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"The lynx usually lives in a forest."

Translation:Ilves elää yleensä metsässä.

June 25, 2020



This can be said both ways yleensä elää or elää yleensä. I have that from a native Finn... irritating


Is "elää" used for (wild?) animals instead of "asua"?


You can say "elää" also when referring to people. "She is living her life" means "Hän elää elämäänsä" but if we say "She lives in Helsinki" means that "Hän asuu Helsingissä" because she has an apartment which is "asunto" in Finnish. The lynx does not have an apartment in the forest so "elää" is a better translation :D as in Swedish there are verbs "bo" (asua) and "leva" (elää).


Yes, my Finnish bf said the same thing


Basically, yes. These two have overlapping but still distinctly different meanings.

"Asua" means to live in the sense that you dwell or have residence/home somewhere. So you wouldn't really say that a lynx has residence in the forest. But you could use asua for living in a city, or in a house, or (even if temporarily) in a hotel. For animals, if it's known that a certain lynx has its nest under a certain tree, that place could maybe be specified with "asua".

”Elää" also means to live, but more like to be alive, although it can sometimes be used (especially for animals) to mean the same thing as asua.

So, to compare a little, you could say "asun Suomessa” or "elän Suomessa", and they would both be correct ways to say "I live in Finland" but with a bit different vibes. The first could be used even if you're only temporarily living in Finland, the second is more like you have your life in Finland. The "smaller" and more detailed the definition of dwelling place gets, the more likely it would be that the verb is asua, at least for me. I would definitely "elää" in Finland, either one for province or the city, and "asua" in my neighborhood or address or the type of apartment I live in. If it specifies the place you sleep in but have (regular) activities outside that place, use asua. If it encompasses all or most of your life on a map, use elää. A bit difficult to explain since English is such a stupid language that it has only one verb for this...

And still one more thing. Although elää can sometimes be used instead of asua, or even always and you'd still most likely be understood (even if it sounds a bit weird), the other way around doesn't work as well. Asua doesn't really have the sense of being alive, breathing and doing things. It's more passive than elää, which is something active. Even the word for life (elämä) has the same roots as elää, not asua. A few examples of elää where asua wouldn't work at all: "Elän ja hengitän." (I live and breathe.) "Aion elää satavuotiaaksi." (I plan to live to be a hundred years old.)

Well... This turned out a bit long. Sorry and hope it helps!


Does word order matter here?

Does it mean the same thing to say: 'elää yleensä' or 'yleensä elää'?

Please clarify.


Word order often changes emphasis, but just swapping those two words has the same meaning in my opinion. If you also start moving "metsässä" or "ilves" around, then you could get different meanings like "metsässä elää yleensä ilves"="there is usually a lynx living in this forest", because the emphasis is on the forest, not the lynx or lynxes as a species.


Can someone explain why it is suomessa and not suomi (a new unintroduced case?)

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