Welcome to the international (English-speaking) blog of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Helsinki. Our blog invites views on research, education, student life, and other societal themes connected to our computer science fields. The intention is to build a forum as an open window for readers from inside and outside computer science. If you have any good ideas or articles to share on this blog, please feel free to contact us: cs-blog [ät] cs.helsinki.fi.

Thoughts on Language Learning

by Laura Langohr

Last October I headed to Ljubljana, Slovenia, for half a year's research visit. Sitting in the airplane I remembered colleagues and friends back in Helsinki wondering about my plan to take a Slovene course. Even though I would stay only six months I wanted to learn some Slovene, a language only 2 million people speak.

Few weeks later I was already able to understand some basic phrases and numbers. Hence I did not need to look for the display when paying at the supermarket. Fetching a coffee at the institute's machine, other PhD students would ask "kako si?" (how are you?) and I would answer "dobro" (good) or "v redu" (fine) and "pa ti?" (and you?).

Half a year is indeed little time to learn a language. Of course discussions about my research were in English only. In my spare time I asked countless times "oprostite, govorite angleško?" (excuse me, do you speak English?). There are some unforgettable moments, too, that usually ended in laughter. For example, when mixing up "robček" (tissue) with "modrček" (bra)...

Being back in Helsinki, I am forgetting Slovene more and more. Nevertheless, I am glad I made that effort. It made many situations much easier. Not to mention how helpfully it is meeting people.

Still I wonder about a few things:
* Why was it surprising to many that I wanted to learn that language? Is it only the small numbers of native speakers there are or what other reasons there might be?
* Those of you who are learning Finnish: Where do you practice? Don't you think the office or coffee room are ideal places?
* And how about you, Finnish native speakers? Are you shy or even embarrassed to use your mother tongue? Why don't you give your foreign colleagues and friends a chance to practice? Why do you not encourage them, to use whatever words they know?

Add comment

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions. Logged-in users are not tested.
4 + 2 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.

Comments

Why I don't speak Finnish to foreigners (at least by default)

Well, shyness or embarrassment surely weren't the first things in my mind when thinking about this.

For me, the primary reasons are convenience and plain selfish desire of keeping my English sharp. It is usually much quicker to convey my message in English, and I get to practice my active vocabulary. Also, trying to estimate others' proficiency or even willingness to learn Finnish isn't the easiest task ever.

I guess that the last part can be abstracted to certain level of shyness. I mean, why not to ask people what they prefer and act accordingly? There may also be some sort of embarrassment in thinking that foreigners' don't want to learn Finnish by default. However, most of the time I just wish to communicate my message as quick as possible. I'd like to think of it as a kind of opt-in instead of opt-out.

If there is something I'm really embarrassed about, it's the horrible rally-driver-style of English some of the Finnish staff seem to favor. Not to mention the "person who know aid" sign in the coffee room ;)

http://www.allasas.net/ スープラ スニーカー

Kpuprykfv nsnavqfb ojfrnzkg nlrmahoa oenxyvuk kfpdlqgk ynejbwrr nnuiwdlp jupnjhgq nwferigy http://www.kenilworthtutor.com/ fdoyunba cmyyrjhk cwvlicag zeazsbwb daiivgyk nfccygoo vbsizsqf odjswvny hnmpernk zxrcpcsk epkqnqxw qixruhjk

and why I usually don't speak Finnish to Finns

There are a few reasons why I still (after several Finnish courses) mostly speak English:

(1) I completely agree with the previous entry, English is simply the more convenient language. I probably could by now say most of the things in (slow and bad) Finnish, but it is just much more effort. It also is hard to judge how patient someone would be, when I would start speaking Finnish and possibly have to ask a few times to repeat things, if I didn't understand.
(2) I feel a bit embarrassed to speak Finnish when too many people listen to me, as it would be f.ex. in the coffee room.
(3) Usually people start talking in English to me, probably because it is hard for them to judge on which level my Finnish is... I also blame myself that I always start in English and never try to surprise anyone with Finnish :)

my 2 cents

I can totally understand that you wanted to learn some Slovene, even if it isn't of much use to you later on. I had the same feeling when I came to Finland and initially planed to stay just one year.

Still, my Finnish is only very basic to this day. My own laziness being the main reason: For someone from Central Europe, Finnish isn't easy to pick up. But most Finns speak pretty decent English and so you can get along rather easy without learning Finnish. For me personally, it wasn't until the very end of my stint that I met some people whom I actually wanted to talk to and couldn't, because they didn't speak English. At least this experience kept the intention to learn the language alive.

I don't consider the office or coffee room the ideal place to practice. Again, maybe I am just lazy, but I go to the coffee room to relax and have some small talk. I do not go there to painfully try to come up with one understandable sentence only to get told that I made about a dozen mistakes in it (and I have to be told about the mistakes, as otherwise I wouldn't learn).

Learning FAinnish is easier in day to day use

A s a british expat andm residing in Finland for the last 23 years I have seen and learnt more Finnish language by jus socialising more.
Join local group meeting and try to get involved with what is going on in your local area.I do find that the Finns I know prefer to speak E nglish to me.May be it is a want of learning and practice for them.
I have to steer the conversation to Finnish manyu times
Greg
http://www.nectareal.com

Hi Laura, I've found this

Hi Laura,
I've found this page totally by accident when I was searching for courses of slovene language in Helsinki. I'm from Slovenia and currently living in Helsinki where I work as an au-pair and in case you'd like to meet up and practice your slovene with me, you're most welcome! You can write me to anjavalo(at)yahoo.com (that's the email address I use only when telling it in public places but I'll make sure to check mail each day in case you see my comment here and decide to write to me).
lep pozdrav,
Anja

The CS Blog Task Force

Aaron is doing his PhD in the NODES group at the CS department. His research focuses on mobile computing and energy efficient design for multi-interfaced mobile devices.

http://www.cs.helsinki.fi/u/yding

Giulio is a Professor at the CS department. His area is Human-Computer Interaction. For more information, please find his homepage here

http://www.hiit.fi/giulio.jacucci

Doris is a researcher at the CS department and HIIT, doing her PhD in the neuroinformatics research group. Her research interests include graphical models, causal discovery, and time series.

http://www.cs.helsinki.fi/en/people/entner

Laura is doing her PhD at the CS department. Her research interests include knowledge and link discovery, bioinformatics, and data mining.

http://www.cs.helsinki.fi/en/people/langohr

 

31.08.2015 - 14:10

The Department of Computer Science at the University of Helsinki has a tradition of annual summer trip for all the staff members. This year, the TKTL staff members are invited to take a boat trip on J. L. Runeberg and spent a beautiful day in Porvoo.

For the memory, we share a set of photos contributed by Arto Wikla and Frans Ojala:

10.08.2015 - 11:00

by Kumaripaba Athukorala

Recently I got my first, first authored journal article accepted to the Journal of Association for Information Science and Technology (JASIST for short). I thought of sharing what I learnt from the journal article writing process while my experience is still fresh.

Some of the lessons might be specific to the JASIST journal. However, I generalized the details so that this article is useful to anyone.

30.12.2014 - 12:34

By Teemu Roos

After conferring with senior professors P. Myllymäki and J. Paakki, we get some perspectives into the main issues at (or with) the department over the years. The discussions are based on the CS department Strategy Seminar of 2014.

02.12.2014 - 16:13

by Leena Salmela

Since 2009 when I came to work at the department I have been involved with the Glanville fritillary genome project. In this blog post I will tell about my experiences in the project.

04.11.2014 - 23:56

Lauri Suomalainen

On October 27th, Juhani, Lirim, Ashwin and I set forth to 3rd OpenStackFin User Group meetup. The event is a get-together for Openstack enthusiasts and experts in Finland. Its main goal is to gather like-minded people to share insights and experiences about OpenStack. The event was held in the evening at the restaurant Kaarle XII. Ashwin and I were first time aboard, while both Juhani and Lirim have attended the previous two meetups. So far the meetups have been organized once every six months. We arrived to the scene around four o’clock and there were already a few dozen people gathered to enjoy food, snacks and beverages.

21.10.2014 - 12:50

Interaction Lab is initiated and founded by Ubiquitous Interaction research group in 2014 for providing a space where novel interaction in between human, computer, and the physical environment can be developed and experimented.

28.09.2014 - 16:51

by Anna Kantosalo

Computational creativity is a new and hot topic in computer science. This year I had a wonderful opportunity to participate in the International Conference for Computational Creativity (ICCC) at the Jozef Stefan Institute in Ljubljana and present my first academic paper for the Discovery Research Group. The great community and fascinating topics of the conference made me want to share the highlights of my first conference experience with all of you!

07.09.2014 - 21:22

by Juhani Toivonen and Lirim Osmani

The European Grid Infrastructure (EGI) is a federation of research organisations that provide computational resources and services to European researchers and their partners around the world. It consists of National Grid Initiatives, one of which is in Finland (http://fgi.csc.fi) and is managed by an organisation called EGI.eu.

09.04.2014 - 11:53

by Sini, local member of the international branch in the department well-being group

24.01.2014 - 21:05

By Carolina Lindqvist

20.12.2013 - 12:51

On Monday the 16th of December 2013, NODES research group organized the traditional NODES/KOPS-glögi before the Christmas holiday. (Glögi translates to 'mulled wine', and is a popular red spicy drink enjoyed around Christmas time.)

10.12.2013 - 13:35
By: Ella Peltonen and Tiina Niklander
 
07.11.2013 - 17:59

by Antti-Pekka Tuovinen

16.10.2013 - 21:04

by Kalle Viiri

 

12.09.2013 - 00:41

by Aino Sipari

Our Kumpula club buddy program is recruiting new buddies!

29.08.2013 - 14:34

Have you ever been worried about you mobile phone's or tablet's energy consumption? Do you need to charge your device every night, perhaps even in the middle of the day? It is generally known that large screens and continuous network connections eat our phones' battery faster than we really want. Our goal in the Carat project is to survey and analyze what else could be going bad in our phones' matters.

01.07.2013 - 11:39

The national yearly Computer Science event (Tietojenkäsittelytieteen päivät) is the main event of the Finnish Society for Computer Science (TKTS). The society hands out two awards every year, the best MSc thesis of the year, and the best PhD thesis, which is awarded by The Finnish Information Processing Association, FIPA (TTL in Finnish). This year the PhD thesis award was granted to Jouni Siren from our department, for his thesis "Compressed Full-Text Indexes for Highly Repetitive Collections". Congratulations, Jouni!

04.06.2013 - 14:03

Interview with Tiina Niklander

Question 1: What's your role in the union? Please introduce yourself and if possible, the current status at department.

I am a university instructor at the department. In addition to giving courses and guiding thesis a lot of my work at the department is related to guiding study planning of Networking and Services students. I also coordinate the international master's studies at the whole department.

I have been one of the shop stewards at the university for several years.  

08.05.2013 - 22:32

In early March, the Department of Computer Science and Innofactor organized a week-long Windows Azure CodeCamp for students. The course was held 1-11.3.2013, during which the students were asked to produce small-scale applications utilizing the Windows Azure platform - Microsoft's cloud computing platform for building, deploying and managing applications and services, like Amazon's AWS or the Google App Engine.

05.04.2013 - 13:15

Dear readers, this is the second interview of our TKTL group leader series. The goal is to provide an open forum for group leaders to present their latest research development, activities in teaching, project work opportunities, and general comments about our department. This time, we interviewed Prof. Giulio Jaccuci, who is leading the Ubiquitous Interaction (UiX) group.

31.01.2013 - 14:04

Prof. Jussi Kangasharju started a blog to chronicle his sabbatical year - first 5 months in Korea, then 5 months in the Bay Area in the US. He comments, "It is partly intended to show people in our department that going abroad is not a scary thing." We repost here his latest blog entry about the winter experience in Korea. For further interesting stories, check out his blog.

18.12.2012 - 13:56

Sasu Tarkoma

This has been a busy year for the networking and services specialization line and the NODES research community at the Department.  We have made the headlines from rooftop greenhouses to energy-optimising mobile apps and squeeze-based smartphones.  We should not forget the best paper awards and other mentions either. We did well in the university research assessment exercise as well. We have also strengthened the industry connections and the recent Internet of Things (IoT) research program is one example of this.

18.12.2012 - 13:42

At the end of November 2012, the department of computer science threw its Christmas party in "Berghyddan", an old building in the area where Helsinki was originally founded.

24.10.2012 - 15:13

In this month's NODES Pizza Seminar, postdoctoral researcher Suzan Bayhan from HIIT gave a presentation about "Energy Efficiency in Cognitive Radio Networks". In brief, a cognitive radio node is capable of changing its communication frequency in order to better take advantage of underutilized parts of the radio spectrum.

24.09.2012 - 17:04

On September 17th, the well-being group and the department invited our international staff for a casual coffee break for the start of the new semester.

20.06.2012 - 10:03

On a beautiful summer day, our department invited staff members to the idyllic located villages of Billnäs and Fiskars, which is about 80 km west of Helsinki, famous for their long tradition of iron works.

14.03.2012 - 19:13

by Jussi Kangasharju

(Instead of a literal translation, I've chosen to translate the meaning of the title. As the most astute of you may have already noticed, the title is not in English, but in fact in Italian and recapitulates the words of Italian Coast Guard Captain De Falco when "encouraging" Captain Schettino, the captain of the sinking cruise ship Costa Concordia, to go back on board the ship to coordinate the rescue. The intended meaning is: "Stop whining and start doing your job!")

This article is mainly me venting my frustration, since over the past year or so, I've noticed that the laziness and general lack of effort have reached completely unexplored peaks. Although this article is only my personal opinion, in the discussions with many other teachers in the department, I've heard very similar experiences on their part as well.

08.03.2012 - 11:28

by Ella Peltonen

This year the Department's Strategy seminar was organized from 1st to 2nd March 2012 in Hotel Haikko Manor near the city of Porvoo. Beautiful Haikko is known for a place of fabulous summer weddings, but it seems to be also a practical conference centre and a nice small spa. And so our two strategy days contained both working and relaxation.

08.03.2012 - 11:25

by Jussi Kangasharju

For two years, my group has conducted research on data center cooling optimizations, and as part of that work, we have had computers out on the roof terrace of Exactum for over 2 years, in all sorts of enclosures. For a full recap of our research, please see Mikko's excellent blog (which also discusses washing of keyboards in a dishwasher).

14.02.2012 - 14:13

Dear readers, the interview series of TKTL group leaders is making its debut today! The goal of the series is to provide an open forum for research group leaders to present their latest research developments, activities in teaching, project work opportunities, and general comments about our department.

02.01.2012 - 16:34

by Esther Galbrun

13.12.2011 - 16:52

by Oskar Gross

Autumn school on Computational Creativity was held in Porvoo from 7th till 11th of November. It is interesting to note that it was a landmark in the field of computational creativity, as it was apparently the first "school" dedicated on this topic. Moreover, the lectures were given by the leading researchers in the respective field.

09.11.2011 - 14:54

In autumn 2010 a Finnish course was organized in Kumpula for the staff of the Computer Science Department. After one year, we are interested in how the attendees feel about the course and if there is a demand for organizing such a course again.

Here are the comments from some of last years attendees:

"Overall I found the Finnish course very useful. Unfortunately I am spending just one year here in Finland, so I did not have a lot of time to study and practice what I learnt :)

17.10.2011 - 10:20

by Stefan Schönauer

Throughout my career the question of how to improve the internal communication and collaboration has been a topic at every institution I worked for. Here I present some of my thoughts on the topic, which are based on personal experience and discussions with several people.

26.09.2011 - 11:14

The new university year has just begun. It is an exciting time for our fresh Master's students as well as senior ones, both aiming at obtaining their MSc degree from the CS department. To provide an insight into the international part of the Master's students, we start from the recruitment statistics of new students, and then share with you five fascinating stories.

05.09.2011 - 13:36

by Laura Langohr

Last October I headed to Ljubljana, Slovenia, for half a year's research visit. Sitting in the airplane I remembered colleagues and friends back in Helsinki wondering about my plan to take a Slovene course. Even though I would stay only six months I wanted to learn some Slovene, a language only 2 million people speak.

15.08.2011 - 10:23

By Liang Wang

In the early morning on April 26, Prof. Kangasharju, Tiina and I started our journey from Helsinki to Petrozavodsk. The whole journey was quite pleasant thanks to the sunny weather. After 12 hours, we reached our destination – Petrozavodsk, a quiet and lovely small town in western Russia. Even though it was not our first visit there, it was the first time we visited Petrozovadsk in spring. Everything looked so fresh and full of vigor compared with my memory of last winter.

27.07.2011 - 11:14

We consulted a few staff members and students what they expect from this blog.

23.06.2011 - 12:48

Welcome to the international (English speaking) blog of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Helsinki. Our blog invites views on research, education, student life, and other societal themes connected to our computer science fields.

Syndicate content