sadat merimiehet (partitive vs. -t plural)

Discussion in 'Suomi (Finnish)' started by Gavril, Oct 24, 2013.

  1. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA

    If sadat merimiehet below means "hundreds of seamen", why would you say that the -t plural form was used, rather than the partitive (satoja merimiehiä)?

    I would have expected the partitive here (e.g., työttömiksi jäi satoja merimiehiä) because

    1. This group of seamen hasn't been mentioned before, as far as I can see (this is the first sentence of the news article)

    2. There is no exact specification of how *many* hundreds of seamen are involved.

    Is there another factor I'm overlooking?


    PS -- I know I've asked similar questions before about the -t plural vs. partitive, but I feel like there are nuances that I still don't quite get.
  2. Grumpy Old Man Senior Member

    The only non-expert opinion I can offer is that the author knows how many seamen are unemployed at the moment, or the number has at least been mentioned before—not in this news article but earlier newscasts. He might as well have written satoja merimiehiä on jäänyt työttömiksi tai on työttömyysuhan alla. I don't particularly like työttömyysuhan alla, by the way. I would have preferred tai heitä uhkaa työttömyys.

    I don't see much point in worrying about such subtle differences, though.
  3. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    I agree with GOM. There's no real difference here between sadat merimiehet and satoja merimiehiä, and a writer can choose either one or the other phrase just by accident.
  4. Spongiformi Senior Member

    I'll join the chorus. If you alter it just a little bit like this to join the sentences together more strongly:

    Merimies-Unionin mukaan suomalaisesta merimiehestä on tehty maksumies valtionyhtiöiden kilpailutuksissa, koska sadat merimiehet ovat jääneet työttömiksi...

    I don't think a native Finnish speaker would pause to think there's something off with it.
  5. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Thanks for the responses.

    Do you think the partitive/-t plural distinction is less important here because there is a specific numeral (sadat) preceding the noun? Or, is it because of something else about this context?

    Also, if sadat merimiehet were the object of a sentence, as in,

    Urani aikana tapasin sadat merimiehet / satoja merimiehiä

    is the partitive vs. -t distinction still unimportant?

    Sorry for all the questions. :)

  6. Grumpy Old Man Senior Member

    Sadat merimiehet doesn't work in your sentence.

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