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  5. "Amerikkalainen mies ei osaa …

"Amerikkalainen mies ei osaa tanssia."

Translation:The American man cannot dance.

June 24, 2020



"Osata" and "voida" are verbs that confuse me a bit. Is "The American man doesn't know how to dance" also a possible translation for this or am I wrong?


Yes, that would be correct, too. "Osata" is to have the skill or knowledge to do something, while "voida" is to be able or allowed by circumstances. Both are "can", but "voida" can't be "know how to".

E.g. "Voimme mennä kotiin" (We can go home.) - we can't use "osaamme" here, no skill involved.

E.g. "Osaan tanssia" (I can dance) - as in I know how to, I have the skill. vs. "Voin tanssia" (I can dance) - as in, I can if you want to, if I feel like it, if I go out tonight etc.


I'm not familiar with voida until just now, but it sounds like a grammar thing similar in Chinese where there are multiple different "can/able to" words, and one is more related to a permission "can" vs a knowledge "can". Is that similar to this?


I'm not very familiar with Chinese. But Slavic languages have two verbs for "can" exactly like Finnish has "voida" (possibility, permission, to be able to) and "osata" (skill, knowledge, to know how to). I see you're learning Russian - мочь = voida, and уметь = osata. At least I expect it works the same way in Russian, because it definitely does so in my native Czech: moct = voida, umět = osata.


Romance languages do, too: Voida = poder/potere, osata = saber/sapere.


It sounds like I got the right idea though. Thanks! Haven't done the Russian in a while, I should try it again!


"Ei osaa" could be "cannot" or "doesn't know how to"


Seems like Duolingo was spying on me while visiting Turku nightclubs in 1999.


Should accept can’t as well as cannot.


Ei suomalaiset tanssi...


This can't be The American man doesn't dance?


No, that would be "Amerikkalainen mies ei tanssi".


Duo knows me so well


"Is not able to dance" was not accepted

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