We are/ Me ____taan

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Emanresu

Member
Canada: English
Im having trouble writing action word when im writing about we are in finnish. Here are some examples:

Were Listening - Me Kuunelaan
Were Writing - Me Kirjotetaan
Were Reading - Me Luietaan
Were Renting - Me Vuokrataan

My problem is the bolded area's.

I was shown to spell listen was kuntele but how come i had to take out the t's in kuntele, and when i added the taan at the end?

i was shown that read was lukea, how come i had to remove the -kea when i added the taan?

And then vuokra i didnt have to make any corrections.

Is there any guildines to follow in these situations?

thanks
 
  • We're Listening - Me kuunnellaan (kuuntelemme)
    We're Writing - Me kirjoitetaan (kirjoitamme)
    We're Reading - Me luetaan (luemme)
    We're Renting - Me vuokrataan (vuokraamme)
    First of all, the verb forms you're using are actually in passive voice. Although it's very common in spoken language to use the passive voice in connection with the 1st person plural, i.e. we, it's not correct grammar. In parentheses you can see the grammatically correct forms.

    I was shown to spell listen was kuntele but how come i had to take out the t's in kuntele, and when i added the taan at the end?

    i was shown that read was lukea, how come i had to remove the -kea when i added the taan?

    And then vuokra i didnt have to make any corrections.

    Is there any guildines to follow in these situations?
    Oh boy... You've stumbled upon maybe one of the most mindboggling phenomena of Finnish grammar, the consonant gradation. Take a look at this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consonant_gradation#Finnish It may give you a hint, but to my mind the text was a little bit difficult to understand due to grammatical terminology. There are actually rules, but there are many of them, and for different consonants and consonant combinations there are different rules.

    Maybe someone else has better resources to offer?
     

    Hakro

    Senior Member
    Finnish - Finland
    I suggest that you learn to use the correct active voice (-mme) always because it's never wrong.

    It's still useful to know that the passive voice (-aan) is commonly used in spoken language although it's incorrect.
     

    Emanresu

    Member
    Canada: English
    So

    kuunnellaan = were listening in a passive voice

    and

    (kuuntelemme) = were listening in a active voice

    Its still a little sketchy for me could someone use them in a sentence please

    kiitos
     
    Even though kuunnellaan in a sentence like Me kuunnellaan (= We are listening) is morphologically in passive voice, the meaning is active. It's not translated into English in passive voice, like "We are being listened."

    Using the passive voice in 1st person plural active instead of the proper form that ends in -mme is just a little quirk in the spoken language, and should not be used in writing because it is regarded as a mistake.

    Examples:

    Me kuuntelemme radiota. = We are listening to the radio. (literal language, the correct form)
    Me kuunnellaan radiota. = We are listening to the radio. (spoken language, incorrect)

    So both sentences above mean the same thing, but the latter is the form used in spoken language and should be avoided at first. After you've learned the literal language well enough, you may move on to study the qualities of the spoken language, but for now, stick to the correct form.

    I'll give you an example of the correct usage of the passive:

    Meitä kuunnellaan. = We are being listened.
    Huoneita vuokrataan. = Rooms for rent (literally: Rooms are being rented.)

    This is a little tricky stuff, so ask more if you wish :)
     

    Emanresu

    Member
    Canada: English
    thats cool i understand now the differences the -aan is in the spoken form and -mme is the written form.

    ill make a seperate thread for consonant gradation

    ive seen (meilla)sp? used for we are too, for example:

    Meilla on nälkä - we are hungry

    thanks
     

    Hakro

    Senior Member
    Finnish - Finland
    Meillä on nälkä - we are hungry
    I'll try to explain it: In Finnish we don't have the verb 'to have' at all.

    Instead we say that something is for us, to us, on us etc.

    "Meillä on nälkä" means "we have hunger" or literally "the hunger is on us".

    Another example: I have a car - "Minulla on auto" - literally "a car is for me / to me".

    I'm afraid that this is not easy to learn for a foreigner but there's no choice.
     

    Emanresu

    Member
    Canada: English
    Does this make sense

    Me tarvitaan - were needing
    Me Ajatetaan - were thinking
    Me haluataan - were wanting

    how would i say words like

    we need
    we think
    we want
     
    Last edited:
    Does this make sense

    Me tarvitsemme (colloquially: me tarvitaan) - We need
    Me ajattelemme (colloquially: me ajatellaan) - We think
    Me haluamme (colloquially: me halutaan) - We want
    In Finnish there's no difference between normal and continuous verbs, so Me ajattelemme can be either "We think" or "We are thinking". There are other ways to express these aspects, but I won't go into them now.
     

    jfm

    Member
    Sweden
    Me kuuntelemme radiota. = We are listening to the radio. (literal language, the correct form)
    Me kuunnellaan radiota. = We are listening to the radio. (spoken language, incorrect)
    The second example may be colloquial, but it's not "incorrect". The difference between the two has nothing to do with correctness, but setting/context.

    Me kuuntelemme radiota is formal, written language.
    Me kuunnellaan radiota is informal, spoken language.

    They are both correct.
     

    Hakro

    Senior Member
    Finnish - Finland
    The second example may be colloquial, but it's not "incorrect". The difference between the two has nothing to do with correctness, but setting/context.

    Me kuuntelemme radiota is formal, written language.
    Me kuunnellaan radiota is informal, spoken language.

    They are both correct.
    I'm sorry to say but you are wrong. The second alternative is absolutely incorrect.

    The common use in spoken language doesn't make it correct.
     

    pegasos

    New Member
    Finnish
    There is something similar to the Finnish informal form in French. Anyone could give that as an example? "On y va" or something. Am I completely wrong? :)

    Anyway, "me kuunnellaan" is not correct.
     

    jfm

    Member
    Sweden
    The common use in spoken language doesn't make it correct.
    Actually, it does. The fact that the written language doesn't allow it, doesn't make it incorrect.

    Written and spoken languages are separate codes. They follow different types of "rules" and conventions. For instance, while written language is usually standardized and often subject to normative measures (both spelling, lexicon and grammar), the spoken language is decided from common usage, i.e. those speech patterns (pronunciation, lexicon and grammar) that are silently agreed upon among language users. Frequence of usage is a heavy argument in favour of "correctness" (even though it more a question of functionality rather than correctness).

    In addition, the written language (which is always secondary to the spoken one) often has a spoken variety, in which pronuciation follows spelling conventions rather than natural pronunciation.

    You cannot stipulate "correctness" for the spoken language based on what is acceptable for the written language. That's taking prescriptive (normative) measures too far.

    "Me kuunnellaan" is perfectly OK Finnish. You may find it preferable not to teach it in a formal learning setting, but it's still a correct form, albeit less formal than "Me kuuntelemme".
     

    J.F. de TROYES

    Senior Member
    francais-France
    There is something similar to the Finnish informal form in French. Anyone could give that as an example? "On y va" or something. Am I completely wrong? :)

    Anyway, "me kuunnellaan" is not correct.
    Right. On is an impersonal pronoun. It's correct use refers to somebody you can't know as in on frappe à la porte ( somebody is knocking at the door ) , but colloquially nous ( we ) + 1st. pl. person is often replaced by on + 3rd. sing. person . : A quelle heure ( est-ce qu' )on mange ? instead of A quelle heure mangeons-nous ? or A quelle heure est-ce que nous mangeons ? ( At what time do we eat ? ) . It is considered incorrect in the formal language and generally avoided in written.
    What is surprising me in sentences as Me kuunnellaan radiota is that a passive verbal form can be followed by an object , the same as with the active form kuuntelemme . Generally speaking, it's not possible with passives in most languages ; however I know that in Polish it can be said widziano ludzi ( people were seen ) where widziano is a neuter passive participle followed by a noun in the accusative ludzi . Such a construction is puzzling me and I am wondering if the Finnish colloquial use of the -aan form is something similar.

    I would be pleased to know what you think of it.

    i
     

    jazyk

    Senior Member
    Brazílie, portugalština
    Latin does something similar with deponent verbs, verbs conjugated as passive, but followed by a direct object, as in magnum opus et arduum conamur, we are doing a great and arduous task.
     

    J.F. de TROYES

    Senior Member
    francais-France
    Latin does something similar with deponent verbs, verbs conjugated as passive, but followed by a direct object, as in magnum opus et arduum conamur, we are doing a great and arduous task.
    I agree with you about the syntax of deponent verbs , but they don't come from an active verb as the Finnish forms in -aan do. As far as I understand, the verb kuunnella is active. In other words conor is a passive form, but has an active meaning unlike kuunnella . I don't know if this verb can be used in the passive with a subject in the nominative , but I 've read that it's quite possible with other Finnish verbs.
     

    Mats Norberg

    Member
    svenska
    I agree with you about the syntax of deponent verbs , but they don't come from an active verb as the Finnish forms in -aan do. As far as I understand, the verb kuunnella is active. In other words conor is a passive form, but has an active meaning unlike kuunnella . I don't know if this verb can be used in the passive with a subject in the nominative , but I 've read that it's quite possible with other Finnish verbs.
    Finnish use different forms in written and spoken language. Don't ask me why it has become that way, it probably has to do with the language's historical evolution though. Basically in the sentence "Me kuunnellaan" the verb kuunnellan isn't passive at all, it's an active verb that just looks like a passive one. Therefore the rules for active verbs apply in this case and so an object may follow. Everything in language depends on conventions and different languages have different conventions. It just to accept the way the language works for the finns will not change their language just for your sake. There are no easy answers to this kind of "why" questions, although the linguists make some efforts to explain them. Most of the languages you know are probably indo-european languages which have a certain way to bahave with respect to passive voice. Finnish however is a uralic language with a different history and different traditions so it's not so strange that things are different than you expect.

    When we speak of objects let's tell you another thing about the finnish passive. In finnish passive sentences don't have subjects nor agents. For instance in "Lammasta purraan" ("The sheep is being bitten) lammasta is the object (the sheep). It's declined in the partitive case to mark it as an object. What if we want to translate "The sheep is being bitten by a wolf"? Well, this cannot be expressed in finnish because there is an agent. We have to revert to the active voice: "Lammasta puree susi". Note that case endings will identify lammasta as object and susi as subject so word order doesn't matter here. Note also that the passive is impersonal. There is no way to conjugate "purraan" in different person because there is just one single form. The real agent is irrelevant, the finnish reader is content with the the knowlege that someone is biting the sheep, someone unknown.

    Finally i want to mention yetanother colloquial use of the passive form: "Lähdetään!" which means "Let's leave!". It's a sort of sugestion form. The difference from the first use is that here the subject (me) has been left out which changes the meaning completely. Even here there is a more formal way to say the same thing: "Lähtekäämme!".
     
    Last edited:

    Marko55

    Senior Member
    Finnish
    Mats, I have just a small remark on your informative message:
    Lammasta puretaan (The sheep is being bitten)

    The verb should be purraan:
    purra: purraan
    purkaa: puretaan
     

    J.F. de TROYES

    Senior Member
    francais-France
    Finnish use different forms in written and spoken language. Don't ask me why it has become that way, it probably has to do with the language's historical evolution though. Basically in the sentence "Me kuunnellaan" the verb kuunnellan isn't passive at all, it's an active verb that just looks like a passive one. Therefore the rules for active verbs apply in this case and so an object may follow.
    I really appreciate your explanation. As a linguistics lover I am doing research into passive voice. Passive forms and passive constructions are generally differenciated by linguists ; so I think Finish is a good example. I've read that in Polish too an impersonal passive can go with an object in the accusative in sentences as the man was seen in the area.

    When we speak of objects let's tell you another thing about the finnish passive. In finnish passive sentences don't have subjects nor agents. For instance in "Lammasta purraan" ("The sheep is being bitten) lammasta is the object (the sheep). It's declined in the partitive case to mark it as an object. What if we want to translate "The sheep is being bitten by a wolf"? Well, this cannot be expressed in finnish because there is an agent. We have to revert to the active voice: "Lammasta puree susi". Note that case endings will identify lammasta as object and susi as subject so word order doesn't matter here. Note also that the passive is impersonal.
    So what about His wife was wounded in the crash ? I suppose Finish doesn't use passive in such a sentence ; something as receiving a wound . Right ?
     

    Spongiformi

    Senior Member
    Finnish
    So what about His wife was wounded in the crash ? I suppose Finish doesn't use passive in such a sentence ; something as receiving a wound . Right ?
    Hänen vaimonsa loukkaantui kolarissa.

    It's in normal active voice. "Loukkaantua" means "get wounded" or "wound oneself" (not on purpose) and is used in active.

    In fact you can also say:

    Hänen vaimonsa loukkasi itsensä kolarissa.

    This means exactly: "His wife wounded herself in the crash". Though it's not used to mean it was on purpose.
     
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