1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Finnish
  4. >
  5. "Miksi puhutte suomea?"

"Miksi puhutte suomea?"

Translation:Why do you speak Finnish?

July 2, 2020



Why is Suomea and not Suomi

  • 1974

Finnish requires that you use correct word forms ("inflection"). If it was Suomi the sentence would be "Why do you speak Finland".

It's the same with all language names in Finnish: "Miksi puhutte suomea/viroa/italiaa/venäjää/tsekkiä/maoria/...?"

Also, languages (and nationalities) in Finnish are written in lower case:
Suomi - Finland
suomi (suomen kieli) - Finnish
suomalainen - Finn


But why suomea and not suomia?

  • 1974

It's one of the word form rules. Words ending in i are somewhat special because the letter i is also the signature of plural in some cases and then you just can't add a to make it partitive singular.

The reason why it's suomea is that suomia would be the plural partitive case of the word suomi. Overall it makes very little sense because there aren't many Finnish languages.

For a deeper (and arguably better) approach about partitive, see natejak89's link about partitive plural in this thread. Here's a link for partitive singular.

Some "nice to know" curiosity stuff:

  • Finns (suomalaiset) are numerous. A sentence exhibiting the same partitive case would be [Minä] rakastan suomalaisia, "I love Finns". In singular, [Minä] rakastan suomalaista, "I love a Finn".
  • Suomia is also a verb with the figurative meanings of "to scold, to lash"; see it in Wiktionary


Because you have to conjugate Suomi. During classes you already had this case - partitive examples in form nominative - partitive below: Suomi - Suomea salaatti - salaattia ketsuppi - ketsuppia sinappi - sinappia

Dig deeper and study also outside DuoLingo :) https://uusikielemme.fi/finnish-grammar/grammatical-cases/the-partitive-plural-monikon-partitiivi/


Just a minor detail, but you can't really "conjugate" nouns like suomi. "Conjugation" refers to verbs only. As for nouns, you "decline" them (declension). There is a general term, however, "inflection," that works for both, so you can "inflect" either part of speech.

  • 1974

Thanks for pointing it out. I stand corrected :)


Is the added "a" (at the end of the word) a partitive case?


Yep, it is. It goes more complex with some words though.

Koira - koiraa (dog) Ruoho - ruohoa (grass) Myrkky - myrkkyä (poison) Leipä - leipää (bread)

That being some examples.

Often the words with letters y, ä and/or ö - get a letter "ä" instead of "a" for the partitive form.

Then there's more special cases but this is just a little tip :)


It is often so but for example after a long vowel it is -ta or -tä, depending on the vowel harmony (maa - maata, suo - suota, yö - yötä, jää - jäätä...)


En voi puhua suomea hyvin, mutta opiskellen tämää kieltä Duolingossa. Tämällä lausellä on partitiivi. Ahahha I also used Inessive here ahaha

  • 1974

En osaa suomea hyvin, mutta opiskelen tätä kieltä Duolingossa. Tällä lauseella on partitiivi. :)


Is there a reason this can't be translated with the present continuous? It seemed more logical to me that someone would ask why you are currently speaking Finnish, than why you speak Finnish in general. But "Why are you speaking Finnish?" was marked incorrect.


There is no reason for it. Due to the course being in beta stage, plenty of exercises are missing plenty of valid alternative translations. Whenever you're pretty sure that your answer should be accepted, it is best reported via the report button next to the discuss button.


So when there is a question word like "miksi" (why), then there is no need for the "-ko" suffix on the verb, right?

  • 1974

Right. They are two different constructs:

  • Puhutteko suomea? – do you speak Finnish?
  • Miksi puhutte suomea? – why do you speak Finnish?
Learn Finnish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.