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  5. "Nuo kaupungit eivät ole Skan…

"Nuo kaupungit eivät ole Skandinaviassa vaan Suomessa."

Translation:Those cities are not in Scandinavia but in Finland.

June 29, 2020



Skandinavia is pronounced differently in Finnish


As a Norwegian I have problem with the pronunciation of the word Skandinavia on Duolingo. The first part /skandi/ is pronounced in Finnish, and the second part /navia/ in a more English way. That cannot be right


Although the case ending is compulsory in Finnish, the second "in" in English is implicit and thus optional. "Those cities are not in Scandinavia but Finland" should be accepted, but it is not.


Wow not accepting town as a translation for kaupunki now...?


Duolingo seems to have its root in the USA, where at least if western movies, Lucky Luke albums etc. are to believe, every god-forsaken population centre is a city. Perhaps "city" denotes an administrative unit there, who knows.

I think outside the USA, most people associate a city with a large population, suurkaupunki, while a town, kaupunki is the general name. For instance Pietarsaari and Pietari are both towns, but only the later is a city.

Keep submitting "towns"!


That's my impression as well. Here in the UK there is an official situation for when a town can become a city, all it needs is a Cathedral in it, which makes it the centre of a diocese. It works even if your cathedral is just a pile of ruins as well if I'm not mistaken. Usually that means larger towns have more chances of being called cities but you can have smaller towns also be a city like Dumfermline here in Scotland.

By the way Lucky Luke isn't American, I'm not even sure they know of it over there, it's Belgian like many European comics :) I've never read it in English though so I'm not sure what terminology they use


Yes, I know that Lucky Luke is from Belgium, but I got a mental image of Lucky Luke riding into "a city" and there is a sign

Welcome to Backwater Gulch – population: 10 and a dog (which died last week)

History info

Since the foundation of Kingdom of Sweden trading was forbidden in the countryside except under defined market days, usually a couple in a year. When Finland became part of Sweden, obviously the same law applied here. A population centre could apply for a status of a town (sv stad : cf. a stead) to have permanent trading posts, stores etc. But with that status came responsibilities to the crown, so very few official towns existed.

Under the 1700 century trading began to become deregularised and a need arose for a place where trading would be allowed but without all responsibilities. The solution was status of a köping (sv köpa : to buy → köping : a place for trading), which is etymological background of the word kaupunki. The system in Sweden became quite convoluted with a division to independent and delegated (which could be partial or seasonal) market rights.

During the Russian time very few köping were founded (with various degrees of market rights) in Finland, but the real boom for those began after the independence. Basically the system remained the same as in Sweden. Superficially the system looked simple:

But there were different kinds of kauppala, some under name maalaiskunta (rural municipality), each requiring its own act (luettelo Suomen kauppaloista). And there were different kinds of kaupunki depending on when the town had been founded (so called old vs. new towns).

A great change became in the year 1977 when a new law came into effect. All kauppalat were abolished, and they became towns or were annexed to neighbouring towns. Later the legislation has become even more streamlined, and from a juridical point of view all municipalities currently follow the same legislation. Kaupunki is just a title a municipality can choose to take, from an administrative point of view it doesn't mean anything.

There is an old name of the highest-ranking official in a town, pormestari (← sv borgmästare, de Bürgermeister) : a mayor, which has been revived in recent years. The current legislation allows a municipality to choose between two models of administration. Either have kunnanjohtaja : a head of the municipality, who is under a public service employment relationship, or pormestari : a mayor, who is politically responsible. Very few municipalities have opted for the mayor.


Dude that's fascinating, thank you!


In the United States, cities are typically incorporated municipalities granted a charter by the state government. Incorporated municipalities have elected officials and form a local government, as opposed to unincorporated communities, which do not have any organized government at a smaller level than the county (that is, the next smallest political subdivision below the states). In some states, towns can also be incorporated municipalities, but in other states they cannot. In those states were they cannot, an unincorporated community may be informally called a "town," which (at least to my ear) is a more common term in everyday speech than "village" or "hamlet." Small settlements in the middle of nowhere are often known as cities because they have a charter of municipal incorporation from the state, not because they happen to have many inhabitants.


Isn't the word "kaupunkit" with a "k" rather than "kaupungit" with a "g," or can cities be spelled both ways?


No it's always kaupungit. When adding a suffix which is either in the form of 1 consonant (C) or 2 consonants and 1 vowel (CCV), the ending -nki becomes -ngi so kaupunki -> kaupungit Helsinki -> Helsingin. However if the word ends in -nkki then it becomes -nki so pankki -> pankit. the principle is called Consonant Gradation and it's quite important to get familiar with when learning Finnish grammar. This course touches on it a little but there is much more to know about.


Wow, thanks for such a detailed answer. The Duo team should think about including your answer as part of a "tips" section for this module.


As Jean-LoupR already explained the phenomen is called the consonant gradation, which is a remnant from the past. For comparison Estonian has dropped the consonant gradation.

The gradation comes into play when the basic form of a word has a certain consonant or consonants in the end (before the final vowel), no matter whether the word is a nominal or a verb. The rules are quite complex and out of the scope for this course. Here are some consonants or consonant groups to watch out:

  • kk, ll, pp, tt
  • mp, nk, nt

When it comes to the nominals, a better way is to learn a triple: nominative, genitive and partitive in singular, because out those three cases you can derive how the stem behavies in the other cases. So for kaupunki the triple is:

  • kaupunki, kaupungi/n, kaupunki/a

where I've used the slash to separate the grammatical case marker to better illustrate the changes in the stem of the word.


Oh, boy, even more oddities to watch out for! I don't think I'll ever cease to be amazed by the complexities of this language.

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