Otherwise I had also started Swedish in 2017/2018.

So here the original first post:

So this is my first language log (and my first post in this forum).

I'm learning Finnish and Spanish actively right now. There are a lot of languages I might want to learn one day, the next one probably being Slovak. (I already started learning it, but don't have enough time right now.)

My level of Spanish is around A2 and I hope to get into the next course at my university. After that course I will get an official paper telling I have level B1, which would be really nice. If I don't get into the course, I'll probably look out for a tandem partner. (I might not have time for both.)

But: I'm focussing more on Finnish. I'm learning it for nearly 10 years and also did an exchange in Finland, but I studied mainly in English there. So now I have some degree of fluency, but it feels like I'm kind of stuck at my current level, which I estimate to be around B2. (Yes, one can learn Finnish a lot faster than I did. But that's just how it happend.)

So what do I do for Finnish?

- I have a group of other learners to practice speaking once a week, but I don't really improve anymore. (Basically I'm the person correcting every now and then.) But it's a lot of fun and at least I can speak.

- I read books. Last year my goal was 12, but I only read 8. So this year I'm going for (at least) 6 books. Maybe I will post a list of books I read so far.

- I try to find Finns in my hometown. As a student I usually try to find exchange students, as I find it easier to talk to them. But I also might try the meetings of those Finns again, who live here permanently.

- Writing my first own (short) story with the help of lang-8. So far there are five parts online. It's not supposed to be a very good story, more somthing like a small adventure with many clichees from childrens books. But I had a lot of fun designing the rough outline and it's something I haven't done yet in Finnish. (I only wrote fact based texts until now.)

Within the next 12 months I also have to graduate from university, so I'm not sure how much effort I can put into language learning this year, but we'll see. I'm still quite optimistic about that.

(Note: Maybe writing here will also improve my English writing skills again, as I haven't been writing any longer texts in English after returning from the exchange.)

(Edit: I had forgotten to list the short story.)

List of posts that might be somehow interesting also later on:

- Why I started learning Finnish
- New Year 2017 - ideas (also useful for navigation)
- New Year 2018 (including a comment about using Anki)
- Summer job search 2018 starting more or less here
- Moving out (p.21), next page (p. 22) more about travelling to and arriving in Finland for the summer job There is more about applications and bureaucracy on pages 22 and 23 and maybe 24. Those pages cover quite a long time span, as I haven't written too many posts for around half a year.
- Got a permanent job in Finland
- New Year 2019
- How many countries/cities have you travelled? (List of countries I have been to)

Re: tiia's log

Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 1:12 pm
by Elenia
Welcome to the forum, tiia, and good luck! If you're interested, we have the Team Nordic study and support group. It's pretty quiet, as it's not a challenge group, but anyone is welcome to pop by and share anything they've found interesting. Good luck progressing with your languages!

Goals (and whether I reached them or not)

Posted: Sun Mar 20, 2016 9:34 am
by tiia
Current goals:
Reading 6 books in Finnish 2016: 5 / 6
Writing a fictional story at lang-8. Submitted parts: 5
(Half) Super Challenge 2016-17 (Finnish): See here

Travel challenge - 30 before 30: 21 / 30

Old goals:

Reading 12 books in Finnish 2015: 8 / 12

Re: tiia's log

Posted: Sun Mar 20, 2016 11:35 am
by tiia
Books I read in Finnish

- Two books of the Mini-series by Christine Nöstlinger (orig. German)
The books are written for children who are about to go school. They cover everyday life of a child and have nice pictures as well. I could get the content more or less after one year learning Finnish (assuming one went to an evening class once a week and did only a bit of self-studying).

- Siveysoppi kauniille tytöille by Alexander McCall Smith (orig. English)
The first book I bought after the two Mini-books. Another crime story. Personally I somehow didn't like the book that much, but it always reminds me how I bought it, which is something I won't forget too easily.
It's indeed easy to read but my Finnish skills were way to low back then, so I read it nearly six years later.

- Mio poikani Mio by Astrid Lindgren (orig. Swedish)
The first book I actually read. It took me several years, as I didn't really have the level to read books back then.

- Several books written by Leena Lehtolainen (orig. Finnish):
I read that her books should be a bit easier to read and when I found out that she even wrote two books with short stories, this looked like an ideal start. I found Sukkanauhatyttö in a book store in Finland and realised that, indeed I could read it with the help of a dictionary.
Although the stories are not that hard to read they do contain colloquial phrases (especially in the first 2-3 stories I if I remember correctly) and sometimes also more advanced grammar, like the 5th infinitive or lauseenvastikkeet. This "more advanced grammar" is not used too often, but yeah, it's used.
Later I also read Henkivartija and six more books of the Maria Kallio series. I might read the whole series in the future, but it will take some time, because now I want to read something else than crime stories, too.

- Musta kuu by Mia Vänskä (orig. Finnish)
I think it was more or less the first Finnish book where I had the feeling to really get the atmosphere, although I didn't understad every word. It's the creation of the atmosphere which I liked and that there was quite a lot happening in my mind, although there was actually not that much happening in the text itself. Chapter 2 was a bit hard to understand for me, but luckily there were just one or two chapters like this.
Fun fact: the book actually contains my favourite Finnish word. (I had read this word only once in a class before, but never seen it anywhere else.)

More books (I still might write some comments about them):
- Huono Karma by David Safier (orig. German)
- Ihmisen osa by Kari Hotakainen (orig. Finnish)
- Harry Potter 1-4 by J. K. Rowling (orig. English)

Re: tiia's log

Posted: Tue Mar 22, 2016 12:03 am
by tiia
I tried to speak some Spanish today. Speaking didn't really work out at all, but that's no surprise, since I haven't been doing anything for more than one month. But surprisingly I was able to understand most of what was being said.

I'm also making a lot of progress with reading the first Harry Potter book in Finnish. I think yesterday I read ~70 pages, so now I have 191 of 329 pages.

Re: tiia's log

Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2016 12:14 pm
by tiia
Finished reading Harry Potter 1. Now I can start with the next one.

Re: tiia's log

Posted: Fri Apr 01, 2016 7:55 pm
by tiia
I started the next book and because I was travelling the last days I didn't have a good dictionary with me (nor internet while reading), so I read around 70 pages nearly without looking up words at all. (Ok, maybe 3-5 words in total?) It's also the reason, why I chose to continue with Harry Potter, because there I know what happens, so I can understand new words just by remembering the story. - With every other book I would have to look up a lot more words to get the details.

And I got a place in the next Spanish course, which is great. I really think that it might be only due to some misinformation of quite many students that I still could sign in, because I was already a few hours late. (Quite often those courses are full after a few minutes.) But I guess also the last places will be taken at some point.

Edit: Oh and I met a Finn in my town. Hopefully we'll meet again so we can practise. :)

Re: tiia's log

Posted: Sat Apr 09, 2016 5:36 pm
by tiia
Practising Finnish works surprisingly well right now. This week I happened to talk three times with natives! One of them was actually the merchandise guy at a concert. :D

Reading slowed a bit down though, but that's ok right now.

Re: tiia's log

Posted: Tue Apr 12, 2016 11:47 pm
by tiia
Today my new Spanish class started. Luckily at this level at the university most students seem to be quite motivated to actually learn the language. It's still such a difference to classes in school, where students just had to learn a second foreign language. Also the teacher encouraged us, to do just anything outside the classes (like watching movies or whatever we like to do), because only sitting there won't be enough to acquire the language. In contrast to my last teacher I get along with her way oft speaking a lot better. And since she's a native speaker there's no German accent annoying me.

I have the impression that my idea how to practise Finnish in a more natural way was just right. So now I actually might end up playing board games with four Finnish guys in a bar. It actually feels a bit weird, considering how often I have been struggling to get some practice at all. And now there's someone else just as interested as me in going to make this happen. Let's see how this will work out. (I already played board games in Finland, so I know that it's quite possible for me.)

Re: tiia's log

Posted: Mon Apr 18, 2016 11:06 pm
by tiia
I was searching for a file on my laptop today (and didn't find it), but instead I noticed an old translation of a finnish song I had done 5 years ago for a friend. And honestly, I have to say: My translation skills were surprisingly good! :shock:
Only a few parts I would translate different nowadays and I think only one was really wrong. I know I looked up a lot of the words, but at least some of them I still don't know by heart, even five years later.
I mean, I knew I was quite able to translate some stuff, and back than I felt like I could translate nearly every song text as long as I can use a dictionary, but this feels simply amazing.

Nowadays I tend to think that due to the improvements during the last 3-4 years, I couldn't do much with the language more than 4 years ago, although of course I remember what kind of topics we had in our courses. This somehow corrects my way how to see my skills before the exchange year, not a waste of time with some fun, but actually building a damn good base.