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  5. "Onko heillä pirtelöä?"

"Onko heillä pirtelöä?"

Translation:Do they have any milkshake?

June 29, 2020



As a native English speaker "any milkshake" sounds wrong to me. "Milkshake" is a countable noun (like "cappuccino" and unlike "milk" or "coffee"). "Any milkshakes" would be better, unless you are referring to the milkshake left in your cup. "Is there any milkshake left in the cup?" That somehow works.


In this case milkshake is supposed to be an uncountable noun which requires the partitive case in Finnish. The word "any" is not required in the translation. It's there more to clarify the usage of partitive.


The problem with trying to force a translation of the grammatic construct is it changes the meaning. I believe the meaning of this sentence is "Do they have milkshakes" i.e. products I could purchase. "Any milkshake" would really be referring to the liquid itself in a way that I don't think the finnish sentence implies.


That's a good distinction. Perhaps the English is confusing because of a false correlation with "ice cream", for which the phrase "I want ice cream" IS natural.


The trouble is that the "pirtelöä" partive absolutely refers to the liquid itself as a mass noun, not a countable thing. If you wanted to (clearly) refer to products that can be purchased, you'd use the plural partitive "pirtelöjä" or plural nominative "pirtelöt" depending on the context, and translate both as "milkshakes".


Oh! So this sentence would sound sound strange if you asked it about a vendor?


What my comment meant is that "Do they have milkshakes" is the way most English speakers would try to establish if a shop could aid in their quest to put milkshake into their belly. Where as "any milkshake" would require some contrived scenario: "Do you have any milkshake left in that cup? I want to feed these ants."

How would a Finn normally ask a third party if a shop sells milkshakes?


Thanks for the extra sentences!!

So it does still seem then that the meaning of this sentence, with it's mass noun, does not correlate to the english sentence with a mass noun


Saying "Onko heillä pirtelöä?" or "Tarjoavatko he pirtelöä? (Do they offer milkshake?) doesn't sound strange at all in Finnish, but "pirtelöä" is a mass noun there and understood as such.

Some example sentences with "pirtelö" (which by the way comes from the word "pirteä"" - lively, perky, alert) when not in partitive/used as a mass noun:

"Haluaisin (suklaa)pirtelön, kiitos." - I'd like a (chocolate) milkshake, please. (one countable thing)

"Pirtelö maistuisi juuri nyt" - lit. A milkshake would taste right now, i.e. it would be just the thing, hit the spot (one countable thing)

"Pirtelöt loppuivat kaupan hyllyltä" - lit. The milkshakes ended from the store shelves, i.e. the store ran out of milkshakes (several countable things)

"Haluaisitteko te (, että ostamme) pirtelöt?" - Would you like (for us to buy) milkshakes (several countable things, each person gets their own milkshake)


The "any" isn't really helpful in this sentence and a couple of others, in my opinion. It adds a stress or urgency to the question which isn't there in the Finnish sentence. Do they have milkshake is the most natural translation.


It might be a direct translation, but i know no native american english speakers that would ask "...milkshake" with or without the "any." It would be "...milkshakes" with or without the "any." The subtlety with "any" is that using it implies that they normally have them, but they might not have any at the moment. Without the "any" it implies do they normally have milkshakes at all.


This translation is wrong. It should be, "Do they have milkshakes?" Putting the word "any" in the translation to clarify use of the partitive is not helpful; English speakers will not know they should create grammatically incorrect sentences to match the Finnish.


As a native English speaker, I'd like to add my thoughts to the pile. "Milkshake" in English is a countable noun, not a term for the substance itself, unless the substance is, say, smeared on your shirt, as in, "you spilled some milkshake on yourself." You would never ask if someone "Has any milkshake." Maybe because milkshakes tend to be made one at a time? For whatever reason, "Do they have any milkshake?" is a pretty awkward sentence.


Agree with most people here regarding "any milkshake", it isn't right in English. I can see how "some milkshake" can sort of work, but if you are using "any", then it has to be "any milkshakes", since it is a countable noun in this case. The best solution grammatically would be "Do they have a milkshake" or "Do they have milkshakes", but not any milkshake.


I totally get it that the course developers are trying to drive home the point that milkshake needs to be partitive in Finnish. However, insisting on an English translation that adheres to that, results in a completely non-English sentence. Maybe milkshake should just be dropped from the vocabulary presented here, since it seems to produce such antagonism!


awkward English translation


Alternatives: "Do they have milkshakes?" OR "Do they have a milkshake?"


I put "some milkshake" and was marked wrong. Does the partitive only imply "any" or is this something to report? (Not that "any milkshake" or "some milkshake" sound right...)

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as seen in the thread, this is a major downside of sentence translation, as opposed to just understanding the raw sentence of one's target language.


When should I add -a and when to add -ä in partitive?


I'm wondering if pirtelö is maybe not the same thing as a milkshake, which is made in a store by blending ice cream, flavor and milk? Is it something that comes from a large container, like softice milkshakes? Or bought by the liter in bottles, like yoghurt drink?


Pirtelö is certainly milkshake, but we're not particularly precise with how we make it and what goes into it.

(Actually, as a kid I would typically have a McDonalds milkshake, which is not exactly made out of ice cream, although it's American.)

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