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  5. "Hänellä on sininen käärme."

"Hänellä on sininen käärme."

Translation:She has a blue snake.

June 29, 2020

22 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ReinZ_96

Is there any way to know without context whether hän/hänellä is he or she? Or in regular use does it just function like 'they' does in English?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Puikelsson

It doesn't matter which one it is. The Finnish language (or even culture) doesn't care about genders that much. So yes, it works like they in English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JustusRobi3

Actually, many if not most languages hav no grammatical gender. (I can see why: it is an extra complexity.) Indo-European (IE) languages generally hav grammatical gender; as Proto-IE apparently had it; in IE, English has lost grammatical gender except for he/she/it. Finnish does hav an animacy distinction: hän 'he, she' (animate) vs. se 'it' (inanimate), tho this distinction may be lost in colloquial Finnish; Finns often use se without concern for animacy. For plural pronouns, Finnish has he 'they (animate)' (usually reserved for referring to people, not non-human animals) and ne 'they (inanimate)'.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pansartax

That's really interesting!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mefibooseth

No there isn’t any way to know without context


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/natafinn

"They" should definitely work. It is a gender-neutral pronoun, just like "hän(ellä)" is.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MikaLaari1

"They" is plural, but "hän" is singular. You must use either "she" or "he" here.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/natafinn

"They" is actually also a commonly-used singular pronoun. It's used to refer to a person whose gender hasn't been specified yet or whose gender isn't binary(female/male).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MikaLaari1

OK, I was ignorant. Anyway, I think it would be more confusing to use "they" instead of either "she" or "he", at least in contects like this. In this exercise "hänellä" refers to someone previously mentioned, and usually they are known to the speakers, gender inclused; for what I've just read, in our days "they" would be used in such a situation mostly for people who don't identify themselves as a man or a woman.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mefibooseth

So apparently while speaking a contraction takes place: hanelläon. Interesting. @Edit: I changed au in äo. Still wondering what the right vowel (combination) in English would look like though.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Puikelsson

Not more than with any other word starting with a vowel. Since you're presumably on the web version you'll have the tips aiding you with that (assumption was based solely on the lack of ä that on the app is available unlike on web). I'd strongly recommend learning to type the ä at this point, the forums have several tips for that if you don't use the phone where they are always available. It's not an a with addons, it's an individual letter.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mefibooseth

Actually, I am Dutch so the thing is I don't know what the right vowel in English is. I guessed au but I might be wrong. What do you hint at? Regarding the ä, I have got installed a Finnish keyboard so it is only the English part which I am unsure about. You are correct in that vowel contraction is pretty usual in languages, and I agree with you in that. Still, initially I didn't grasp the contraction before I heard again slowly, which is why I made a note. Which replacement for au you propose? I mean for Finnish oo. Thank you for you comment by the way. Sometimes I wish the English spelling would be as consistent as the Finnish one, since the English spelling is as unpredictable as the Finnish one is predictable.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Puikelsson

This is actually (for me at least) extremely difficult to explain in English since I don't have the ability to pronounce Finnish words like a native English speaker does. You know already that each Finnish word stresses the first part of the word when pronouncing so Hänellä On is clearly two separate words because you hear the stress on the O. A natural Finnish word wouldn't have äo in it without being a combination of two words. We need to wait for a native English speaker to give us a good spelling example if one exists. Meanwhile I'd focus on thinking them as separate words like they are. You're not forced to spell them so close to each other if it's difficult. As an example, Pitkäoja (long brook, a family name) you'd spell Pitkäoja but when talking about a long brook, you'd stress the O separately like Pitkä Oja to make clear it's two separate words.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MikaLaari1

Usually "on" is not stressed in the middle of a sentence, so it is kind of pronounced like the last syllable of the precedent word. I think this is what you mean by contraction. The difference to the case endings and enclitics is that "on" is not affected by the vowel harmony. That is, we don't say "hänellä ön", but we say "hänellä" instead of "hänella" and e.g. "hänelläkään" instead of "hänelläkaan".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChiNguyen1107

I thought hän means both he or she


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Puikelsson

It does but you need to choose one for your answer. Both are accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tiziana10030

But 'he' is signaled as a mistake :-/


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pansartax

I wish the language I'm suppesed to type my answer in cloud be more easily (quickly) noted. It's not the first time I accidentally type in English when I'm supposed to type in Finnish.

Maybe, like a flag alongside the instructing sentance?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PLATNUU

I put: "he has a blue snake" and it marked me wrong!!!!

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