Incongruency in the forming of compound words

Discussion in 'Suomi (Finnish)' started by Vitalore, Jun 6, 2013.

  1. Vitalore Senior Member

    Portuguese - Brazil
    Is there a rule governing when to use and when to avoid applying the genitive in compound words? Why do the words työnsaantimahdollisuus and työntekijä require the genitive while lentokonemekaanikko and kirjoistuskone do not?
    Or do the words työsaantimahdollisuus, työtekijä, kirjoituksenkone and lentokoneenmekaanikko do actually exist and are gramatically accepted, but are simply not used?

  2. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    Hi Vitalore! You have an interesting question but it's hard to answer.

    This is a problem that even professional writers have to resolve every day. There is no general rule, and there are compound words that can be written both ways. But I can give you some hints.

    First you should try to analyse the first part of a compound word:

    - If the first part is the "owner" of the second part, you use genitive, for example kaivonkansi. Here kansi belongs to the kaivo.
    - If the first part is the object of the second part, you use accusative (in Finnish it looks like genitive), for example työntekijä.

    In other cases you use the nominative case – except in some hundreds of different examples.

    Maybe the Finns that have studied the Finnish language in university can give you better explanations.

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