Partitive / prolative / more than fifteen cases indeed...?

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Woods
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Partitive / prolative / more than fifteen cases indeed...?

Postby Woods » 2018-01-02, 23:55

Hey guys,

I’ve been in Helsinki for the last month and a half (didn’t want to wait until the summer so I picked up the worst month of the year :D), which means I’ve been having time for everything else but studying Finnish :)

That’s why I haven’t responded to your replies (been gathering new questions instead), but I read them thoroughly a couple of times.

Virankannos, your explanation about breaking the word into syllables and thus knowing whether to use the weak or the strong grade now makes sense :)

Naava, I’ll have to go over your tips on phonetics again when I have time, so that we can discuss it further…

So far I’m trying to get a hold of the grammar and then I’ll have to start learning words…

Now there’s a paragraph in this “Finnish: An Essential Grammar” that puzzles me again. Here it goes:

“An adjective complement is also in the partitive when the subject is an infinitive or a subordinate clause, or when there is no subject.

On ilmeis/tä, että… (It is clear that…)
On parasta lähteä. (It is best to leave.)
Luennolla oli hauska/a. (It was nice at the lecture.)

With some adjectives both nominative and partitive are equally possible as complement cases; of then the nominative is better.

Minun on vaikea(a) tulla. (It is difficult for me to come.)
Oli hauska(a) tutustua. (It was nice to meet you.)
Ei ole helppo(a) päättää. (It is not easy to decide.)”


Now this is where it gets really confusing. All three of the examples in the last paragraph fall in the category of adjective complements followed by infinitive subjects. Didn’t the author just say that in this case the adjective complement is in the partitive? Then he says that “[w]ith some adjectives both nominative and partitive are (…) possible,” but “nominative is better.”

So, should I use nominative or partitive? And if I should use partitive, what was the point in the previous paragraph? Okay, and what about if the subject is a subordinate clause or if there’s no subject?

I also don’t quite understand the next paragraph:

“If the subject is plural, the adjective complement must also be in the plural (concord), and is usually in the partitive plural. But the nominative plural is often equally possible. This form [apparently he means the nominative] is obligatory if the subject is a plural invariable word or if the concept referred to by the subject is clearly of limited scope.

A plural adjective complement (…) is generally in the partitive, but it takes the nominative if the subject is an invariable plural or refers to a clearly limited concept.”


So he gives the following examples, where the adjective is in the partitive, but then says the nominative is also possible:

Oletteko ilois/ia? (Are you (pl.) glad?)
Omenat ovat tanskalais/ia. (The apples are Danish.)
Nämä kirjat ovat kalli/ita. (These books are expensive.)
Tulppaanit ovat punais/ia. (The tulips are red.)
He ovat miellyttäviä. (They are pleasant.)
Voileivät ovat hyviä. (The sandwiches are good.)


…and then the ones below, where he says the nominative is obligatory:

Jalat ovat likaiset.
Saappaat ovat pitkät.
Kasvot olivat valkoiset.
Sakset ovat terävät.
Housut ovat harmaat.


In the first group of examples, isn’t it more logical to say:

Tulppaanit ovat punaiset.
Omenat ovat tanskalaiset.
Nämä kirjat ovat kalliit.
Voileivät ovat hyvät.

…so that the adjective is in the same case as the substantive?

In “Oletteko iloisiä?” the partitive sounds fine to me, because there’s no subject, and with “He ovat miellyttäviä” I would rather think whether “he” is an indefinite amount of people (in which case I would use the partitive) or a given number of persons (e.g. five), in which case I would rather use the nominative. Am I wrong?

This “generally”-type of definition that the author uses throughout the book really confuses me. What is “generally?” Should I derive the conclusion that I should always prefer the partitive over the nominative for an adjective complement, except for the cases when the nominative is obligatory, or not really?
Last edited by Woods on 2018-01-19, 0:39, edited 1 time in total.

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Woods
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Re: Partitive

Postby Woods » 2018-01-03, 21:33

One more thing that seems to be a mistake in the book:

"After other [than numerals] expressions of quality, the partitive singular is used for divisible words and the partitive plural for non-divisible words."

And here are some of the examples:

vähän maitoa (a little milk)
puoli tuntia (half an hour)
kaksi kuppia kylmää teetä (two cups of cold tea)

kaksi kiloa appelsineja
pari kenkiä (a pair of shoes)
joukko ihmisiä (a crowd of people)


I think the author means the opposite of what he just said - I mean, milk and tea are non-divisible words, while oranges, humans and shoes are divisible ones, or am I wrong? And I guess tunti is non-divisible, when one is talking about some part of it.

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Massimiliano B
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Re: Partitive

Postby Massimiliano B » 2018-01-03, 23:02

Woods wrote:“An adjective complement is also in the partitive when the subject is an infinitive or a subordinate clause, or when there is no subject.

On ilmeis/tä, että… (It is clear that…)
On parasta lähteä. (It is best to leave.)
Luennolla oli hauska/a. (It was nice at the lecture.)

With some adjectives both nominative and partitive are equally possible as complement cases; of then the nominative is better.

Minun on vaikea(a) tulla. (It is difficult for me to come.)
Oli hauska(a) tutustua. (It was nice to meet you.)
Ei ole helppo(a) päättää. (It is not easy to decide.)”


Now this is where it gets really confusing. All three of the examples in the last paragraph fall in the category of adjective complements followed by infinitive subjects. Didn’t the author just say that in this case the adjective complement is in the partitive? Then he says that “[w]ith some adjectives both nominative and partitive are (…) possible,” but “nominative is better.”


The answer is: "With some adjectives (...)". You use the partitive when the subject is an infinitive, but with some adjectives you can use both the nominative and the partitive, but the nominative is better ('better' means that out of 100 finnish-speakers, 90 use the nominative).

Woods wrote:
I also don’t quite understand the next paragraph:

“If the subject is plural, the adjective complement must also be in the plural (concord), and is usually in the partitive plural. But the nominative plural is often equally possible. This form [apparently he means the nominative] is obligatory if the subject is a plural invariable word or if the concept referred to by the subject is clearly of limited scope.

A plural adjective complement (…) is generally in the partitive, but it takes the nominative if the subject is an invariable plural or refers to a clearly limited concept.”


So he gives the following examples, where the adjective is in the partitive, but then says the nominative is also possible:

Oletteko ilois/ia? (Are you (pl.) glad?)
Omenat ovat tanskalais/ia. (The apples are Danish.)
Nämä kirjat ovat kalli/ita. (These books are expensive.)
Tulppaanit ovat punais/ia. (The tulips are red.)
He ovat miellyttäviä. (They are pleasant.)
Voileivät ovat hyviä. (The sandwiches are good.)


…and then the ones below, where he says the nominative is obligatory:

Jalat ovat likaiset.
Saappaat ovat pitkät.
Kasvot olivat valkoiset.
Sakset ovat terävät.
Housut ovat harmaat.


In the first group of examples, isn’t it more logical to say:

Tulppaanit ovat punaiset.
Omenat ovat tanskalaiset.
Nämä kirjat ovat kalliit.
Voileivät ovat hyvät.

…so that the adjective is in the same case as the substantive?

In “Oletteko iloisiä?” the partitive sounds fine to me, because there’s no subject, and with “He ovat miellyttäviä” I would rather think whether “he” is an indefinite amount of people (in which case I would use the partitive) or a given number of persons (e.g. five), in which case I would rather use the nominative. Am I wrong?

This “generally”-type of definition that the author uses throughout the book really confuses me. What is “generally?” Should I derive the conclusion that I should always prefer the partitive over the nominative for an adjective complement, except for the cases when the nominative is obligatory, or not really?


The general rule is that "a plural adjective complement (predicative adjective) is generally in the partitive", except when the "subject is an invariable plural or refers to a clearly limited concept". I think the problem is that, regardles of the context, we cannot determine whether the subject refers to a clearly limited concept or not. You say "nämä kirjat ovat kalliita" if the concept expressed by the word "books" is not clearly limited (for instance, if you are thinkng about an indetermined number of books), and you say "nämä kirjat ovat kalliit", if the concept expressed by the word "books" is clearly limited (that is, if the number of books is clearly limited, namely determined in number).

In the sentence "Housut ovat harmaat" the adjective is in the nominative because "the subject is an invariable plural" (it has no singular form).
Last edited by Massimiliano B on 2018-01-05, 22:18, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Partitive

Postby Massimiliano B » 2018-01-03, 23:14

Woods wrote:One more thing that seems to be a mistake in the book:

"After other [than numerals] expressions of quality, the partitive singular is used for divisible words and the partitive plural for non-divisible words."

And here are some of the examples:

vähän maitoa (a little milk)
puoli tuntia (half an hour)
kaksi kuppia kylmää teetä (two cups of cold tea)

kaksi kiloa appelsineja
pari kenkiä (a pair of shoes)
joukko ihmisiä (a crowd of people)


I think the author means the opposite of what he just said - I mean, milk and tea are non-divisible words, while oranges, humans and shoes are divisible ones, or am I wrong? And I guess tunti is non-divisible, when one is talking about some part of it.


I think that "divisible words" means that you can divide the object referred to by the word (you can divide milk). "Non-divisible" words means that you cannot divide the object referred to by the word (you cannot divide a car).

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Re: Partitive / prolative / more than fifteen cases indeed...?

Postby Woods » 2018-01-19, 0:38

I just discovered a sixteenth case in another book, which “Finnish: An Essential Grammar” does not mention. It’s called prolative and according to Colloquial Finnish (Daniel Abondolo, Routledge 2012) it “means ‘via’ or ‘by means of.’”

The examples given in Colloquial Finnish are the following:

puhelimi/tse (by phone)
lentoposti/tse (via air-mail)
sähköposti/tse (by e-mail)
meri/tse (by sea)
oikeustei/tse (through the courts)


Wikipedia lists exactly the same expressions, and also ‘netitse’ (over the Internet) and then says that “It can be used in other constructions, but then it does not sound ‘natural’.” Well, I guess the Internet didn’t exist when the case stopped being largely used, so ‘netitse’ should be something new. But is this form something that is generally said in Finland or are other ways of expressing ‘over the Internet’ preferred? I didn’t find ‘netitse’ in RedFox Sanakirja for example. Also, are there other expressions using the prolative that we omitted?

Then the author adds that “it can also be used with postpositions” and gives the following examples:

Kissa juoksi aidan al/i/tse. (The cat ran under the fence.)
Hän vetäisi t-paidan päänsä yl/i/tse. ((S)he pulled his/her T-shirt over his/her head.)
talon ta/i/tse (behind the house)
rejän lävitse (through the whole)


I think he means to say that this case is what was used to form certain postpositions or adverbs?

Also, is -i- generally used everywhere a gap needs to be filled, such as the space between a word ending in a consonant and a case suffix for example? I don’t remember having read this anywhere, but it seems to be the case (I can’t think of examples at the moment, but I’ve seen it around (I think mainly in words of foreign origin, because Finnish ones seem to end in a vowel most of the time)) – and also from the examples above, I guess ta/i/tse comes from taka, there’s no plural, so the -i- should be just fill? (no word stem ending in a consonant here, but I thought it might illustrate the case.)

Last but not least, are there any other cases (e.g. also used only in a few fixed expressions) that I’m not yet aware of, besides:

nominative
partitive
accusative (just as a concept)
genitive

essive
translative

inessive
elative
illative

adessive
ablative
allative

abessive
comitative
instructive

and the newest addition to the list: prolative?

I just finished the entire sections on cases, verb conjugation and participles in my grammar and I realised this language is insane :) But I’m moving on to pronouns… I will be back soon :)

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Re: Partitive / prolative / more than fifteen cases indeed...?

Postby Naava » 2018-01-19, 11:44

Woods wrote:But is this form something that is generally said in Finland or are other ways of expressing ‘over the Internet’ preferred? I didn’t find ‘netitse’ in RedFox Sanakirja for example. Also, are there other expressions using the prolative that we omitted?

It used to be almost non-existent, but it's gained more popularity recently. That's where the netitse comes from! :) However, it's still not super common. It's used in certain contexts, such as ads for companies saying "contact us on email!" etc. (Like this. It seems to be a guidebook. I don't really know how to translate it - effortless customer service via email? :D)

The list you gave seems ok. It's missing postitse (on mail) and maitse (on land). I can't come up with any other word where a prolative would be used, so I guess that's all. :hmm:

You can sometimes hear people use these in spoken language, too, but it can always be replaced by some other structure (like postissa for postitse). It has a bit of formal feeling in it.

Woods wrote:Then the author adds that “it can also be used with postpositions” and gives the following examples:

Kissa juoksi aidan al/i/tse. (The cat ran under the fence.)
Hän vetäisi t-paidan päänsä yl/i/tse. ((S)he pulled his/her T-shirt over his/her head.)
talon ta/i/tse (behind the house)
rejän lävitse (through the whole)

I think he means to say that this case is what was used to form certain postpositions or adverbs?


That "it can be used" is there because you can say all of these without the prolative:
aidan alitse / ali
päänsä ylitse / yli
talon taitse / takaa ~ takakautta
reiän lävitse / läpi

(There was a mistake btw, it should be reiän, not rejän. It's pronounced pretty much /reijän/ or /reijjän/, but the the /j/ is not written because it's a glide between /i/ and /ä/ rather than being a part of the word itself.)

Postposition+prolative combos are quite common but there might be regional variation in who uses them and how much. (Eg. my dialect prefers them as much or even more than "single" postpositions.)

Woods wrote:Also, is -i- generally used everywhere a gap needs to be filled

Yes.

For example, loan words:
net - netti
bus - bussi
post - posti

Proper nouns:
Egypt - Egypti
Elisabeth - Elisabethin (genitive)
Pyeongchang - Pyeongchangissa (inessive)

However, the names ending with -s don't always follow this rule:
Aristoteles - Aristoteleen (genitive)
Sokrates - Sokrateen (genitive)

...but Mooses - Mooseksen (genitive)
...but Tunis - Tunisin (genitive)

Woods wrote: I guess ta/i/tse comes from taka, there’s no plural, so the -i- should be just fill?

Yes, taitse comes from taka, but I think the prolative marker is -itse, not -tse. Even if it was a plural, I wouldn't be surprised because if you go by sea, there's lots of sea to cross, and if you go by land, there's lots of lands to walk... Maybe people long ago thought it's more logical to use a plural because of that, and then it stuck so that we say "postitse" even tough you can't really count "posts". ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Woods wrote:Last but not least, are there any other cases (e.g. also used only in a few fixed expressions) that I’m not yet aware of

Yes:
1) lative - kauas, pois, lähemmäs... means "movement in the direction of X". It's not a productive case anymore.
2) exessive, in some dialects - kotonta, ulkonta, opettajanta. It "denotes a transition away from a state", says Wikipedia.

There are also some word forms that have sometimes said to be cases, eg. situative: kasvokkain, käsikkäin (face to face, hand in hand). These are used only with a few nouns, so most people don't think they should be counted as cases.


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