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perfect/pluperfect + partitive plural object

Discussion in 'Suomi (Finnish)' started by Gavril, Feb 21, 2013.

  1. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Lämpimiä terveisiä,

    After the "ikkunalaseja oli uusittu" thread, I'm curious about how a partitive plural object is normally interpreted when the verb is in the perfect or pluperfect (on/oli tehnyt), as compared to the simple past tense (teki).

    I'll start by asking, how would you normally translate the highlighted phrases in the following pairs of sentences? Could there be more than one translation of these phrases, depending on the context?


    1.
    Ilmahyökkäys kesti koko yön. Rakennuksia tuhottiin keskustassa, satama-alueella ja stadion ympäristöllä.

    Ilmahyökkäys kesti koko yön. Päivän koitettua rakennuksia oli tuhotettu keskustassa, satama-alueella ja stadion ympäristöllä.


    2.
    Löydettyä kultaa etsijät alkoivat virrata laaksoon. Joen varrella rakennettiin tönöjä ja hökkeleitä.

    Löydettyä kultaa etsijät alkoivat virrata laaksoon. Viikon kuluttua oli rakennettu tönöjä ja hökkeleitä joen varrella.


    Kiitos ja hyvää perjantaita,
    Gavril
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2013
  2. Vitalore Senior Member

    Portuguese - Brazil
    I suppose they'll translate the direct objects as indefinite plural objects (Buildings were destroyed), rather than as imperfect (buildings were being destroyed).
     
  3. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Hi Vitalore,

    Why do you suppose that they would translate them in the first way rather than the second?

    Like you, I have guesses as to how these sentences would be translated, but -- with all due respect -- my question was for the native speakers to answer, so that I (and other learners) could get a better sense of how these constructions are used in Finnish.
     
  4. Vitalore Senior Member

    Portuguese - Brazil
    It just sounds more natural. Reading in the imperfect would only sound acceptable in specific contexts.
    It's important to stress that both translations are possible, before someone thinks I'm saying that there is only one way to translate those.

    This is a discussion forum. Everyone is free to take part in whatever discussion is being held.

    I suggest putting "Only native speakers answer" in the title next time.
     
  5. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Maybe. Speaking for myself, I don't think my (current) knowledge of Finnish is complete enough to be sure which of these interpretations is more natural in any given context. (Especially in light of the recent discussion on this forum about "ikkunalaseja oli uusittu".)
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2013
  6. Grumpy Old Man Senior Member

    Ilmahyökkäys kesti koko yön. Rakennuksia tuhottiin keskustassa, satama-alueella ja stadionin ympäristössä.
    buildings were destroyed

    Ilmahyökkäys kesti koko yön. Päivän koitettua rakennuksia oli tuhotettu keskustassa, satama-alueella ja stadionin ympäristössä.
    had been destroyed

    Kun kultaa oli löydetty, etsijöitä alkoi virrata laaksoon. Joen varrelle rakennettiin tönöjä ja hökkeleitä.
    shacks and huts were being built

    Kun kultaa oli löydetty, etsijöitä alkoi virrata laaksoon. Viikon kuluttua joen varrelle oli rakennettu tönöjä ja hökkeleitä.
    shacks and huts had been built
     
  7. Cold Breeze Junior Member

    Kotka, Finland
    Finnish
     
  8. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    What if this sentence were followed by,

    Niistä [tönöistä ja hökkeleistä] ei kaikkia saatu valmiiksi -- jotkut jätetiin keskeneräisiksi kun niiden rakentajat päättivät lähteä muualle.

    Would this change your interpretation of the previous sentence?

    PS. -- Thanks, Cold Breeze, for the correction.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2013
  9. Grumpy Old Man Senior Member

    Not good Finnish. I suggest: Niitä ei kaikkia saatu valmiiksi... or Kaikkia tönöjä ja hökkeleitä ei saatu valmiiksi...
    No changes in the previous sentence.
     
  10. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Hmm, so which of these translations would say is most accurate for oli rakennettu tönöjä ja hökkeleitä, without knowing further context?

    1) a certain number of shacks and hovels had been built (i.e., people finished building them)

    2) people had done some building of shacks and huts, but they didn't necessarily finish all of them

    3) other

    Kiitos vielä kerran
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2013
  11. Grumpy Old Man Senior Member

    Number 1.
     
  12. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    I talked to another Finnish speaker about this, and he said that a sentence such as Seiniä oli maalattu näissä rakennuksissa could be taken to mean "(The) walls had been partially painted in these buildings", because it's easy to imagine painting as a partially finished action (e.g., maybe people finished painting half of a wall and then stopped for the day).

    So, if Oli rakennettu tönöjä ja hökkeleitä would normally be interpreted as "Shacks and hovels had been (fully) built", is that because it's less natural to imagine shacks and hovels being partially completed, compared to walls being partially painted?

    (Of course, it's not impossible to imagine partially completed shacks and hovels, but I'm wondering about what people would normally expect.)

    Kiitos vielä kerran
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2013
  13. Grumpy Old Man Senior Member

    Perhaps. There may of course be some partially completed shacks as well.
     
  14. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    It may mean that (the) walls had been partially painted but more probably it means that some walls had been (entirely) painted and other walls not.
     
  15. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Would you say that the same is true of Oli rakennettu tönöjä ja hökkeleitä? I.e., which of these interpretations sounds likelier to you?


    1) Shacks and hovels had been built: some of them were completed, but not necessarily all of them

    2) Shacks and hovels had been built: every one of them was completed

    3) Other

    (These are the same options from post #10, but I tried to phrase them more clearly this time.)

    Also, if "shacks and hovels" above was replaced with "houses" (Oli rakennettu taloja), would that change the answer you chose above?


    Kiitos kolmannen kerran
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2013
  16. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    Both are equally possible. Partitive is used because the number of shacks and hovels is undetermined.

    Maybe it becomes clearer if we change the sentence a little:

    – Tönöjä ja hökkeleitä oli rakennettu joen varrelle. – An undetermined number of shacks and hovels had been built at the riverside.
    – Tönöt ja hökkelit oli rakennettu joen varrelle. – All the shacks and hovels that had been built were built at the riverside, not elsewhere.
     
  17. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    The English sentence suggests that there were no unfinished shacks and hovels -- i.e., *all* of the shacks and hovels mentioned in this sentence were completed.

    But, if I understand you correctly, the Finnish sentence is ambiguous (without further context) in regards to how many of the shacks and hovels had been completed. Is that right?
     
  18. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    Right, Gavril.

    Only the second sentence ("Tönöt ja hökkelit oli rakennettu...") means that all the shacks and hovels had been more or less completed.
     
  19. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Incidentally, would the sentence Eräät/jotkut tönöt ja hökkelit oli rakennettu have the same ambiguity as Tönöjä ja hökkeleitä oli rakennettu? I.e., do both sentences leave open the possibility that some shacks and hovels were left unfinished?
     
  20. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    No, in my opinion "Eräät/jotkut tönöt ja hökkelit oli rakennettu..." means that they were completed. Instead, "Tönöjä ja hökkeleitä oli rakennettu..." gives the idea that possibly (but not necessarily) some of them were not completed.
     

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