raha(t), sähkö(t)

Discussion in 'Suomi (Finnish)' started by Gavril, Sep 21, 2012.

  1. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Hyvää päivää taas,

    In informal or spoken Finnish, plural forms such as rahat and sähköt often seem to be used in a different way than they would be used in the standard written language. (In fact, I'm not sure if rahat or sähköt would ever be used in literary Finnish.)

    I'm still not clear on the semantics of rahat, sähköt and similar forms: can you tell me whether they would be acceptable (by the standards of informal Finnish) in the contexts below, or whether the singular form would be a better option?


    Pöydällä oli rahaa joka siihen asti en ollut ehtinyt tallettamaan tiliini. Otin rahan / rahat taskuuni ennen kuin lähdin kodista.

    En voinut harjoittaa koskettimien soittoa, kun sähkö / sähköt oli(vat) poikki.

    Näetteköhän tuota patoa? Sitä käytetään kehittämään sähköä / sähköjä lähellä oleville kaupungeille.

    A: Ostin juuri myymälästä maitoa ja keksejä.
    B: Mihin laitoit maidon / maidot? Jääkaappiin?


    Unlike sähköt and rahat, I've never heard the form maidot used in this sort of context, but I wrote the last example to see whether there is a pattern here that applies to all mass nouns (i.e., nouns referring to things that don't come in discrete units, like vesi, maito, sähkö etc.).

    Kiitoksia paljon!
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2012
  2. Grumpy Old Man Senior Member

    Pöydällä oli rahaa joka siihen asti en ollut ehtinyt tallettamaan tiliini. Otin rahan / rahat taskuuni ennen kuin lähdin kodista.

    I find both "rahan" and "rahat" acceptable but "rahan" indicates that there was only one bill/banknote on the table, a 100-euro bill, for example.There are some minor problems in the sentence. "Siihen asti" doesn't sound natural and is totally unnecessary anyway. I would say: Pöydällä oli rahaa, jota en ollut ehtinyt tallettaa tililleni. Panin rahat taskuuni ennen kuin lähdin kotoa. "Kodista" gives me the impression that I was in someone else's home, not my own.

    En voinut harjoittaa koskettimien soittoa, kun sähkö / sähköt oli(vat) poikki.

    The plural "sähköt" seems to be used even in formal contexts by news anchors, for instance. I don't know how acceptable it is officially. Newspapers also use it regularly. "Soittaa koskettimia" is something I have never heard, though. "En voinut soittaa kosketinsoitinta" may look a bit clumsy but it might be a better choice.

    Näetteköhän tuota patoa? Sitä käytetään kehittämään sähköä / sähköjä lähellä oleville kaupungeille.

    My ear accepts only the singular "sähköä" in this context.

    A: Ostin juuri myymälästä maitoa ja keksejä.
    B: Mihin laitoit maidon / maidot? Jääkaappiin?

    No doubt "maidon" is the normal choice. "Maidot" occurs in informal Finnish to indicate that there were several bottles or cartons of milk. I would say: Jääkaappiinko?
     
  3. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Would these sentences work with either rahoja and rahaa in the first sentence, and rahat in the second? I.e.,

    Pöydällä oli rahaa / rahoja, jota en ollut ehtinyt tallettaa tililleni. Panin rahat taskuuni ...

    Would it be equally acceptable to use the singular sähkö in the above sentence, or would it suggest a different meaning?

    Unfortunately, your answers have made me more curious. :) When you have a chance, can you tell me whether the plural would be acceptable in these sentences?

    Täytin kylpyammeen vedellä, mutta upotettuani jalan ammeeseen tajusin, että vedet / vesi oli(vat) aivan liian kuumaa / kuumoja.

    Saavuttuani kotiin rannalta huomasin, että kengät olivat täynnä hiekkaa, siis kaadoin hiekan / hiekat takapihaan.


    Kiitos vielä kerran
     
  4. Grumpy Old Man Senior Member

    "Pöydällä oli rahaa / rahoja, jota en ollut ehtinyt tallettaa tililleni. Panin rahat taskuuni ..."

    Both versions are fine. "Rahoja" indicates individual bills and coins, "rahaa" refers to a total amount. I don't think people actually say "rahoja" very often but I see nothing wrong with it.

    In my opinion one could say "sähkö oli poikki" but the fact is that nobody does!:D For some mysterious reason the plural is nearly always used. I don't know why. I guess it's just idiomatic Finnish. There wouldn't be a difference in meaning.

    "Täytin kylpyammeen vedellä, mutta upotettuani jalan ammeeseen tajusin, että vedet / vesi oli(vat) aivan liian kuumaa / kuumoja."

    Only the singular is possible here. Furthermore, "kuumoja" isn't a correct form. "Kuumia" would be correct in other contexts: Nakit olivat aivan liian kuumia.

    "
    Saavuttuani kotiin rannalta huomasin, että kengät olivat täynnä hiekkaa, siis kaadoin hiekan / hiekat takapihaan."

    Even a native speaker might utter the sentence above even though I find it somewhat incorrect and/or unnatural. There's nothing wrong with the first two clauses but "siis kaadoin hiekat takapihaan" jars in my ear. I wouldn't use "hiekat" here but some others might. Also, "takapihalle" is a better choice in my opinion. I would probably say: "tyhjensin kengät/kenkäni takapihalle".
     
  5. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Darn it, that's the part of the sentence I was interested in! :) I'll have to think of something else:

    Saavuttuani kotiin rannalta huomasin, että kengät olivat täynnä hiekkaa, siis tyhjensin kengät kukkapenkille ja sekoitin hiekan / hiekat multaan.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2012
  6. MaijaPoppanen Senior Member

    Finnish
    Second opinion:

    Since you have used partitive case rahaa in the first sentence, it doesn't sound natural to say rahan in the second sentence.
    So:
    Pöydällä oli rahaa, jota en ollut ehtinyt tallettamaan tililleni. Otin rahat/osan rahoista taskuuni ennen kuin lähdin kotoa. (Undetermined amount of money)
    Pöydällä oli raha, jota en ollut ehtinyt tallettamaan tililleni. Otin rahan taskuuni ennen kuin lähdin kotoa. (One bill or coin)
    Pöydällä oli rahat, joita en ollut ehtinyt tallettamaan tililleni. Otin ne taskuuni ennen kuin lähdin kotoa. (Undetermined amount of money)
    I would say: En voinut harjoitella koskettimien soittoa, kun/koska sähkö(t) oli(vat) poikki. (If "the question" is Why didn't you practise... then you should use koska)

    You should use verb tuottaa here.
    Näettekö tuon padon? Sitä käytetään tuottamaan sähköä läheisiin kaupunkeihin.

    I would definitely use the form maidot if there were more than one cartons of milk, but I don't know if it's acceptable or not.
    I my opinion they are both gramatically correct, but the first one sounds better.

    Täytin kylpyammeen vedellä, mutta upotettuani jalan ammeeseen tajusin, että vesi oli aivan liian kuumaa.
    But you can say for example: Tähän aikaan vuodesta vedet ovat jo kylmiä. Meaning that the water in the lakes is cold.
    Again, (I think the language police is knocking on my door) I would use the form hiekat but there is nothing wrong with the form hiekan either. (joten kaadoin hiekat takapihalle) There is some unnatural repetition hiekkaa-hiekat, so I would use some other construction like ...huomasin että kenkäni olivat täynnä hiekkaa, joten tyhjensin ne takapihalle.
    Edit: Ups! GOM ehtikin jo tyhjentämään ne :)
     
  7. Grumpy Old Man Senior Member

    I would prefer the singular "hiekan" but "I'm sure many people would say "hiekat".
     
  8. Grumpy Old Man Senior Member

    Of course!:mad: I pay too much attention to the points Gavril mentions and fail to see glaring unidiomatic words and expressions.
     
  9. MaijaPoppanen Senior Member

    Finnish
    I'm one of them :rolleyes:. I would also say ...tyhjensin kengät kukkapenkkiin...
    Tyhjentää takapihalle It's (usually) quite large area.
    Tyhjentää kukkapenkkiin It's small determined area.
     
  10. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Just out of curiosity, is this pattern acceptable in literary (i.e., "textbook") Finnish? My understanding was that you aren't supposed to switch between singular and plural like this (rahaa : rahat), even if it's commonly done in the spoken language.

    I thought that the use of the nominative in the first sentence (pöydällä oli rahat) would mean that there was a determinate amount of money on the table, or at least that the money had been referred to earlier. How would the meaning be different if you said pöydällä oli rahoja?

    Do you think that the plural is commonly used for public services like electricity, water etc.? The phrase vedet on poikki brings up thousands of results on Google, even though vesi on poikki seems to be more common.

    I tried to look up a phrase meaning "the gas (service) is off", but I'm not sure what the most common word for "gas" is in this case.

    This might be hard to determine, but do you think that the plural (hiekat) is motivated by the image of multiple grains of sand?

    Sorry for all the questions, but as you can see, this topic really interests me. :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2012
  11. MaijaPoppanen Senior Member

    Finnish
    I think it is acceptable. If you say rahaa : rahan it gives an impression that you took only one bill or coin and if you say rahaa : rahaa it gives an impression that you took only part of the money.


    Oooops. You're right. If you say pöydällä oli rahoja, it means "there was some money..."


    At least in spoken language it's very common to use forms vedet and sähköt (but not kaasut). In written language it varies, but I would use singular form.

    I think the motivation comes from an idea that I got rid of all the sand. Kaadoin vedet saappaasta ja jatkoin matkaa. Jne. This probably isn't accepted by the purists (at least in written language). NP
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2012
  12. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    I thought (I'm not correcting you, of course) that the idea of "all the water / sand / ..." was conveyed by the accusative singular (veden, hiekan etc.) rather than the plural -- would Kaadoin veden saappaasta mean something different to you than Kaadoin vedet saappaasta?

    I wonder whether, for some Finnish speakers, the plural form functions in certain contexts (like the above sentences with hiekat / vedet) as a marker of definiteness? Thus, hiekkaa : hiekat would roughly correspond (in the above sentences and similar contexts) to "some sand" : "the sand", vettä : vedet to "some water" : "the water", and so on. Do you think there's any truth to this idea?
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2012
  13. MaijaPoppanen Senior Member

    Finnish
    Well, of course you and everyone else can correct me if I'm wrong (and usually I am).
    No, I would say (again, just my opinion) Kaadoin vedet saappaasta... just gives a stronger image of that it's really all the water. Anyway, in formal texts I would probably use singular veden, hiekan, sokerin etc.
    Yes, that can be true.
     

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