Native Finnish speakers’ perceptions about the syntactic...

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Schalksnarr
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Native Finnish speakers’ perceptions about the syntactic...

Postby Schalksnarr » 2012-07-14, 21:21

The full title of this topic was meant to be:
Native Finnish speakers’ perceptions about the syntactic complexity of their mother tongue

As a native Spanish speaker, the first impression I got when I started reading about Finnish grammar was: ‘I’m never gonna learn this’ (which wasn’t completely wrong) Everything seemed to be so puzzlingly irregular! The verbs are okay to me, since we have similar conjugation patterns in Spanish, but the Finnish case system appears to be just untamable. Ironically, this fact was one of the aspects that, because challenging, made me feel attracted to this beautiful language and go on studying it.
Now, I’d like to have an idea as to how native Finnish speakers perceive the complexity of their mother tongue. Do you perceive it at all? How common is it for you to mistake one case for another? How about lexical distinctions that depend on the length of the vowels and consonants, such as tuli/tuuli/tulli? Are they as clear to you when interacting orally as they are when reading? At what age does an average Finnish child master the said inflection systems?

Thank you all in advance for your replies!
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Re: Native Finnish speakers’ perceptions about the syntactic...

Postby razlem » 2012-07-15, 2:14

Interesting. I actually find the Finnish case system intuitive and the long vowels/geminates fairly easy to distinguish.

On the other hand, I have so much trouble with Spanish. The object pronouns always throw me off, and eve after 4 years of study I still can't understand spoken dialects. XD

Edit: I'll add that I'm a native English speaker and German is my familial language.
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Re: Native Finnish speakers’ perceptions about the syntactic...

Postby Miumau » 2012-07-18, 15:41

Native Finnish speaker here...

To answer your question, no, I don't perceive Finnish as complex :D But I guess no native speaker of any language would find their own mother tongue complex, or even be able to perceive its complexity... Although I do realise that the grammatical structures and the syntax are different from Indo-European languages, which are the point of reference for most non-native speakers. But I think that's cool, it gives perspective to learning languages, knowing that things can be expressed in many ways.

Native speakers obviously usually don't make mistakes with cases. As regards noun inflection, there are some old (often agricultural) words that are not much in use anymore, where mistakes occur nowadays (e.g. ori:oriin, ruis:rukiin). As for correct case usage, only in some very complex sentence structures, such as when using non-finite clauses ('lauseenvastike'), there may be some confusion regarding which case to use. But these rarely come up in spoken language. Kids also learn the inflections and correct case usage along with everything else, so I think already the youngest kids who are able to form any kind of coherent sentences would be able to inflect nouns and use cases more or less correctly.

The short/long distinction in vowels and consonants is clear and unambiguous to a native speaker also in spoken language.

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Re: Native Finnish speakers’ perceptions about the syntactic...

Postby Veqq » 2012-07-24, 10:00

The short/long distinction in vowels and consonants is clear and unambiguous to a native speaker also in spoken language.

Regaurding that... A few days ago when I was asked where I was staying I said asun valilassa and was answered by total confusion missä?!?! And I was like? ...in valila? Valila? wtf is that? Then I was like, OH, Valilla! So... That distinction is super obvious and as essential as voicing is to English speakers, it would appear. :P
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Re: Native Finnish speakers’ perceptions about the syntactic...

Postby Schalksnarr » 2012-07-26, 3:01

Very interesting replies! Thank you all for sharing your perspectives!
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Re: Native Finnish speakers’ perceptions about the syntactic...

Postby Varislintu » 2012-10-05, 12:34

Veqq wrote:Regaurding that... A few days ago when I was asked where I was staying I said asun valilassa and was answered by total confusion missä?!?! And I was like? ...in valila? Valila? wtf is that? Then I was like, OH, Valilla! So... That distinction is super obvious and as essential as voicing is to English speakers, it would appear. :P


You mean Vallila? :P ;)

But yes, this distinction is very important and can throw off a native completely, because it also matters so much for deducing what the stem for the word is, or even what case the word is in.

I was once baffled by the word "tettä", which was supposed to be "teetä", but I could not understand what it could possibly be. The stem for a hypothetical word "tettä" would be "tet" or something, or "tesi", which already leads you very far from the intended "tee". :P
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Re: Native Finnish speakers’ perceptions about the syntactic...

Postby language learner » 2012-10-05, 17:53

Wouldnt te also give tettä? And why is the partitive of tee teetä instead of teettä?

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Re: Native Finnish speakers’ perceptions about the syntactic...

Postby Osprey » 2012-10-05, 22:01

имен wrote:Wouldnt te also give tettä? And why is the partitive of tee teetä instead of teettä?

Because teettä is not partitive but abessive case, meaning "without tea".
Te (you) can not be tettä but teittä (abessive; "without you"). Partitive would be teitä.
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Re: Native Finnish speakers’ perceptions about the syntactic...

Postby language learner » 2012-10-06, 6:12

I thought it would follow the paradigm of nouns ending in -e huone ~ huonettä ~ huoneettä, but it might be the case it doesn't since it's a foreign word.

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Re: Native Finnish speakers’ perceptions about the syntactic...

Postby Osprey » 2012-10-06, 13:26

имен wrote:I thought it would follow the paradigm of nouns ending in -e huone ~ huonettä ~ huoneettä, but it might be the case it doesn't since it's a foreign word.

huone - huonetta (partitive) - huoneetta (abessive) (we can't say these with ä :) )
tee - teetä (partitive) - teettä (abessive) (but I've never heard anyone to say so, normally it is just "ilman teetä" :) )
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