Troubles with consonant gradation

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Woods
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Troubles with consonant gradation

Postby Woods » 2018-03-23, 15:34

According to my grammar:

kir-sik-ka - kir-sik-oi-hin (into the cherries)

Why?

Is the -h- supposed to be part of the second to last and not the last syllable?


Same question about:

va-sik-ka - va-si-koi-hin (to the calves)

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Re: Troubles with consonant gradation

Postby Naava » 2018-03-23, 17:02

I tried to google but I couldn't find anything in English. Anyway, this site says that a syllable that ends in Vi-diphthong (ai, ei, oi etc.) is in weak grade if this syllable has a secondary stress, if the word has 4 syllables in total, and if the word is in plural partitive, genitive, essive, illative, or comitative. It also says that you can use the strong grade in plural essive, illative, and comitative if you like.

Please tell me I got it right. So many rules...

You can see the same here and here.

Imo there isn't any difference in tone, meaning, or formality. Both are fine, and you can use whichever sounds better to you.

I'm sorry but I can't answer the "why" part of your question. Maybe there were dialectal differences that resulted in two accepted variants when the standard Finnish was made or maybe there's a change taking place and eventually one of them will drop out of use. I don't know, and I couldn't find anything about it either.

Oh, and the syllables are:
kir-sik-ka ; kir-si-koi-hin ; kir-sik-koi-hin
va-sik-ka ; va-si-koi-hin ; va-sik-koi-hin

The rule is "if you can start the syllable with a consonant, do it" and that's why *kir-sik-oih-in wouldn't be possible.

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Re: Troubles with consonant gradation

Postby Woods » 2018-04-01, 21:42

Naava wrote:Please tell me I got it right. So many rules...

You’re asking me to tell you? :D

I’m indeed amazed how you’re always able to find the rule that explains the thing that makes no sense :)

I naïvely believed that Virankannos's rule about breaking the word into syllables would be enough for handling the consonant gradation, but no…


Naava wrote:this site says that a syllable that ends in Vi-diphthong (ai, ei, oi etc.) is in weak grade if this syllable has a secondary stress, if the word has 4 syllables in total, and if the word is in plural partitive, genitive, essive, illative, or comitative.

Should all three conditions be met (secondary stress, four syllables and one of the mentioned cases) or is one of them enough?


Naava wrote:It also says that you can use the strong grade in plural essive, illative, and comitative if you like.

So you’re saying that kir-sik-koi-hin and va-sik-koi-hin are also acceptable forms? No such thing is mentioned in the grammar, but yeah – it’s mentioned in the Kielitoimiston Sanakirja. I wouldn’t trust Wiktionary though.

I don't know which ones sound better to me – as a speaker only of languages that don't have long consonants, it'd be easier for me to go for the weak grade, but at the same time I'd prefer the other ones as with them I can keep using the handy rule about the open vs. closed syllables.

I bet kir-si-koi-hin and va-si-koi-hin are more common, even though they don’t follow the rule?

I’m looking at the other forms in the Sanakirja as well:

kir-sik-kaan (ill.sing.) – has strong grade even though the syllable is closed (no clue why)
kir-si-koi-den (gen.pl.) – same thing as the one we’ve been discussing – but the here the strong grade is not allowed
kir-si-koit-ten (gen.pl.) – here it makes sense – actually, what is more common – this form or the previous one?
kir-sik-kain – what is this and why does it have the strong grade? I guess it should be some slang…

So, my conclusion so far would be that the rule you found (which I am yet to remember) is mandatory for the partitive and genitive, and for the illative, essive and comitative I can ignore it when I write, but I should be aware of it when I read so that I don’t think the text is misspelt… Unless you tell me that using the strong grade in these cases is really old-fashioned and rather worse than the weak one?

By the way I discussed this briefly with one Finn (who is by no means a linguist like you) and he said the word is kir-si-koi-hin. He didn’t seem to have heard of kir-sik-koi-hin as an alternative.

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Re: Troubles with consonant gradation

Postby Virankannos » 2018-04-04, 21:04

Woods wrote:I naïvely believed that Virankannos's rule about breaking the word into syllables would be enough for handling the consonant gradation, but no…
I'm sorry if I've misled you. Consonant gradation in modern Finnish has strayed far from its original form where the underlying principle was strong grade in open syllable and weak grade in closed syllable. There are many exceptions and instances where analogy has obfuscated the previously valid rules; words ending in -kkO and -kkA are one of them.

Woods wrote:Should all three conditions be met (secondary stress, four syllables and one of the mentioned cases) or is one of them enough?
In these types of words, genitive and partitive plural forms are in weak grade when the plural substem...
- ends in diphtong ending in i
- has secondary stress.

For example, 'kir-si-,koi-den or 'kir-si-,koi-ta (where apostrophe = primary stress and comma = secondary stress)

The reason why is still unclear but it is suspected to have something to do with easing the pronunciation. In essive, illative and comitative plural forms the weak and strong grade forms are usually interchangeable.

Woods wrote:I’m looking at the other forms in the Sanakirja as well:
kir-sik-kaan (ill.sing.) – has strong grade even though the syllable is closed (no clue why)
kir-si-koi-den (gen.pl.) – same thing as the one we’ve been discussing – but the here the strong grade is not allowed
kir-si-koit-ten (gen.pl.) – here it makes sense – actually, what is more common – this form or the previous one?
kir-sik-kain – what is this and why does it have the strong grade? I guess it should be some slang…


  • kirsikkaan has strong grade because of historical reasons: the illative ending used to be -*hen (so kirsikkaan << *kir-sik-ka-hen) which then developed to -hVn (and even later > -Vn) where the vowel was assimilated to the preceding vowel. The strong grade remains to show that the syllable was originally open.
  • kirsikoiden ~ kirsikoitten (see previous explanation). About the frequency: I surmise that the former is more common at least in Standard written Finnish, although both are allowed. I personally prefer the latter as it's more common in my home dialect.
  • The -in in kirsikkain is an old-fashioned variant of the genitive plural ending and ultimately goes back to -*δen, so the syllable was originally open here as well.

Woods wrote:So, my conclusion so far would be that the rule you found (which I am yet to remember) is mandatory for the partitive and genitive, and for the illative, essive and comitative I can ignore it when I write, but I should be aware of it when I read so that I don’t think the text is misspelt… Unless you tell me that using the strong grade in these cases is really old-fashioned and rather worse than the weak one?

By the way I discussed this briefly with one Finn (who is by no means a linguist like you) and he said the word is kir-si-koi-hin. He didn’t seem to have heard of kir-sik-koi-hin as an alternative.
You're right on the money. I don't find either variant old-fashioned or worse than the other, but these kinds of judgments is always subjective. And not even all Finns are aware of the variation within their language if they e.g. come from an area where a certain variant isn't used or just haven't been exposed to it before. It doesn't mean it's wrong even if someone says so. It may well be but you should check it with Kielitoimiston sanakirja, at least.

My two cents.

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Re: Troubles with consonant gradation

Postby Naava » 2018-04-11, 7:41

Woods wrote:
Naava wrote:Please tell me I got it right. So many rules...

You’re asking me to tell you? :D

I’m indeed amazed how you’re always able to find the rule that explains the thing that makes no sense :)

Sorry for not answering for a while, I've been busy with school. :) And no, I wasn't asking you, it was more like a general wish that I didn't make mistakes because I had to read the explanation like 3 times through before I got it right.

I'm slightly amazed too, but there are lots of sources available on net. Having studied Finnish for 4 years in uni also helps.

Woods wrote:I naïvely believed that Virankannos's rule about breaking the word into syllables would be enough for handling the consonant gradation, but no…

Like Virankannos said, that might've worked 1000 years ago or so. The language has changed since then, but it's a handy rule of a thumb in case you're not sure whether to use strong or weak grade.

Virankannos wrote:kirsikkaan has strong grade because of historical reasons: the illative ending used to be -*hen (so kirsikkaan << *kir-sik-ka-hen) which then developed to -hVn (and even later > -Vn) where the vowel was assimilated to the preceding vowel. The strong grade remains to show that the syllable was originally open.

FYI, the same -hVn can still be seen in one syllable words, eg. maa - maahan, puu - puuhun. You might also see it in poetry.

Virankannos wrote:kirsikoiden ~ kirsikoitten (see previous explanation). About the frequency: I surmise that the former is more common at least in Standard written Finnish, although both are allowed. I personally prefer the latter as it's more common in my home dialect.

I also prefer the latter for the same reason. :D I also agree that -den is more common in written Finnish. I can't say anything about spoken Finnish, though.

Virankannos wrote:The -in in kirsikkain is an old-fashioned variant of the genitive plural ending and ultimately goes back to -*δen, so the syllable was originally open here as well.

FYI, you can still see it in certain compound nouns. For example, the genitive of the US, Yhdysvallat, can be either Yhdysvaltojen or Yhdysvaltain.

Virankannos wrote:It doesn't mean it's wrong even if someone says so.

I agree.

Btw, kirsikkoihin sounds much more natural to me. :D

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Re: Troubles with consonant gradation

Postby sa wulfs » 2018-04-11, 14:23

Speaking of this, what's the deal with the passive forms in -tAAn but with a weak grade vs the past forms with -ttiin, but -tiin in verbs of types 2 & 3 (and the same with the passive participle endings -tU vs -ttU)? Is there a diachronic reason for this alternation that seemingly breaks the usual pattern? Most other exceptions to the open vs closed syllable thing have pretty straightforward explanations, but with these ones I'm lost.

I'm also curious about those genitive pl. forms in -tten.
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Re: Troubles with consonant gradation

Postby Naava » 2018-04-11, 15:51

sa wulfs wrote:Speaking of this, what's the deal with the passive forms in -tAAn but with a weak grade vs the past forms with -ttiin, but -tiin in verbs of types 2 & 3 (and the same with the passive participle endings -tU vs -ttU)?
-- --
I'm also curious about those genitive pl. forms in -tten.

Could you give some examples of what you mean? I'm not sure if I understood your question.

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Re: Troubles with consonant gradation

Postby Virankannos » 2018-04-15, 14:29

sa wulfs wrote:Speaking of this, what's the deal with the passive forms in -tAAn but with a weak grade vs the past forms with -ttiin, but -tiin in verbs of types 2 & 3 (and the same with the passive participle endings -tU vs -ttU)? Is there a diachronic reason for this alternation that seemingly breaks the usual pattern? Most other exceptions to the open vs closed syllable thing have pretty straightforward explanations, but with these ones I'm lost.

I'm also curious about those genitive pl. forms in -tten.
Yes, the reason is diachronic. The Finnish (and Karelian) passive present tense form ending is actually an analogy derived from the past tense forms. The original passive present ending was -*DAksen ~ -*tAksen which is still retained in Estonian:


EnglishLate Proto-Finnicmodern Finnishcf. modern Estonian
'is/was eaten'*sööδäksen : *söötihensyödään : syötiinsüüakse : söödi
'is/was given'*anδet̆taksen : *anδettihenannetaan : annettiinantakse : anti
'is/was come'*tulδaksen : *tultihentullaan : tultiintullakse : tuldi

So as you can see, Finnish forms retain the original weak grade but the passive voice ending has changed which has resulted in the discrepancy.

The -tten ending in genitive plural forms was originally a variant only found in a certain noun type that ended in *ek (such as *saδek 'rain' : *saδekten > saδetten; modern Finnish sateiden ~ sateitten) where the genitive ending -ten was attached to the consonant stem and the -k then assimilated to the subsequent t. The whole sequence -tten was later perceived as the genitive plural ending and began to be used in other types of nouns too.

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Re: Troubles with consonant gradation

Postby sa wulfs » 2018-04-17, 14:04

Ah, that is perfect, thank you!

Is that -Aksen > -AAn development regular? I find it surprising in light of the translative case or the -os and -us paradigms, but I imagine I'm missing something here.
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Re: Troubles with consonant gradation

Postby Virankannos » 2018-04-21, 14:11

Like I wrote in my previous message, the change of -Aksen to -AAn is not a regular sound change but an analogy based on other passive forms. Here are the reconstructed passive forms for syödä in Late Proto-Finnic:




LPFModern Finnish
present*sööδäksen>>|syödään
past*söötihen>>syötiin
conditional*söötäisihen>>syötäisiin
potential*söötänehen>>syötäneen
imperative*söötäköhen>>syötäköön


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