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  5. "Joni, onko sinulla tyttöystä…

"Joni, onko sinulla tyttöystävää tai poikaystävää?"

Translation:Joni, do you have a girlfriend or a boyfriend?

June 30, 2020



Jippii for bisexual representation on Duolingo


I think "Joni, do you have a girlfriend or boyfriend?" is also correct (and more idiomatic); I've flagged this.


I agree, using the "a" both times sounds slightly like the question is more about Joni's sexual orientation - and Joni could well have an orientation where either is possible! This way sounds a bit more like you're just honestly curious if Joni is seeing someone.


I was thinking this might have something to do with the distinction between "tai" and "vai". One is "exclusive or", and the other is "inclusive or" although I don't know which is which.


"Vai" is "exclusive or," and "tai" is "inclusive or."


Actually it just assumes that Joni sees one person at a time.


Actually it may indicate that joni is unable to discover what he actually has... tough life and really dark nights in finnlamd perhaps?


In English it sounds more natural to omit the second article. Do you have a girlfriend or boyfriend is a more generic question about whether someone is in any kind of relationship. Asking it as Do you have a girlfriend or a boyfriend actually is asking which one the person has.


Miksi sanat tyttöystävä ja poikaystävä ovat partitiivissa tässä lauseessa? Why are the words tyttöystävä and poikaystävä in the partitive in this sentence?


My understanding is because they are asking if Joni has a girlfriend or a boyfriend in general, and this doesn't refer to anyone particular.


Using the nominative also often makes it sound like the asker is suprised that the person is in fact dating, like "oh, so you do have a boyfriend?". You can emphasise the part you are surprised about by stressing the word.

"Onko SINULLA tyttöystävä?"

"Onko sinulla POIKAYSTÄVÄ?"

Whereas asking "onko sinulla poikaystävää?" is just a genuine question you don't know the answer to.


Hi, my friend. I'm not sure I'm exactly right but as I understood, the verb needs an object, and as you know, the object is in the partitive form.


Well, the difficult thing is that the word "poikaystävä" etc. in a sentence like "Minulla on poikaystävä." could be said to be the subject of the sentence, even if it's also sort of the object. So, the "poikaystävää" in a sentence like "onko sinulla poikaystävää?" is kind of the object, but then again not. No need to think about it further, ha ha (it's a long debated issue only concerning the "minulla on"-type of possessive structure).

When it comes to normal objects, however, the object doesn't always need to be in the partitive case, although it often is. :) Other possible cases for the object are nominative, genetive and accusative.

The partitive is used to indicate a partial object (Syön omenaa), an unfinished action (Syön omenaa) or in negative sentences (En syönyt omenaa - I didn't eat the apple), as well as in e.g. questions (speculations) (Syötkö omenaa? - are you eating an apple?). There are certain verbs that require the partitive, such as "ihailla", "rakastaa", "ajatella" (to think), "vihata" (to hate) etc.

The nominative is generally used in sentences with no ordinary subject, that is in commands (Syö omena!) and in passive sentences (Joka lounaalla syödään omena - an apple is eaten at every lunch).

The genetive is used in pretty much all the other cases with an ordinary subject and a whole object (Syön omenan - I eat the apple/ Söisitkö tämän omenan? - would you eat this apple?).

Only personal pronouns and the pronoun "kuka/ken" (who) have an accusative form, e.g. "minut", "sinut", "hänet"... "kenet" (Omena söi minut - the apple ate me).


"Syön omenan" - I eat an/the apple (the whole apple)


OK. This was, although a bit confusing and mind-bending, quite edifying. Thanks for the awesome explanations and examples.

So, I'm getting now that when it comes to regular objects, you actually call "Genitive" what actually acts as Acusative, right?

Also, let me try something: so, if I ask "söisitkö tänään omenaa? (partitive)", am I asking if you would eat SOME of the apple today?


Interesting article about accusative in Finnish: https://uusikielemme.fi/finnish-grammar/grammatical-cases/the-accusative-case-akkusatiivi

Which looks similar to English - it also keeps the accusative case only for personal pronouns (him, her).


I expected 'vai' instead of 'tai' here.


I believe 'vai' is used when the options presented are the only possible options and are mutually exclusive, and otherwise 'tai' is used. It makes more sense to use 'tai' given that and that Joni could be single, have an enbyfriend, be in a poly relationship, or be married (or some combination of those things).


Yes, using "tai," the question is functionally equivalent to "are you dating anyone," but with "vai" it would be more like, "is the person you're dating male or female"

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