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  5. "Hän on velho."

"Hän on velho."

Translation:She is a wizard.

June 23, 2020



He is a wizard should also be accepted unless they want to be specific in the use of witch or wizard which would still be wrong in this translation


Should it be "she is a witch", which means "hän on noita" because wizard is a male and witch a female. At least in Finnish


Not necessarily. Noita can definitely be used for male witches too despite stereotypical noita being a lady. When it comes to velho, the stereotype of male is even stronger - but it can still be used for both genders, as in the slang phrase "Oot kyllä aika velho" ("Quite a wizard you are", expressed in more-or-less sarcastic manner when someone skillfully proceeds a task).


My guess for this instance is that there could be a meaning "pro" or "unbelievably good" here, since both in English and Finnish (although more rarely) X is a Y wizard / X on Yvelho means that the person X excels in Y.

She is a chess wizard. Hän on shakkivelho.


Should "they are a wizard" also be accepted?


No, “han” is he/she singular. “He” is they. The verb ending changes too.


But you can use "They" to refer to a single person too, without specifying a gender.


But in Finnish you wouldn’t use He or Te in the same situation you would use they in English

Hän accomplishes the English use of they without the additional confusion of there being one or multiple people

He and Te are exclusively for groups of people.


Hän on velho. Te olette velho (singular). Te olette velhoja.


That is interesting ! I am a native English speaker in the USA. I have never heard anyone refer to 'he' or 'she' as 'they'. "They" is for plural; more than one person.


I think it's actually quite common to use "they" as singular, but people just don't think about it much and don't realise they are using it like that.


It is increasingly becoming the preferred manner to refer to an individual without specifying a sex or gender, and in place of "he or she".

See linked article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singular_they


I exclusively use the pronoun "they" for myself. I am agender and part of the reason I have been so excited to learn Finnish for so long is because I will not have to gender myself, and I don't have to "pick" a gender for safety and ease when talking with native speakers. "They are a wizard" is how anyone who knows me or my pronouns would refer to me if I were a wizard. It should absolutely be an accepted answer. "They are wizards" should not, because then the sentence is plural. We also frequently use an impersonal singular they in English, so if you were talking about a friend whose identity you don't want to disclose, many people would use "they are a wizard" without giving it a second thought. I've seen people tell me that there's no singular they and use it this way in the same comment.


While I agree with you on the use of ‘they’ High_preistess, I’m certain that it’s been accepted at least as slang, that ‘they’ can be used as a genderless reference to a single person.

I’m also a native speaker of English and even though I rarely use ‘they’ in this manner, it is quite a trendy use of the word


Yep. Also, it might just feel trendy, since it's being talked about more nowadays, but it's usage in this way is very old. Shakespeare used "they" as 3rd person singular, and many other authors have done so as well. And people also use "they" in this way without even realising.

"Well, it was just something my friend said." "Oh, what did they say?"


The Oxford dictionary traces back the use of the word 'They' as a singular pronoun to 1375. It's not slang. As Pieni_chilipalko mentions Shakespeare used it often and it became fully extended to a singular pronoun in Middle English.

It's on peoples minds more now as non-binary people request that they are no longer identified by an assumed gender; without He/She we naturally are left with the genderless pronoun 'They'.

As this is a recent development it may seem "Trendy", not the word I would use as it implies that the use of this word is a fad that will pass; however, it is simply grammatically correct English used in a respectful manner.


"They" has been accepted by many official English dictionaries as a gender-neutral / inclusive option when used in the singular. "They are my best friend." It may sound non-standard but language evolves to reflect the society that speaks it, and this is an evolution that has become accepted into English.


It is a current usage for those who do not want to identify with a specific gender


Could be, if "they" is used to refer to a single, non-gender specified individual, like in your example. I think it is a good translation.


But wizards are men


No need to worry - "He is a wizard" is accepted too.


My Finnish partner believes this should be accepted as 'they are a wizard' due to Finnish being gender neutral. Also, wizard in English is generally male rather than female. Answer here though is 'she is a wizard'?


Well in Finnish if people wanted to actually say 'it' they would say 'se'. You can say se on velho when talking about someone and it is not offensive like it would be in English. So, I would not say that it is not that accurate to replace 'hän' with 'it'

Regardless you can just keep it in the back of your mind that hän doesn't upset a Finn when it comes to gender specifics. However for the purpose of learning Finnish, I think you and some of the other people on here giving this same feedback are making pronouns more complicated than they really are.

For the purposes of the course you should probably just use he/she wherever you want unless there is additional information that lets you infer the gender. You aren't going to end up misgendering someone in Finnish so it is nothing to stress about.


P.S. He also says it could translate as 'it is a wizard'...


Shouldn't "they are a wizard" also be accepted? It's used as a singular non-gendered pronoun in English often. Seems like it should be an option when translating from a language without binary gender pronouns.


The English pronoun "they" is sometimes used in a singular sense, to mean "people in general", but that is in sentences such is "They say that Finnish is a beautiful". It is also sometimes confusingly used in English to mean "he or she" - I imagine that is the meaning you are thinking of. But it certainly sounds strange.


'They (Singular: They/Themself) are a wizard' is also correct.

I understand that Duolingo doesn't want to cause confusion with 'They (plural)' which changes the ending of verbs as well, but because English uses the same word for 'They (Plural)' and 'They (Genderless Singular Pronoun)' it would not be incorrect to say 'They are a wizard'.

This is different to saying 'It is a wizard' in that 'It' refers to an object, which evidently wouldn't be a problem in Finnish but would be seen as insulting in English. Referring to anyone as 'It' in English definitely would end in a punch in the lips. Additionally, using 'they' as a singular pronoun has been commonplace since Middle English, used often in Shakespeare's writing "Hark, how they knock! Who's there?". Many people use the singular pronoun version without realising it, for example:

"Whoever (they) are, (they) left in a hurry, all (they) left behind was this clue to their whereabouts. They've left (themselves) vulnerable" and other great lines from Nicholas Cage movies. Yes, 'they' is valid and commonplace both plurally and singularly.

I'm quite surprised at the number of native English speakers on here rejecting this fact?


Came here for this. I too am a native English speaker. "They" is the correct non-gendered address for a single person as well as the plural. In fact, we're starting to see notes from home that non-binary students are to be refered to as, "they" rather than "he" or "she".


This is a weird word for people to learn.

I'm not complaining it just seems so strange to be one of the earlier lessons

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