Estonian: terminative case

< Previous | Next >


Senior Member
Svediż tal-Finlandja
I found a nice introduction to the Estonian language, with (very!) brief explanations or descriptions of vocabulary, cases, verbs etc. Among the cases, I found one that Finnish doesn't have, and which I don't understand very well: the terminative case. As an example, this phrase is given "ilusa tüdruku-ni", with the translation "up to a beautiful girl".

Now, could someone explain a little more what this means?

1. Does it mean that it is for the beautiful girl (why are always examples like this taken, btw? Anyway) to decide?
2. Or does it mean that one walks "up to her"?
3. And why is it called "terminative" case?
4. Finally, what would be other examples of where to use this case?

Again, thanks a lot!! :)
  • Hello again :D

    Terminative case means "to which point", "as far as something, but not any further". Finnish equivalent is the postposition asti or saakka, and in your example a better translation might be luokse. Any examples I leave for the professionals :)


    Estonia, Estonian
    Yes, it means quite physically (like walk, reach etc.) up to her. For example 'kõnnime selle majani' - 'let's walk up to that house'. In Estonian the case is called 'rajav'.
    It is also used to indicate the time limit, i.e. 'until some time': 'homseni' = 'until tomorrow', 'järgmise korrani' = 'until next time', etc. (such constructions are e.g. often used when parting, but also in a sentence).
    Besides all sorts of motion verbs, perhaps the following ones are often used with this case:
    ulatuma - to reach:
    Põld ulatub järveni - The field reaches up to the lake.
    kestma - to go on, durate:
    Pidu kestis hommikuni - The party went on until the morning.
    viima - to take:
    Mis viis sind selleni? - What took you up to this (=so far as to do smth.)?

    Note also that this is one of the four cases (the last ones) with which the accompanying adjective doesn't go into the same case but stays genitive. By their endings they are sometimes called the 'ni-na-ta-ga' cases (which is a funny mnemonic - 'nina taga' means 'behind the nose').
    < Previous | Next >