Syllable division (two vowels)

Discussion in 'Suomi (Finnish)' started by MPA, Apr 21, 2013.

  1. MPA Senior Member

    Portuguese (Brazilian)
    Hi, folks,

    I have doubt about how to divide the syllables in Finnish when it has two vowels...

    Joensuu: jo-en-su-u
    alkoholiliike: al-ko-ho-li-li-i-ke
    tulee: tu-le-e

    Am I right?
  2. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Hi MPA,

    A succession of two identical vowels (as in liike, tulee, Joensuu) is normally considered a long vowel. For that reason, I think that liike would be divided as lii-ke, tulee as tu-lee, and Joensuu as Jo-en-suu.

    I'm not absolutely sure about the Joen- in Joensuu, but I'm guessing that it's considered disyllabic (Jo-en) because it comes from earlier *joken (the genitive of joki "river"), which clearly has two syllables rather than one.

    There's definitely more to say about syllabification of vowel clusters in Finnish, but I don't know enough right now to give a good explanation. For example, I'm not completely sure how the vowel sequences in words like kuiva "dry", tiukka "tight", tuoda "bring" etc. are normally syllabified.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2013
  3. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    Sorry to say, you're wrong.

    If you have two same vowels in a row, they always belong to the same syllable, unless there is a hyphen between them.

    A classic example:
    luutaakka – luu·taak·ka (a last of bones)
    luuta-akka – luu·ta-ak·ka (a woman with a broom)
  4. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Hi Hakro,

    Tarkoitatkohan "a load of bones"? Sana "last" kuulostaa ruotsilta tässä yhteydessä. :)
  5. MPA Senior Member

    Portuguese (Brazilian)
    But kuiva, tiukka and tuoda are diphthongs; same way Joensuu has a diphthong and not a triphthong.
    In the case of joken, I see that as a motive to divede jo from en: Jo-(k)en-suu.

    Actually, I thank you for correct me, lol.

    I based my opinion in the consonants division, as Hakro's example: luu-taak-ka.
    Is there any explanation about why it happens to consonants and doesn't happen to vowels?
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2013
  6. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    An important rule to remember is that only in the first syllable of a Finnish word there may be diphtongs like eu, ou, uo, öy, yö, etc., but in later syllables only diphtongs ending with i (ai, ei, oi, ui, äi, öi) are possible.

    Note that this is the classical rule; today it's not so strict anymore.

    For example toteuttaa:
    Classical hyphenation: to·te·ut·taa
    Modern possible hyphenation: to·teut·taa
  7. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    Olet oikeassa, Gavril. Häpeän syvästi ajattelemattomuuttani.
  8. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    Two similar vowels in a row mean that it's pronounced as a long vowel; they always belong to the same syllable.

    Two similar consonats never belong to the same syllable.
  9. MPA Senior Member

    Portuguese (Brazilian)
    Thanks, Gavril; Thanks, Hakro.
  10. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    Note that the name of the Finnish alcohol monopoly company "Alkoholiliike Oy" can also be divided:
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2013
  11. MPA Senior Member

    Portuguese (Brazilian)
  12. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Is it a general rule in Finnish that a diphthong can't be a combination of the sounds a, e or o with each other? (This would mean that ae, oa, eo etc. couldn't be viewed as diphthongs.)

    Just out of curiosity, what was the reasoning for saying that ai/ei/etc. have a different syllabification than au/eu/etc. in non-initial syllables?

    Did it have to do with the fact that the i-diphthongs are extremely common in these syllables (particularly because of the plural morpheme -i- seen in taloissa, ikeillä, etc.), whereas the u-diphthongs are much less common?
  13. DrWatson

    DrWatson Senior Member

    Finnish only has three opening diphthongs, i.e. where the second vowel is more open than the first. They are ie, uo and , which are historically long vowels (< *ee, *oo, and *öö respectively). In all other diphthongs the second element has to be a high vowel (i, u, y).
    I may have been simply an orthographical rule, but as Hakro said, now it is "allowed" to syllabificate as either to.te.ut.taa or to.teut.taa.

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