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  5. "Minä kuulen, että karhut ova…

"Minä kuulen, että karhut ovat lähellä."

Translation:I can hear that the bears are near.

June 24, 2020



Can I translate this like that: I hear that the bears are nearby?


That would be more like "Karhut ovat kuulemma lähellä". Minä kuulen, että... means that you literally hear the bears.


His/her (and mine too by the way) answer was "I hear that..." so that's very literal. I don't understand where the problem is.


Yes, I hear can mean "karhut ovat kuulemma lähellä". But " i hear.." can also mean that you can literally hear the bears. Both answers are correct.


Shouldn't it also be possible to translate the sentence as "I can hear that bears are near."? I.e. in an indefinite sense. From what I understand, in Finnish there is no clear distinction between definite and indefinite as there e.g. is in English and one usually has to extract what is meant from context. And with the latter not stated, the meaning can be ambiguous?


"I can hear that bears are near" would probably be better translated as "Kuulen, että lähellä on karhuja". Definite and indefinite can be more ambiguous in Finnish, but it is usually denoted (just via word order or partitive/accusative instead of an article)


So, if I compare your "..., että lähellä on karhuja." to the above "..., että karhut ovat lähellä." then the 'rule of thumb' would be to assume definite when bears/karhut is the subject (in nominatiivi) and indefinite when it is the object (e.g. in partitiivi)?


Yeah, that's a pretty decent summary. It can be a little harder to distinguish when it's singular, but the significance of word order is still the same (ex. "Minulla on kulho" for "I have a bowl" vs "Kulho on minulla" for "I have the bowl"). And then just keep in mind that this only applies for this sentence type. "Karhu on söpö" could still be a bear or the bear.


"Kuulen, että lähellä on karhuja" means "I (can) hear that there are bears nearby"


"I can hear that bears are nearby" and "I can hear that there are bears nearby" mean the same thing to me


Ultimately all of them can be called the same thing:

I can hear that bears are nearby. I can hear that there are bears nearby. I can hear the bears nearby. I can hear that the bears are nearby. I can hear that nearby there are bears. etc.

Each one of them has a slightly different emphasis and probably these can also be rendered in Finnish but "bears" and "the bears" should both be accepted in my opinion as there is no real difference in meaning.


Where is the "can" in the sentence?


It isn't, but in English we often say "I can hear" when all we actually mean is "I hear". I'd expect Duolingo to accept both "I can hear" and "I hear" here.


If you hear something you necessarily can hear it. If you can hear something you don't necessarily hear it, though usually when you say "I can hear X" it is because by hearing it you have proof that you can hear it. You are announcing you have this proof and that therefore you have heard it. Still, the logic here is not something that differs between languages. It seems odd that we should be offered the "can" option everywhere as though there is a difference in this between Finnish and English.


In English, "I hear" means something different – that someone has told me there are nearby bears rather than that I can hear noises made by the bears.


Agreed. It means both. I think the 'I hear' usage would be like a kind of past historic, you are telling a story and reporting your status at that moment. I can hear is more present tense. But both can mean the same.

And of course davidhough is right about the other usage of 'I' hear' where you are reporting what someone else has told you.


I can hear = Voin kuulla


Word for word, sure, but rarely in actual usage. For example, for songs like "I can hear... your heartbeat/ the angles sing / the bells" etc. the expected translation would always be "kuulen..." There are contexts where I'd say "voin kuulla", like if I was discussing the highest/lowest pitch I can still hear, or perhaps the possibility of overhearing something, or the possibility of hearing about something new, like "voin ehkä kuulla testituloksista jo tänään." (voida as "to be able to" in the first one and voida as "may/might" in the latter two)


Also should accept 'I can hear that bears are near'


Is the article (the) strictly necessary in the translation here?


I would like to know this as well. I'm guessing the answer is yes. You use a partitive plural (maybe karhuja?) if it's some unknown number of bears. Sometimes there are faster ways to learn things than looking at sentences paired with their translations. I'll have to find my Finnish grammar books and crack them open.

Okay, I've glanced in the lighter one and I believe if you want bears rather than the bears you would write "Minä kuulen, että lähellä on karhuja."

[deactivated user]

    Can you recommend a good grammar book?


    I'll add that Leila White's "A Grammar Book of Finnish" is a solid classic, also available in Finnish.

    Study books can do a great job of introducing grammar in a comprehensible order, but if you're an experienced language learner, a pure grammar book like White's is a great help.

    [deactivated user]

      thanks, on my list!


      Well, I can tell you what I've got:

      "Finnish", by Helena Sulkala and Merja Karjalainen, which is very thick and thorough and aimed at linguists. Every word in every example is broken down into its morphemes, which is great. On the other hand, it looks like it was written on a typewriter, which makes it a bit hard on the eyes.

      "Guide to Finnish Verbs", by Zsuzsanna Oinas, which is mostly verb paradigms. There are a few dense pages of grammatical notes at the beginning.

      "Finnish Grammar", by Fred Karlsson, which was given to me by my cousin. It is pretty thin and probably the most useful of the three. It's the lighter one I mention above.

      I'm a pretty lazy student. I can't say I've made a deep study of any of them.

      [deactivated user]

        Thank you for the detailed information! I will check these out. Sometimes when I am stuck or mixing things up I like to have a book to sort it all out in my head again! And it's hard going for me when the lesson has no tips yet. Good luck!


        If “close” is an option for “near”, then “close by” should be accepted.


        Kuulen, että karhut ovat lähellä should be an acceptable answer. Reported


        I would definitely say "I can hear" instead of "I do hear." "I do hear the bears" sounds either archaic or like I am seconding another's perception of hearing the bears "yes I do (underlined) hear them (too), or like I admit to hearing them. I think I'm going a little overboard on this splitting hairs on nuances of meaning!

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