Friday, February 26, 2016

Plural genitive

Plural genitive can be a bit tricky, but here's a great link explaining how it's formed. I would't worry too much about the details. I usually suggest that my students would memorize 20 plural genitives that they need the most, and then just play it by the ear with other words.

Plural genitive expresses the ownership:

  • lasten vaatteet - children's clothes
  • miesten vessa - men's toilet
  • naisten vuoro - women's turn
  • potilaiden omaiset - the family members of the patients

It's also used with postpositions:

  • kavereiden kanssa - with friends
  • ystävien luokse - to friends' place
  • tyttöjen jälkeen - after the girls
  • poikien vieressä - next to the boys
  • suomalaisten mielestä - in Finnish people's opinion
  • asiakkaiden takia - because of the customers

The personal pronouns behave like this:

  • Meidän automme - Our car
  • Teidän asuntonne - Your apartment
  • Heidän kotinsa - Their home 

These are the same expressions in spoken language:

  • Meiän auto
  • Teiän asunto
  • Niien koti

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Looking for some help with languages

The purpose of this post is to ask for some help from my readers.

I've recently started teaching Finnish to asylum seekers who don't speak any English. In that situation, I'm teaching suomea suomeksi, acting, drawing and also using online translation tools. However, I'd love to have my own little list of Finnish phrases and structures translated into Dari, Somali, and Arabic

Please leave me a message in the comments, if you can help me or if you know someone who could. I'll send you a link to a Google Drive document where I have collected the sentences I'd like to know. (I don't read Arabic or Dari, so those languages should be written in  Latin alphabet.)

Update on February 28: Amazing how fast you can find help through Facebook! I already found people who were able to help me. Here's a link to the document, if you want to see what kind of phrases I wanted to know.

Kiitos kaikille avusta!


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

kirjoittaa - kirjoa

I'm sure that most of my readers know that kirjoittaa is to write. However, it is sometimes confused with kirjoa, which means to embroider. The four important forms are kirjoa, kirjon, kirjoin, kirjonut (to embroider) and kirjoittaa, kirjoitan, kirjoitin, kirjoittanut (to write).

  • Muista kirjoittaa kauniilla käsialalla! - Remember to write with beautiful handwriting!
  • Mä kirjoitan pian lisää. - I'll write more soon.
  • Mitä sinä kirjoitit hänelle? Mitä sä kirjoitit sille? - What did you write to him/her?
  • Kuka tämän kirjan on kirjoittanut? - Who's written this book?

In short, do not say Minä kirjoin unless you actually enbroidered something!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Imperfekti - Past tense in Finnish

How to make the past tense? Basically, you just add an i or si after the verb stem, before the personal ending. All verb stems end with a vowel. Some vowels stay, some disappear and one turns into another vowel.

1. o, u and y stay:

  • sanon > sanoin - I say. I said.
  • puhun > puhuin - I speak. I spoke.
  • kysyn > kysyin - I ask. I asked.

2. a, ä, e and i go away:

  • ostan > ostin - I buy. I bought.
  • heitän > heitin - I throw. I threw.
  • menen > menin - I go. I went.
  • tanssin = tanssin - I dance. I danced. (Yes, they are the same.)

3. Sometimes a becomes o:


4. With the verb type 2 verbs, the first vowel is dropped when you add i to the stem. (Käydä is an exception as käyn becomes kävin in the past tense.)

  • syön > söin - I eat. I ate.
  • juon > join - I drink. I drunk. 
  • vien > vein - I take away. I took away.
  • saan > sain - I get. I got.

5. Finally, all verb type 4 verbs  and some verbs in the verb type 1 have si in the past tense:

  • pakkaan > pakkasin - I pack. I packed.
  • haluan > halusin - I want. I wanted.
  • tykkään > tykkäsin - I like. I liked.
  • tiedän > tiesin - I know. I knew.
  • ymmärrän > ymmärsin - I understand. I understood.
  • lennän > lensin - I flow. I flew. 

p.s. Notice that the third person singular has only one i in the end. Sometimes people accidentally double the i, but don't.

  • hän lähtee > hän lähti - S/he leaves. S/he left.

If this was useful, you might also like my post past tense in a nutshell.