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A question for those studying Finnish or Estonian...

From what I heard, when learning Finnish or Estonian words, it is highly recommended to also learn the word in the partitive case. Is this true? Why so? I'm asking this because I make TinyCards decks on various languages with Finnish and Estonian being some of them. If adding the partitive case to words in my decks can help Finnish and Estonian learners, then I will add it. I'm just checking to see if it is important and if yes then why.

I also heard a certain root of a verb should be learned along with a verb, but I cannot put my finger on its name. Does anyone know of this name, and whether I should include it with my decks or not?

Kiitos and Aitäh, Finnish and Estonian learners!

December 19, 2017



I can't speak for Finnish, but in Estonian it's generally recommended to learn the nominative, genitive, and partitive singular - as the genitive and partitive are pretty irregular and can't be "guessed". Personally I miss out the partitive because I'm lazy and I'm only interested in reading ATM, so I don't have to be precise.

The same is recommended with adjectives, as they decline too. (But again, I only learn the nominative/genitive).

As for verbs, the "standard" form is the -ma infinitive (eg. minema), but I also learn the -da infinitive (eg. minna), as well as the first person singular, present tense form of verbs with irregular roots (eg. lähen)

As an example, I lay it out like this in Anki:

things not in brackets appear on the front of the card (things in brackets are typed) [things in square brackets appear on the back of the card]


English word / definition

part of speech

example sentence

(nominative singular / genitive singular)

[partitive singular; short illative, if present; conjugation type; other grammatical information]

[usage notes]


English word / definition

part of speech

example sentences

(-ma infinitive / -da infinitive)

[first person singular in the present tense, if the stem is irregular; case information; conjugation type; other grammatical information]

[usage notes]

EDIT: I've been neglecting Estonian for about a fortnight, but this post has finally inspired me to get back to it, lol. Aitäh, sõber!


I'm not that good with Finnish yet, so far the partitive didn't seem that irregular to me, as it's most of the time -ä, -tä, -ttä (or -a, -ta, -tta). Usually the partitive would be built from the strong stem, following some rules, for example words ending on -i would lose the -i and get -tä/-ta. However, some words will replace the lost i with an e though there's no rule to that, you'll have to memorize it. I also encountered words like veli, where the partitive will use the weak stem instead of the strong stem, veljeä.

Btw, the "root" you mean is probably the stem? The nominative most of the time uses the strong stem (for example has a "kk", "t" or "p" in the last syllable), while most other cases use the weak stem ("k", "d", "v"...). However, there's some words, where the nominative has the weak stem and the other ones will get the strong ones. Since strong "kk" refers to weak "k" and strong "k" disapears in the weak stem, it's probably not possible to tell for sure if a nominative word with "k" is strong or weak and how to build the others. The same applies to pp - p - v and tt - t - d.

Isn't Finnish just lovely? :D


Ah, the wonders of the case systems in Uralic languages. It's one of the reasons I want to learn Finnish and maybe Estonian sometime in the future.


I'm more of a Finnish speaker than learner and I never noticed that partitiivi is so complicated: https://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partitiivi . Interesting. Unfortunately I can't really help here.

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