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  5. "How many Finns know how to d…

"How many Finns know how to dance?"

Translation:Kuinka moni suomalainen osaa tanssia?

June 27, 2020



Why is montako not accepted? Isn't it the same as kuinka monta?


No, montako can't be used in this context. It can be used for "how many" in many sentences, for example "montako suomalaista on bussissa?", but not here. Sorry I can't explain why though, this is just what my native "ear" tells me.


I think the diffrence is in the active/ passive form of the verb.

The core statement of the original sentence is "suomalainen osaa", where the noun "suomalainen" is 3rd singular form of the noun and "osaa" is 3rd singular form of the verb.

In the case of "montako suomalaista on bussissa" the verb is in passive form without any given agent; literally translated "how many Finns are there in the bus?". In active form this would be: "kuinka moni suomalainen on bussissa" (= "moniko suomalainen on bussissa?")

The mess comes up from the similar forms of the verb "osata" and "olla", as both the 3rd singular and the passive form are "osaa" and "on". (The same difficulty with all the verbs, I guess)


The passives of olla and osata are ollaan and osataan, though? And the same for other verbs, the passive ends in -aan/-ään.


Yes, indeed, you are right! It has to be something else than the verb which makes this partitive form more passive than the nominative one.


Shouldn't it be kuinka monta suomalaista?


I suppose the difference is that "Kuinka monta monta suomalaista" is more about asking and being able to count the exact number of the Finns themselves.

For example: "Kuinka monta suomalaista istuu saunassa?" - "How many Finns are sitting in the sauna?"

"Kuinka moni suomalainen" is rather asking for round numbers of the whole, or percents in not so specified area. It kind of has a hidden (of all Finns)-part with it.


Yes, and this difference is indicated by using the passive form of verb, form without actual agent. There the partitive form "monta" concerning the many objects of observation rather than "moni" wich focuses on the multiplity of the agents.


Sorry, not passive form of verb. But something passive there certainly is!


This makes sense but we don't ever say: "Kuinka monta suomalaista osaa tanssia?" But it is totally normal to ask: Kuinka monta suomalaista on lavalla?"


Suomalaiset ei tanssii is the name of the song by Haloo Helsinki I think. Pretty cool biisi, positive vibes


Shouldn't it be 'suomalaisia' instead?


No, "suomalainen" is correct, because the word before it is "moni". After "moni" the word is in it's singular nominative form ("suomalaisia" is the plural partitive).


I'd think of it as "How many a Finn know how to dance"


Why is it osaa and not osavat?


"Moni" is singular form, like "suomalainen". This is how it is usually asked in Finnish.

In another context, it is possible to say "monet suomalaiset osaavat tanssia", which is in plural. And you could ask "Osaavatko suomalaiset (yleensä) tanssia?"


"Osata" is literally "to be able to"/ "can"; so the English version suggests more likely "Kuinka moni (or "Moniko") suomalainen tietää miten tanssitaan?"


Note that "Can/to be able to" in the sense of literally physically being healthy enough, for example, is pystyä in Finnish. Osata is only for having the skill to do something, while tietää is for mental knowledge, not about having the muscle memory or motor skills for something.

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