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  5. "Moni ihminen puhuu espanjaa."

"Moni ihminen puhuu espanjaa."

Translation:Many people speak Spanish.

July 2, 2020


  • 1319

Here is what I found online in answer to the question why ihmnen puhuu is in 3rd person singular when the meaning is plural:

In formal Finnish, moni is the plural marker and the following noun (if any) and verb are in the singular.

In informal Finnish the plural form "monet" is used and the modified noun and the following verb are plural.

moni lapsi syö puuroa aamiaiseksi (formal language style) many children eat porridge for breakfast = many a child eats porridge for breakfast monet lapset syövät puuroa aamiaiseksi (informal language style) many children eat porridge for breakfast



This is confusing to me. Fred Karlsson's FINNISH AN ESSENTIAL GRAMMAR gives the formulation "Monet ihmiset ajattelevat paremmin, kun he ovat juoneet kahvia". (Many people think better when they have had some coffee). The Duo finnish "Moni ihminen puhuu..." here is strange to me.

  • 1319

The Wiktionary article explains that the singular form is used in more formal Finnish. The DL course uses this singular version because we haven’t yet learned the plural forms. No need to be confused about it, just keep in mind that many languages have different ways to express concepts in a formal vs. an informal way.

And ultimately, we need to be familiar with both ways.


Finnish may get confusing from time to time, but it is fair to say that the grammar we perceive right is mostly anglo-centric and thus it can get hard to understand different rules of different languages. Thank you for the explanation!


Moni ihminen puhuu espanjaa. | "Many person speaks Spanish."

• "Many people speak Spanish." | Monet ihmiset puhuvat espanjaa.

Both of these are essentially saying the same thing, though slightly differently.


"Many person..."

I am not a native speaker, but I think that this is not correct in English.


Agreed. I believe both of Hacu's sentences would translate to "many people speak Spanish". It's just that in Finnish, "moni" goes with a singular noun and so the verb takes a singular ending.

The grammar notes suggest that if this is confusing, to imagine it as "many a person speaks", or whatever.


Should this be many persons


No, because persons is an outdated, rarely used word in English.


But nevertheless "people" is not wrong then? (Aug 2021)


Should this be persons instead of people


Not a native English speaker, but I thought it was OK to say "a lot of people think". Not possible?


Should "many humans speak Spanish" be acceptable?

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