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  5. "Kameli yrittää puraista turi…

"Kameli yrittää puraista turistia."

Translation:The camel is trying to bite the tourist.

June 30, 2020


  • 1970

Some fun facts for those wondering about puraista: It has mostly the meaning of "taking a bite once" whereas purra is the more general form. Both can be translated to "to bite".

  • Puren purukumia – I'm biting the chewing gum (maybe clenching my teeth)
  • Puraisen purukumia – I'm biting the chewing gum once (or) I'm taking a bite of the chewing gum

The continuous action of puraista is pureskella which is quite straightforwardly "to chew". It would be the most usual action with chewing gum:

  • Pureskelen purukumia – I'm chewing the chewing gum.


This was me once (the tourist, not the camel). Luckily no one was actually bitten or hurt, but there were a bunch of camels and one was being kind of aggressive. Camels have surprisingly large and sharp canine teeth.


Turistia is the word turisti in the partitive case. It could mean a tourist or the tourist, since finnish doesnt have articles.


Is there a way to denote definiteness in Finnish?


Word order can affect the meaning, and often words towards the front of the sentence have more "weight", so you could say "Turistia yritti puraista kameli" -> putting kameli at the end weakens its sense of definiteness. Also, having the tourist at the beginning suggests that this is a tourist the speaker has already mentioned earlier in the conversation. The context of the surrounding dialogue is normally what makes definiteness / indefiniteness fairly obvious, though of course in these exercises, there is no context, which is why all options are acceptable. Interestingly, at least in spoken language in southern Finland, lots of people (informally and probably subconsciously) use "se" and "yksi" as equivalents of a definite and indefinite article respectively. So, a Helsinki teenager might say "Yks kameli puri sitä turistia" or "Se kameli puri yhtä turistia". (Actually, they would probably use the slangy "turistii", but let's not get into that!) But this is an Anglicism, and I think it's sloppy style, so best to avoid doing it!

  • 1970

Yeah, you're right. To add a bit, it's called something like "the news rule" in Finnish and according to it, in a sentence the familiar things go first and the new things last. So putting things first in a sentence conveys the the meaning, and leaving them to the end is more like a.

In the case of this sentence, tourist can be understood either definite or indefinite. The context matters the most, and it's admittedly pretty much nonexistent in a single sentence.

I wrote a comment about this in another thread which has some further examples of the news rule: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/40601871?comment_id=41436466


So in this case, the slang is adding useful functionalities that the language is lacking. Good street people!


The language doesn't "lack" anything; it's beautiful just the way it is :) But yes, I admit, I do use these fake articles in speech (everybody in the cities does), but at the same time I'm saddened at the extent to which English inevitably influences everything around us...


It´s, of course, nice to have diversity. But articles would have improved communication. I have heard even native Finnish people complaining that sometimes it is impossible to understand what the speaker exactly means.

The English language is not the only language in the world that uses articles, and probably there is a reason to use them: they make everything clearer and smother.

I think that the Finnish language sounds really sweet, but sorry, from a technical perspective, I really have to say that I am not a big supporter of agglutinative systems.

We should try to make communication better by using all the possible tools. Unfortunately, the Finnish language seems really unlogic to me.

I may be ignorant about linguistics, but I really have to say that it seems crazy to me that a language has maybe three postfixes in one sentence, even on adjectives and numbers, just to express that something is inside something else. And yet there is no easy way to say ´ a camel´ or the ´camel´.

I am not complaining, but just saying what I think.


There doesn't seem to be a reply button on your second (longer) comment, so I'll reply here. Don't worry – I didn't think you were complaining, and this is an interesting topic worthy of discussion! Of course, English isn't the only language to use articles, but neither is Finnish the only language not to use them (to my knowledge, the Finno-Ugric languages [Hungarian has a def but no indef article], the Slavic languages and Basque don't use them, and that's just in Europe). Finnish has survived perfectly well without articles for over 5000 years, so it's sad and annoying that English is so pervasive in everyday life here that it's changing the way people think, meaning they now feel they need to express the distinction between def/indef. (And it really is English, btw; no other language has such reach and influence in Finland, not even Swedish.) I know Finnish can feel challenging and illogical – it did to me too when I started learning many moons ago – but, at least for me, that's the charm of it. When you teach someone Finnish, you're not just teaching words but entire concepts and ways of thinking, ways of organising your thoughts, which is admittedly very different from the standard Indo-European way. Of course, this is purely subjective, but to me there is a beauty in a phrase like "isossa talossani" (big-in house-in-my). Good luck on your Finnish journey, and if you have more questions, I'm happy to try and explain!


Thanks for letting me know your thoughts. I agree that having more types of languages makes linguistic culture richer.

"isossa talossani" is still manageable.

But when there are numbers where you have to put the postfix even two or three times in the same word, I guess that the professors who made this system didn't really think about the practicality and functionality.

kolmellekymmenelleviidelle hengelle = for thirty-five persons

kahdeskymmenesensimmäinen = twenty-first

Not to mention:



Why "turistia" refers to "the tourist" not "a tourist"? As there is no context of the sentence, it could be the camel is trying to bite any tourist


As Leo wrote: ¨Turistia is the word turisti in the partitive case. It could mean a tourist or the tourist, since finnish doesnt have articles.¨


Why the "the camel is trying to bite a tourist" is not acceptable?


If you have not accepted the continuous present tense throughout this exercise (the small koala question rejected "is growing"), you can't suddenly decide that the continuous present tense is the only correct answer in this instance. It is not.


My guess is that the volunteer team just hasn't had the time to enter all possibile anwers into the system, or possibly Duolingo is still processing them. Do flag all your translations etc. as "my answer should have been accepted" if you think they are correct.


At least "The camel tries to bite the tourist" was accepted for me now.


Cant understand what is wrong


What did you write, Viktoriya673916?

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