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"Sarjassa on musta kissa, joka osaa puhua."

Translation:In the series, there is a black cat, who can talk.

July 1, 2020

41 Comments


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

Finland finally got Sabrina the Teenage Witch, eh?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ElspethMac7

or the Russian satirical novel The Master and Margarita. There is a talking cat here.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Moo770465

It's not a series, though.


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

Yeah sure, if it's not on Duolingo, Finland doesn't know about it.


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

So suddenly it's okay to start the english translation with the part Duolingo worked so hard on teaching me to always put last?!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dylan600886

Amen! Very frustrating to only now have this sentence structure allowed.


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

I don't understand what you mean...?


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

Only in this question you are allowed to answer "In the series, ..." all question before you had to start with the dummy "there is" and put "in the series" at the end.


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

I was taught that you're not supposed to use "who" for anything else than people in English? "Which" or "that"


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

What if we're personifying the talking cat and regarding it as a "person" on the show?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nimporte-qui

"Who" is reserved for things that take human pronouns. Pets and animals regularly take human pronouns and so can be referred to as who (e.g. Who's a good boy? vs Which is a good boy?).

The converse is not true for "that". Things that take human pronouns may also be referred to with "that".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dee596112

who or which or both?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nimporte-qui

Some say: hes and shes get "who" and its and theys get ", which" or "that"

In fact, the rule is more subtle and flexible than this. However, even if it was totally correct and rigid, you'd have to decide if the cat is an it or a he first.

In summary: both


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

As a native English speaker it feels wrong to say "a black cat WHO can talk". More natural to say "that". Maybe in other Englishes it is OK but just thought I'd flag.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sarah803697

Context is all: the cat is also a native English speaker.


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

Do you pet your dog (if you have one) and say "What is a good boy/girl?"? In these cases, there are personifications happening to the cat and the dog, making them take on human qualities. Thus 'who'.

Sorry for the bad English, I'm not a native speaker.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nimporte-qui

This is a rather confusing point about English grammar. When choosing a conjunction, you have to think about whether the subject takes human pronouns and whether the clause is restrictive (essential to the meaning) or nonrestrictive (providing additional info; separated with comma). In my own dialect, the conjunctions are:

  • That: Always restrictive clause; Subject may be it, he/her, or they (some other dialects avoid using this for he/her/they)
  • Which: Always nonrestrictive; Subject must be it or (non-human) they
  • Who: May be restrictive or nonrestrictive; Subject must be he/her or they (some other dialects avoid using this for restrictive clauses)

Those that prefer "that" over ", who" feel that cat's ability to speak is essential to the meaning of the sentence. I agree with this judgement, however my dialect would only require the comma be removed and not necessarily that "who" be changed to "that".


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

Shouldn't this be a correct answer as well? "There is a black cat in the series, which knows how to speak."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pecu01

People don't really bother much nowadays, but the correct answer depend on the meaning that you wish to convey: 1. If the important feature is the talking rather than, say, riding a motor bike, you are defining the cat and should say '..black cat that can talk...' . 2. a) If the talking is not the defining feature of the cat, you would say '..black cat, which (by the way) can talk, ...' In this case, there should be commas after cat and talk (equivalent to brackets).
b) You could, however, use 'who' instead of 'which' if you want to stress the cat's human-like quality of speaking a human language.


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

Weeeell, one could argue this specific cat duo is talking about used to be a person, but I would still use "which" or "that"


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

"there is a black cat in the series who knows how to speak" should probably be accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sarah803697

It would certainly be understood, but it's not great English structure.


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

Nothing wrong with it that I can see.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sarah803697

Just a little clunky, is all. I'm not a linguist (just going by ear) so can't explain it better than that.


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

Translations from one language to another (especially unrelated languages such as English and Finnish) in a course like this are often clunky. The original, given translation is equally clunky. I would much rather have a clunky but accurate and literal translation than a smooth but inaccurate one.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sarah803697

I put "There is a black cat in the series that can talk." It was accepted.

I did spend a while mulling over whether to put 'that' or 'who' ... but finally plumped for 'that', as in this case it sounded slightly more natural.


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

Moi One question Why joka and not joku ? Kiitos


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

Joku means someone, or in some cases some.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ElspethMac7

I suggest JOKA should be translated as that, referring to a CAT. A cat is not a person (even though this cat can talk!!) therefore WHO is technically incorrect. Both who and that should be accepted as correct.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sarah803697

It's a speaking cat ... so it gets a 'who', paws down :)


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

Standard English still reserves WHO for human beings. If the cat here is being personified, some clear indication of that is necessary. Otherwise, only which or that can be considered correct.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sarah803697

Erm ... isn't the fact that it's a speaking cat enough personification?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bri1066

Agree with this. Unless one is actually speaking directly to a cat the conceit of using a pronoun reserved for humans is an egregious error of grammar and will suggest the speaker has poor command of the language.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SteveA.B.

Who cares about English grammar? This is Finnish course, not a translation course. "Just learn it"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sarah803697

Educated people?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sarah803697

I hasten to add that I meant that literally, not snarkily. Q: "Who cares about English Grammar?" A: "Educated people".

Having translations that sound "off" don't help anybody. I'm sure the discussions help all manner of people in learning the nuances of both languages.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SteveA.B.

I understand the feelings of frustration behind these comments. I've been there. When I was learning Japanese I would complain. But once I gained fluency I realized that the Japanese grammar was so different from the English that a good or bad translation into English was beside the point. And the grammatical correctness of the translated English was completely irrelevant for purposes of learning. Learning the patterns in The target language is what's important. I have been translating and transcreating Japanese into English for decades. I am paid up to USD 10,000 (not a typo) per word, if that opens your mind to what I'm saying. To translate you need to understand the context of the source sentence. Grammar of the source text is often distracting and the source text itself is frequently poorly written. So I need to know how Japanese works. That's what grammar is. But English doesn't work at all like Japanese. Once I understand what the source writer is trying to say, I simply write how you would express in English what the author meant to express in Japanese. Rarely do the grammatical constructions have a one to one relationship. "An accurate translation is a bad translation" in this kind of work.


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

I find myself in agreement with this. Granted, I'm not truly fluent in any language but English, but I know that it is far more helpful for me when attempting to learn a language to have a "poor" English translation (meaning one that may take many extensive liberties with proper English syntax) that is closer to the target language (in this case, Finnish) and thus helps me better understand how the target language works.

Having proper English is nowhere near as important as getting a feeling for how words are put together in the target language. I'd far rather have an accurate but clunky English translation that follows the target language perhaps a bit too literally, than a proper English one that sacrifices any feel for how the target language works.


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

I've felt very similarly when learning languages; you don't want a course formally teaching improper grammar, but looking at word-for-word glosses can give you a feel for thee target language while understanding the meaning of the words in your native language, as can looking at the L1 interference target-language speakers struggle with in your learning-langauge.

"No speak English" is exactly how no hablo inglés would translate word-for-word. Understanding why Spanish speakers might say it that way in English gives you a feel for the rhythm of Spanish: you can pick up that Spanish drops pronouns (especially "I") and negates verbs by placing "no" directly in front of the verb.

Or take "long time no see", originally from the pidgin English used by Chinese laborers as a calque of 好久不见. The English calque hints at the lack of grammatical inflection present in Chinese (i.e., word stems are not changed to indicate details such as number or verb tense).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bri1066

This is a Finnish course in English. Were it in Chinese or any other language the target language would still have to be accurate for learning purposes. The course is in places ambiguous on others wrong.

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