kuin / kuten

Discussion in 'Suomi (Finnish)' started by Gavril, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Terve taas,

    Would it be better to use kuin or kuten in the following sentences? Or, would the choice of either word change the meaning of the sentence?

    Palovedellä on eri pieniä saaria, kuin/kuten Möyrysaari ja Salonsaari.

    En ole nähnyt lintuja kuin/kuten kiirunaa tai riekkoa Suomen etelärannalla.

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

    I don't understand what you mean by eri in the first sentence. In informal Finnish, or should I say incorrect Finnish, I don't really know, some people occasionally use it in the sense erittäin. I don't think you have that in mind, though, or do you? If not, just leave eri out. Only kuten sounds acceptable to my ear in the first sentence. The comma is not needed.

    The second sentence strikes me as translationese from English: I haven't seen birds such as... I don't know what our experts think but I get the impression from En ole nähnyt lintuja that the speaker means he hasn't seen any birds. This misunderstanding is soon rectified as the sentence proceeds. I would prefer to say: En ole nähnyt kiirunan tai riekon kaltaisia lintuja Suomen etelärannikolla. Ranta is too short a stretch of land to be used here. You might say: Hän seisoi rannalla. (= He was standing on the shore.)
  3. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    By eri I meant "various", but now that I think about it, various sounds odd in this context even in English.

    What if I said Palovedellä on monia/useita pieniä saaria ... instead?

    How about the following sentence:

    Suomen etelärannikolla ei usein näy pohjoisia lintuja kuin/kuten kiiruna.

    The distinction that I'm trying to get at here is between

    1) a restrictive meaning: "You don't normally see northern birds that are like the kiiruna on the south coast of Finland (though you may see other kinds of northern birds)"
    2) non-restrictive: "You don't normally see any northern birds, of which the kiiruna is one example, on the south coast of Finland"

    Would the choice between these meanings affect the choice of kuin or kuten?

    Kiitos vielä (kolmannen) kerran
  4. Grumpy Old Man Senior Member

    "What if I said Palovedellä on monia/useita pieniä saaria ... instead?"
    Fine. Kuten would be used.

    "Suomen etelärannikolla ei usein näy pohjoisia lintuja kuin/kuten kiiruna."
    Only kuten is correct.The sentence is grammatical but I don't often hear the adjective pohjoinen used to refer to birds. I'm not an expert on birds, so I don't know what they would say. I think arktisia lintuja is more often used to refer to such birds. I'm not sure, though.Perhaps someone else knows better.
  5. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    arktisia occurred to me as a possibility here, but I always choose a suomennos when one is available. :)
  6. altazure Member

    There are two different meanings for both "kuin" and "kuten":

    kuten = such as (giving an example) "Suomen etelärannikolla ei usein näy pohjoisia lintuja kuten kiiruna."
    kuin = than/as (comparison) "Lokit ovat suurempia kuin talitiaiset." "Täällä on yhtä paljon väkeä kuin eilenkin."

    When the words are used to show similarity, the situation is a little more complex. This is my hunch as a language user, not based on any prescriptive grammar:

    "Kuten" implies something happens in a similar manner, and it can replace phrases such as niin kuin/samoin kuin/samalla tavoin kuin; This makes it also broader in meaning than any of the more specific constructions.
    >>"Menemme tänä jouluna Thaimaahan lomalle kuten viime vuonnakin." "Uusi paavi valitaan kuten aina." "Kuten isäsi aina sanoi,..."
    Many of these would be replaced by "(niin) kuin" in colloquial language:
    >>"Menemme tänä jouluna Thaimaahan lomalle niin kuin viime vuonnakin." "Uusi paavi valitaan niin kuin aina." "Niin kuin isäsi aina sanoi,..."

    "Kuin" is used for other kinds of similarities. It's also used instead of "kuten" in consciously metaphorical constructions.
    >>"Uusi pilvenpiirtäjä on kuin Pisan torni: aivan vinossa." "Ryöstelijät kerääntyivät tuhoalueelle kuin kärpäset haaskalle." (<- This is a metaphor, so "kuin" replaces "kuten" as the marker of manner.) "Hehkulamppu on kuin pieni aurinko."

    I'd like to hear other natives' comments on my theory, and if they can think of some other cases.
  7. Grumpy Old Man Senior Member

    All I can say is that your sentences sound perfectly natural to my ear.:tick:

Share This Page