Concord of adjectives with nouns?

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Woods
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Concord of adjectives with nouns?

Postby Woods » 2019-08-03, 8:28

My grammar doesn't have any section dedicated to adjectives, I found only the following:

“There are two kinds of attributes occurring before the noun: pronoun attributes (…) and adjective attributes (…). Both agree with the headword in case and number.” (Finnish: An Essential Grammar, Karlsson, Routledge 1999)

However, what happens if the adjective is a predicate?

How would you say e.g. “Are you (pl.) ready?” – “Oletteko valmis?” No need to modify the adjective?

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sa wulfs
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Re: Concord of adjectives with nouns?

Postby sa wulfs » 2019-08-04, 11:31

If I'm not mistaken, usually the predicative adjective would be partitive plural if the referent is plural. In your example: Oletteko valmiita?

But there are exceptions, and I seem to remember I've seen nominative plural predicatives even in cases where those exceptions don't apply.

See section 33.3, "Partitive Complement", pg. 88 on Karlsson's grammar.
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Re: Concord of adjectives with nouns?

Postby Naava » 2019-08-04, 15:15

Woods wrote:However, what happens if the adjective is a predicate?

How would you say e.g. “Are you (pl.) ready?” – “Oletteko valmis?” No need to modify the adjective?

Predicate adjectives agree with the headword, too. If you say "oletteko valmis", you are using the polite form to address one person. The true plural forms are:

Oletteko valmiita?
or
Oletteko valmiit?

In this case, the first one is more common but you can use either of them without changing the meaning. With other nouns, the nominative one is usually understood as "a certain group of [headword]":

Talot ovat kauniit = The(se) houses are beautiful
Talot ovat kauniita = Houses (in general) are beautiful / The houses are beautiful

Nominative is also used with words that don't have a singular form:

Housut ovat tiukat = The(se) trousers are tight

But if you're speaking of many trousers, you can also say:

Housut ovat tiukkoja = All trousers are tight

(The latter one might be a bit weird on its own, but it works in certain contexts. For example, kaikki ostamani housut ovat tiukkoja = all the trousers I bought/buy are tight)

Remember that the colours are adjectives, too:

Housut ovat mustat = The trousers are black

(Again, partitive works if you specify the group you're referring to: kaikki omistamani housut ovat mustia = all the trousers I own are black)

The singular predicates are usually in nominative if the headword is concrete:

Minä olen hyvä tässä = I'm good at this
Pöytä on puhdas = The table is clean

And in partitive if the headword is uncountable:

Ruoka on hyvää = The food is good
Ostoksilla käyminen on hauskaa = Shopping is fun

Sometimes both nominative and partitive are possible, but the meaning can change:

Jäätelö on herkullinen = Ice cream (cone) is delicious
Jäätelö on herkullista = Ice cream (mass noun) is delicious

Ilma on kylmä = The weather is cold
Ilma on kylmää = The air is cold (eg. the air coming from an AC)

Nuoriso on tyytyväinen
or
Nuoriso on tyytyväistä = The youth are happy/satisfied (no change in meaning!)

I also found this:
3. Adjektiivinen predikatiivi on partitiivissa, jos sen ilmaisema ominaisuus omistetaan subjektin tarkoitteen jokaiselle osalle. Subjekti on tällöin abstrakti-, aine- tai ryhmäsana tai monikollinen.

4. Adjektiivinen predikatiivi on partitiivissa tavallisesti myös, jos subjektina on infinitiivi tai sivulause tai ellei lauseessa ole lainkaan subjektia. Kielen tavallisimmat adjektiivit voivat kuitenkin tällaisissa tapauksissa olla nominatiivissa.
(Source)

3. The predicate adjective is in partitive if the feature/attribute is seen as belonging to every part of the subject.* In this case, the subject refers to an abstract concept or matter (love, shopping, food) or to a group (the youth), or it is in plural.

4. The predicate adjective is usually in partitive also if the subject is an infinitive or a subordinate clause or if there is no subject in the sentence. However, the most common adjectives can be in nominative.

* Basically, the idea is that "everything in shopping is fun" and "every piece of food is good", or "every person who is young is happy" and "every house is beautiful" -> therefore, ostoksilla käyminen on hauskaa, ruoka on hyvää, nuoriso on tyytyväistä, talot ovat kauniita. But as you can see, languages rarely follow one set of rules with no exceptions.

(FYI: In my dialect - possibly also in other dialects and/or spoken language - singular predicate adjectives that describe some emotions can be in partitive. I could say, for example, soli niin tyytyväästä = s/he was so satisfied/happy [with something], or moon rehevää = I'm proud [of something]. This is not possible in standard Finnish.)

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Re: Concord of adjectives with nouns?

Postby Woods » 2019-08-05, 10:50

Hei Naava, kiitos paljon vastausta!

By the way I have the draft of my answer to your answer about the /l/ somewhere in my phone still unfinished, I'm so bad at finding time to keep up with studying Finnish :(

Naava wrote:Predicate adjectives agree with the headword, too. If you say "oletteko valmis", you are using the polite form to address one person. The true plural forms are:

Oletteko valmiita?
or
Oletteko valmiit?

In this case, the first one is more common but you can use either of them without changing the meaning.

All right, good explanation like always (thanks!!!), but one thing I don't get: why partitive if we're talking about a very precise and countable group of people (like we know they're four for example and not an indefinite number)?

I guess I would have to reread the sections on partitive and nominative in Karlsson's grammar (sa wulfs, thanks for the prompt) - I would've expected a separate section on adjectives but I guess the author didn't want to repeat himself.

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Re: Concord of adjectives with nouns?

Postby Naava » 2019-08-05, 14:45

Woods wrote:Hei Naava, kiitos paljon vastauksesta!

(vastaus + ta = partitive ; you need to use the vowel stem vastaukse- before you can add the elative -sta)

Ole hyvä vain! :)

By the way I have the draft of my answer to your answer about the /l/ somewhere in my phone still unfinished, I'm so bad at finding time to keep up with studying Finnish :(

I'll wait for that, then. :)

All right, good explanation like always (thanks!!!), but one thing I don't get: why partitive if we're talking about a very precise and countable group of people (like we know they're four for example and not an indefinite number)?

I'm not sure if there's any answer to that, really. The best I can do is to guess what possible reasons there could be:

- the partitive predicate might be older than the nominative predicate ; the nominative has a more limited usage, which is why I think it could be a later innovation
- maybe partitive was thought to symbolise "every part" of something ; cf how we say paljon taloja, 'many houses', and not *paljon talot
- maybe it mimics other similar constructions where partitive is used, such as that paljon taloja
- people can be illogical, and so their creations (languages included) can be illogical as well. Maybe they thought the partitive is good there even if it doesn't make perfect sense :)

Note that you can use the nominative, too, if you have a precise group of people.


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