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  5. "Hei, osaatko sanoa, missä oo…

"Hei, osaatko sanoa, missä oopperatalo on?"

Translation:Hi, can you tell me where the opera house is?

June 29, 2020



I think we can say "Can you tell where the opera house is?" Or "Can you say where the opera house is?"


I think both your suggestions are much better translations, yes. As someone mentioned above, there's no indication of 'me' in the Finnish


"Can you tell where the opera house is?" is not really good English. As far as I know, "to tell" is always transitive and therefore a subject is mandatory. I'm no English native though, but I'm pretty sure we were told so at school.


In Finnish there's no mention of "me". I'd assume English counterpart shouldn't hace either.


But then it wouldnt make any sense. Thats like saying because a Finnish sentence doesnt have "the" the english one cant either


True, but why not "can you say where the opera house is?" - I think this is probably a better translation. As the original commenter said, there's no indication in the Finnish who this information is being given to. The "correct" translation sort-of suggests "yes I can tell you, specifically, where it is, but I might not tell him or her, for example"


You assume wrongly. The 'me' should not be omitted from the English translation or it sounds stilted.

"Can you tell ... ?" usually is employed where you are really meaning "Can you guess ...?" An artist on kids' TV used to have a catch-phrase "Can you tell what it is, yet?" as he was daubing paint (seemingly randomly) on a huge piece of paper.

I'm not a linguist, so can't begin to fathom / explain why inclusion of 'me' is necessary for the correct translation, here ... it just is.


Why wouldn't anyone be employing "Can you tell...?" in the meaning of "Can you guess...?" here? Or "Can you say...?" should also be valid.


"Can you guess" is quite different from "will you please tell me [because I don't know]." "Can you tell where it is" suggests you're asking the other person to figure something out, or quizzing them for some reason, instead of asking them to convey the information.


If the Finnish sentence is using the verb "osata" which means "to know how", I really don't see the reason to only allow the translation of the meaning "will you please tell me" when it literally has the combination of "osata sanoa" (can tell/know how to tell) suggesting it might actually be quizzing someone. I'm just a student so might be wrong but it kind of makes sense.

[deactivated user]

    Could we not use kertoa here (to tell) osattko kertoa .. (can you tell)

    [deactivated user]

      You can. Osaatko sanoa sounds a bit more natural. With kertoa it sounds more formal.


      what would it sound like if one were to say "hei, kerro mulle, ..." (or "osaaks kerro mulle")? is it not polite/formal enough?


      I wrote 'hello' instead of 'hi' and it is marked wrong. Is it such a huge difference that it cannot be accepted?


      Hi, do you know how to say, where is the opera house? Or maybe I'm translating too literally.


      Yes, you wouldn't say "do you know how to say" in English. :-) The Finnish question isn't actually about the ability to express a particular set of words, but a request for information... so in English you'd say "do you know", "could you tell me", "can you tell me", or something like that.


      Yes, I think "do you know" might be a better translation.


      That'd be something else in Finnish, though: "Tiedätkö,...".


      The satirical would give the answer to "do you know...?" as "yes, thanks." In other words, in english that formulation does not actually ask the recipient to deliver possibly available information.

      Wheras ' Can (or politely the conditional form, 'could") you tell me' actually requires an answer.

      Hope that is clear. It is quite subtle in english.


      Unfortunately, I've heard questions beginning with 'can' also receive answers like "Yes." and "I don't know, can I?"

      At which point, the blunt "Please tell me where..." becomes necessary.


      I fully agree, but at least the "can" is a little more insistent in English.


      To avoid confusion, I would politely suggest not to list "do you know ... " as an alternative translation in this case, since I was just marked wrong for it, and you say yourself that would more "tiedätkö ...".


      "Where is the opera house?" should be accepted too


      "can you tell me where is the opera house?" - doesn't scan very well


      It sounds normal for me to say in speech - with a pause (comma): "can you tell me, where is the opera house?"


      Agreed - that would be poor English.

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